Calvert-Lewin secures Everton survival in epic win over Palace
Dominic Calvert-Lewin scored five minutes from time to guarantee Everton’s Premier League survival as they rallied from two goals down to secure a thrilling 3-2 victory over Crystal Palace at a rocking Goodison Park on Thursday.
Everton needed a win to ensure they continue their 68-year top-flight stay and Calvert-Lewin, who has been a peripheral figure this season due to injury, headed a Demarai Grey free-kick in at the Gwladys Street end to spark a pitch invasion from the delirious home fans.
Jean-Philippe Mateta and Jordan Ayew, who perhaps should have had a red card moments earlier, scored first half goals for mid-table Palace, who were well on top, but Everton rallied in the second period thanks to goals from Michael Keane and Richarlison, before Calvert-Lewin’s winner.
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 at 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 Matete with a simple headed finish as Everton's set-piece woes were on show again.
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.
Everton started the second half much brighter and pulled a goal back through 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 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.
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