Everton 1-0 West Ham United
Barclays Premier League
Romelu Lukaku came off the bench at Goodison Park on Saturday to turn a game against West Ham United for the second time this season.
The Everton striker, on loan from Chelsea, notched twice at the Boleyn Ground in September to overturn a 2-1 deficit in his team's favour, and this time he stopped the contest from drifting to a 0-0 draw with his 81st minute goal.
West Ham defended solidly to restrict Everton's chances as much as they could, given that the Toffees dominated possession, but they were eventually undone inside the final ten minutes as their four-game winning streak came to an end.
The Hammers named an unchanged side for the fourth game in a row, meaning Andy Carroll had to settle for a place on the bench following his return from a three-match ban.
The game started quietly in the Merseyside sunshine as the Hammers set their stall out to be typically hard to break down.
The home side saw much of the ball as a result, but without the presence of a regular striker until the hour, they could not make the most of it at that stage.
Adrian only had one save to make in the opening period, and that was a comfortable one as he blocked off the near post to prevent Steven Naismith's 22nd minute shot from finding a route to goal.
Gerard Deulofeu looked to be the home player most likely to possess the key to unlock the Hammers' defence, and he weaved his way into the box on 39 minutes before placing a left-footed shot just wide of the mark.
At the other end the Hammers' chances were limited before the break and Carroll did not have to wait long for his introduction, replacing Carlton Cole with 28 minutes played.
Everton began the second period at a quicker tempo and were desperately close to opening the scoring in the first minute after the restart.
Steven Pienaar exchanged passes with Leighton Baines in the left hand channel and shot for goal first time. The South African's effort looked goalbound, but Adrian stretched out a hand to flick the ball onto the upright, before getting up to stop Deulofeu's rebound.
The same player went close five minutes later when Baines got in down the left and crossed low, but Pienaar lifted his shot over the top.
Toffees keeper TIm Howard was called into action on 55 minutes when Andy Carroll's venomous 30-yard shap shot needed a tip over.
60 seconds later Kevin Nolan's curler was deflected behind as the Hammers build some pressure for the first time, but Everton withstood it and then signalled their intentions to press for the three points by bringing Lukaku off the bench.
When the breakthrough did arrive nine minutes from time, it came as little surprise that the Chelsea loan player provided it.
Baines was the goal-maker, seizing his opportunity to burst clear inside the box and cut back for Lukaku to apply the finish from ten yards.
It was a late blow that the Hammers could not recover from as their five-match unbeaten run ground to a halt.
Everton: Howard; Coleman, Stones, Distin, Baines; McCarthy, Barry; Deulofeu (McGeady 73), Osman (Lukaku 59) Pienaar; Naismith (Barkley 85)
Subs: Robles, Hibbert, Mirallas, Browning
Goal: Lukaku 81
West Ham United: Adrian; Demel (Reid 80), Collins, Tomkins, McCartney; Nolan, Noble, Taylor; Jarvis (Diame 66), C.Cole (Carroll 28), Downing
Subs: Jaaskelainen, Armero, J.Cole, Nocerino
Referee: Jonathan Moss