Everton missed the opportunity to guarantee Premier League safety with a 3-2 home defeat to Brentford.
Jarrad Branthwaite’s controversial 18th-minute dismissal changed the game after Dominic Calvert-Lewin had fired the Toffees ahead
Richarlison’s penalty right before half-time restored his side’s advantage after Seamus Coleman’s own goal on 37 minutes but the Bees took advantage of their extra man in the second half as goals from Yoane Wissa and Rico Henry secured them the three points.
It was an electric atmosphere around Goodison prior to kick-off and for the first portion of the game but Branthwaite’s red card and the lack of an adequate replacement ended up costing the Blues.
They knew a win would be enough to confirm their place in next season’s top flight and got off to a great start when Calvert-Lewin deflected Richarlison’s initial shot in from close range on 10 minutes.
Eight minutes later and Richarlison was involved again when he appeared to be tugged in the area by Brentford defender Kristoffer Ajer but his protests were waved away by referee Michael Oliver.
The resulting clearance saw Ivan Toney through on goal before he was clipped by Branthwaite, leading to the defender’s sending off.
The 19-year-old only started the match due to Michael Keane’s illness and Frank Lampard did not have a sufficient replacement on his bench, meaning Seamus Coleman filled in as a makeshift centre-back and Alex Iwobi was pushed back to right-back.
The Bees’ inevitable equaliser arrived on 37 minutes when Wissa’s shot from a tight angle deflected in off Coleman.
The Toffees were handed a lifeline right before the break when Richarlison was clumsily brought down in the area by Bech Sorensen, who arguably should have received a second yellow, and the Brazilian calmly fired Everton back in front from the spot.
However, the Blues were up against it for much of the second half as Thomas Frank’s side began to exploit the lack of height in their backline.
Brentford levelled it on 62 minutes with a flicked header from Wissa and two minutes later Henry got in front of Anthony Gordon and headed his side in front for the first time that day.
It was a lead they held on to in a miserable afternoon for the Toffees that was compounded by substitute Salomon Rondon’s sending off on 88 minutes for a reckless tackle, reducing Everton to nine men.
The defeat leaves Everton still needing three points out of their last two games to confirm their place in next season’s top flight.
They will be hoping they can secure the necessary victory on Thursday when Crystal Palace make the trip to Goodison Park, or else they could be relying on Leeds United to slip up against Brentford on the final day.
It is still in Everton’s hands.