Blues leave it late to save a point

By Michael Kenrick 19/11/2016  219 Comments  [Jump to last]

Though many favour giving Tom Davies the nod, James McCarthy is the likely replacement for the suspended Gareth Barry
Everton 1 - 1 Swansea City

Everton needed a reaction to their heavy defeat at Chelsea as Swansea City came to Merseyside with crisis looming over new manager Bob Bradley. Baines displaced Funes Mori, with McCarthy and Lennon also starting.

There was some good forward momentum from Everton in the early forays until backward play ended up putting unneeded pressure on the defence. Barkley played a good ball in to Lukaku's feet and the big man made space to fire at Fabianski.

Williams gave away a soft corner, Baines deflecting the shot behind for a second corner that was defended away but Swansea continued to press the Blues back. Jagielka and Coleman took each other out defending a lofted ball and finally Baines got the ball forward to Bolasie but it broke down when Gueye lost the ball.

Lukaku failed to hold up an easy ball played up to him, then Bolasie lost possession as the home side showed little sign of playing any better than they had in the dreadful defeat to Chelsea, allowing Swansea to pass the ball around at will until LeRoy Fer fired high over the bar.

Williams fouled and stayed down injured, giving away a poor free kick in a dangerous spot, right in front of goal, well set up for Sigurdsson; Stekelnburg did well to turn his set-piece shot behind, despite a slight deflection off the kick, Swansea heading over from the corner. Then Barrow and Sigurdsson almost combined to threaten the Everton goal, with the Blues defence all at sea.

Gueye tried the clever ball wide to Coleman but inexcusably overhit it out for a goalkick. Bolasie got a chance to run and cross but it was straight to a Swans defender and they were on the attack again.

Barkley did very well to beat four players and get the ball out to Bolasie who crossed hard, a perfect delivery for Lukaku to convert at the far post but it was a much harder cross than the big man could handle at an awkward height; however, a top striker really would have scored.

Much better play from Barkley and Bolasie and a superb turn by Barkley but he scuffed his shot agonizingly wide when he looked certain to score, and flung himself down in a mad fit of pique with himself at the lost opportunity.

Swansea were building with confident and accurate passing that got them through Everton midfield with far too much ease. But Lennon got forward and won Everton their first corner for Baines to deliver high into the arms of Fabianski. Gueye did well to poke the ball off Naughton and prevent danger from developing.

Barkley again tried to create space but passed out wide rather than driving forward. Everton pressure eventually won a free-kick for a high boot and Barkley curled it around the wall but not past Fabianski

Swansea got forward, and Jagielka put in a clumsy half-challenge from behind and a simple call for Atkinson: Penalty, smashed home by Sigurrdsson, with Jagielka booked.

A free kick wide left after a Naughton foul was very poorly delivered in by Barkley. Some brilliant passing released Bolasie who took and extra touch and Fibianski was out sharply to narrow all the angles.

A really maddening half from a Blues side that struggled for long periods but showed three moments of magic that should have produced three goals. Instead they went in a goal down to a round of groans from some frustrated Blues fans.

Lukaku's pace won a corner early in the second half but Williams could only head Barkley's delivery behind. The scrappy midfield play continued until Everton put together a better passing move that ended with a blocked header off Bolasie. More sweeping football and a good quick cross from Colman was cut out before it reached Lukaku.

Lukaku pressed Fernandez, forcing another corner but Fabianski saw Barkley's high delivery all the way, as the more determined play finally roused the Goodison faithful. Better pressure drew another corner and this time Baines played on outswinger but it was not clever enough.

Smart play involving some good touches from McCarthy ended with a looping cross to Lukaku that was too high and picked off by Fabianski. Lukaku was fouled near the dee and it was a chance for Baines to drill it into the wall. Lennon was like a terrier driving into the Swansea area but it was more like pinball off the defenders than cultured passing as the Blues scraped and scrapped to make scoring opportunities even half as good as the ones they had squandered in the first half.

At least the pace of the game was far better than the first half but it looked that Swansea had weathered the barrage and Baines was booked or a mistimed lunge. Swansea came very close to scoring a second off a superb delivery.

Lukaku was again denied a good ball in and McCarthy drove a distant shot wide before Lennon was withdrawn in favour of Deulofeu. Most of the play was still in the Swansea half but they were holding their shape well enough to prevent Everton from getting close enough to test Fabianski. Deulofeu's first corner was defended away but he had brought some new life with Mirallas the next change, replacing McCarthy.

Everton continued to press from the flanks but Barkley was booked for dissent after he was called for a ridiculous collision with Sigurdsson.

Deulofeu was taking far too long to get his crosses in, and when he did, they were poorly directed. Deulofeu saw a chance to shoot but sliced it wide of the goal. Deulofeu then tried to beat Fabianski to a high bouncing ball but the keeper was out sharply to control it. Taylor gave up another corner, that Baines took off Deulofeu but it was straight into Fabianski's arms at the second attempt.

Into the final 10 minutes, and for all their vim and vigour, there was nothing to show for it. The final throw of the dice from a frustrated Koeman was to pull Jagielka and put on yet another attacker in the shape of Enner Valencia.

Cork and Sigurdsson almost conjoured up a second for the visitors as it appeared that the plethora of strikers were doing little more than get in each others way but a ball looped in by Bolasie and headed out was then nodded into the top corner by Coleman, much to the relief of a hugely frustrated Goodison crowd.

Into 4 minutes of added time and Deulofeu was booked. Bolasie tried a clever volley but smacked it over. Deulofeu crossed in but Fabianski took it easily as Everton went all out for a winner, but could only rue those tremendous missed opportunities in front of their lowest crowd of the season so far.

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