26/08/2023 0comments  |  Jump to last
Everton 0 - 1 Wolves

Youssef Chermiti came off the bench to make his debut and looked lively

Everton went down to third straight defeat to start the season as Wolves grabbed a late winner at Goodison Park through substitute Sasa Kalajdžić.

It was another case of the Blues living and dying by the fine margins and being left to count the cost of missed chances as the visitors found the decisive goal to render the effort from Sean Dyche’s men meaningless by the final whistle.

Everton had had the better of the first but Arnaut Danjuma and James Tarkowski in particular put gilt edged chances wide in the first half and Abdoulaye Doucouré might have done better with a goal-bound header that was saved by Jose Sà in the second but, by the closing stages, the contest had become anyone’s game.

In the end, it took a momentary lapse in concentration from Tarkowski that allowed the 6’-7" Kalajdžić to settle the match three minutes from the end of the regulation 90.

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Lewis Dobbin made his first senior start, Youssef Chermiti made his debut off the bench and looked lively, while Michael Keane was thrown on as an auxiliary striker in a desperate late move but it was not enough to earn Everton their first point of the campaign.

Keane had finally been demoted to the bench in favour of Jarrad Branthwaite and the young defender put in an impressive display on his first Premier League start since May last year.

With Alex Iwobi and Dominic Calvert-Lewin out injured, Dobbin lined up on the left flank with Danjuma up front and the Toffees’ intent was clear from the off as they pressed and harried Wolves in the early phase of the match.

Danjuma let fly from distance in the fifth minute, his shot sailed over and Nathan Patterson’s centre just eluded him a few minutes later after Amadou Onana’s side-foot shot had been blocked before the Belgian threaded the Dutchman in beautifully with almost a quarter of an hour gone.

Danjuma was narrowly flagged offside and Sà denied him superbly anyway but it provided hope that Everton might find the cutting edge in the final third if they kept plugging away.

Just like Fulham a fortnight ago, Wolves were largely kept at arm’s length in the first half, with their best openings coming from sloppy passing from the home side in their own half. Fabio Silva was almost allowed in twice from successive giveaways by Idrissa Gueye and Onana but it was the home side who should have gone in at least a goal to the good.

Garner’s half-volley bounced off Dobbin’s chest on the edge of the six-yard box and fell to Tarkowski but he lashed the ball disappointingly into the side-netting, Branthwaite headed a free-kick wide on the half-hour, and Danjuma could only place a cushioned first-time effort wide from close range.

Everton began the second period the brighter as well and created the first genuine opening when Doucouré was played in behind the full-back but he elected not to test the goalkeeper and tried to find Garner in the centre but delivered his cross behind the midfielder and the chance was lost.

A couple of minutes after that, after Danjuma’s attempt to flick the ball home was bundled behind by Sa, Garner’s shot was parried to Branthwaite but he planted his header from the rebound straight into the keeper’s arms.

Wolves, growing into the contest just as Fulham did on the opening day, then had their best spell of the game and appeared to have taken the lead when Hugo Bueno whipped a ball in and Silva nudged it home but the offside flag came to the Toffees’ rescue.

Jordan Pickford then hesitated almost fatally coming for a long pass and Silva nipped in behind Tarkowski but the Portuguese missed the target and the Everton keeper made amends a couple of minutes later with a terrific reflex save to deny Matheus Cunha.

Pickford’s exploits were matched by Sà at the other shortly afterwards. He had already pushed Danjuma’s shot away but when Garner delivered a wicked cross to the back post, Doucouré met it with an unconvincing header that looped up and the keeper had to change direction and paw it over his crossbar.

Chermiti replaced the willing and industrious Dobbin with 23 minutes left and soon forced a corner trying to divert Danjuma’s cross past Sà and Doucouré thought he had grabbed the winner when he finally found the composure in front of goal to take it wide of the keeper and slot home but the linesman’s flag, confirmed by VAR Graham Scott, cut his celebrations short.

That just left Kalajdžić to enter the fray with five minutes left and within two he had delivered the killer blow as he stole in between Tarkowski and Patterson to flick a deep cross from the Wolves right inside the far post.

Dyche replaced Danjuma and Gueye with Tom Cannon and Keane but Everton were unable to fashion anything in the five minutes of added time and for the first time in the club’s history, they have lost their first three matches without scoring a goal.


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