SportSoccer

Coleman scores in Everton win

Seamus Coleman put Everton in front with a fine finish
Seamus Coleman put Everton in front with a fine finish

QPR 1 EVERTON 2

Aaron Lennon scored a late winner as Everton beat QPR 2-1 to move nine points clear of the relegation zone and deal a heavy blow to Rangers' own hopes of survival.

Seamus Coleman's excellent finish put Everton ahead against the run of play in the first half before substitute Eduardo Vargas slammed home a Rangers equaliser shortly after the hour.

The hosts piled forward in search of a winner but Lennon provided a sucker-punch 13 minutes from time with his first goal for the Toffees to give Everton a much-needed victory that leaves Rangers four points adrift of safety.

The defeat is QPR's fifth in a row since Chris Ramsey was confirmed as permanent manager just over a month ago and it places added importance on their next two matches away to fellow strugglers West Brom and Aston Villa.

Everton, who bowed out of the Europa League to Dynamo Kiev on Thursday, may start looking up the table as two consecutive league victories, combined with a kind looking run-in, should see Roberto Martinez's side avoid a nail-biting relegation scrap.

Rangers set their stall out early with a number of long balls into the away side's penalty area and the direct approach caused problems as Bobby Zamora, Nedum Onuoha and Charlie Austin all went close.

Everton came through a bruising opening quarter unscathed, however, and in the 18th minute the visitors opened the scoring with their first meaningful attack.

Arouna Kone's cut-back arrived at the feet of Leon Osman who, turning down the chance to shoot, played right to Coleman and the full-back's guided finish flew into the net off the far post.

Undeterred, Rangers continued to float balls up for Zamora, but they wouldn't drop for the striker, whose only clear-cut chance came from an Austin cross shortly after the half-hour and he failed to connect with the header.

The start of the second half brought no respite for Everton, who had the linesman's flag to thank when Junior Hoilett's bending effort hit the bar and Zamora eventually bundled home the rebound.

The visitors, unable to impose their usual possession game, dropped deeper and deeper into their own area and in the 64th minute, Rangers found the breakthrough.

Everton failed to clear Joey Barton's corner and in the ensuing chaos the ball ended up with Vargas, who thrashed the ball into the roof of the net from close range.

The hosts could have made it two soon after when Zamora broke free of Phil Jagielka but with only the keeper to beat, the Rangers striker blazed over.

The missed opportunity would prove costly as the Toffees restored their advantage in the 77th minute.

Coleman's cross was half-cleared by Onuoha under pressure from Kone, but the ball fell straight to Lennon who side-footed home for his first goal in an Everton shirt.

The goal seemed to knock the stuffing out of Rangers but there was still one final chance in injury-time as a long ball up-field spilled out to Adel Taarabt.

The Moroccan's shot looked destined for the far corner but instead it clipped the bar and sailed over to send the home supporters away deflated again.