Silva's subs steal the show as Everton overcome Palace

Sunday, 21 October, 2018 0comments  |  Jump to last
Everton 2 - 0 Crystal Palace

Jordan Pickford's excellent penalty save set the platform for Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Cenk Tosun to fire Everton to victory with late goals

Everton registered a third successive Premier League win for the first time since January last year as a terrific penalty save by Jordan Pickford set the platform for late heroics off the bench.

The England goalkeeper denied Luka Milivojević from the spot with an hour gone of an often fractious but tightly contested game at a time when Marco Silva's men were struggling to break down an obdurate Crystal Palace.

The lift that Pickford's intervention gave to the side and the home crowd helped put Everton back on top but it took the decisive efforts of all three of the manager's substitutions to win it inside the last four minutes of the 90.

Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Ademola Lookman were introduced in a double change after Cenk Tosun had come on for Bernard and it was the former striker who converted the young winger's excellent cross in the 87th minute before the Turk raced away to slam home the killer second a couple of minutes later.

It was ample reward for Everton's overall superiority even if few in attendance would have been surprised had Milivojević scored and Palace stolen a result. The home team had been looking for something to click in the final third all afternoon while Roy Hodgson's men were typically combative and unyielding at the back.

While new defensive signing Yerry Mina would watch on from the bench, Silva handed a full debut to André Gomes in central midfield while Bernard was deployed wide on the left with Richarlison up front. What had worked so brilliantly at Leicester City a fortnight ago didn't really gel this time, however, with neither Brazilian able to influence proceedings to any real effect in a first half that was constantly interrupted by referee Anthony Taylor's whistle.

Seamus Coleman drilled an early shot over, Richarlison ran into a blind alley after Idrissa Gueye had superbly dispossessed Milivojević and sent the forward clear, and Gylfi Sigurdsson forced the first real save from Wayne Hennessey with a first time shot off Coleman's cut-back.

With Wilfried Zaha a predictably ever-present threat, Palace had moments of their own, particularly after they had come more into the game and James Tomkins planted a header wide from Andros Townsend's cross before Pickford turned a low Milivojević free kick behind at his left-hand post and then pawed Kouyate's header off his line from the resulting corner.

At the other end, Richarlison missed narrowly with a header of his own off a corner and Sigurdsson pinged a left-foot effort a yard wide just before the half-time interval.

The pattern that had emerged later in the first period continued into the second but it was Everton who remained the more dangerous of the two sides until Zaha turned Coleman in the Blues' penalty area and went down as the Irishman clipped his ankle. The referee pointed to the spot and Milivojević but Pickford was alert as the Australian elected to down the middle and saved the shot with his trailing foot.

That ramped the volume inside Goodison Park but the elusive goal wouldn't come for Everton. Walcott was put through by Sigurdsson but fired straight at the goalkeeper, Gomes tried to bend one inside the post but missed by a matter of inches and another Sigurdsson shot was deflected behind as the Blues pressed.

Bernard had been withdrawn in favour of Tosun midway through the second half as Silva made his first move but it wasn't until the second substitutions entered the fray that the breakthrough finally came in the 87th minute. Everton kept the ball after a free kick had been cleared and when Lookman clipped a ball towards the six-yard box, his cross picked Calvert-Lewin perfectly, the striker guiding a header in off the goalkeeper's glove.

Less than two minutes later, it was game over. Michael Keane swept a clearance forward into the Palace half and Tosun galloped onto the loose ball, taking a couple of touches before slamming it through Hennessey's legs to make it 2-0.

On balance it was just reward for Silva's key substitution decisions and Everton who had been the better side even as they toiled to find the right combination up front. The win moves the Blues up into eighth place for the time being and keeps the momentum going ahead of a run of difficult away games in the coming weeks.