Frank Lampard’s Everton overcame a two-goal deficit to defeat Crystal Palace 3-2 and keep their place in the Premier League in dramatic fashion at Goodison Park to spark joyous scenes amongst the supporters.
Going into the game, Everton knew that a win in this fixture would secure their Premier League status regardless of results elsewhere.
The Toffees had a big chance to go ahead after a quarter of an hour, but Richarlison’s free-kick from just outside the area smacked against the crossbar before going behind.
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However, it was Palace who struck first and dented the mood around Goodison Park, as Jean-Philippe Mateta headed in Ebere Eze’s free-kick from the left to give the Eagles the lead.
The Everton fans then saw the unthinkable, as Crystal Palace doubled their advantage 10 minutes before half-time.
Jordan Ayew scrambled the ball in from a couple of yards out after Everton failed to clear the ball on a number of occasions.
At the start of the second half, the momentum shifted in favour of the home side, and they got a crucial goal back ten minutes after the restart, as Michael Keane finished well into the bottom corner from inside the box.
The Toffees then equalised with 15 minutes to play, as Richarlison found the bottom corner from inside the box to give the fans some hope that the unthinkable would happen.
That it did, as with five minutes to play, Dominic Calvert-Lewin headed in Demarai Gray’s free-kick at the back post to spark wild scenes of celebration and a pitch invasion.
That caused seven minutes to be added at the end of the second half, but Everton held on to secure a famous victory in their last home game of the campaign and complete the great escape.
TALKING POINT - A HISTORIC NIGHT AT GOODISON PARK
This match will go down in the history books at Everton Football Club, as the Toffees produced the comeback of all comebacks to keep their 68-year run in the top-flight alive, doing so in front of their own fans.
It was all a very different story at half-time, as Everton found themselves 2-0 down in this must-win game. It had clearly affected the fans and there was a sombre and nervy mood around Goodison Park as the whistle went at the end of the first period.
A lot of credit has to be given to Lampard, as his half-time team talk was no doubt the most important one of his managerial career, and his words definitely had an effect as his side looked up for the fight at the start of the second half.
The goal that they needed then came 10 minutes after the break. Everton continued to claw their way back into the game. Then, with five minutes left of regulation time, the unthinkable happened.
Calvert-Lewin, who had scored just four league goals all season at that point, popped up at the back post to cap off one of the most spectacular of comebacks. It has brought light at the end of the tunnel for Evertonians in what has been a disastrous season. However, at this moment, surely none of the negatives will matter.
PLAYER OF THE MATCH - Domimic Calvert-Lewin
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Cometh the hour, cometh the man. This was a performance that the Everton fans had been waiting for all season from their number nine, and they got it in the most crucial game in their recent history.
The 25-year-old looked threatening when the ball came into the box from a cross, especially at the back post. His aerial presence was demonstrated by the amount of aerial duels he won - an unbelievable 15 in total. In addition, he also made two successful tackles.
Up until the last half an hour, he was not in the game as much as he would've liked, but it was one of those performances where his work did go unnoticed. He had a total of 47 touches on the ball, but in the end, it was one of them that proved vital, as it led to the key goal that Everton craved.
Everton: Pickford 7, Coleman 6, Keane 7, Holgate 8, Iwobi 7, Doucoure 7, Gomes 6, Mykolenko 7, Gordon 6, Richarlison 8, Calvert-Lewin 8. Subs: Alli 6, Kenny 6, Gray 7.
Crystal Palace: Butland 6, Mitchell 6, Guehi 6, Andersen 6, Clyne 6, Schlupp 6, Hughes 6, Eze 7, Zaha 6, Ayew 7, Mateta 7. Subs: Gallagher 6, Milivojevic 6, Benteke 6.
16’ - OFF THE BAR! - Richarlison goes for goal from a free-kick in a dangerous position just outside the box. The Brazilian hits the top of the crossbar with his effort! It looked like Butland just about got a fingertip to it, but the corner was not given for the home side.
21’ - GOAL! (Jean-Philippe Mateta) - A great start for Palace, but a nightmare for Everton! Palace win a free-kick down the left and it's a great delivery into the box by Eze. Mateta then runs from the edge of the box through the middle, and is not picked up by any of the Everton defence, and he nods it past Pickford with a brilliant header.
33’ - BAD CHALLENGE! - A bad challenge on Gordon by Ayew results in a yellow card for the Palace attacker. It is being checked by VAR for a potential red card. It was a reckless tackle - the Palace man came in hard at the Everton man in what was a scissor-motion with his legs. Could’ve been a potential leg-breaker. The fans are up in arms with the challenge, and it sparks a small melee between both sets of players.
36’ - GOAL! (Jordan Ayew) - Ayew bundles the ball home after Everton fail to clear the ball on more than one occasion. The initial cross from Mateta following a quick break is flapped at by Pickford, and Mykolenko fails to clear. Doucoure then cannot manage to scramble it away and somehow Palace get the ball in by any means necessary! It looks like it comes off Ayew's shoulder from a couple of yards out!
54’ - GOAL! (Michael Keane) - Just what Everton needed! Michael Keane finishes well from inside the box into the bottom corner, latching onto Holgate's flick-on at the back post from a deep free-kick that came in from deep on the left by Mykolenko.
63’ - BIG SAVE! - That could've been game, set and match for Palace, but Pickford makes a big stop with his feet to deny Mateta from inside the box! Eze does brilliantly again, and picks the ball up in the right half-space before driving with it down the centre towards the edge of the box. He then tees up Mateta for the shot to his left, but the save is made!
75’ - GOAL! - (Richarlison) - What a crucial goal for Everton! It initially comes from a cross from the right by Coleman, and he finds Alli at the far post. He then flashes the ball across the box, and it comes off Andersen into the path of Richarlison, and he bundles it into the far corner!
85' - GOAL! (Dominic Calvert-Lewin) - Unbelievable scenes here at Goodison as Dominic Calvert Lewin heads Everton into the lead! Is that their survival secured? Gray's free-kick delivery is headed in at the back post! After a small pitch invasion, the game is stopped temporarily. What an unreal comeback!
- This is the 75th time that Everton have trailed by 2+ goals at half time of a Premier League game, while their record in this scenario currently stands at no wins, five draws and 69 losses.
- Everton have now gained 15 points from losing positions in the Premier League this season; only Liverpool (17) have recovered more. Overall, 38% of Everton's points this season have come in games in which they had fallen behind.
- Dominic Calvert-Lewin has scored 19 headers in the Premier League, with only Harry Kane (21) netting more in the competition since the Everton striker's debut.
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