Arteta fired home with almost the last kick of the match
By Kevin Darling
Mikel Arteta's last-gasp penalty against Fulham kept alive Everton's slim hopes of a European place.
Leighton Baines' poor backpass allowed Erik Nevland to score for the visitors, who rested nine players ahead of their Europa League match against Hamburg.
Everton levelled just after the break when Victor Anichebe's header deflected in off Chris Smalling's shoulder.
Arteta then fired in a dramatic injury-time winner from the spot after Chris Baird's clumsy challenge on Tim Cahill.
While Fulham's much-changed line-up indicated they were more focused on Thursday's momentous semi-final second leg, Everton came seconds away from seeing their own Europa League ambitions extinguished.
Arteta's spot-kick, coming well after the three minutes of injury time had elapsed, was virtually the last kick of the game and rescued an Everton side who had struggled to break down their opponents.
The win means the Toffees remain one place and five points behind city rivals Liverpool, who currently occupy the final Europa League qualifying spot, with two games to play.
But the result was slightly harsh on the determined visitors who, despite fiercely protesting the penalty and also the award of a throw-in that lead to the spot-kick, have now lost on 17 successive league visits to Goodison Park.
Fulham's chances of ending that run looked unlikely when the team-sheets were revealed and it was no surprise when Everton made the brighter start - with Diniyar Bilyaletdinov's superbly executed left-footed volley rattling the post after just two minutes.
Anichebe made the difference - Moyes
Sloppy defending from Fulham's unfamiliar backline twice presented chances to Yakubu, who scuffed wide after Smalling's error and then charged down a goal-kick from a hesitant Mark Schwarzer.
An Everton opener looked inevitable, but it was the visitors who took the lead totally against the run of play.
The goal arrived courtesy of a terrible backpass from Baines, who failed to spot the onrushing Nevland, allowing the striker to gratefully latch onto the ball inside the box and prod past Tim Howard.
Tim Cahill almost replied instantly for Everton but headed wide from Yakubu's cross and Fulham could have doubled their lead when Stefan Okaka set up Clint Dempsey with a wonderful scooped chip over the defence, only for the American winger to volley over from 10 yards out.
Dempsey was left to rue that miss shortly after the restart when another piece of poor defending saw Everton level the scores.
After Bjorn Helge Riise gave the ball away, Arteta sent in a teasing cross that Everton substitute Anichebe managed to head home via Smalling's shoulder, with a helpful bounce deceiving Schwarzer.
Minutes later, the hosts almost completed a lightning-quick turnaround when Cahill's powerful effort from Arteta's corner was well-parried by the Fulham keeper.
Everton failed to build on that spell of pressure but went close again when Jonathan Greening almost looped a header into his own net from Tony Hibbert's cross.
Hodgson devastated after 'harsh' loss
Okaka should have put the visitors back in front but he fired straight at Howard after being set up by Nevland, while at the other end Cahill was denied by the legs of Schwarzer as the game opened up in the closing stages.
It seemed Everton's chance to win it had gone when Saha sent a header agonisingly wide but in the last throes of the match, Cahill burst on to a knock-down 12 yards from goal and went down in heap under Baird's challenge.
Referee Lee Mason waved away the Fulham protests and Arteta slammed home a spot-kick that could yet prove crucial in an intriguing Merseyside battle for seventh spot.
Everton manager David Moyes: "I don't think you could deny we deserved the victory. We went for it.
"The goal we lost was poor and I think it put everybody down. But we never gave in and kept going.
"I thought it was a penalty. I think the argument is 'was it a throw in?' in the lead-up to the penalty."
Fulham manager Roy Hodgson: "I thought the penalty decision was unbelievably harsh, we didn't deserve it.
"I'm extremely depressed with the way a great result from a great performance was stolen from us in injury time.
"It's a very sad way to end the game but we could afford to lose - the match on Thursday is a much bigger priority."
90:00+3:43 GOAL - Mikel Arteta:Everton 2 - 1 Fulham Placed penalty scored by Mikel Arteta. Everton 2-1 Fulham.
90:00+2:30 Penalty awarded for a foul by Chris Baird on Tim Cahill.
90:00+0:39 Louis Saha produces a header from deep inside the six-yard box which goes wide of the right-hand post.
88:04 Substitution Fredrik Stoor joins the action as a substitute, replacing Stefano Okaka.
87:17 Free kick awarded for a foul by Leighton Baines on David Elm. Nicky Shorey delivers the ball from the free kick left-footed
from right wing, clearance made by Tim Cahill.
86:23 Substitution Jose Baxter replaces Ayegbeni Yakubu.
84:59 Chris Smalling challenges Louis Saha unfairly and gives away a free kick. Mikel Arteta has a direct shot on goal from the
free kick. Mikel Arteta takes a shot. Save made by Mark Schwarzer.
83:53 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Bjorn Helge Riise by Leighton Baines. Strike on goal comes in from Clinton Dempsey
from the free kick, save by Tim Howard.
82:00 Clinton Dempsey takes a shot. Steven Pienaar gets a block in.
79:52 Inswinging corner taken right-footed by Mikel Arteta from the left by-line, clearance made by John Pantsil.
79:02 Tim Cahill takes a shot. Save by Mark Schwarzer. Outswinging corner taken by Leighton Baines from the left by-line.
78:19 David Elm is adjudged to have handled the ball. Direct free kick taken by Phil Jagielka.
77:31 Mark Schwarzer takes the free kick.
77:31 Substitution David Elm on for Erik Nevland.
77:31 The referee blows for offside against Tony Hibbert.
76:11 Stefano Okaka takes a shot. Save by Tim Howard.
73:58 John Pantsil gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Steven Pienaar. Mikel Arteta crosses the ball in from the free
kick, clearance made by Chris Smalling.
72:15 Phil Jagielka fouled by Stefano Okaka, the ref awards a free kick. Phil Jagielka takes the direct free kick.
71:54 Effort from 20 yards by Clinton Dempsey. Phil Jagielka gets a block in.
71:03 Inswinging corner taken by Mikel Arteta, save by Mark Schwarzer.
70:17 Outswinging corner taken right-footed by Mikel Arteta from the right by-line to the near post, Louis Saha takes a shot. Clinton
Dempsey gets a block in.
69:41 Corner taken by Mikel Arteta from the left by-line, save by Mark Schwarzer.
67:03 Victor Anichebe takes a shot. Mark Schwarzer makes a save.
63:39 Corner taken right-footed by Mikel Arteta, John Pantsil makes a clearance.
59:43 Substitution Louis Saha replaces Phil Neville.
59:27 Stefano Okaka challenges Phil Neville unfairly and gives away a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Phil Neville.
53:19 Mikel Arteta takes a short corner.
51:47 Corner taken right-footed by Mikel Arteta, Tim Cahill takes a shot. Save made by Mark Schwarzer.
Correction - 48:57 Assist on the goal came from Victor Anichebe. Chris Smalling gets a block in. Centre by Mikel Arteta,
Correction - 48:57 GOAL - Chris Smalling:Everton 1 - 1 Fulham Own goal by Chris Smalling. Everton 1-1 Fulham.
48:57 Assist by Mikel Arteta.
48:57 GOAL - Chris Smalling:Everton 1 - 1 Fulham Own goal by Chris Smalling. Everton 1-1 Fulham.
48:17 Foul by Phil Neville on Erik Nevland, free kick awarded. Free kick taken by Jonathan Greening.
45:01 The referee blows his whistle to start the second half.
45:01 Substitution Diniyar Bilyaletdinov leaves the field to be replaced by Victor Anichebe.
45:00+4:11 The players leave the pitch at half time.
44:39 Shot from deep inside the area by Clinton Dempsey goes over the bar.
38:56 Jonathan Greening challenges Steven Pienaar unfairly and gives away a free kick. Centre by Mikel Arteta, Ayegbeni Yakubu takes
a shot. Save made by Mark Schwarzer.
38:17 Sylvain Distin takes the free kick.
38:17 Booking John Pantsil receives a caution for unsporting behaviour.
37:31 Foul by John Pantsil on Mikel Arteta, free kick awarded.
36:33 Headed effort from inside the area by Tim Cahill misses to the right of the goal.
35:31 GOAL - Erik Nevland:Everton 0 - 1 Fulham Erik Nevland gets on the score sheet with a goal from inside the box to the bottom left corner of the goal. Everton 0-1 Fulham.
34:34 Unfair challenge on Stefano Okaka by Phil Neville results in a free kick. Mark Schwarzer takes the free kick.
34:23 Outswinging corner taken from the right by-line by Mikel Arteta.
27:41 Tony Hibbert concedes a free kick for a foul on Nicky Shorey. Mark Schwarzer takes the direct free kick.
25:23 Erik Nevland takes a shot. Blocked by Sylvain Distin. Bjorn Helge Riise takes the inswinging corner, Tim Cahill makes a clearance.
Kagisho Dikgacoi produces a right-footed shot from just outside the penalty area that goes harmlessly over the target.
23:48 Clinton Dempsey gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Tony Hibbert. Phil Jagielka takes the free kick.
22:13 Tim Cahill produces a left-footed shot from just outside the box that misses to the right of the net.
21:59 Free kick awarded for a foul by Erik Nevland on Mikel Arteta. Mikel Arteta takes the direct free kick.
19:50 Effort from the edge of the penalty area by Ayegbeni Yakubu goes wide of the left-hand post.
19:01 Free kick awarded for a foul by Ayegbeni Yakubu on Bjorn Helge Riise. Direct free kick taken by Mark Schwarzer.
14:28 Headed effort from deep inside the area by Tim Cahill misses to the left of the goal.
11:53 Mikel Arteta gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Jonathan Greening. Jonathan Greening takes the free kick.
9:54 Unfair challenge on Mikel Arteta by Stefano Okaka results in a free kick. Phil Neville takes the direct free kick.
8:31 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Ayegbeni Yakubu by Kagisho Dikgacoi. Direct free kick taken by Mikel Arteta.
7:21 Outswinging corner taken right-footed by Bjorn Helge Riise from the right by-line, Tim Cahill makes a clearance.
6:49 Bjorn Helge Riise takes a outswinging corner from the right by-line to the near post, Phil Jagielka makes a clearance.
6:20 Stefano Okaka gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Leighton Baines. Direct free kick taken by Diniyar Bilyaletdinov.
2:32 Clinton Dempsey challenges Steven Pienaar unfairly and gives away a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Phil Neville.
1:55 Effort from deep inside the area by Diniyar Bilyaletdinov bounces off the post.
0:38 Tim Cahill takes a shot. Mark Schwarzer makes a save.
0:13 Nicky Shorey is penalised for handball and concedes a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Phil Jagielka.
0:00 The match has kicked off.
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