Everton maintain late-season push

Wolves 0 Everton 3

Everton maintained their late-season push for a European spot as a first-half scoring burst increased Wolves' Barclays Premier League relegation fears at Molineux.

Goals from Jermaine Beckford, skipper Phil Neville - his first for three years - and Diniyar Bilyaletdinov effectively ended the game as a contest before the interval.

Everton have now taken 14 points from a six-game unbeaten run to keep alive their hopes of breaking into the top six despite a lengthy injury list.

But Wolves, beaten 4-1 at Newcastle last weekend, are suddenly looking prime candidates for the drop on the evidence of this performance after a promising opening 20 minutes.

The loss of key striker Kevin Doyle through knee ligament damage has had a massive impact on the make-up of the side as he was the ideal player to operate in a 4-5-1 formation.

With Wolves Mick McCarthy starting with two upfront, the home side found themselves exposed in midfield without the extra man and their defending also left a lot to be desired.

Wolves started purposely and Adlene Guedioura had a shot blocked by Neville on the edge of the box at the expense of a corner.

Leon Osman came to Everton's rescue by clearing Steven Fletcher's header off the line from a Matt Jarvis flag-kick after seven minutes.

It was against the run of play when Jermaine Beckford put Everton ahead after 21 minutes.

John Heitinga found Leon Osman in space out on the right and his cross picked out Beckford, who got in between Christophe Berra and Richard Stearman and in front of Wayne Hennessey to nod home.

Wolves tried to respond instantly and Guedioura was only just off target with a curling attempt from 20 yards out.

Beckford came close to doubling Everton's lead after 31 minutes.

Osman easily shook off the challenge of Berra on the right flank and his cross found the unmarked Beckford.

His downward header contained plenty of power but Hennessey was able to adjust and parry the shot away to his left.

A dipping attempt from Jamie O'Hara was deflected just wide and Sylvan Ebanks-Blake had a shot blocked from close range from a Jarvis centre.

But after 38 minutes Neville doubled Everton's lead.

Hennessey, at full stretch, managed to keep out a misdirected header by George Elokobi from Leighton Baines' corner.

But the ball landed at the feet of Neville on the edge of the Wolves box and his rising shot flew past Hennessey into the roof of the net.

On the stroke of half-time Diniyar Bilyaletdinov made it 3-0.

The ball broke to him just inside the Wolves half and his 25-yard drive flew past the despairing dive of Hennessey.

McCarthy made a half-time substitution with Michael Kightly replacing Ebanks-Blake, who had sustained a hamstring injury.

Bilyaletdinov became the first player to be yellow-carded after 51 minutes for bringing down Guedioura.

The home side saw plenty of the ball in the the second period.

Skipper Karl Henry gave the home fans something to cheer as his powerful drive was turned aside by Tim Howard.

The Everton keeper then parried a Guedioura header from a Jarvis centre.

In a rare second-half Everton attack, Berra blocked an effort from Osman.

Substitute Victor Anichebe had a shot deflected just wide of the post with Hennessey wrong-footed.

Bilyaletdinov should have made it 4-0 but shot over from close range after George Elokobi mis-kicked.

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