Theo Walcott scored his first Everton goals, Seamus Coleman made his comeback from a broken leg and the Blues secured their first win of 2018, as Sam Allardyce’s charges battled past 2015/16 Premier League winners Leicester 2-1 under the lights at Goodison.
Walcott was the star of the show, scoring twice in the first half to send Everton to victory, in amongst the off-field business associated with the final hours of transfer deadline day.
The January recruit side-footed in a Gylfi Sigurdsson cross on 25 minutes and volleyed home again a quarter of an hour later to seal a first win since mid-December.
Jamie Vardy netted with a 71st-minute penalty but Everton held on for a win, despite a late rally from the visitors who hit the woodwork twice in the closing stages.
It will also be an evening remembered for a fantastic comeback display from Coleman. The defender had played only 60 minutes of an Under-23s’ fixture since recovering from his long-term injury, but he crusaded through a full night’s work.
Allardyce had hinted in his pre-match press conference that Coleman could get the nod to start and, indeed, the Republic of Ireland captain did - his first appearance in a Premier League fixture in more than 10 months.
Other standout team news was the inclusion of Oumar Niasse who was rewarded for his equaliser from the bench against West Bromwich Albion last time out with promotion into the starting line-up. Back also came Phil Jagielka, Michael Keane, Idrissa Gana Gueye, Wayne Rooney and Tom Davies as Allardyce made wholesale changes.
It was a competitive, even start under the Goodison lights and a stretched, low save from Foxes skipper Kasper Schmeichel denied Walcott from scoring a long-range maiden strike in Everton colours.
Leicester, too, created early chances, both from corners. Centre-back Harry Maguire ghosted in and nodded over, while Nigerian Wilfred Ndidi went even closer when he looped another header goalwards, only to see it rebound back off the crossbar.
From then on it, the remainder of the first period was all Everton, inspired by a stunning individual performance from Walcott.
A promising sight was combination play between the ex-Gunner and Coleman down the right-hand flank. There were signs of the pair building up a fledging partnership when the Blues full-back got on the overlap and centred on a couple of occasions.
Indeed, the game’s deadlock-breaking strike, scored by Everton on 25 minutes, came via a cross from the Blues’ right.
Coleman, however, wasn’t the source - instead it arrived after Cuco Martina picked the pocket of Chilwell, released Sigurdsson and from the Icelander’s precise low cut-back, Walcott darted in at the far post to bury low into the bottom corner. An excellently-worked move, culminating in a first Everton goal for the England international.
Walcott buzzed around all over the pitch during the first half but not so long after scoring, he was left grounded after getting a whack on the head. After an anxious few seconds receiving medical treatment, he thankfully regained his footing and was soon making another telling contribution.
Ten minutes later - and following a glorious chance missed by Niasse to make it 2-0 when he screwed a shot wide from close range - Walcott doubled the Toffees’ lead with a second clinical finish of the evening.
Rooney, who had been playing in a deeper midfield role, sent over a searching cross, Keane climbed to head the ball back across goal and Walcott smashed in on the volley underneath Schmeichel.
The Blues could have even had a third straight from the kick-off had Niasse managed tighter control on a slide-rule pass from midfield, and Rooney guided a volley goalwards instead of narrowly wide of the target.
The second half was much of the same, with Everton on top and pressing for a bigger advantage.
Coleman continued his swashbuckling comeback performance with a series of forays down the right, one which began deep in his own half and ended when Niasse was unable to steer a shot towards the target just a few yards from goal. An inviting Coleman cross from the right, straight across goal also only needed a finishing touch.
Against the run of play, Leicester found themselves back in the game with 20 minutes to go when Vardy netted from the penalty spot. Rooney was adjudged to have fouled Ndidi off-the-ball and the England striker stepped up from 12 yards to send Pickford the wrong way.
That set the nerves around Goodison and Everton had a huge let-off when a Jagielka deflection was clawed onto the woodwork by Pickford and, from the follow-up, substitute Kelechi Iheanacho turned a hit a shot against the post.
The late introductions of Morgan Schneiderlin, Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Ashley Williams helped give fresh impetus to Everton as the Blues held on for three welcome points.
And seconds before the end, there was a deafening roar around Goodison as Coleman eased pressure with a run virtually the length of the pitch, where he was inches away from teeing up Davies for a third goal.