Leighton Baines

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Baines happy to win for Unsworth: “He’s been faultless”

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Longtime Everton servant Leighton Baines was a man of two minds.

For one, the left back knows the club’s big spending summer should have it much better than 15th in the table. This helps to show his non-plussed expression in the moments after Everton completed a 3-2 comeback win over Watford on Sunday at Goodison Park.

[ RECAP: Everton 3-2 Watford ]

But he also knows his team won a thriller, one that gives caretaker manager David Unsworth a not insignificant three points after losing his first three matches in charge of his longtime club.

From the BBC:

“Nothing to get carried away with, the sort of win we should be getting but we showed the character Unsy deserves. I’m sure the fans would have really felt the emotion. When we conceded the penalty it summed up how it’s gone for us.

“David Unsworth deserves more than what he’s had from us in terms of results. He’s been magnificent. The way he’s conducted himself, he’s been faultless. It is extra special to give him the result he deserved.”

Everton is unlikely to go with Unsworth long term, but the fight back was impressive with goals from Oumar Niasse, Dominic Calvert-Lewin, and Baines.

As for Unsworth, he’s brimming with the performance, and not counting on anything:

“Whatever will be will be. I have been the proudest man in the world to take charge for the last two weeks and no one can take that away from me. I know nothing about it. I’m sure I’ll speak to the chiarman and owner and I’ll keep giving my best for this wonderful club.”

Now comes the international break. Regardless of who’s in charge when it ends, Everton’s players owe the supporters more efforts like Sunday’s final half hour.

Everton 3-2 Watford: Toffees climb back for win

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  • Richarlison nets 4th PL goal
  • Kabasele nabs first
  • Niasse pulls one back
  • Everton first win since Sept. 23

Leighton Baines converted a stoppage time penalty to complete a big comeback for a 3-2 win over Watford at Goodison Park after a thrilling five-goal second half on Sunday.

Ex-Toffee midfielder Tom Cleverley missed a 101st minute penalty during 12 minutes of stoppage time.

[ MORE: Baines, Unsworth react ]

Oumar Niasse and Dominic Calvert-Lewin scored to lead Everton back from a 2-0 deficit, and out of the drop zone. The Toffees climb into 15th, sending West Ham into the drop zone.

The Hornets got second half goals from Richarlison and Christian Kabasele, but drop 10th.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Richarlison worked around Jordan Pickford but couldn’t maneuver his shot inside the gaping frame, letting Everton off the hook in the first half’s best chance.

The Brazilian had a similar chance to start the second half, and buried it.

Another Brazilian, Watford goalkeeper and captain Heurelho Gomes, had to leave the match with injury and was replaced before the hour mark by Orestis Karnezis.

Kabasele made it 2-0 when he got past Phil Jagielka to head home, but Niasse struck within three minutes to bring the Everton deficit back to one. Calvert-Lewin then supplied this equalizer:

Then Jose Holebas, who infamously won a late goal against Liverpool, took down Aaron Lennon in the box to set up a huge chance for Everton. Baines buried it.

The Toffees held on through 12 minutes stoppage to ice the huge win.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Everton 2-0 Hajduk Split: Toffees cruise in Europa League first leg

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  • Keane nabs first EFC goal
  • Baines, Rooney with classy assists
  • Gueye scores rare goal
  • Second leg Aug. 24 in Croatia

Michael Keane and Idrissa Gana Gueye scored as Everton took a 2-0 lead over HNK Hajduk Split in a UEFA Europa League playoff round first leg at Goodison Park on Thursday.

Leighton Baines and Wayne Rooney had assists for the Toffees, while Jordan Pickford, Ademola Lookman, and Davy Klaassen also posted lively performances for the hosts ahead of next week’s second leg.

The Toffees could’ve scored four or five if not for questionable offside calls alone, and the match was interrupted in the first half when the Hajduk support section got out of hand.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Ademola Lookman won an early corner for Everton that led to nothing, and played a terrific ball into the center of the box that Davy Klaassen just missed with a sliding effort.

Hajduk had a moment in two in transition, but the Toffees handled it well. Baines in particular broke up the earliest sign of danger.

The breakthrough goal was splendid, with Baines scooping up a punched corner kick and darting past a defender to dink an aesthetically-pleasing ball into traffic for Keane to head home. 1-0, 30′.

The match was stalled for 5-10 minutes after riotous behavior from visiting Hajduk Split supporters, who tossed bottles onto the field and charged at the stewards (one appeared to punch a security guard).

The Toffees went up 2-0 off a classy assist from Rooney, who was moving away from the defense when he cut a ball to a darting Gueye. The Senegalese engine provided a rare goal in the 45th minute.

[ MORE: Europa League schedule ]

The chances were at a premium for both sides in the second half, with Everton still having the better of play. But Jordan Pickford had to get horizontal to make an outstanding two-handed parry on a Hajduk rush in the 61st minute.

Hajduk really found its game late as Everton seemed to rest on its laurels. Pickford was livid, and called into duty to make some big stops and preserve an important home clean sheet.

UEFA Europa League wrap: Everton, Milan, Marseille take leads

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Lone Premier League contestants Everton controlled proceedings at home but had trouble finding the finishing touch, while Milan and Marseille got goals from summer signings to nab wins of their own in the first legs of the UEFA Europa League’s third qualifying round on Thursday

[ MORE: Mendy a doubt for PL opener ]

All but two of the second legs will be held Aug. 3, with Sion-Suduva and AEL Limassol-Austria Wien the previous day.

Everton 1-0 MFK Ruzomberok

For over an hour, Everton had better than 70 percent possession at Goodison Park and nothing to show for it. But Leighton Baines‘ 65th minute rip deflected home to give the Toffees a deserved lead over its Slovakian opposition ahead of next week’s match in Ruzomberok.

Everton finished the match with a 20-8 edge in shots and 72 percent possession.

CSU Craiova 0-1 AC Milan

New Milan man Ricardo Rodriguez bagged a 44th minute free kick to give the free-spending Rossoneri a notable start to life in the UEL.

Marseille 4-2 KV Oostende

Valere Germain’s move from Monaco to Marseille is paying big dividends already, with French striker helping himself to a hat trick at his new home stadium.

UEFA Europa League first legs
Mlada Boleslav 2-1 Skenderbeu Korce
Trakai 2-1 FK Shkendija
Olimpia Donetsk 1-1 PAOK
Maccabi Tel-Aviv 1-0 Panionios
Utrecht 0-0 Lech Poznan
AIK 1-1 Sporting Braga
PSV Eindhoven 0-1 Osijek
SK Sturm Graz 1-2 Fenerbahce
Suduva 3-0 Sion
Krasnodar 2-1 Lyngby BK
AEK Lamaca 2-0 Dinamo Minsk
Dinamo Bucuresti 1-1 Athletic Bilbao
Botev Plovdiv 0-0 Maritimo
Bnei Yehuda 0-2 Zenit St. Petersburg
Astra Giurgiu 0-0 Oleksandriya
Brondby 0-0 Hajduk Split
Arka Gdynia 3-2 Midtjylland
Gent 1-1 Rheindorf Altach
Red Star Belgrade 2-0 Sparta Prague
Panathinaikos 1-0 Gabala
Bordeaux 2-1 Videoton
Aberdeen 2-1 Apollon Limassol
Dinamo Zagreb 2-1 Odd Grenland
Freiburg 1-0 Domzale
Austria Wien 0-0 AEL Limassol

Premier League Preview: Swansea City vs. Everton

Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images
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  • Sides drew 1-1 at Goodison on Nov. 19
  • Toffees haven’t lost PL match at Swans
  • Everton leads all-time 15W-9D-2L

Everton center back Ashley Williams makes his return to Swansea City with his longtime club on the precipice of a fall into England’s second tier (Watch live at 12:30 p.m. ET on NBC and online via NBCSports.com).

Williams made 352 appearances for Swansea before the Welsh side sold him this summer. Swans have battled the drop under the guidance of three managers, and sit two points behind Hull City and six back of Crystal Palace with three matches to play.

As for Everton, it’s plans of making the Top Four race uncomfortable for the PL’s powers had taken a hit in recent weeks. It’s almost certain Ronald Koeman‘s men will finish in 7th. The Toffees announced Friday that they’ve signed Seamus Coleman to a contract extension.

What they’re saying

Leighton Baines on visiting Swansea“Swansea are a side who play good football but they are fighting for their lives at the moment so we expect a good atmosphere, a charged-up Swansea side and we have to be prepared to match that. The new manager has come in and done well. He’s changed things up a little bit in the starting XI and they seem to have responded to that. It’s going to be a good test for us but it’s a game we know we’re capable of winning.”

Swans’ Gylfi Sigurdsson on battling the drop“If anything, you must thrive on that pressure and turn it into a positive. You are not in football to play without anything at stake, so we must use the pressure of what is riding on these games and turn that into performances and points. When you lose four or five games against the teams around you then it obviously affects your confidence, but we reacted well to that and the performances and results against Stoke and Manchester United have certainly restored our confidence.”

Prediction

Everton has been shut out in consecutive matches and it’s hard to think Romelu Lukaku and company will be kept off the sheet a third time. Swansea’s hopes take a hit with a 3-1 loss.