Victor Anichebe came off the bench to score his first Premier League goal of the season as Everton started 2012 with a 1-0 win away to West Bromwich Albion at The Hawthorns today.
There were only three minutes of normal time left when the Nigerian substitute netted the winner in only his second league appearance this term. Leon Osman's flick found Tony Hibbert in space, and West Brom's Paul Scharner failed to deal with the ensuing cross. Anichebe, whose career has been plagued by injuries, then showed good strength to hold off several defenders and skill in then lofting the ball over a crowd of legs.
West Brom were desperately disappointing in front of their own fans, failing to register a single shot on target, although Peter Odemwingie struck a dipping volley narrowly over the crossbar.
Victory for visitors Everton saw them climb to ninth place in the table and dropped West Brom down into 12th.
"There were very few chances," said Everton manager David Moyes. "We were quite brave, we put a couple of forwards on, and it paid dividends."
Moyes, reflecting on the impact of Anichebe, who came on in the 65th minute, added: "He's a big-time player because of what he can do and what he brings to us. It was always going to take a mistake or a wonder goal."
Baggies boss Roy Hodgson pulled no punches in assessing his side's performance, saying: "I don't think we played very well to be honest.
"Everton didn't have to do too much to keep us out, so 0-0 would have been a satisfactory result. Losing 1-0 feels a bit like being mugged, especially as we were the people behind our own downfall."