Dominic Calvert-Lewin has scored five minutes from time to guarantee Everton’s Premier League survival as the side rallied from two goals down to secure a thrilling 3-2 victory over Crystal Palace.
- Everton had been just one point clear of the relegation zone
- Goals to Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Michael Keane, and Jean-Philippe Matete in the second half saw the Toffees edge past Palace
- Fans stormed the pitch after the winning goal and at full-time as the club maintained their 68-year top-flight stay
Everton needed a win at a rocking Goodison Park on Friday morning to ensure they continued their 68-year top-flight stay.
And Calvert-Lewin, who had been a peripheral figure this season due to injury, came through, sparking a pitch invasion after heading home a Demarai Grey free-kick five minutes from full-time to win the game.
It will be huge relief for manager Frank Lampard and Everton’s vociferous fans, who provided another massive show of support ahead of the game as they welcomed the team to the stadium, but had been deflated after a poor first half.
Everton move to 39 points from 37 games, four clear of relegation rivals Burnley and Leeds United, which ensures they go into Sunday’s final game of the season against Champions League-chasing Arsenal with the pressure on them since January now off.
A second pitch invasion at the final whistle turned the air blue again as the Everton fans lit flares, the relief around the ground palpable and the party likely to go long into the night.
Palace went ahead after 21 minutes when Eberechi Eze’s free kick was met by Jean-Philippe Matete with a simple headed finish as Everton’s set-piece woes were on show again.
Jordan Ayew was fortunate not to receive a red card after a crunching tackle on Anthony Gordan only drew yellow, and then minutes later scored the second goal for the visitors.
It was a setback of Everton’s own making as captain Seamus Coleman lost the ball on the halfway line.
As Palace broke into the home side’s box, a mix-up between goalkeeper Jordan Pickford and Vitali Mykolenko allowed Wilfred Zaha to fire at goal, the ball ricocheting into the net off Ayew after 36 minutes.
However, Everton started the second half much brighter and pulled a goal back through Michael Keane as he collected Mason Holgate’s header in the box and scored with a left foot shot from 10 metres in the 67th.
Pickford saved well from Mateta but Everton kept pressing and found a second goal through Brazilian striker Richarlison, who scuffed a shot into the far corner of the net with 15 minutes left after substitute Dele Alli’s initial shot was blocked.
The home fans roared Everton forward in search of a vital third and Calvert-Lewin, a player who has drawn some criticism for his perceived poor performances in recent weeks, came up with their magic moment to send Goodison Park wild.
Lampard hailed the win a “special night” in Everton’s history.
“At half-time, we are not dead and buried, but anyone on the outside would say that and it is the character of this club, the fans and the players that dragged us through,” he told Sky Sports afterwards.
“The spirit of the club was immense … namely the players, the board, and my staff. It is a huge night for Everton and now we want to take that forward.”
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