Romelu Lukaku (Supplied)
Stoke-on-Trent – Romelu Lukaku bagged his 20th goal of the season as Everton made light of horrendous conditions to storm to a 3-0 victory over Stoke on Saturday.
Lukaku netted with an early penalty and Roberto Martinez’s side ignored the howling wind and torrential rain at the Britannia Stadium to add two more goals before half-time through Seamus Coleman and Aaron Lennon.
Everton’s gritty effort lifted them to seventh place in the Premier League, while Stoke are 11th after their heaviest home defeat of the season condemned them to a third consecutive three-goal beating in the league.
Like Stoke, Everton had suffered a painful League Cup semi-final exit last week, but they have recovered rather better than Mark Hughes’ men, with an FA Cup fourth round win followed by their first league win since Boxing Day when they crushed Newcastle on Wednesday.
Martinez’s team maintained their momentum with the opening goal in the 11th minute after Stoke goalkeeper Jack Butland conceded a penalty when he raced off his line and tripped Tom Cleverley as the Everton midfielder tried to go around him.
Belgium striker Lukaku stepped up to slot home the spot-kick for his first goal in six games.
Martinez found himself an unexpected social media sensation on Friday after footage emerged of the Everton manager showing off some dubious dance moves at a Jason Derulo gig in Manchester.
The video went viral as it was shared by amused fans and Stoke also had some fun at the Spaniard’s expense by playing one of Derulo’s songs over the public address system before kick-off.
But it was Martinez who had the last laugh as Everton, coping much better than Stoke in the treacherous conditions, doubled their lead in the 28th minute.
Cleverley curled over a corner and Republic of Ireland defender Coleman dived forward to glance a header past Butland for his first goal since March.
Coleman celebrated by sucking his thumb in a tribute to his new baby daughter, who was born overnight.
Stoke had given a first start to club record signing Giannelli Imbula after the midfielder’s $26 million move from Porto on transfer deadline day.
Imbula had one of Stoke’s few efforts in the first half when he fired over from long range, but Everton winger Lennon put the result beyond doubt when he took advantage of a poor pass from Philipp Wollscheid to slot home in the 42nd minute.
Lukaku almost made it four after the interval when his header from Ross Barkley’s cross was tipped on to the crossbar by Butland.
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