Lukaku Delivers as Everton Complete Thrilling Comeback

Everton complete a memorable recovery at The Hawthorns, fighting back from 2-0 down to win 3-2 and move up to fifth in the table after seven games.

Lyndon Lloyd 28/09/2015 31comments  |  Jump to last
West Bromwich Albion 2 - 3 Everton

Much is expected of Romelu Lukaku. As the current Talisman of Everton FC, the striker is the club's record signing, focal point of Roberto Martinez's team and the main source of its goals. He's also still only 22 so he could be forgiven for feeling the burden of those expectations on his relatively young shoulders, although his own lofty standards and burgeoning self-belief mean that he bears them fairly comfortably.

Nevertheless, an inevitable consequence of his responsibilties and the Toffees' reliance on him is the criticism that comes when he isn't producing the goods, as was the case at Swansea nine days ago and at Reading in the Capital One Cup last Tuesday. Everton played another "Get Out of Jail Free" card at the Madjeski Stadium in coming back from a goal down to progress to the fourth round but had Lukaku put his chances away in South Wales, Martinez would have been toasting a second away League win of the campaign.

As it was, he had to wait a week or so and Lukaku delivered just when his manager and supporters needed him to. Everton don't do grandstand recoveries from 2-0 down. The Premier League era is littered with awful performances where the Blues have fallen two goals in arrears and not managed to stage a thrilling comeback... although, you could say that the importance of the one occasion prior to this evening when they did manage it that Wimbledon game 21 years ago probably made up for many of the others.

Tonight seemed to be heading the way of many of those other demoralising defeats when Craig Dawson took advantage of an unchallenged opportunity to head West Bromwich Albion into a 2-0 lead eight minutes into the second half at The Hawthorns. Coming after a calamitously conceded goal at the end of the first half, it threatened to be the nail in Everton's coffin on the night, the end of their unbeaten record away from home this season, a haunting reminder of that dreadful night in Stoke back in early March and, perhaps, a reality check for Evertonian hopes of another push for the top four.

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Lukaku, Gerard Deulofeu, and the Everton team as a whole had other ideas and in the ensuing 36 minutes they clawed their way back to party and then won the game in thrilling fashion when the Belgian gleefully rapped home from close range following another in a catalogue of excellent deliveries from the right by the Spanish winger. In doing so, they not only lifted the club up to fifth place but they perhaps delivered a defining moment in what we all hope will be a similarly uplifting season to Martinez's first year in charge.

Forced into at least one change from the side that drew at the Liberty Stadium following John Stones's absence through injury, the manager actually made two to that starting XI, handing Deulofeu his first Premier League start since returning to Goodison Park on a full-time basis this summer and Ramiro Funes Mori his full League debut in his more accustomed central defensive role to the left-back assignment with which he looked a little shaky against Reading.

Indeed, despite the Argentine rounding out a largely inexperienced back four, the Blues looked fairly solid for the first 40 minutes of a Monday-evening encounter that definitely took its time in warming up under the glare of Sky Sports' cameras. The hosts settled more quickly, without really troubling Tim Howard apart from a ninth-minute effort from James Morrisson that the American parried and safely gathered. The visitors meanwhile, struggled to get anything going from raking passes and attempted short triangle inter-changes to tame set-pieces and a breakaway on the counter-attack that foundered as Ross Barkley's control let him down, nothing was working for Martinez's men in the early going.

They gradually established a grip on the contest as the first half wore on, though, and were the better side by the half-hour mark when Barkley had the first goal served to him on a silver platter by Deulofeu's teasing ball behind the West Brom defence. The 21-year-old froze, though, and instead of leathering it past the stranded keeper, he barely made any contact as the ball squirmed past him and out for a goal kick.

It was profligacy that, along with sloppy defending at the other end, would be punished by Tony Pulis's men four minutes before the break. Funes Mori had spent much of the half tentatively but wisely taking the safest passing option available to him often, a pass backwards but Howard's bowl out to him put him under immediate pressure and led him into a cul-de-sac by the touchline. A sliding tackle on him saw the ball break to Gareth Barry who gave it straight to Morrisson and within seconds he had set up Saido Berahino just inside the Everton box to fire home via Howard's out-stretched leg.

James McCarthy's low shot was bundled behind and Browning headed over from the resulting corner as Everton tried to find an equaliser just before the break, while Deulofeu flashed a tempting ball across the face of goal in stoppage time but there were no Blue jerseys gambling near the goal line.

Martinez no doubt told his troops in the dressing room at half time that they needed to score the next goal but the early chances all fell to West Brom, with James McClean lashing wildly over after a block by Jagielka had fallen to him just outside the area and Darren Fletcher missed with a stooping near the post that the Everton skipper prodded behind for a corner. From that dead ball, Barkley lost track of Dawson and he nodded the ball home to double the Baggies' lead and increase the size of the mountain facing the visitors.

Everton were back in it just a minute later, however. Having long since dispensed with trying to beat his man down the outside, Deulofeu whipped an early cross in from the right flank that Lukaku had anticipated by moving off his marker, James Chester, to allow him to climb meet the delivery and guide it past Boaz Myhill with what television replays suggest might have been his shoulder.

It was a moment that turned the tide in the Blues' favour, but it needed a decisive move from Martinez before the equaliser arrived after 20 minutes of stalemate that was punctuated by a deserved yellow card for James McCarthy from referee Robert Madley for a blatant dive in the West Brom box. The Catalan withdrew Browning and the industrious but largely ineffective Steven Naismith in favour of Darron Gibson and Arouna Kone and within three minutes, the Ivorian had doubled his goals tally for the season.

It was a crucial leveller arguably made possible by an intervention by Galloway who might on another night have picked up the man of the match gong for another age-defyingly impressive display. His lunging tackle took the ball away from Baggies striker Solomon Rondon as he set himself to shoot in front of Howard's goal which allowed the American to begin the passage of possession that would end with Lukaku driving purposefully infield from the right and springing the offside trap with a defence-splitting pass to Kone perhaps a shade offside but it was a hairline decision who couldn't miss.

A draw would have been a creditable and morale-boosting result ahead of the Goodison derby next Sunday but Deulofeu and Lukaku would combine one last time with six minutes of the regulation 90 to go to hand Everton all three points. Lukaku muscled in to meet one more early cross from a deep position on the right by the Spaniard on his chest and he was able to get to the rebound ahead of the 'keeper to bang it over the line before wheeling away in redemptive delight.

Pulis's retaliatory substitution almost ruined the party as neither Funes Mori nor Jagielka were able to get a toe on a low cross from the right but as Evertonian hearts leapt into their mouths, the ex-red fired wide with the goal gaping to let the Blues off the hook. That allowed them to see out the remaining minutes of stoppage time and claim three precious points, although they passed up a chance to put the icing on the cake when Deulofeu made a mess of a four-on-one counter-attack with a poor pass forward.

For teams aspiring to finish in the top five, six or better in the Premier League, these are the sorts of games they need to be winning. (Indeed, even amid Chelsea's rocky start to the defence of their title, their one away win to date came at the Hawthorns by the same 3-2 scoreline.) That Everton were able to do so and from such a dire predicament as the one in which they found themselves less than 10 minutes into the second half speaks volumes for the team's resolve and offers renewed hope that Martinez can oversee a similarly odds-defying campaign as 2013-14.

It's worth noting that the trip to this ground that season saw a newly-shorn Lukaku struggle and his Everton teammates battle to a lethargic 1-1 draw before being embarrassed at Anfield in the following game. This stirring fightback hints at better things to come if the Blues can use this as a springboard to even better performances and results this season... starting, of course, against the local enemy at the weekend.

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Reader Comments (31)

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Bob Parrington
1 Posted 29/09/2015 at 06:37:31
Barry didn’t get a yellow card! Did he? Amazing. Let’s not fool ourselves, this was an excellent comeback win but we have to learn from the silly midfield and defensive errors; we made it hard for ourselves.

Some excellent performances, though, with Deulofeu in particular providing some spectacular crosses. Galloway played a sound game, too.

Well taken goals, Rom, but please work on that close control when receiving the ball.

Neil Gribbin
2 Posted 29/09/2015 at 07:42:20
I was ranting and raving at half time.

Massive improvement from all players second half. Great performance.

Bring on the Kopites, spank their arses and be sitting pretty on Sunday.

Forza Everton!

Darryl Ritchie
3 Posted 29/09/2015 at 07:58:27
The game started midday, local time. I was working and was only able to catch the score from time to time. The last score I was able to catch before I wandered downtown for a bite, was 1-0 to them.

When I get back, I have a quick check of TW, and it’s 2-1 West Brom, with about a half-hour left. It got a bit busy and I didn’t get to check-in for about 2 hours.

3-2 Toffees!! Holy shit!! I recorded it and couldn’t wait to get home and watch it.

Scrappy, come-from-behind win. The first half was dross. The squad were so flat, they were concave. The less said, the better.

Their second goal woke us up. The response was instant... and phenomenal.

Geri and Rom co-MotM.

Brian Harrison
4 Posted 29/09/2015 at 08:10:11
Terrific result and glad to see Lukaku back on the score sheet. I really don’t know what to make of that performance, we started slow and got even slower as the half wore on. I would have thought that we would have gone at West Brom from the off, but I guess that’s not RMs style. When we went 2 down I really didn’t see a way back for us the way we were playing.

We certainly took our chances but overall, although a great result, I was disappointed with our performance. But as the old adage says, if you can win and not play well then that bodes well for the rest of the season.

I think Deulofeu played well and created 2 goals; what I did find surprising with his pace, was not once did he try to go on the outside of the fullback and get to the byline. Although both his crosses for the goal were sublime. Also, given the fact that 3 of the back 4 were not the first choice, I thought they did well. I thought Galloway had a very good game, and certainly Baines will have a fight on his hands when fit to regain his place.

James Kirrane
5 Posted 29/09/2015 at 08:12:20
A great comeback showing grit and determination. Two good goals from Rom and some terrific crosses from Gerry.

Just how good is Brendan Galloway going to be? This lad is a star in the making. Bainsy will be lucky to get his spot back.

On a sour note — two very soft goals conceded. Tim Howard again looked very shaky on crosses. We seem to defend set pieces a lot better with Kone on the pitch.

Jim Bennings
6 Posted 29/09/2015 at 08:28:01
What a win, but a real Jekyll & Hyde performance really; we should never have got ourselves into a position of being 2-0 down in the first place but I guess it adds to the excitement.

Finally, the real Lukaku stepped forward in the second half; the man can do it so you ask yourself why he doesn’t do it more often, especially given the amount of crosses Deulofeu whips over. He’s a strikers dream; football is a simple game when you get the ball into the box quickly with a decent cross, it’s not rocket science that last season we overcooked our attacking play too much.

Personally I think the Baines - Pienaar combo slowed us down last season when they did play, always taking too many extra touches.

Kone staked his claim for the start on Sunday with a game-changing contribution when he came on, full of movement and effort, took his goal well.

I can only hope Stones and Coleman are ready in defence on Sunday, I don’t quite fancy Jags next to Funes Mori going up against the movement of Sturridge. Nothing on young Browning either but I think we need Coleman back too for a match of that ilk.

All-in-all, a great comeback win last night though, there seems to be a new resilience about the team this term that wasn’t evident last season.

Trevor Lynes
7 Posted 29/09/2015 at 08:34:57
Taking things match by match and not being over expectant of a genuine challenge for a near top spot.Our squad is still very thin and we do not have a real midfield maestro.

Martinez was left with hope rather than optimism when the team sheet was first read out and again I was pessimistic. Jags was left with an inexperienced duo at full back and Mori who has no knowledge of the premier league.Lukaku had looked off and no one else apart from Naismith with his hat trick was scoring.

Again we got a result but not a convincing one but a scrambled one.Fans are now talking openly of Europe and we have played just seven games.

In fact we have been lucky that the two kids have played well and Galloway in particular looks very good.Neither however would have played if we had been injury free.Mori too would have been on the bench if Stones was fit and he also did his part.

It is no wonder we played so cautiously early on and WBA were not good enough to really test us defensively. I want to see where we are at Christmas before talking up any prospects for a really good season. We need to do some business in January to ensure our decent start is not baulked. I reckon our board only buy when absolutely needed for survival rather than progress so I will just wait and watch.

Kevin O'Regan
8 Posted 29/09/2015 at 08:56:13
Delighted with the result and 2nd-half performance and character. Kone adds a new dimension to the team, to the attack but also to Rom’s game. Rom doesn’t drop as deep and can start getting on the end of those excellent crosses or provide a couple of nice killer passes to a decent finisher.

However (sorry to say it), we still lack confidence going forward: someone picks up the ball, moves out from the back looking for a quick break, and then it’s closed down, so we pass it back instead of keeping the chance open. It’s very frustrating to watch time and time again – yes we miss Ossie and maybe Pienaar and their (former?) ability and confidence in those tight situations.

The lone striker situation without those players will remain a thankless job for Rom because we need to mix the movement and be able to do something different – that’s what Kone brought to us last night – something different – a new game and not as easy to read for defensive teams.

If we get a midfielder doing that work then we’re laughing. For now a big smile will accompany me for a few days.

Jim Lloyd
9 Posted 29/09/2015 at 09:03:09
Kone’s done well since he’s started this season. Takes a lot of weight off Lukaku, lays the ball off well and chases the opposition when we haven’t got the ball.

I hope Stonesy is fit but that’s no reflection on Ramiro. It takes time to adjust to the pace or the English game but I think he’s some player.

Good battling performance last night. Well done lads... and Roberto!

Paul Thompson
10 Posted 29/09/2015 at 09:05:16
Both defences had key players out and looked shaky at times. Neither team actually created that much (how many saves did other goalkeeper make), but mistakes on our part, offset by clinical finishing at the other end led to a 2-3 outcome.

A few minor observations.

We need Lukaku or Kone back for corners where both do good work. Barkley was no match for Dawson.
Lukaku was predictably bad in the first half playing with his back to goal. Get crosses in and balls he can run on to, you see the result. The key to that was Duelofeu who seems to have found a way of whipping in early crosses (in the manner of Beckham or Dave Thomas) without always beating a man.

Funes Mori looked uncomfortable in the first half, with a lot of back passes to Howard, but grew more assured in the second half. He’ll need time to adjust, but the potential is there. Having said that, we need Stones back for the derby game.

Gerard Carey
11 Posted 29/09/2015 at 09:17:54
I think we missed Stones's calmness last night, even the way he can bring the ball out of defence to start attacks. Howard still looks unsure on crosses, be it from corners or open play, and this affects the defence.

Still, it was a great three points to get. Seven games in and only one loss; I think most would have taken that at the start of the season. And Lukaku looks better when Kone is on the pitch.

Brent Stephens
12 Posted 29/09/2015 at 09:26:28
Brian #4 "I think Deulofeu played well and created 2 goals, what I did find surprising with his pace, was not once did he try to go on the outside of the fullback and get to the byline."

Brian, I think going on the outside to the byeline is Delboy’s comfort zone (much less comfortable cutting in, which he needs to add to his game for unpredictability). The WBA defence seemed to have him blocked off from that route much of the time and hence (?) those whipped in crosses without beating a man — superb crosses giving us pace in attack.

Jim Lloyd
13 Posted 29/09/2015 at 09:45:28
Er, I thought about the discussion re Gerry getting to the byline (or not, as the case may be) and to me, those passes he put in to give us those 3 clear chances to score, were the mark of a top class player.

Yes, getting to the byline is one way to get round a defence, but it also needs players to get up into the box in support. Nothing wrong in that tactic but, last night, West Brom were sliced wide open by Gerry’s quick thinking and excellent deliveries.

He saw gaps and produced 3 deadly passes which they had no answer to. I think they expected him to try and get to the byline and stuck to or three players out there to try and stop him.

Well, he kidded them good and proper. Stunning!!!

Dave Pritchard
14 Posted 29/09/2015 at 09:54:05
Lyndon, didn't we get a 1-1 at Anfield last year with the Jags piledriver? The spanking was the season before.
Mike Hughes
15 Posted 29/09/2015 at 10:29:26
Dave #14, aside from that Jagielka's rocket, the gobs on those kopites behind the goal were priceless as that one went in. It felt like the winner.

Let’s hope the Mighty Blues get it together on Sunday and destroy and humiliate the RS. I’m always wary of those games, however, so 1-0 will do.

Excellent second half last night... but I’d like Stones and Coleman back asap for this game in particular.
Dean Peamum
16 Posted 29/09/2015 at 10:35:58
Dave #14, You're right and we also beat West Brom 2-0 at the Hawthorns last season (Lukaku, Mirallas) as well. The 1-1 draw with WBA was the season before too.
Jim Lloyd
17 Posted 29/09/2015 at 10:49:10
Jim, it might be my memory again but I thought that up until he got injured, Pienaar was part of our most effective pairing. After the Arsenal game, did he figure in many games? I can't remember him doing so and I thought Bainesy was a lot less effective as a result.
Peter Roberts
18 Posted 29/09/2015 at 10:59:24
Star of the show was Deulofeu. Pure and simple as that.

For some reason we were bad in the first half because Rom dropped deep and had his back to goal... No it wasn’t, please stop making excuses for the lad, the reason he was poor in the first half was a complete lack of commitment: Barkley flashed a ball across goal that he stopped running for and Gerry did 2 of those superb crosses and Rom was stood on the edge of the box.

Rom wasn’t bothered in the first half and was bothered in the second half – simple as that really. The sooner fans stop excusing his "accepted laziness", the sooner he may produce Southampton performances on a regular basis. He needs to be held to account for this, being 22 is not an excuse – most Everton fans know his age more than their own relatives such is it bandied around so much.

Galloway looks a class act, approaches the game like a gladiator, shakes hands with their players pre-game and doesn't say anything – just stares at them. Love it.

Barkley didn’t shine, but he will have games like that. Too much is being made of Funes Mori, he’s new to the league, he looks a decent lad.

3 points against Liverpool please lads.

Brian Garside
19 Posted 29/09/2015 at 11:14:44
The first half performance reminded me of last season. Slow and predictable allowing the opposition to take up their defensive positions, mark up and even pressing as a unit. Lukaku playing with his back to goal. Standing still waiting to receive a pass meaning lack of movement. Very RM.

After conceding the second goal, we where then forced to play with pace and verve. Lukaku attacking the ball. Superb early crosses from Gerry, a la Dave Thomas (as another poster pointed out). More forward passes compared to square and backwards. Very Everton. Do the two types go together?

Good substitutions. Funes Mori did well and will improve. Galloway was excellent. Gerry fantastic. Lukaku brilliant when played to his strengths. I know which I prefer.

Adam Luszniak
20 Posted 29/09/2015 at 11:32:39
Lukaku is a bit of an enigma if you ask me, he was getting some SERIOUS stick on the live forum for his first-half performance last night. I’m not sure he lacked effort in the first half, could equally be lacking in confidence, but the whole team was. Barkley’s fluffed chance is a prime example, but every player (barring Deulofeu) was too slow on the ball, too conservative in their passing and too often took the easy option.

Whilst Lukaku didn’t shine in the first half at least he wasn’t being gifted chances and fluffing them like at Swansea. Whilst the makeshift back four where generally good, and very good on occasion, it showed last night just how much we rely on John Stones.

Defensively he is rock solid, but he also starts attacks very quickly. Not to mention that with him in the back 4 there’s less pressure on less confident players to distribute the ball and therefore less mistakes are made.

Philip Yensen
21 Posted 29/09/2015 at 13:49:23
Not much mentioned about Funes Mori; I thought he was excellent, Galloway solid, Jags looks calmer, Browning did his job, Barry steady throughout, McCarthy just above average, Naismith fell back into his old ways, uncontrolled energy.

Deulofeu started slowly because we went left with most of our moves using him and he did the business. Lukaku his control is poor but put that ball in the box and he is deadly.

Finally Barkley so many moves are breaking down when he is in possession, his corner kicks are diabolical, his free kicks are no better. What he is good for is watering the pitch with his constant spitting. He wants the ball all the time but lacks the intelligence and vision to use it to full effect.

Different game Sunday: we will be exposed by pace and movement by the RedShite even though they’re not playing that well.

Lyndon Lloyd
22 Posted 29/09/2015 at 16:48:33
Dave Pritchard (14): Lyndon, didn't we get a 1-1 at Anfield last year with the Jags piledriver? The spanking was the season before.

Correct. This line: "the trip to this ground that season" was a reference to 2013-14 in the previous paragraph. It was the game after Rom had shaved his dreads off and we played in the Minions away kit.

We should have won that game but didn't do enough to and then it all went to crap at Anfield. Would love a reverse of that scoreline on Sunday (but it might represent the end of "The Brodgect" and I want him to stay there forever!)

Dave Pritchard
23 Posted 29/09/2015 at 17:17:15
Yes I see it now. Linking paragraphs is too much for me!

We should be confident about beating them on Sunday but I’m certainly not just because something always seems to go wrong. Hope the players are not as pessimistic as me.

Tony J Williams
24 Posted 29/09/2015 at 17:19:01
It is strange typing this, but Lukaku had a terrible looking game..... but I can take a terrible looking game if it comes with 2 goals and an assist.

Frustrating... but he does what scorers do, score goals (and usually look cack the rest of the time).

Jim Bennings
25 Posted 29/09/2015 at 17:28:35
It's about time we beat the Redshite, no win since 2010, you'd think we were talking about Barcelona here, it's a friggin mediocre Liverpool team.

Paste them.

Aidy Dews
26 Posted 29/09/2015 at 21:59:56
Peter Roberts (#18), good post and bang on about Rom, but I know all you will get thrown at you is "He got two goals and set up the other, what more do you want..." posts. But you're bang on the money, he is lazy and and only puts in unplayable performances once in a blue moon when he fancies it.
John Raftery
27 Posted 29/09/2015 at 23:07:39
In the first half last night, we failed to get forward as a team, with the result that Lukaku was dragged back into areas where he is unlikely to hurt the opposition. Once we started to throw players forward, he showed what he can do with the two goals and one excellent assist for Kone.
Andy Crooks
28 Posted 30/09/2015 at 00:22:25
I listened to the game driving home. I have a strict policy, unless we are three goals clear I don't actually listen. I switch on in three second bursts at five minute intervals. I have developed an uncanny gift of knowing the score within three seconds of background noise. Of course this is all superstitious nonsense but last night I knew by the sound of the mighty away Evertonians that we had come back and won.

A rousing comeback with special praise for Lukaku and Martinez.


Patrick Murphy
30 Posted 30/09/2015 at 16:22:34
For those that believe in Romelu and his goalscoring exploits in an Everton shirt, here is a good read:

However, I still have serious misgivings about the player and whilst that may seem harsh to many, the Echo’s report fails to add that in the same calendar year that the Belgian has joined the likes of Dean and Latchford for the number of goals he has bagged in games away from Goodison, his solitary Premier League goal at Goodison hardly fills me with joy.

However, if he were to bag a hat-trick in the coming fixture, or indeed the winning strike, I might have to re-adjust my thinking.

Mike Powell
31 Posted 30/09/2015 at 17:14:20
Chad, spot on. Unless Rom scores a hat-trick every game then he is shite, lazy, he can’t be arsed. What a load of bollocks.

Rom and Ross are two great young players who we need to get behind and not slag them off. Geri had a very poor first half, he wasn’t that much better in the second – besides three great crosses, he didn’t do a thing, but he can’t do wrong.

I’m not slagging him off because I think he as a lot to offer, I just thought he had a poor game.
Paul Cherrington
32 Posted 01/10/2015 at 10:27:12
I think the trouble with Rom is that he has games where he obviously can’t be bothered and doesn’t put the required effort into it; that's why people have a problem with him. We will accept people playing poorly (or even playing okay) but if they only try when they can be arsed, the fans won’t swallow it.

Also, people get frustrated with him cos he can be unplayable (like the second half at WBA) when he turns it on, so why does he choose not too so often?

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