Super-sub Simms grabs a well-deserved point in West London

18/03/2023 comments  |  Jump to last
Chelsea 2 - 2 Everton

Ellis Simms rattled in his first senior Everton goal in the 89th minute to grab a superb draw against Chelsea

Ellis Simms stepped off the bench to score his first senior goal for Everton, a terrific striker’s effort in the 89th minute that earned the Toffees a precious point on the road at Chelsea.

Sean Dyche’s men were heading for a highly creditable point with a quarter of an hour left at Stamford Bridge after Abdoulaye Doucouré had wiped out Joao Felix’s 52nd-minute opener but a combination of clumsy challenges from Ben Godfrey and James Tarkowski that tripped Reece James handed Kai Havertz the chance to drive home what looked to be the winner from the penalty spot.

Simms had other ideas, though, after he was introduced with 10 minutes left of the regulation 90, collecting a knock-on by Doucouré to rattle in the equaliser and move Everton back into 15th place and just a point off 12th.

As expected, Dyche named an unchanged line-up, with Godfrey at left-back and Demarai Gray leading the line and the Blues dug in for a committed first-half display that was short on possession but long on discipline and maintaining a shape that restricted their hosts to just a handful of opportunities.

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Chelsea were on a three-match winning streak with designs on mounting a late push for European qualification and they came within a whisker of taking the lead in only the third minute when Michael Keane’s clearing header from a corner fell to Mateo Kovacic on the edge of the box but his powerful volley crashed just wide.

Felix had a shot blocked with 10 minutes gone and Havertz headed off target from the resulting corner before Dwight McNeil had Everton’s first sight of goal with an ambitious, rising shot from 30 yards.

Chelsea remained on top and had a succession of chances in a 15-minute spell as Jordan Pickford comfortably saved a long-range drive from Havertz, and Felix almost pounced in front of goal as Ben Chilwell prodded Christian Pulisic’s centre behind the Blues’ back line but Pickford was there to smother it.

Felix then floated a cross-cum-shot onto the roof of the net and prompted another fairly routine save from Pickford after Tarkowski had been caught out near the touchline while McNeil spurned a rare chance on the breakaway for Everton when he failed to play in the better placed Gray and the counter-attack came to nothing.

Chelsea emerged from the half-time interval apparently keen to press home their superiority and Pickford had to be alert four minutes after the restart to push away a Havertz header but Graham Potter’s side broke the deadlock just a few minutes later.

Keane could only divert Chilwell’s low cross to Felix with an out-stretched foot and the Portuguese cut a skidding shot that bounced in off the far post from the edge of the penalty area.

Everton pressed in response, though, and Keane twice went close following fouls on Amadou Onana and Alex Iwobi respectively. First, Iwobi’s strong cross bounced off Keane’s chest and into Kepa Arrizabalaga’s arms; then the defender missed a great chance to equalise when Gray swung a free-kick into the six-yard box but Keane failed to get more than a glancing touch when any solid contact would surely have found the net.

The leveller did come, though, eight minutes after Kovacic had seen a shot deflect off Seamus Coleman and drop over the bar at the other end when Everton won back-to-back corners. Tarkowski won what has become a trademark header at the back post and Doucouré was on hand to nod past the keeper from close range and send the travelling fans into ecstasy.

Just four minutes later, however, after Pickford had once again saved from Havertz, Chelsea won the penalty from which the German would restore their lead. Reece James outfoxed Godfrey and Tarkowski in the box as he collected Felix's pass but contact from both defenders felled him after he knocked the ball past them to get to the byline.

Havertz stutter-stepped with his run-up, barely maintaining the forward momentum required by the rules and still sent Pickford the wrong way, drilling a high shot to the keeper’s left to make it 2-1.

Dyche withdrew Idrissa Gueye in favour of Simms before McNeil flashed the ball across the face but the Blues’ bold close was rewarded when Simms dragged them back to parity again with just a minute left on the clock.

The 21-year-old collected a deft lay-off from Doucouré, instinctively powered past Kalidou Koulibaly and swept a low shot under Kepa that the keeper got a hand to but couldn’t prevent from nestling in the far corner.

Chelsea mounted a late charge and won a succession of corners but Everton’s back line held out to preserve a point that could prove to be important in the club’s bid to avoid relegation.

The draw leaves the Toffees in 15th place, albeit still three points off the bottom, heading into the international break and represents another positive result away from home with two further goals scored on the road.


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