West Brom vs Everton match report: Romelu Lukaku gives old team the slip to open new account with Everton

West Brom 0 Everton 2: Toffees ease to their first League win after goal in second minute by former West Brom striker

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The Independent Football

Romelu Lukaku took the first small step towards repaying Everton’s club-record investment by scoring the goal that put them on their way to a much-needed first win of the season.

The big Belgian might have been short of fitness at the start of the campaign but back on his old stamping ground, he struck a brilliant opening goal after just one minute and 40 seconds to lead Roberto Martinez, his happy manager, to suggest that his £28m fee will prove no gamble at all.

Describing Lukaku as a player with “everything you would expect in a striker”, Martinez said: “I am sure money can be spent in many ways but we didn’t mind the sum because I knew it was money well spent.”

With Lukaku leading the line with real power and purpose and his compatriot Kevin Mirallas – scorer of the second goal – driving forward impressively, Everton were worthy winners although they also had their hosts’ failings to thank for the points. After all the talk about Everton’s defensive troubles, two simple mistakes by Albion’s defenders were at the source of the goals – the first from Jonas Olsson, the second from goalkeeper Ben Foster.

 

For Lukaku’s opener, Olsson mishit a clearance straight to the big man who took one touch then curled a lovely shot around Foster from the edge of the box. For Mirallas’s second, he was given too much space on the edge of the box before dispatching a low drive straight at Foster who let the ball roll under him and into the net. “You talk about two international players and they don’t normally make those mistakes,” said Alan Irvine, the Albion manager. “They are devastated.”

After his early goal, Lukaku held his hands up in an apologetic gesture to the Albion fans who saw him score 17 goals for their club two seasons ago. West Brom’s new £10m striker Brown Ideye, by contrast, never looked like scoring and although John Stones did well to deflect Saido Berahino’s first-half shot behind, Irvine was right to suggest his team “just lacked that cutting edge”.

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Kevin Mirallas doubled Everton's lead

The defeat means Irvine is still seeking his first win since leaving his role as Everton’s academy director to become Albion’s fifth boss this decade and the boos at the final whistle showed that the Scot, who is trying to bed in 11 new signings, has work to do to win over the Hawthorns crowd.

For Martinez, by comparison, there was satisfaction that Everton’s “focus and intensity in our defensive play” was back as, with Gareth Barry outstanding, they secured a first clean sheet of 2013-14. They could have had more goals too.

Steven Naismith blazed over an empty net after Foster had parried a Lukaku shot and it took two late Foster saves from Leon Osman to spare Albion further punishment.

Line-ups:

West Bromwich (4-4-2): Foster; Wisdom, Dawson, Olsson, Pocognoli (Gamboa, 77); Dorrans, Morrison, Gardner, Brunt (Blanco, 70); Ideye (Samaras, 70), Berahino.

Everton (4-2-3-1): Howard; Coleman, Stones, Jagielka, Baines; McCarthy, Barry; McGeady (Besic, 88), Naismith, Mirallas; Lukaku (Osman, 68).

Referee: Anthony Taylor.

Man of the match: Barry (Everton)

Match rating: 6/10

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