Everton 0-2 Fulham: Maja fires Fulham to vital Premier League win
(Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

Josh Maja stole the hearts of Fulham fans on a crisp Valentines evening at Goodison Park as he scored a brace on his first Premier League start, giving Scott Parker's men fresh hope that they can avoid an immediate return to the Championship

Maja got his first just moments into the second half after he found himself unmarked in the box, to slot Ola Aina's cross from six yards. 

His, and Fulham's second came half way through the second half when he was again on-hand to tap into an empty net from 6 yards, following Harrison Reed's shot that cannoned off the post. 

The win keeps Fulham in 18th, seven points from safety, but gives their hopes of an escape a huge boost ahead of Wednesday's trip to  Burnley

Story of the match 

It was Valentines day heartbreak for Everton as their fragile inconsistencies were highlighted as they fell to another home defeat. A story that has become all too familiar over recent years at Goodison Park.

Parker's men didn't resemble a team that sat ten points from Premier League safety prior to this evening's game, his side turned up with their chest's out, confidence high and chances of survival still in their own hands.

Fulham's front three - Ademola Lookman, Josh Maja and Bobby Reid - set the tone right from the off as the pressed high into the faces of the Everton backline. Everton looked lethargic right from the first whistle, as seven of those given the nod by Carlo Ancelotti to start this evening went the full distance in Wednesday's FA Cup thriller against Tottenham.

The Whites thought they had taken the lead on Merseyside with just over ten minutes played, when Mario Lemina's corner was flicked on at the near post via the heel of Aina, his audacious flick evaded all those in the box wearing blue before cannoning off the back post. A goal that would've not doubt been involved in the the 'Goal of the season' montages come May.

Reed was the next in white to come closest  after his effort - off the back of some fantastic intricate play down the Fulham left-hand side - floated just inches wide of the Robin Olsen's goal.

Lookman - who was once part of the Everton ranks - looked desperate to get on the scoresheet against his former side. He should've opened the scoring for the away side on 27 minutes, as Fulham won the ball high up the pitch, before Reid sent Lookman through. However , he was unable to guide the ball past the Everton bodies in the box ,as he dragged his effort the wrong side of the post.

Everton finally added some urgency to their play just after the half-hour mark, as it was their turn to come close to breaking the deadlock.  Seamus Coleman's won the ball back just inside the Fulham half beofore the Blues' skipper continued to drive into the centre towards the Fulham goal, before letting fly from 20-yards out, only for his effort to bounce behind after rattling the base of the post.

Andy Madley's halftime whistle was music to the hears of those in the home dugout, as Ancelotti and his staff would've been less than impressed with what he saw in the opening 45 minutes. 

It didn't take Parker's men long to get the opening goal they were fully deserving of. Maja, who's no stranger to being the star of a show - following his appearance in Netflix's Sunderland documentary in 2018 - found himself unmarked in the Everton box just two minutes into the restart, and he had the simple task of tucking away Aina's cross from the left - after some lovely link up with Lookman.

Maja doubled his and Fulham's lead with just over 25 minutes left to play. Again, the ex-Sunderland man found himself with all alone six yards from goal after Reed's effort cannoned onto the post.  

Josh King thought he had pulled one back for Everton with just over 10 minutes to go, after a terrific cross from Andre Gomes left him with a tap in from inside the box. King though, was adjudged to made his run fractionally too soon - as it was chalked off for offside. 

For as good as Everton have been in their first full season under the guidance of Ancelotti there have still been serious teething issues, in the form of consistency. Tonight's defeat against Fulham only tells half the story when analysing the Toffee's season to date, defeats at home against Newcastle, West Ham and now relegation-fighting Fulham have seriously hampered Everton's European hopes. 

Starting XI's

Everton: Olsen, Coleman, Holgate, Godfrey, Digne, Doucouré, André Gomes, Rodríguez, Davies, Sigurdsson, Richarlison. 

Fulham: Areola, Tete, Andersen, Adarabioyo, Aina, Reed, Lemina, Reid, Loftus-Cheek, Lookman, Maja

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