Everton eased to a convincing victory in their league clash with Bolton at the County Ground on Thursday night.
Bolton Wanderers 1-3 Everton
Strikes from Apostolos Vellios, Matthew Kennedy and Ross Barkley secured the comfortable win for the Blues on a wet and windy evening.
Everton began the match brightly and their attacking approach paid dividends when they took the lead after 11 minutes.
A long ball played from the left flank by Ibou Touray was expertly controlled under pressure by Vellios before the striker swiftly slotted a low strike past goalkeeper Rob Lainton from eight yards out.
The Blues continued to show attacking intent and nearly doubled their lead before Bolton even had the chance to recover from the opener.
A low cross drilled in from the right wing by Tyias Browning found John Lundstram who didn’t hesitate to fire in a vicious strike that Lainton dived across to save.
As Everton constantly pressed for an extended lead, they were gifted an opportunity to score a second by the weather conditions.
As the relentless rain poured, Joe Riley’s attempted pass towards Ben Hampson stopped short of defender due to the soaked pitch.
Barkley reacted quickly to retrieve possession and skip past Hampson before being foiled by the conditions himself as his side-footed effort was weakened by the soggy ground which made it easy for Lainton to save.
With the half nearing an end, Everton nearly found a second goal in stunning circumstances courtesy of Lundstram.
Kennedy's curling cross found the midfielder on the edge of the area, instead of controlling the ball Lundstram hit a fierce volley destined for the bottom corner that Lainton leapt across to stop.
Against the run of play, the home side managed to level the scoring through a penalty on the stroke of half-time.
Bolton striker Sanmi Odelusi broke in behind the Everton backline before going down under what appeared to be minimal contact in the area from Shane Duffy to be awarded a dubious spot-kick.
Jan Mucha correctly guessed the direction of Sordell’s penalty kick but the strike was just beyond him as it found the bottom-right corner in what was the last meaningful action of the half.
After the restart, Everton fought to re-assert themselves as the dominant force in the game and were rewarded for their efforts when they regained the lead in the 56th minute.
Vellios was the provider for the goal on this occasion as he curled the ball through the Bolton defence which Kennedy prodded past Lainton to hand Everton a deserved second.
The Blues were unfortunate not to extend their lead further from a Magaye Gueye free-kick.
The Frenchman whipped in a cross that was met by Duffy but the defender could only direct his effort straight at Lainton.
Moments later, quick reflexes from Mucha prevented Bolton from leveling the score again.
A free-kick drilled into the area resulted in a goalmouth scramble before Sordell struck a shot from close rangethat Mucha flung himself in the way of to heroically maintain Everton’s lead.
This didn’t deter the Blues from continuing their search for another goal as Duffy nearly found the net again.
The Irishman rose to head Gueye’s corner at goal but was unlucky to see his attempt fly straight at Lainton yet again.
In the dying moments of the game, Everton’s pressure paid off as they got the third goal to guarantee the victory.
A cross from the energetic Gueye ricocheted around the area and into the path of Barkley who fired an unstoppable effort into the bottom corner to seal all three points.