It was nervy at times, but Everton squeaked by Queens Park Rangers with a big 2-1 win on the road at Loftus Road to earn just their second winning streak of the season.
Aaron Lennon was big in the buildup to Everton’s first goal and he scored the second to send the Toffees through.
The opening 15 minutes proved exciting but physical, with challenges from both sides sending opponents toppling to the ground. QPR had a number of chances on the 10 minute mark as they pumped the ball into the Everton box, but nothing came of it. The Toffees then would go down the other end and take the early lead.
Arouna Kone started the impressive build-up down the left. He cut the ball into Aaron Lennon in the box, and with his back to goal, he touched to Leon Osman at the top of the box. Osman found Seamus Coleman on the right, and with space as a result of the ball movement, Coleman rifled home an accurate strike that hit the inside of the post and into the net for the lead inside 20 minutes.
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Bobby Zamora was the most dangerous home attacker to look for an equalizer, and he nearly had it but headed wide on the half-hour mark at the end of a Charlie Austin cross.
QPR would find the equalizer though, past the hour mark. Eduardo Vargas, who just came on five minutes prior as the first Rangers substitute, and on a corner-kick scrum the ball came to Vargas just in front of the near post and he poked it home past a flailing Tim Howard.
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It got worse for Everton as they saw Romelu Lukaku limp off, replaced with under a half-hour to go by Ross Barkley. But while QPR continually proved dangerous, Everton would be the deadly ones.
Lennon picked up the eventual winner when Coleman burst down the right and cut a cross along the ground through the box. The ball found Kone and while he couldn’t finish under a heavy challenge, the ball squirted out to Lennon and he powerfully thumped home the rebound for the lead.
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QPR wouldn’t go quietly. Their best chance came just moments before the final whistle as substitute Adel Taarabt clattered the bar, but it wouldn’t come off for the home side and they would fall for the fifth straight time, as the danger sirens grow louder. Meanwhile, the three points for Everton pushes them a full nine points above the relegation zone, virtual safety for Roberto Martinez as fans can breathe a sigh of relief.
QPR: Green; Isla, Onhoua Caulker, Suk-Young; Phillips, Barton, Sandro (Henry 71′), Hoillet (Vargas 60′); Austin, Zamora (Taarabt 82′).
Goals: Vargas 65′
Everton: Howard; Coleman, Stones, Jagielka, Baines; Gibson, McCarthy, Osman; Lennon, Kone (Naismith 79′), Lukaku (Barkley 67′).
Goals: Coleman 18′, Lennon 77′