Everton vs West Ham match report: Leon Osman the hero as Toffees burst Hammers' bubble at Goodison Park

Everton 2 West Ham 1

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The Independent Football

Leon Osman found the perfect way to mark his 400th Everton appearance by digging the Merseysiders out of a hole.

Roberto Martinez’s side had lost their half-time lead to Mauro Zarate’s equaliser and were creaking under sustained West Ham pressure when Osman capped a swift counterattack by snatching the winning goal at the Gwladys Street end.

It was a goal that marked the 33-year-old Osman’s enduring importance to Everton as he raced upfield from a West Ham corner and arrived at the back post to convert substitute Samuel Eto’o’s pin-point cross.

“I thought he was outstanding,” said Martinez. “If you look at his role, he was marshalling the back four, he was dictating play, he was the last player you expected in the six-yard box.”

Martinez also hailed a brilliant cameo from Eto’o, whose introduction was key to only Everton’s second home League success this season. “I thought he was the reason for the win,” Martinez said of the Cameroonian who teamed up with Romelu Lukaku to lay on Osman’s winner and did not give the ball away once.

Despite their late flourish it was a fortuitous victory for Everton whose opening goal from Lukaku should have been flagged offside. Ross Barkley’s shot took a double deflection off James Collins and Winston Reid and fell kindly to the Belgian who finished from close range. “Lukaku is two yards offside,” said West Ham manager Sam Allardyce.

Sam Allardyce and Roberto Martinez watch the action at Goodison Park

West Ham’s luck was out before a ball was kicked with a quintet of players – Stewart Downing, Cheikhou Kouyaté, Diafra Sakho, Alex Song and Enner Valencia – ruled out for injuries picked up on international duty.

Yet they responded well to falling behind. With Andy Carroll, on his first start this season, unsettling the home defence, Morgan Amalfitano and Carroll might have equalised in the first half before substitute Zarate levelled with a shot that clipped Phil Jagielka and looped over Tim Howard.

Howard later foiled Amalfitano and Collins, though, and Allardyce was left frustrated. “Our finishing was not good enough and because of that and a referee’s decision we’ve ended up losing,” he said.

Leon Osman slides in to score Everton's winner

It was a busy afternoon for referee Mark Clattenburg who ignored – rightly – exaggerated West Ham calls for a red card for a tackle by James McCarthy on Amalfitano in which the Irishman raised his foot but won the ball. The referee later showed yellow to Kevin Mirallas for a heavy challenge on Amalfitano and subsequent shove on James Tomkins – with the Hammers defender joining him in the book for clutching his face in a bid to get the Belgian sent off.

After that outbreak, it was a proper football man, Osman, who stole the headlines by popping up at the perfect time.

Everton: (4-2-3-1): Howard; Coleman, Jagielka, Distin, Hibbert; McCarthy, Osman; Mirallas (Eto’o, 66), Naismith (Atsu, 88), Barkley (Besic, 80); Lukaku.

West Ham: (5-3-2): Adrian; Jenkinson, Tomkins, Collins, Reid, Creswell; Amalfitano (Vaz Te, 82), Noble (Jarvis, 51), Nolan; Carroll, Cole (Zarate, 52).

Referee: Mark Clattenburg

Man of the match: Leon Osman (Everton)

Match rating: 7/10