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Everton kept up the pressure on Arsenal in the hunt for fourth place with a battling 3-1 win at Fulham.
The Cottagers were bright in the first half but did not take the chances they carved out and were rocked by an own goal early in the second half from David Stockdale.
Felix Magath’s Fulham drew level through Ashkan Dejagah, but Kevin Mirallas pounced with 11 minutes left on the clock to put Everton in front and Steven Naismith sealed the win late on.
Fulham showed great desire early on, and Brede Hangeland went close with a header, while Tim Howard produced a pair of good saves to thwart Kieran Richardson and Lewis Holtby.
Everton were forced into a change at the interval, with Ross Barkley going off. It might have been a forced change, but it was certainly effective as Barkley’s replacement Steven Naismith turned the ball into a ruck of players, and it went in off Fulham keeper Stockdale.
Fulham responded well and drew level on 71 minutes with a thunderbolt from Dejagah.
Cutting in from the left flank, Dejagah let fly from 20 yards and the ball flew past Howard and into the top corner.
Howard came to Everton’s rescue on 76 minutes with a reflex save to thwart John Heitinga, and three minutes later the Toffees snatched the lead when Mirallas collected a pass from Aiden McGeady before firing home.
Naismith may try and claim the opener, but he did get his name on the scoresheet three minutes from time when slotting home from six yards.
The win moves Everton to within four points of Arsenal with a game in hand, and the two teams meet at Goodison Park next week.
Fulham are in dire trouble, as they are now five points adrift of safety with six games remaining.
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