Everton 3-1 QPR: Barkley strike begins Everton onslaught (video)

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A harken back to Ross Barkley’s brilliant last season was all Everton needed to see out the night, and goals from Kevin Mirallas and Steven Naismith completed the night for the Toffees.

The trio netted once each to send Everton home from Goodison Park with all three points and leave QPR floundering in the relegation zone and searching for answers.

The visitors began brightest, but it hardly meant much as both teams struggled to create any clear chances. Everton exploded into the match on 25 minutes and produced a healthy stretch of pressure, and with the game suddenly in front of the Toffees they produced a moment of magic.

On 33 minutes, Everton midfielder Ross Barkley blared through the midfield, cut to his left, and unleashed a powerful left-footed strike that cannoned into the top corner and left a leaping Robert Green helpless to stop the goal. The goal was aided by the slightest of touches off Mauricio Isla’s back, directing it straight into the top corner.

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Following the thunderbolt, things shut down for both sides again, but QPR would fall further behind before the halftime break. Joey Barton fouled Steven Naismith, and Kevin Mirallas struck the ensuing free kick on net. The ball took a healthy deflection off Eduardo Vargas in the wall, and that was enough to send Green the wrong way and put

The halftime break changed nothing, as Everton continued to pounce on mistakes by the visitors. On 53 minutes, Green attempted to clear a ball but instead popped it straight into the air. It came down awkwardly to Richard Dunne, and his endeavor to collect ended up gifting a break to Mirallas. Eventually it reached Aiden McGeady on the right wing, and his cross to the far post found Naismith all alone and he headed home with ease for a 3-goal lead.

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Behind by an unassailable deficit, Rangers held the ball for a decent spell as the second half plodded on, and were able to create some bright build-up play, but ultimately could not finish. Bobby Zamora came on to provide a spark, and he was able to touch home one for the visitors past Tim Howard, but it was too little too late.

With the win – just their third home victory of the season – Everton jumps past its local rival Liverpool into the top half of the table, dumping the Reds out of the top 10. QPR, meanwhile, remain in the drop zone, a point off safety in 18th.

LINEUPS

Everton: Howard, Baines, Distin, Jagielka, Coleman, Besic, Barkley, Mirallas, (Kone 90′) Naismith, McGeady (Pienaar 73′), Lukaku (Eto’o 77′).

Goals – Barkley 33′, Mirallas 43′, Naismith 53′

Queens Park Rangers: Green, Yeung, Dunne, Onuoha, Isla, Phillips (Zamora 59′), Barton, Fer (Kranjcar 77′), Mutch, Hoilett, Vargas.

Goals – Zamora 80′