Swansea City 1 Everton 2 match report: Ross Barkley scores stunning free-kick to lift Everton into top four and boosts England claims

Bryan Oviedo's own goal had earlier cancelled out Seamus Coleman's opener

The Liberty Stadium

Ross Barkley enhanced his ever-growing reputation by producing a wonderful late free-kick to give Everton a 2-1 win at Swansea.

Roberto Martinez’s Everton side further enhanced their credentials as top four contenders with a deserved win over Swansea yesterday.

A stunning free-kick from 20-year-old Ross Barkley proved the difference between the two sides after a Bryan Oviedo own goal had cancelled out Seamus Coleman’s opener for the visitors.

The win against Martinez’s former club moved Everton above Chelsea, who play Arsenal at the Emirates today, and into fourth place.

It might not have been the eye-catching display of passing football you might have expected from two of the top flight’s most stylish sides but Martinez’s first win in five attempts against Swansea could have Everton in a Champions League spot on Christmas Day. With on-loan Chelsea striker Romelu Lukaku having a rare off-day for Everton, it was Barkley who stole the show with a curling free-kick six minutes from time.

Barkley, sporting a freshly shaved head despite the freezing temperatures in South Wales, showed once again why he has been compared to the likes of Paul Gascoigne by his manager this season.

His performance will be another nudge to the England manager, Roy Hodgson, who will find it difficult to leave the midfielder at home this summer if he continues to produce these kind of displays.

“Ross is growing game by game. He is showing different aspects. He is a quite incredible diamond of English football,” said Martinez, whose record of only one defeat this season is bettered only by Bayern Munich and Roma in Europe’s top five leagues.

“The winning goal, technically, is as good as it gets. A lot has been said about Ross, but it’s always an understatement. He’s an incredible listener and a young man with a lot of potential. He always comes up with something different to show he can develop. I’m proud of seeing him grow.”

Barkley’s goal was his third of the season but his first since the win over Newcastle at the end of September.

Barkley said: “It was a relief because I had a good chance to score with 20 minutes left but I slipped over. To see that free-kick go in was a massive bonus. I don’t practise free-kicks but, with Leighton Baines not on the pitch, I thought it was my chance to have a go.”

Everton had taken 13 minutes to test the Swansea goalkeeper Gerhard Tremmel, in for Michel Vorm, who had knee surgery on Thursday, and the German got down well to hold Kevin Mirallas’s near-post effort.

The Belgium international then wasted a decent opening when he robbed Chico Flores deep in the Swansea half to leave Ashley Williams against three Everton attackers.

With Lukaku free Mirallas chose to shoot himself, but his drive was blocked by Williams and the Swansea defender cleared Barkley’s follow-up.

Swansea’s best opportunity of the first half fell to striker Wilfried Bony on half-hour but his first-time shot from the edge of the box was wide after a great ball from Routledge.

It was another sign that Bony is struggling to impose himself as Swansea’s main striker this season and, with Michu facing a spell out with an ankle problem, it could persuade Laudrup to look for a forward in January.

The two sides cancelled each other out for much of the first half with Everton pressing well and Swansea doing a good job of keeping Lukaku quiet.

That continued at the beginning of the second half with both sides failing to work either goalkeeper. Steven Pienaar flashed a shot wide before Barkley made a complete mess of an excellent chance as he slipped and mishit a shot after being put through on goal. He almost made up for it on 64 minutes with a driving run through midfield and a fierce left-foot shot that was turned on to the bar by Tremmel.

Everton were finally in the ascendant and took the lead  two minutes later. Swansea allowed right-back Coleman to wander forward with the ball and he rifled a superb shot in at the near post from 25 yards.

In the minutes after the goal it looked as though Everton were at last going to take hold of the game but their lead lasted just four minutes. A hopeful cross from Swansea left-back Ben Davies caught Pienaar sleeping at the back post and when he was beaten to the ball by Dwight Tiendalli his shot took a huge deflection off Oviedo and squirmed past Tim Howard for an own goal.

Swansea have now had five own goals in their favour this season, one more than second-highest scorer Bony has managed in the league since his £12m move in the summer.

But Everton were not to be denied and when Davies conceded a foul on the edge of the box it was the chance Barkley need to atone for his miss. He curled the ball up over the wall and off the underside of the bar past the helpless Tremmel.

Swansea’s manager, Michael Laudrup, said: “We are waiting for more information on Michu’s injury and should know on Monday. If he needs an operation he could be out for some time.”

Match facts

Swansea: Tremmel 6/10. Tiendalli 7, Chico 5, De Guzman 6, Williams 7, Davies 7, Canas 6, De Guzman 6, Shelvey 6, Routledge 5, Hernandez 7, Bony 6

Everton: Howard 6/10, Oviedo 6, Distin 7, Coleman 8, Jagielka 7, Pienaar 6, Barry 7, McCarthy 6,Mirallas 6, Lukaku 6,  Barkley 8

Booked: Swansea Davies. MOM Barkley.

Match rating 8/10.

Possession: Swansea 55% Everton 45%.

Attempts on target: Swansea 3 Everton 6.

Referee L Mason (Lancashire). Att 20,695.

Suggested Topics
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine