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Thursday 18 September K.O. 20:05

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Upton Park | 22nd December 2012 15:00

West Ham United v Everton


Everton delivered the perfect early Christmas present by serving up a turnaround 2-1 win over West Ham.

The Blues had a Leon Osman header controversially ruled out before going a goal down to Carlton Cole's first half strike.

But they equalised through the returning Victor Anichebe in the second half and secured a winner through Steven Pienaar after Cole had been sent off.

The late red card shown to Darron Gibson was equally harsh but only slightly dampened Everton spirits.

Anichebe was restored to the line-up alongside skipper Phil Neville, with John Heitinga also drafted in because of injury to Seamus Coleman and the suspension of Marouane Fellaini.

Anichebe West HamAnichebe celebrates his goal

Everton enjoyed the better of the early stages as their 4-4-2 formation occupied the home side's back line.

And a foul on Pienaar lead to the first Blues chance on nine minutes when Sylvain Distin headed off the ground and over the bar from a Leighton Baines cross.

It was from another set piece that the game's first contentious incident occurred. Another Baines delivery, this time from a corner, was nodded home by Osman but the assistant's flag went up.

There was no obvious offence committed but the consensus seemed to be that Anichebe had been penalised for holding Jussi Jaaskelainen.

Two minutes later Everton were behind when Cole stepped away from Heitinga and drilled low past Tim Howard.

Pienaar West HamPienaar is jubilant after getting the winner

The sense of injustice fuelled the Blues and they sought to produce an equaliser with Phil Jagielka's misdirected cross and Pienaar's long ranger keeping Jaaskelainen alert.

Osman dragged wide from 18 yards out before the best effort of the half, Darron Gibson's free-kick, was tipped over by the back-pedalling Finnish custodian.

Jelavic could have levelled shortly after the resumption when the ball fell to him in the box but his swivelling volley went into Jaaskelainen's midriff.

Gibson was next to go close from another curling free kick with sub Modibo Maiga squeezing an effort into the side-netting at the other end after a Hammers counter attack.

Gibson redGibson trudges off after his harsh red card

But the focus was soon on the other goalmouth as Pienaar engineered space down the left, turned on to his right foot and picked out Anichebe to expertly glance home.

His celebration was in contrast to the often stoic reaction the Nigerian has offered after previous goals this year.

Everton's hopes of finding a winner were then majorly enhanced when goalscorer Cole was ordered off for a high boot on Baines.

The full-back was uninjured and promptly played his part in the goal which put Everton 2-1 up. He combined with Pienaar and Osman and the latter's pull-back was bundled over the line by the former in front of the jubilant travelling fans.

For West's plucky 10 men Kevin Nolan twice went close late on, while at the other end Jelavic missed a highly presentable chance to make it three. There was even time for more drama when Gibson was sent off in added time for another high boot - but it didn't stop the Blues hanging on.

After the final whistle the players stripped down to throw their shirts into the crowd as thanks to the loyal away fans.

Merry Christmas!

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