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Coleman makes 350th appearance for Everton as win keeps slim European hopes alive

Joe Willock netted for the sixth straight game as Newcastle beat Sheffield United

Seamus Coleman in action for Everton against Wolves.
Seamus Coleman in action for Everton against Wolves.
Image: PA

EVERTON ENDED A miserable run of home form to keep their slim hopes of European football alive and give 6,500 returning fans something to cheer about as they edged out Wolves 1-0 at Goodison Park.

Richarlison’s 48th-minute header separated the sides on the night, giving Everton a first home win in six and only a second win in 10, though it was not one that came easily.

Ireland captain Seamus Coleman lined out for his 350th match for the club and he is now just a game away from reaching the 300 mark in Premier League appearances ahead of the final day of the season.

Coupled with Tottenham’s home defeat to Aston Villa, the win keeps Everton in the mix for Europa League football, although a far inferior goal difference and final-day trip to Manchester City still leaves them as outsiders.

Everton began the night with only five home wins all season, two of those coming in December when 2,000 fans were allowed in to back-to-back wins over Arsenal and Chelsea, and the returning faithful helped them complete their first league double over Wolves in 45 years.

They did it despite the absence of James Rodriguez – yet to play in front of a Goodison crowd as he was absent due to what manager Carlo Ancelotti said was fatigue.

It was one of the two changes to the Everton side from Sunday’s 1-0 home defeat to rock-bottom Sheffield United, a result Ancelotti had declared “embarrassing”, so it was not saying much that they began this match a little more brightly.

The visitors had nine corners in the opening half an hour and twice tested Jordan Pickford from them – the England goalkeeper saving well from Morgan Gibbs-White’s volley before turning a powerful effort from Adama Traore over the crossbar.

Everton huffed and puffed as their fans grew restless, with their best chance just before the break when Lucas Digne’s corner almost fell for Richarlison but his close-range effort was deflected wide by Nelson Semedo.

But almost immediately after the break the Brazilian made the breakthrough from another corner, rising above Willy Boly to head in Gylfi Sigurdsson’s out-swinging corner.

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Everton tails were up, and moments later Digne’s sliding ball narrowly evaded Dominic Calvert-Lewin, rolling instead for Seamus Coleman whose shot was deflected wide.

Everton went close again in the 70th minute when Calvert-Lewin forced a save from Ruddy after being played through by Richarlison.

The ever-dangerous Traore continued to probe for Wolves but one dangerous attack was shut down by a superb sliding tackle from Michael Keane, while Abdoulaye Doucoure scrambled back to turn a shot cross behind for a corner – surviving a lengthy VAR check that he had not used his hands to do so.

Everton’s best chances for a second were coming through Sigurdsson, who twice went close from the edge of the area, bending one shot agonisingly wide from the edge of the area before another was deflected wide by Max Kilman.

Joe Willock was urged to make his stay at Newcastle permanent after he scored in a sixth successive Premier League game to hand the Magpies victory over Sheffield United.

newcastle-united-v-sheffield-united-premier-league-st-james-park Joe Willock celebrates scoring Newcastle's first goal with team-mate Jacob Murphy. Source: PA

On a night when Allan Saint-Maximin turned in a virtuoso performance to mesmerise the relegated Blades’ defence, the 10,000 members of the Toon Army allowed into St James’ Park for the first time since February last year implored the 21-year-old Arsenal loanee in song to make Tyneside his home next season.

They also made their feelings clear about owner Mike Ashley and the Premier League as the club’s takeover saga rumbles on, but in the main they celebrated a 1-0 win which took the club to 42 points, two fewer than they managed last season with a game to go.

However, it was the visitors who should have taken the lead with seven minutes gone when Ben Osborn and defender Enda Stevens capitalised on a lapse of concentration to set up David McGoldrick, who missed the target with just goalkeeper Martin Dubravka to beat.

The former Republic of Ireland striker was equally wasteful when he was allowed to control John Egan’s 11th-minute cross, but fired high over on the turn.

Newcastle grew into the game with the Frenchman and Willock causing all kinds of problems for the Blades, and it was the latter who finally made the breakthrough in the fourth minute of added time at the end of the first half.

Saint-Maximin picked out Murphy’s run down the right with an inch-perfect pass and he crossed for the midfielder to head powerfully past the helpless Ramsdale.

Saint-Maximin was terrorising the Blades rearguard and Ramsdale had to make an important 59th-minute block at his near post to repel his effort after he had raced in behind defender Egan.

But as long as there was only a goal in it, Paul Heckingbottom’s men had hope, and that grew with 19 minutes remaining when Saint-Maximin hobbled off.

McGoldrick clipped the bar with a cheeky 77th-minute attempt which sent Dubravka back-pedalling anxiously towards his line, but that was as close as they came to rescuing a point.

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