Aside from their respective runs to the semi-final of the FA Cup, both sides headed into Saturday’s fixture on the back of a torrid run. The hosts had lost their last four matches, while Everton had tasted defeat in their last three league outings. And it showed in the opening period with both teams lacking confidence.
The first real chance of the game came after 17 minutes when Jose Manuel Jurado drifted in from the right-hand side before unleashing a curling left-footed effort at the Everton goal. Joel Robles, at full stretch, tipped his shot round for a corner.
Moments later, Gerard Deulofeu called Heurelho Gomes into action after his shot from the edge of the area drew a fine save from the Watford goalkeeper.
The game appeared to be heading towards a goalless first-half, but when Miguel Britos was caught dithering on a long header forward from John Stones, McCarthy dispossessed the Watford defender to open the scoring 45 minutes in.