Sam Allardyce’s reign at Everton kicked off in unspectacular but winning fashion as goals from Gylfi Sigurdsson and Dominic Calvert-Lewin earned them a 2-0 Premier League win over struggling Huddersfield Town on Saturday.
After being given a warm welcome from the home fans, new manager Allardyce took his seat, hoping to see further signs of Everton’s rejuvenation following their crushing 4-0 defeat of West Ham United in midweek.
It took a long time but after the former England boss had witnessed only dire fare in the first half with his side looking curiously flat, Calvert-Lewin, a member of the England Under-20 team that won the 2017 World Cup, prompted the revival.
Two minutes after the break, it was the young striker’s clever back flick from Aaron Lennon’s pass that freed a previously out-of-sorts Sigurdsson to fire home expertly from 10 metres.
The young provider then turned goalscorer in the 73rd minute, his seventh goal of the season coming with a left-foot shot that took a cruel deflection off Mathias Jorgensen and into the net to consign Huddersfield to a fourth consecutive defeat.
The three points enabled Everton, after their traumatic start to the season, to move back into the league’s top 10.
Allardyce, encouraged after witnessing Wayne Rooney’s midweek hat-trick against his old club West Ham, must initially have been dismayed with Sigurdsson’s three woeful efforts from set-pieces summing up the quality.
Cuco Martina came closest for Everton in the opening period, when he latched on to a loose ball and saw his first-time strike go close.
Huddersfield, seeking their second away win of the season and their first victory at Everton for 80 years, nearly took the lead when Tom Ince’s curled corner led to chaos in Everton’s box before Laurent Depoitre was thwarted by Jordan Pickford.
Yet David Wagner’s side rarely looked like scoring their first away league goal since the season’s opening day and Allardyce must have been thrilled by the improved performance after the break inspired by Calvert-Lewin, the game’s best player.
There was another important contribution from Rooney, whose pass put in Calvert-Lewin to score his seventh goal of the season in all competitions.
Reporting by Ian Chadband, editing by Ed Osmond