Great Britain

West Brom 0 Everton 1: Toffees pile misery on old boss Allardyce as Richarlison fires them into top four

EVERTON ground out another crucial three points - thanks to a Brazilian nut!

Richarlison’s 65th minute header made it four goals in four games for the on-fire Brazilian striker who achieved the impressive feat for the first time in his career.

But the Toffees rode their luck here as Mbaye Diagne’s left foot strayed a fraction offside deep in stoppage time to deny West Brom a late leveller.

The Senegalese striker thought he had salvaged a dramatic point when he took an Ainsley Maitland-Niles cross on his chest and swivelled to find the top corner with a sublime finish.

But assistant ref Gary Beswick raised his flag and VAR confirmed Diagne’s tootsies were marginally offside after an agonising wait for Albion.

The home side probably deserved more but simply don’t have a finisher of Richarlison’s class.

The 23-year-old lived up to Carlo Ancelotti’s billing after the Italian claimed his sizzling Samba star is good enough to become one of the best hitmen in Europe.

And that’s exactly where the Toffees will be heading if they continue to grind out wins without playing particularly well.

Ancelotti should take a bow himself for an inspired substitution when he sent on Gylfi Sigurdsson to add some much needed quality.

Forty three seconds later the Iceman delivered - when he set up Richarlison for Everton’s 11th Premier League headed goal of the season.

His initial corner was half-cleared by Diagne who then stood off and allowed the Icelandic midfielder to take one touch on his thigh, one touch to move the ball out from his feet and one touch to cross.

Richarlison charged in to beat Sam Johnstone and head home from four yards.

Perhaps Albion simply used up all their luck during their wacky weekend win over Brighton, when they survived two penalty kicks and a phantom free-kick ‘goal.

They certainly started brightly, and it took a remarkable save from Jordan Pickford to prevent Albion scoring in their first attack.

Conor Gallagher clipped in a teasing cross from the right and Mbaye Diagne strained his neck muscles to send a looping header towards the top right corner.

Pickford left the ground early and appeared to be beaten as the ball arced beyond his outstretched right glove.

But with Diagne ready to acclaim his second goal for the Baggies, Pickford suddenly changed arms and brought his left hand over his right to claw the ball to safety.

It was an astonishing save which reminded everyone exactly why Pickford remains Gareth Southgate’s go-to-goalie.

Yet as ever with Pickford there is always a ricket in him, especially when the ball is crossed towards him and he has to decide whether to engage.

Midway through the first half he gave Ancelotti cause to raise an eyebrow when he came to collect a routine cross from Conor Townsend and collided with his own defender Michael Keane allowing the ball to plop out of his gloves.

Fortunately Ben Godfrey managed to screen Diagne who was looking to pounce as Pickford gratefully gathered at the second attempt.

It summed up the visitors’ general malaise as if their minds were miles away - perhaps dreaming of Champions League nights next season.

Too often they were careless in possession and at times they looked to be in a trance while the Baggies buzzed around them, knocking them off their stride.

Matt Phillips had a pot shot which Pickford saved comfortably. Then a sloppy pass from Gomes was pounced on by Townsend who set up Diagne whose shot on the turn sailed over.

It took Ancelotti’s men until six minutes before the break to finally wake up when Darnell Furlong brilliantly blocked Richarlison, deflecting his attempt a fraction over.

Yet Everton could and should have gone in a goal ahead at the break thanks to a freak break when Ainsley Maitland-Niles tried to intercept Bernard’s pass and inadvertently sent Dominic Calvert-Lewin through on goal.

But with Sam Johnstone at his mercy the usually lethal England striker shot straight at the goalkeeper's legs and Albion survived.

Big Sam’s Baggies have only scored nine second half goals all season - the lowest tally in the Premier League.

Yet they still looked likelier to break the deadlock than the lethargic Toffees. 

Pickford smothered a Pereira potshot, Diagne headed over from close range following a Furlong long throw and Gallagher slammed a low shot inches wide when any touch would have sent it into the net.

Ancelotti had seen enough and sent on Allan and then Sigurdsson for the ineffectual Alex Iwobi and Abdoulaye Doucoure.

Smart move Carlo!

Read our Football live blog for the very latest news from around the grounds

Everton secure planning permission for new stadium at Bramley-Moore Dock

Football news:

Juventus wants to extend the loan of Morata for at least another season for 10 million euros
Milan wants to buy Tonali from Brescia
Dembele has an inguinal hernia. He has been playing with discomfort for several weeks and is being treated conservatively
Alaba repeated Ribery's record for matches for Bayern for players not from Germany - 425
Mauricio Pochettino: It's impossible not to love Mbappe. It is easier to train him than anyone else
Barcelona estimates the deal for Neymar at 70-80 million euros. The player wants to return (Catalunya Ràdio)
Megan Rapinoe: I'm not asking for a salary like Messi. It's not just black people who should talk about racism in football, and it's not just gay people who should talk about homophobia