Ross Barkley strike ends Everton’s Goodison campaign with victory
Premier League, Goodison Park – Everton 1 (Barkley 56) Watford 0
Everton wrapped up their home programme with a deserved 1-0 victory thanks to a cracking Ross Barkley strike early in the second half.
The match began with speculation surrounding the midfielder’s future, manager Ronald Koeman putting pressure on Barkley to sign a new contract. And after a first half in which Watford had keeper Heurelho Gomes to thank for keeping the scores level, Barkley rifled a shot from distance into the bottom corner to break the deadlock.
Everton pressed for a second but found Gomes equally tough to beat as Watford offered little themselves in attack, Stefano Okaka squandering the best of their chances from close range.
Defeat for Watford means they must wait to secure the point that guarantees their Premier League survival.
When will Watford score? They have now gone over nine hours without scoring. It is their longest away run without scoring since a seven-match streak in December 1979.
Everton's Morgan Schneiderlin and Ross Barkley applaud fans after the matchReuters
MAN OF THE MATCH
Ross Barkley (Everton): Will he stay or will he go? Everton fans will certainly want him to put pen to paper after this impressive performance.
6’ - SAVE! Good feet from Barkley and perhaps he should score but it’s a decent save low down from Gomes.
14’ - SAVE! Baines delivers as the rain continues to team down. Jagielka connects on the volley and it takes a good save from Gomes again to keep Everton from taking the lead.
22’ - SAVE! A lovely flick from Barkley sets Davies away. He shoots from distance and again Gomes called into action to make another really good save on the stretch.
54’ – WATFORD CHANCE: Janmaat escapes down the left, gets his cross in and Deeney pokes wide from close range. Not easy off this slick surface.
Tom Davies of Everton and Valon Behrami of Watford confront each otherGetty Images
56’ – GOAL! Everton 1-0 Watford: And it’s a really good one. Barkley strides forward and lets fly and finally Gomes is beaten as it skims across the surface, one bounce and into the corner.
64’ - PENALTY SHOUT! Gomes parries a Mirallas shot and Lukaku goes down in an attempt to follow up under pressure from Janmaat. Not given.
87’ – WATFORD CHANCE: Robles to the rescue as Okaka shoots straight at the keeper. Should have scored.
89’ - SAVE! Gomes to the rescue again to save from Valencia after Lukaku sets it nicely by letting the ball run into his path.
Everton have now won 43 points at home this season; their highest tally in Premier League history.
Ross Barkley has now been directly involved in 13 Premier League goals this season.
Watford have failed to score in six consecutive away league games, losing all of them. It is their longest away run without scoring since a seven-match streak in December 1979.