Aston Villa held off a late Everton surge to prevail 2-1 at Villa Park on Saturday lunchtime.
Much of the pre-match build-up centred around Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard squaring off as managers for the first time, though for long stretches won't have been overly pleased with the respective performances their sides put in.
Villa bounced back from their dismal opening day defeat to Bournemouth though took a while to really get going, while the Toffees still look desperately short of goals throughout their squad.
Diego Carlos missed a glorious chance to put Villa ahead after just 100 seconds when he leapt above Alex Iwobi to meet a John McGinn corner, but his effort sailed over Jordan Pickford's bar.
The visitors thought they had taken a 24th-minute lead when a corner was scrambled in by Anthony Gordon, but the flag was raised for offside and the goal was chalked off.
And the deadlock was broken after half an hour when Danny Ings smashed the hosts in front. Ollie Watkins managed to get himself isolated against James Tarkowski and played a low dangerous ball into the box, and Ings looked to have mis-controlled it at first, but he regained his standing to swivel and fire home past Pickford.
Philippe Coutinho came close to adding a second in first-half stoppage time, but he just about couldn't get a touch on Jacob Ramsey's cross right through the six-yard box.
Everton looked much fresher after the break and finally forced Emi Martinez into action when Demarai Gray cut inside from the left and let fly, while Ings was millimetres away from meeting a John McGinn cross at the other end.
Carlos again came close to getting his maiden Villa goal when he fired a half-volley through a crowd of players, with Nathan Patterson getting a vital block. Vitaliy Mykolenko then cleared an Emi Buendia off the line soon after as Gerrard's men ramped up the pressure.
And Villa got the second that they were looking for with five minutes remaining when Buendia and Watkins linked up well. The Argentine drove at the heart of the Everton defence before cleverly setting his English teammate through, and he selflessly squared back for Buendia to tap into an empty net.
However, Everton brought fresh life back into the game straight from the resulting kick-off, with substitute Amadou Onana's dangerous cross being turned in by former Toffee Lucas Digne.
Watkins should have added a third with stoppage time looming at the end of a quick Villa break, but his touch took him away from goal and Pickford was able to deny him.
A breathless end to the game continued when Martinez denied Anthony Gordon, and Tyrone Mings made a great recovery challenge to stop Solomon Rondon from scoring the rebound.
Dele Alli and Onana nearly made the most of Calum Chambers' lackadaisical defending but Martinez again came to the rescue, while the Argentine produced another top stop to keep out Gordon.
But after nine minutes of stoppage time, referee Michael Oliver blew the final whistle and Villa Park breathed a collective sigh of relief.
Source : 90min