PREMIER LEAGUE

Everton dig themselves out of relegation scrap

Everton beat Crystal Palace 3-2

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - MAY 19: Everton fans invade the pitch after the Premier League match between Everton and Crystal Palace at Goodison Park on May 19, 2022 in Liverpool, United Kingdom. (Photo by Visionhaus/Getty Images)

English Premier League side Everton on Thursday night sensationally sealed their top-flight survival with a fantastic 3-2 comeback win over Crystal Palace at a packed Goodison Park.

The Toffees went into the match knowing that victory would guarantee it a 69th consecutive campaign in the most-watched league in the world but a poor start in the first half set the home fans into panic mode.

The away side were on a mission to spoil the party, and from the get-go they dominated the possession, carefully picking their way through the Everton press and capitalising on avoiding even the slightest of loose touches.

Palace striker Jean-Philippe Mateta gave the Eagles a deserved 21st-minute lead when he headed in Eberechi Eze’s free-kick for his seventh goal of the season.

The Londoners added another on 36 minutes through Jordan Ayew who bundled in a loose ball after the Everton defence failed to clear.

Everton have not been relegated since the 1950/51 season; 71 years ago. However, heading into the break two-goals down, it seemed the home side were surely on the brink of relegation.

Nonetheless, the home side emerged after the restart with renewed vigour, the news of Burnley’s opener against Aston Villa having made their situation all the more desperate. They hopelessly needed a goal to spark some hope, and that’s exactly what they got.

The Toffees came out of the dressing room having switched to a 4-3-3 from the 3-4-3 with coach Frank Lampard introducing Dele Alli, hoping the latter will have an impact, and he sure did.

Everton started the second half the hungrier side, with the significant difference of having Dele in the middle giving the home side more possession and more intent when they had the ball.

Their hunger was rewarded with a goal from an unlikely source, with the two centre-backs combining from a set-piece: Mason Holgate knocked the ball down in the penalty area, leaving space for Michael Keane to take a touch and volley into the back of the net.

A revitalised, Everton laid siege to the Palace goal and Richarlison hooked the equaliser past Jack Butland in the 75th minute. Goodison Park erupted.

The onslaught from the home side persisted and the home fans got their money's worth in the 85th minute when the comeback was complete. A cross into the area was met by Dominic Calvert-Lewin who headed home the winner, sparking pandemonium among the home support.

Everton has now gained 15 points from losing positions in the Premier League this season – only Liverpool (17) has recovered more – with 38 per cent of its points in 2021-2022 coming in games in which it has fallen behind.

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