WEST BROMWICH, UK, Sept 29, (AFP): Romelu Lukaku’s double strike inspired a remarkable fightback as Everton recovered from two goals down to win 3-2 at West Bromwich Albion on Monday. Roberto Martinez’s side looked destined for a defeat when Craig Dawson added to Saido Berahino’s first half opener to put Albion 2-0 up with 54 minutes gone at the Hawthorns.
But Belgium forward Lukaku gave Everton a crucial lifeline when he netted one minute late and Ivory Coast striker Aruna Kone equalised in the closing stages before Lukaku bagged the winner with only six minutes left.
Lukaku’s first Premier League goals for six weeks came against the club he played for on loan in the 2012-13 campaign and lifted Everton to fifth in the table following their third league win of the season.
There was little hint of the eventual drama, which left Albion winless at home in the league this season, during a wretched first half which was only lit up by Berahino’s opener.
Without injured England defender John Stones, Ramiro Funes Mori stepped in for his full league debut but the Everton centre-back was at fault for Albion’s first goal.
Mori had enjoyed a untroubled half but imploded when he lost the ball near the halfway line after trying to run out of defence. It found James Morrison and his excellent through-ball for Berahino saw the striker slip in a low shot via Tim Howard’s legs. Darren Fletcher had a header turned wide by Howard as Albion pressed after the interval and they doubled their lead from the resulting corner. Phil Jagielka and Ross Barkley got in a mess trying to pick up Dawson and Jonny Evans, which allowed Dawson to nod in Chris Brunt’s deep delivery.
Everton hit back immediately when Lukaku headed Deulofeu’s cross past Boaz Myhill and Kone levelled in the 75th minute, just three minutes after coming off the bench.
Lukaku did brilliantly on the edge of the box to spot Kone’s run and threaded the ball through to the former Wigan forward, who was just onside, to drill past Myhill. The Baggies were shell-shocked, but former Chelsea striker Lukaku was not finished as he wrapped up Everton’s comeback with six minutes left.
There was a hint of handball when he met Gerard Deulofeu’s cross, but with Myhill slow to react Lukaku smashed in from close range to spark wild celebrations among the travelling Everton fans.