SAM ALLARDYCE saw his Everton side overcome a potentially awkward visit from Crystal Palace to claim a vital win in their relegation scrap.
It also came after an awkward encounter with Roy Hodgson – their first meeting since Big Sam’s mockery of his England national team predecessor during his Three Lions tenure.
A second half masterclass from the Toffees ensured they grabbed just their second win in nine top-flight games.
Gylfi Sigurdsson, Oumar Niasse and Tom Davies struck after the break at Goodison Park to lift some pressure off the Merseyside team now sitting in the top half of the table.
Luka Milivojevic scored a consolation goal from 12-yards with just five minutes remaining to make the score less embarrassing for the Eagles.
Roy’s boys are now just three points off the relegation places with just 11 games left as their injury-laden side continues to struggle away from home.
But Everton started poorly in this six-pointer as Eliaquim Mangala’s poor backpass forced Jordan Pickford into a rushed clearance off his line, finding the feet of Yohan Cabaye.
But the Frenchman’s audacious long-range effort to an open goal was dragged wide.
Coleen Mangala then found himself in a muddle again five minutes later, being muscled off the ball from Palace new-boy Alexander Sorloth, who found Milivojevic to strike one wide.
Sigurdsson had a wonderful shot from 35 yards saved by Wayne Hennessey as he controlled the game alongside the returning Wayne Rooney in midfield.
Benteke then should have scored for Palace just before the break, but nodded his free header wide of the post.
The Toffees made it a sweet afternoon, though, in the 46th minute, with Sigurdsson latching on to a poor header from James Tomkins.
The former West Ham defender then inadvertently deflected the Icelandic man’s shot into the corner.
Four minutes later and more calamitous defending from Palace a saw Niasse head home in acres of space in the box.
And Davies produced a similar finish with his foot with 15 minutes remaining.
Milivojevic scored a penalty to give Palace the slightest of chances to get back into it after Ashley Williams’ handball, but it was far too late.