Demari Gray saves a point at Goodison Park as the Toffees secure their first point of the new campaign
Everton returned to the raucous confines of Goodison Park on Saturday afternoon for a matchup against newly promoted Nottingham Forest following a 2-1 loss at Villa Park last weekend. Frank Lampard made two changes to the side that started against Villa, bringing in Salomon Rondon and Tom Davies to replace Dwight McNeil and an injured Abdoulaye Doucoure.
The match started on the front foot for Everton as Lampard’s side looked to control the intensity of the match. Demari Gray would create the first chance of the game in the 3rd minute, playing a looping ball to Tom Davies at the back post who couldn’t quite sort out his feet to open up the scoring. Davies would see another opportunity in the 10th minute, as Gordon cut inside and set up the midfielder outside the box. Davies hit it well and it looked to be destined for the bottom corner but his effort missed just wide of Dean Henderson’s post.
Gordon and Gray would both take cracks at goal in the 15th minute, forcing Dean Henderson to make good saves to keep the scoreline level. Pickford would be forced into his first save of the match in the 19th minute as Neco Williams fired at goal forcing a strong parry away from Everton’s goalkeeper. Gordon would see a yellow card in the 22nd minute for a diving tackle to stop a Forest counterattack, and then Pickford would be forced into another save in the 25th minute as Awoniyi delivered a disappointing effort following a giveaway from Tarkowski.
Demari Gray would see two efforts at the half hour mark, the first from a free kick that would be saved and the second a powerful, whizzing shot that looped just over the bar. Despite an intense thirty minutes, the game would see little in the way of intensity heading into the halftime break with the only action of note an Alex Iwobi yellow card in the 36th minute. Halftime Score 0-0
Everton would see a great chance seven minutes into the second half, as Tom Davies found Salomon Rondon on the edge of the box who would take a quick flick and fire a volley that skimmed the ground and go agonizingly wide of the post. The 57th minute would see a double change from Frank Lampard, with Amadou Onana replacing Tom Davies and Dwight McNeil replacing Salomon Rondon. Moments later Onana almost relived his mistake from the match at Aston Villa, losing possession deep in his own third allowing Brennan Johnson to race towards goal but he fortunately would misplay his pass ending the threat.
Onana would continue to struggle with the pace of the game upon his introduction and see a yellow card for a bad foul in the 60th minute. The toffees came close once again to rattling the net in the 72nd minute, as Iwobi found Gordon in the box who turned and fired at the bottom corner but his effort was saved by Henderson again. Nottingham Forest would find the opener in the 81st minute, as Ryan Yates sent a missile towards Jordan Pickford who saved the strike. Unfortunately, his parry out was poor and it found Brennan Johnson who collected his feet and fired into the bottom corner to put the away side up 0-1.
After a scramble in the box in the 85th minute that just barely saw Nottingham Forest deny the blues an equalizer, Everton finally found their first goal (that wasn’t an own goal) of the Premier League season. Jordan Pickford fired an outrageous ball over the top right into the feet of Demari Gray, who only had to size up the keeper and deliver a sterling finish to level the match.
A flurry of chances late would see Gordon get two big chances at goal that would both be saved by Dean Henderson and an Iwobi curling effort from outside the box that just nestled over the crossbar. Despite the similar late push from the Aston Villa match, Everton would be unable to find a winner with the match finishing level in a fiery match at Goodison Park.
Full Time Score 1-1
Alex Iwobi shone for the toffees against Forest, constantly delivering a driving threat towards goal from midfield. Salomon Rondon helped to link up the play and showed the importance of a striker, but his substitution in the 57th minute was curious and led to an out of position McNeil struggling once again to make an impact. Anthony Gordon was lively but failed to convert on any of his chances on goal, while Gray presented danger for Everton and eventually scored from the superb Jordan Pickford goal kick. Tom Davies slotted in well and had a good match, while Onana continues to struggle a bit with the pace of the league as the new transfer looks to settle in. Mykolenko and Nathan Patterson looked assured once again at wingback with only Tarkowski looking jittery at the back. The match will not teach Everton supporters anything new, solid at the back but desperately wanting for attacking help. Everton get only a couple of days to regroup before traveling away to play Fleetwood Town in the third round of the Carabao Cup.