Two second-half goals gave Everton an edgy victory over Bournemouth that lifted them into the top half of the Premier League table.
Kurt Zouma powerfully headed in his first goal for the club from Lucas Digne’s cross following a corner in the 61st minute, before Dominic Calvert-Lewin added the second in the fifth minute of stoppage time.
Everton had been outplayed in the opening 30 minutes but Bournemouth failed to capitalise on their bright start.
David Brooks hit the post when through one-on-one with goalkeeper Jordan Pickford and had a strong penalty appeal turned down early on, while Joshua King also had a good chance saved.
Everton, who had not won any of their previous four home league matches, failed to have a first-half shot on target for the second successive league game at Goodison Park.
They improved after the break, with Richarlison having a shot cleared off the line by Nathan Ake and coming close with a header from Gylfi Sigurdsson’s cross.
Bournemouth pushed hard for an equaliser in the final minutes, with Michael Keane producing an excellent block to deny Dan Gosling before Calvert-Lewin sealed the three points.
While Everton climb to 10th, Bournemouth stay 12th.
Everton win in the FA Cup against Lincoln last week was just their second in their past nine games.
When asked about any pressure that form had put on his team, manager Marco Silva admitted his side must improve in the second half of the season. Any murmurings of discontent among fans will not have been eased by his side’s start.
Everton struggled to create any real momentum in attack and were edgy in passing the ball out from the back.
They were better from the closing stages of the first half with Ademola Lookman lively as he made just his second league start of the season.
Bournemouth struggled to maintain their performance of the opening 30 minutes but their late pressure resulted in mounting tension around Goodison.
The crucial block from Keane and strong defending at corners helped Everton keep a first clean sheet for two months.
At full-time, the relief was evident both in the dug-out and the stands.
The Everton fans had seen their side lose to Leicester and Tottenham and draw with Watford and Newcastle during their winless home run but this time they held on and are now within three points of seventh-placed Watford.
They are a place lower in the table lower than at this stage last season, when Sam Allardyce was manager, but are three points better off.
Wilson missed as Cherries away struggles continue
Bournemouth were without Callum Wilson for the trip because of injury – and for all of their good attacking play early on, they missed their top scorer’s clinical finishing.
Brooks never managed to fully get the ball out from under his feet before striking the post and King scuffed his ninth-minute close-range shot a little, giving Pickford the chance to save.
Had England international Wilson, who has 10 goals this season, been the one attempting to convert those chances then the Cherries may have had earned reward for their strong start.
Bournemouth could also count themselves unfortunate with some of the refereeing decisions, with Brooks denied a penalty early on.
The Wales international went down under a challenge from Idrissa Gueye in the 11th minute and the Everton midfielder did not make any contact with the ball.
They also had a less convincing first-half penalty appeal turned down when Digne blocked Ryan Fraser’s cross with his arm, and another when Andre Gomes hauled over Jefferson Lerma off the ball in the 90th minute.
Manager Eddie Howe praised his side’s performance after the game but they have now lost seven of their past nine matches in all competitions.
Of further worry is the fact that after winning three of their first five away games this season, Bournemouth have now lost their past six.
‘We deserved the three points’ – manager reaction
Everton manager Marco Silva said: “They were an important three points for us. We knew before the match it was important to turn the last few results back our way.
“Even if 2-0 is a tough result to take for them, we deserved the points and our players showed big personality and character as a team.”
Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe: “I thought we played well today, we started the game well and we had a good chance with David Brooks but that’s how it is going for us. A lot of elements were really strong but ultimately it goes against us.
“It will change for us if we continue to hit those levels we were at today, but when you’re in that moment, that win seems elusive.”
Everton will look to extend their winning run to three games when they travel to play Southampton on Saturday, 19 January (15:00 GMT).
Bournemouth host West Ham on the same day (also 15:00 GMT) as they look to return to winning ways.