Everton earn vital points with 1-0 win over Brentford

Everton earn vital points with 1-0 win over Brentford

LIVERPOOL, England (Reuters) - An early goal from Dwight McNeil earned Everton a precious 1-0 win over Brentford at Goodison Park that dragged Sean Dyche's struggling side out of the Premier League relegation zone on Saturday.

McNeil put Everton in front with a superb left-footed finish in the opening minute after an assist by Abdoulaye Doucoure.

The home side spurned several chances to extend their lead in the first half, with Michael Keane, Amadou Onana and Demarai Gray all guilty of poor finishing, while Brentford keeper David Raya saved well from Alex Iwobi following a corner.

Gray, who shot straight at Raya when put clean through by Idrissa Gueye just after the half-hour mark, bundled home minutes before halftime but the video assistant referee ruled the goal out for handball.

Everton keeper Jordan Pickford denied Rico Henry with an excellent save minutes into the second half in a match in which Everton's back line did brilliantly to deny Brentford's prolific target man Ivan Toney the time and space to operate.

Brentford pushed hard for an equaliser and dominated possession after the break, coming agonisingly close in injury time when Raya went up for a corner in the dying minutes but headed narrowly wide.

Victory moved Everton up four places to 15th in the table on 25 points, while Brentford stayed ninth.

(Reporting by Simon Jennings in Bengaluru; Editing by Toby Davis)