Everton left it late to secure their third successive Premier League win on Sunday, as substitutes Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Cenk Tosun both found the back of the net in the remaining five minutes.
A hard-fought, physical battle for three points against a Crystal Palace almost looked destined to swing the other way, as Seamus Coleman was penalised by referee Anthony Taylor for a trip on Palace forward Wilfred Zaha in the penalty area- who’s quick feet caused Everton’s defence problems throughout.
Luka Milivojevic, who had scored from 12-yards in this fixture last season, would miss just his second penalty in the Premier League, as the dangling legs of Jordan Pickford prevented the ball from sailing in straight down the middle, despite being sold the other way.
“It was a bit of a game changer really,” said Pickford speaking to Mark Chapman after the game “because then it got the fans going. Everton fans love things like that- a good tackle or anything like that. It gets them right up.”
The penalty would prove to be Palace’s golden chance, as Roy Hodgson’s side could not muster another chance in the remainder of the game, despite hitting the crossbar in the first-half.
Making his Everton debut, the Portuguese international Andre Gomes parted the field of play at 0-0 with eight minutes left of play.
Marco Silva’s showcased pure managerial intelligence in replacing the tiring Bernard with Tosun, and youngsters Calvert-Lewin and Lookman who combined three minutes from time to give the home team the lead. A beautifully lofted cross from Lookman floated beyond the heads of the hapless Palace defence, as a waiting Calvert-Lewin headed his second league goal of the season in front of an elated Gwladys Street end.
Flooding numbers forward, Crystal Palace would be caught out again just 90 seconds later with a first time long ball from the in form Micheal Keane at the back landed inch-perfectly into the path of an advancing Tosun, who fired the ball through the legs of Wayne Hennessey to confirm the win for Silva’s Blues.
“We tried and we changed the formation as well,” explained Silva talking about the switches he made during the game “sometimes you are thinking the game needs two strikers and it worked for us in that moment.”