Everton s James Tarkowski, right, and Aston Villa s Ollie Watkins battle for the ball during the English Premier League soccer match at Goodison Park, Liverpool, England, Saturday Feb. 25, 2023. AP
Watkins' 63rd-minute penalty saw him become Villa’s first player to score in five straight games in the top-flight since Paul Rideout in January 1985.
Substitute Emi Buendia made the win safe eight minutes from time to halt Villa’s three-match losing run.
In a game of two goalline clearances by Villa’s Tyrone Mings and Everton’s James Tarkowski, the first goal was always going to be decisive. While it was one of Watkins’ quieter games, Dyche must have looked on enviously.
The Everton manager, who had overseen wins over Arsenal and Leeds in his previous two games at Goodison Park, started with Neal Maupay — with one goal in his last 28 league matches — and later replaced him with Ellis Simms for just his sixth top-flight appearance.
The folly of ending the January transfer window without strengthening up front was laid bare as the toothless hosts, who have scored just 17 times in 24 league matches, dominated the game but just had no threat in the penalty area.
Their woes were compounded as wins for West Ham and Leeds plunged Everton back into trouble just when it looked like it was edging its way out of it.
Everton has not beaten Villa in eight attempts.
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