Everton escape Selhurst Park with a point despite Holgate calamity

22/04/2023 comments  |  Jump to last
Palace 0 - 0 Everton

Mason Holgate capped a horrendous performance with a second yellow card eight minutes from the end of the 90 that undercut Everton's hopes of grabbing a late winner

Everton claimed a point on their travels but spurned another chance to haul themselves away from danger, dropping into the relegation zone on goal difference with a goalless draw at unimpressive Crystal Palace.

It was a game that was depressingly short on quality and, for much of the first half, any real urgency from the Blues who had Dominic Calvert-Lewin back up front but they largely failed to provide him with the ammunition to try and fire the team to victory.

The 26-year-old almost went the distance on his first appearance since early February and went very close to breaking the deadlock with a moment of near-brilliance shortly after the hour mark but Everton’s hopes of forcing home a winner in the closing stages were scuppered by a second yellow card for the Mason Holgate.

The defender was the latest player to be shunted out of position as an emergency right-back in the absence of Seamus Coleman but had a torrid afternoon against Jordan Ayew, twice committing fouls as the Ghanaian easily out-stripped him for pace down Palace’s left and prompting referee John Brooks to book him on each occasion.

Article continues below video content

That left Everton hanging on for the final 10 minutes or so but they held out despite a tepid flurry from the hosts during which they failed to unduly test Jordan Pickford in the Blues’ goal.

With Coleman and Amadou Onana still out injured and Abdoulaye Doucouré serving the final match of his three-game ban, Sean Dyche opted for Holgate over Ben Godfrey on the right side of defence, continued with James Garner in central midfield and installed Demarai Gray wide on the right with Alex Iwobi in the middle behind Calvert-Lewin.

Dwight McNeil dribbled a shot towards Sam Johnstone in the fourth minute and Calvert-Lewin could only get a shoulder to a chipped Iwobi ball into the box early on before Palace assumed the greater control of the contest.

Holgate’s first infringement on Ayew set the converted winger up for a header in the eighth minute but he put the chance over the the crossbar, while Michael Olise fired in a shot that Pickford dealt with comfortably and Tyrick Mitchell volleyed over after Ayew had been allowed by Michael Keane to get a cross in from the by-line.

Everton’s best moment of the first half came from Iwobi after they kept the ball despite a dreadful free-kick from McNeil, with Iwobi rattling a 20-yard volley off Mitchell’s short clearance that was heading for the bottom corner before Johnstone palmed it aside.

Calvert-Lewin’s daisy cutter six minutes before the break was comfortable for the keeper, as was McNeil’s similarly tame effort a couple of minutes later as the two teams went in level at the break.

The Eagles had the ball in the net after, not the for the first time on the day, they had caught the Everton defence flat-footed with a ball over the top but Ebereche Eze was correctly flagged offside.

Four minutes later, a booming Pickford ball forward was knocked down by Calvert-Lewin, Iwobi threaded a pass between the centre-halves back to the striker who rolled his man beautifully with a deft touch but hammered a left-foot shot inches the wrong side of the post.

Eze had Palace’s only meaningful effort on goal of the second period with a quarter of an hour to go but Pickford was equal to his curling effort that was searching out the bottom corner, the England keeper turning it behind and Cheick Doucouré lashed well over from a subsequent corner.

Everton’s hopes of sneaking a priceless winner more or less evaporated with Holgate’s second calamity, another soft yellow card as he lunged in on Ayew that earned him his marching orders. Dyche threw Godfrey on instead of Nathan Patterson and eventually replaced Calvert-Lewin with Neal Maupay rather than Ellis Simms as the visitors dug in for the point.

Luka Milivojević came off the bench for Palace and saw a goalbound shot deflected behind off Vitalii Mykolenko and Eze fired a dangerous ball across the six-yard box but Pickford held on before Brooks called time on five minutes of stoppage time.

Leicester City’s come-from-behind home win over Wolves means that Everton will go into Thursday’s massive home game against Newcastle sitting in the bottom three and with just six games to go, one of them against title-chasing Manchester City, the need to pick up victories is becoming ever more acute.


How to get rid of these ads and support TW

© ToffeeWeb