Saha's first sinks Fulham

Louis Saha finally ended his Everton goal drought to clinch a 1-0 victory over his former club Fulham on Saturday.

Saha had gone eight games without a goal since his transfer from Manchester United in August, but the France striker came off the bench and hit the winner with three minutes left.

That was enough to give Everton their first home league victory in six attempts this season and condemn Fulham to their 16th successive defeat at Goodison Park.

A lacklustre game of few clear chances had almost gone Fulham's way in the second half as Zoltan Gera and then Bobby Zamora hit the woodwork, but Saha made them pay for those near-misses.

Australia midfielder Tim Cahill returned to the Everton starting line-up after being consigned to the bench for Wednesday's win at Bolton. He was pushed up front alongside Nigerian striker Ayegbeni Yakubu and the Socceroos star wasted a golden chance to put Everton ahead in the first minute.

Phil Neville's right-wing cross was headed down by Marouane Fellaini, but Cahill completely missed his connection on the edge of the six-yard box.

Everton threatened again when Mikel Arteta's deflected free-kick sent Mark Schwarzer scrambling across his goal before flashing wide of the far post.

That early flurry of pressure from the hosts quickly gave way to a midfield stalemate as both sides struggled to find any momentum. With former Everton striker Andrew Johnson getting little change out of his old team-mates, the Cottagers lacked any attacking bite.

Close call
Everton came closest to taking the lead in the 27th minute as Marouane Fellaini hit a low drive against the foot of a post from the edge of the penalty area.

Cahill headed wide from Arteta's cross early in the second half when he should have at least tested Schwarzer.

Fulham hit the woodwork after 56 minutes when Gera met Zamora's cross with a firm header that cannoned off the crossbar.

Roy Hodgson's side were agonisingly close to breaking the deadlock in the 72nd minute after Joseph Yobo fouled Johnson. Jimmy Bullard's free-kick was heading for the top corner until Howard clawed it away and rebound fell to Bobby Zamora, who scuffed his shot onto a post from close range.

But Everton stole the points in the 87th minute when Leon Osman whipped in a perfect cross to Saha, who buried his close range header past Schwarzer.