Stoke up against it in fight for survival after Cenk Tosun’s double
Scottish midfielder Charlie Adam sent off.
Stoke’s relegation fears deepened as Charlie Adam was sent off in a 2-1 victory for Everton where Cenk Tosun scored twice.
Adam’s 30th-minute dismissal for a studs-up lunge on Wayne Rooney proved costly as Tosun netted a brace, the second an 84th-minute winner to end the Toffees’ run of five straight away Premier League defeats.
Stoke substitute Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting had cancelled out Tosun’s opener but the Turkey international took his tally to four goals in three games to decide the contest in Everton’s favour.
Potters boss Paul Lambert had elected to place faith in his more experienced campaigners in selecting the likes of Ryan Shawcross, Glen Johnson, Adam and Peter Crouch.
Adam had an early opportunity to affect the game in a positive manner when he drove over after collecting Phil Jagielka’s clearance 30 yards out.
Players on either side appeared reluctant to take risks in bouts of swirling wind and snow, and the Everton defence looked panicked when any pressure was applied.
They should, though, have gone ahead in the seventh minute when Rooney’s deep corner found an unmarked Tom Davies, with the midfielder heading over from six yards.
A half-hearted penalty appeal when Seamus Coleman’s cross struck Kostas Stafylidis’ arm was the only real moment of note until Adam saw red half-an-hour in.
After a few fair slide tackles had been dished out on the edge of Everton’s area, Adam followed his loose control by lunging in on Rooney with both feet of the ground. The studs on his left boot were showing and though he only caught Rooney’s trailing leg, referee Martin Atkinson immediately produced the red card.
There was little protestation from the midfielder as he made his way down the tunnel and left his side one man down for an hour.
It took some time for the Toffees to make their numeral advantage count but eventually Everton went ahead with 21 minutes remaining.
Tosun appeared marginally offside when initially flicking on Yannick Bolasie’s cross but the flag stayed down and Jack Butland reacted to push the ball into the air. From there substitute Dominic Calvert-Lewin poked towards goal and though Stafylidis cleared off the line, Tosun was on hand to slam in the rebound.
Lambert responded by introducing Choupo-Moting and then Saido Berahino and the hosts soon drew level.
Joe Allen delivered a tempting free-kick between goalkeeper and defence from 25 yards out and Choupo-Moting stretched his right leg to prod the ball in.
79' Stoke SUB: Choupo-Moting has hurt himself in the process, he's replaced by Jese (1-1) #SCFC— Stoke City FC (@stokecity) March 17, 2018
However, he injured himself in the process and was unable to continue so Jese Rodriguez came on.
Stoke now had strikers Crouch, Berahino and Jese on the pitch in a desperate attempt to grab a winner and there was a warning sign they were susceptible at the other end when Theo Walcott nearly finished from Tosun’s pass.
The roles were reversed moments later and the Turkey international restored the visitors’ lead.
84' Great cross by Walcott and it's a cracking header by @CenkTosun_ as the Toffees hit the front again! #EFCawayday— Everton (@Everton) March 17, 2018
🔴 1-2 🔵 pic.twitter.com/dwpkT9MeEQ
Coleman collected the ball on the right and he fed Walcott, who was allowed plenty of time to pick out Tosun. The striker stooped to beat Johnson to the ball with a header that Butland got a hand to but he could only push the ball into the corner.
Butland appeared annoyed that he had failed to keep out the attempt on a day when his battle with fellow England goalkeeper Pickford was under the microscope, but his ire should have been saved for Adam.