Everton secure Premier League safety after dramatic comeback win over Crystal Palace

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Dominic Calvert-Lewin after the Premier League match between Everton and Crystal Palace
Dominic Calvert-Lewin after the Premier League match between Everton and Crystal Palace

With fans pouring onto the pitch at the final whistle, they sang Spirit of the Blues in jubilation. It had taken spirit, mettle and tenacity for Everton to stage this remarkable comeback and seal their safety from relegation.

Frank Lampard channelled Pat Cash and headed up to the directors box as the party got going on the Goodison Park turf. His team were two goals down at half-time and were heading towards an anxious final day of the season, yet goals from Michael Keane, Richarlison and Dominic Calvert-Lewin scored the goals that made it a memorable night on Merseyside.

Dominic Calvert-Lewin of Everton celebrates after scoring their sides third goal - GETTY IMAGES
Dominic Calvert-Lewin of Everton celebrates after scoring their sides third goal - GETTY IMAGES
Everton fans celebrate following their sides victory as they avoid relegation  - GETTY IMAGES
Everton fans celebrate following their sides victory as they avoid relegation - GETTY IMAGES
Everton's fans invade the football pitch to celebrate at the end of the English Premier League football match  - AFP
Everton's fans invade the football pitch to celebrate at the end of the English Premier League football match - AFP

Those supporters more than played their part in the victory, willing their team to victory even when their chances looked remote. When Jean-Philippe Mateta scored for Palace, the volume increased. Optimism drained when Jordan Ayew doubled the lead, yet they sensed a famous win once Keane started the comeback. It got louder again.

Everton are looking to move to Bramley-Moore Dock but this rickety old stadium creates a heck of a din. Fans had started the evening drinking in the roads around the ground, having a carnival for their final home game of the season. At one stage it could have been a leaving party as their Premier League status was under serious threat.

Going to Arsenal on Sunday and needing a result looked daunting. It felt like there would be another repeat of 1994 when they survived by the skin of their teeth. At 2-0 down to a streetwise Palace side, they looked a broken team.

Nobody could have thought that within 45 minutes there would be flares lit and the final moments of the game being played in a fog of celebratory blue smoke.

Blue smoke is seen as Everton fans let off smoke bombs outside the stadium
Blue smoke is seen as Everton fans let off smoke bombs outside the stadium
Everton's supporters cheer as they hold a banner picturing Everton's English manager Frank Lampard - AFP
Everton's supporters cheer as they hold a banner picturing Everton's English manager Frank Lampard - AFP

“Super Frank” sang the fans. Lampard said keeping up Everton would rank higher than his titles with Chelsea as a player. He did it with a game to spare and can head into the final weekend knowing there is plenty of work ahead, but his team will be in the top flight next season. 

“There is no point in me downplaying the significance of this match,” wrote Lampard in his programme notes. The equation was simple: win and stay up. Yet so much of the damage this season has been self inflicted and it looked like Everton had self-destructed again.

As threatening as they are going forward, their problems have been at the back and they conceded after basic errors from a free-kick. Abdoulaye Doucoure and Vitalii Mykolenko were both marking Mateta when Eberechi Eze crossed. But the French striker lost both of his markers and planted his header in, his seventh goal of the season.

Palace were still chasing a top-10 finish and there were no signs that they were on the beach, despite not being in a battle for Europe or survival. Wilfried Zaha drew fouls, some of them given, while Eze looked to inflict harm from a deeper position.

Their second goal came after Mateta dispossessed Seamus Coleman and made his way towards the penalty area. Jordan Pickford should have dealt with the cross better but punched towards Zaha. With the ball back in the danger zone, Ayew prodded home when Everton defenders should have seized control.

The first turning point came at half-time when Lampard brought on Dele Alli in a desperate attempt to change the flow of the game. He provided a different dimension to Everton’s attack and they were going forward, going for broke.

Keane pulled a goal back with an instinctive finish from a free-kick. Mason Holgate had won the ball in the air and his centre-back partner took a touch before stabbing home a volley like a striker.

Michael Keane's goal helped get Everton back into the game - GETTY IMAGES
Michael Keane's goal helped get Everton back into the game - GETTY IMAGES

While belief was back among the fans, Palace also threatened and it needed Pickford to save sharply from Mateta after Eze danced his way through Everton’s defence. But the leveller came with 16 minutes left on the clock when Richarlison found the bottom corner. Dele nodded the ball into the six-yard area and Conor Gallagher failed to clear, presenting Richarlison with his chance.

A draw would be good enough to change the dynamic of the weekend. They would have effectively needed a point at the Emirates Stadium, but Calvert-Lewin scored the winner with a diving header from Demarai Gray’s free-kick, sparking the wild celebrations.

The first pitch invasion was cleared swiftly, then there was barely any uncovered turf after the final whistle when they poured on again. They were dancing in the aisles to Everton’s anthems, grown men crying with joy.

"This night goes right up there with the other moments in my career because of what it means from top to bottom at the club. That is special," said Lampard.

“People say we’re celebrating staying up, but it means so much to everyone at hte club. Everton fans won’t forget this. They can say these things but to actually do it, it is a special night.”

Richarlison leads the way with the celebrations in the changing rooms afterwards - GETTY IMAGES
Richarlison leads the way with the celebrations in the changing rooms afterwards - GETTY IMAGES
Seamus Coleman (L) and Frank Lampard react  - GETTY IMAGES
Seamus Coleman (L) and Frank Lampard react - GETTY IMAGES

Lampard admitted victory looked unlikely when his team went in for half-time.

He added: “Part of managing is acting. You hide your inner thoughts. The game wasnt going the way we wanted and the second goal was so bad for us. We changed it. But the most important thing was how much fight and spirit this team has. If we got one goal, the fans would suck the ball in the net after that.”

Palace manager Patrick Vieira bemoaned his side not respecting the game enough after the break. “It is about managing the game at 2-0 and we gave them hope," he said. "Their goals, the first, second and third, woke up the crowd. We knew about the crowd but we helped wake them up. We gave them the tools to believe.”

Everton secure Premier League survival, as it happened:

09:37 PM

More from the match winner

The fans have made the difference. This game, when we got the first goal back, they made the difference.

On a personal note some fans have questioned my commitment, my goal today shows I'm comitted and I'm just pleased I made a difference in the end.

09:36 PM

Player reaction

Calvert-Lewin

The amount of pressure that was on us, to go to 2-2 you just get that feeling you're going to get another one. I just made sure I was in the right area, it's an incredible experience.

What a rollercoaster football is, it's why we love the game.

It's a massive weight lifted.

Keane

The first half was tough, they were getting out well. Those two goals were avoidable on our part. The fans got right behind us after the break. I always thought we had a chance but we had to get a goal early.

09:32 PM

Frank Lampard speaks

On his celebrations and walking up into the stands

I jumped up there to say a thank you. I saw all the legends of the club and the players. I got told to get off the ledge but I just had to enjoy the moment.

I came into the club and there were a lot of splits. But we've put it together, everyone at the club deserves huge credit for that. Now it's time to take stock and make sure we're not in this position again.

09:28 PM

RIP your mentions

09:24 PM

Fan footage

09:22 PM

A considered take

09:20 PM

Richarlison applauds the supporters

09:14 PM

A generous double handclap from Chris Sutton

09:13 PM

Relief for Neville Southall

09:10 PM

Peter Reid left speechless

09:05 PM

The Lampard love-in begins in earnest

09:05 PM

Scenes™ at the final whistle

08:58 PM

Outpouring of joy at Goodison

Lampard is currently in the stands, soaking up the adulation. There are thousands of fans on the pitch, hugging, singing and celebrating. They won't forget tonight in a hurry.

Everton fans celebrate a momentous win - REUTERS
Everton fans celebrate a momentous win - REUTERS

08:55 PM

Another good stat

08:52 PM

Comeback kings

08:50 PM

Gary Lineker sends his congratulations

08:45 PM

Full time, Everton 3-2 Crystal Palace

It's official. Everton will play Premier League football next season.

It was an incredible second-half performance from the Toffees, who finally rose to the occasion. There's a huge pitch invasion at the final whistle, with Goodison wreathed in blue smoke and echoing with triumphant chants, laughter and tears.

08:43 PM

90+5 mins, Everton 3-2 Crystal Palace

A handball from Benteke on the edge of the area earns a huge cheer from the Goodison faithful. They are two minutes away from Premier League survival, assuming they don't concede.

08:42 PM

90+4 mins, Everton 3-2 Crystal Palace

In a stark contrast to their first-half performance, Palace are now launching the ball long in search of an equaliser. What a turnaround this has been.

08:38 PM

Seven minutes of added time

This is going to be extremely tense for the Toffees.

08:37 PM

90+1 mins, Everton 3-2 Crystal Palace

Lampard makes a defensive switch, bringing off Richarlison for Jonjoe Kenny.

08:35 PM

88 mins, Everton 3-2 Crystal Palace

The game is back underway. Can Everton hold on for the win?

08:34 PM

Announcer asking fans to leave the field

Vieira seems unhappy about the situation, understandably. Everton have made the mother of all comebacks against his team.

08:33 PM

GOAL! Everton 3-2 Crystal Palace

Coleman wins a free kick from Zaha 25 yards out.

Gray whips the ball in and Calvert-Lewin nods it home. There is absolute delirium at Goodison, with fans invading the pitch from all directions.

Jordan Pickford celebrates at the other end of the field - REUTERS
Jordan Pickford celebrates at the other end of the field - REUTERS

08:29 PM

81 mins, Everton 2-2 Crystal Palace

Doucoure is booked for tugging back Eze as he scampers forwards.

08:28 PM

80 mins, Everton 2-2 Crystal Palace

Zaha picks out Eze on the edge of the area, but Doucoure scrambles back to make a challenge.

Vieira makes his third substitution, bringing off Mateta for Christian Benteke.

08:25 PM

77 mins, Everton 2-2 Crystal Palace

Palace aren't done here.

Zaha gets forwards and cuts inside, but his shot is deflected wide.

08:23 PM

GOAL! Everton 2-2 Crystal Palace

Everton have their equaliser!

Pickford plays a long ball up to Gray, who creates space with some fancy footwork. He moves the ball on to Coleman, who crosses to the back post where a deflected shot from Alli falls to the feet of Richarlison. He scoops the ball into the far corner. Goodison goes wild, a shower of blue smoke bombs raining down onto the turf.

08:20 PM

74 mins, Everton 1-2 Crystal Palace

Schlupp comes off for Gallagher as Vieira looks to revive his flagging attack.

08:19 PM

71 mins, Everton 1-2 Crystal Palace

The game is much more even now, with Everton making inroads. Dominic-Lewin leaps to meet a long ball into the box, but can only glance a header wide.

08:17 PM

69 mins, Everton 1-2 Crystal Palace

Everton win a corner which is cleared as far as Doucoure, whose low shot through a crowd of players is saved and held by Butland.

08:17 PM

68 mins, Everton 1-2 Crystal Palace

Zaha is booked for clipping Alli's heels as he looks to play a pass. Naughty.

08:16 PM

67 mins, Everton 1-2 Crystal Palace

It's all getting very spicy now. Keane flies in on Eze in midfield, earning a booking. He went in with serious force but, luckily, only glanced his opponent.

08:13 PM

65 mins, Everton 1-2 Crystal Palace

Calvert-Lewin chops down Clyne out wide, sliding in hard, but Taylor opts against a booking.

08:12 PM

64 mins, Everton 1-2 Crystal Palace

Schlupp cuts across the face of goal and works an opening, but fires straight at Pickford.

08:11 PM

63 mins, Everton 1-2 Crystal Palace

So close!

Eze dances through the midfield and picks out Mateta in space in the box. Pickford does well to push the shot wide.

Lampard roars instructions to his players from the sidelines - GETTY IMAGES
Lampard roars instructions to his players from the sidelines - GETTY IMAGES

08:09 PM

62 mins, Everton 1-2 Crystal Palace

Richarlison floats a beautiful ball to Calvert-Lewin at the back post, but he gets in a muddle and fails to turn it home.

08:08 PM

61 mins, Everton 1-2 Crystal Palace

Lampard makes another change, Gordon making way for Demarai Gray.

Moments earlier Milivojevic had hacked down Alli on the charge, but escaped a booking.

08:07 PM

60 mins, Everton 1-2 Crystal Palace

Palace go on the counter and win a corner, but Calvert-Lewin thumps the ball clear.

08:04 PM

55 mins, Everton 1-2 Crystal Palace

Alli wins a free kick from Hughes and Everton have another menacing set piece.

Before they take it, Vieira brings Hughes off for Milivojevic. Mykolenko whips another ball into the box, but Schlupp clears.

08:02 PM

GOAL! Everton 1-2 Crystal Palace

Andersen gives away a free kick after pummelling Alli in an aerial duel.

Mykolenko steps up and floats a delivery to Holgate at the far post. He flicks the ball on to Keane, who smashes a shot past Butland to give Everton hope.

Michael Keane pumps his fist as he charges back towards the centre circle - REUTERS
Michael Keane pumps his fist as he charges back towards the centre circle - REUTERS

07:58 PM

50 mins, Everton 0-2 Crystal Palace

Eze goes on a mazy run which takes him through half the Everton team before going down under pressure in the area, but Taylor ignores Palace's appeals for a penalty.

07:56 PM

49 mins, Everton 0-2 Crystal Palace

Palace win a corner and Eze steps up, but fails to beat the first man.

07:55 PM

46 mins, Everton 0-2 Crystal Palace

Schlupp looks to play Zaha in behind Coleman, but Everton's captain does well to recover.

07:52 PM

Second half kicks off

We're back in action on Merseyside.

07:52 PM

Half-time sub

Lampard hooks Gomes, replacing him with Dele Alli.

07:52 PM

Players back out on the pitch

Can Everton turn this around somehow? It will take a drastically different showing in the second half.

07:43 PM

Half-time, Everton 0-2 Crystal Palace

While Everton will feel hard done-by over the decision not to send off Ayew, they need to ask themselves why they have produced such a flat performance in such an important game.

Where the hosts have looked laboured on the ball and struggled to make meaningful chances, the visitors have played with fizzing energy and attacking intent. Everton had 34 per cent possession in the first half, made 132 passes to Palace's 265, and had a passing accuracy of only 67 per cent. The pressure seems to be getting to them.

It's been a nightmare first half for Everton - REUTERS
It's been a nightmare first half for Everton - REUTERS

07:35 PM

45+2 mins, Everton 0-2 Crystal Palace

Doucoure appeals for a penalty after he flicks the ball up and onto Schlupp's forearm in the area, but the Palace man had his arm close to his side and Taylor isn't interested. Nor is VAR.

07:32 PM

44 mins, Everton 0-2 Crystal Palace

There's a break in play after Mateta gets a knock to the head but, thankfully, he looks fine to continue.

07:29 PM

40 mins, Everton 0-2 Crystal Palace

Big save!

Doucoure picks out Andre Gomes on the edge of the area, but he fluffs his lines and Butland makes the stop.

07:27 PM

38 mins, Everton 0-2 Crystal Palace

Controversy aside, Everton have totally failed to impose themselves on this game.

Palace come forwards again, but the move peters out. Lampard looks to have switched to a back four, with Iwobi coming into midfield as he desperately searches for some semblance of control.

07:23 PM

GOAL! Everton 0-2 Crystal Palace

Well, that's going to be extremely controversial.

Seamus Coleman loses the ball on halfway and Palace pour forwards. A shot-come-cross from Zaha falls for Ayew five yards out and he bundles into the back of the net, having narrowly escaped being sent off only moments ago.

Jordan Ayew celebrates with arms outstretched - AP
Jordan Ayew celebrates with arms outstretched - AP

07:21 PM

33 mins, Everton 0-1 Crystal Palace

Ayew steams in on Gordon, drawing a deafening roar for a red card from the home fans.

It's a nasty scissor tackle to Gordon's knee, but Taylor is in a forgiving mood and only produces a yellow card. Everton fans will be livid when they watch that one back.

Anthony Gordon clutches his leg - REUTERS
Anthony Gordon clutches his leg - REUTERS

07:19 PM

32 mins, Everton 0-1 Crystal Palace

Hughes is booked for sliding through the back of Gordon. Ouch.

07:18 PM

31 mins, Everton 0-1 Crystal Palace

Zaha bursts into space and moves the ball on to Eze, who picks out Schlupp in the box. He can't dig the ball out from beneath his feet and the chance goes begging.

07:17 PM

30 mins, Everton 0-1 Crystal Palace

Half an hour gone and it's still all Palace. After a prolonged spell of possession, Clyne whips in a cross from the right which Butland manages to intercept.

07:15 PM

27 mins, Everton 0-1 Crystal Palace

Mateta very nearly gets his head on another ball into the box, but Keane heads behind for a corner. Pickford commands his box well and snatches the delivery out of the air.

07:13 PM

26 mins, Everton 0-1 Crystal Palace

Everton go on the counter through Mykolenko, who switches play. He gets the ball back as he ghosts into the box at the far post, but scuffs an attempted volley.

07:12 PM

25 mins, Everton 0-1 Crystal Palace

Ayew and Nathaniel Clyne make inroads down the right flank, but neither can work an opening.

07:10 PM

22 mins, Everton 0-1 Crystal Palace

Zaha gets away down the left but slips at the vital moment, allowing the ball to trickle out for a goal kick.

The home fans give an ironic cheer, but the truth is that Palace look dominant at the moment. Everton need a huge response here.

07:08 PM

GOAL! Everton 0-1 Crystal Palace

Schlupp wins a free kick out wide on the left and Eze steps up.

His inswinging delivery falls perfectly for Mateta, who nods his header beneath the despairing dive of Jordan Pickford. The visitors have the lead.

Jean-Philippe Mateta wheels away in celebration - REUTERS
Jean-Philippe Mateta wheels away in celebration - REUTERS

07:05 PM

17 mins, Everton 0-0 Crystal Palace

Andersen plays a loose pass and Iwobi picks it up, roaring into Palace's half. He moves the ball on to Gordon, whose cross towards Dominic Calvert-Lewin is cleared.

07:03 PM

14 mins, Everton 0-0 Crystal Palace

Richarlison wins a free kick on the edge of the area after being bundled over by a combination of Hughes and Joachim Andersen.

The Brazilian steps up to take it himself, giving Jack Butland a steely glare. He whips the ball up and over the wall, skimming the top of the crossbar.

So close, but so far - REUTERS
So close, but so far - REUTERS

07:01 PM

13 mins, Everton 0-0 Crystal Palace

Zaha runs at the Everton defence and plays a through ball to Jean-Philippe Mateta in the box, but Mason Holgate does well to get across and usher it out for a goal kick.

07:00 PM

12 mins, Everton 0-0 Crystal Palace

Palace are finding their rhythm here, wresting control of possession. They have looked by far the more incisive side so far.

06:57 PM

10 mins, Everton 0-0 Crystal Palace

Schlupp gets the ball in a decent shooting position on the edge of the area, but drags wide.

06:54 PM

7 mins, Everton 0-0 Crystal Palace

Tyrick Mitchell whips in a cross from the left and Ayew gets to it, but heads wide from a promising position.

06:51 PM

4 mins, Everton 0-0 Crystal Palace

Everton win a corner but Gordon fails to beat the first defender with his delivery. As you were.

06:50 PM

3 mins, Everton 0-0 Crystal Palace

Anthony Gordon goes face-to-face with Wilfried Zaha, earning a push. Both sides pile in and there's a customary shoving match, but Anthony Taylor calms things down and resists the temptation to reach for his pocket so early on.

Ref! Ref! - REUTERS
Ref! Ref! - REUTERS

06:48 PM

2 mins, Everton 0-0 Crystal Palace

Abdoulaye Doucoure drives through the midfield before moving the ball on to Iwobi, whose cross is blocked proactively by Schlupp.

06:46 PM

Kick off!

We're underway at Goodison Park.

06:44 PM

Z Cars rings out

... and Goodison is, once again, absolutely rocking. Will the players do the atmosphere justice?

06:43 PM

Palace ready to rumble

06:35 PM

Ten minutes to go until kick off

Can you imagine the nerves in the home dressing room right now? This could be make-or-break for Everton.

06:31 PM

Warm-ups over and done with

06:30 PM

Electric atmosphere

It's smoke bomb central at Goodison Park at the moment.

Blue smoke fills the air outside the stadium - PA
Blue smoke fills the air outside the stadium - PA

06:21 PM

Warm-ups commence

06:07 PM

Sea of blue

06:06 PM

Interesting stat

06:05 PM

Visitors head to the away dressing room

06:04 PM

Palace switch formation

It looks like Vieira has reverted to 4-3-3 this evening, having fielded a less familiar 3-5-2 formation in Palace's 1-1 draw with Aston Villa at the weekend.

He has made three changes to his starting line-up, with Will Hughes, Jordan Ayew and Jeffrey Schlupp swapping in for Gallagher, Luka Milivojevic and Cheikhou Kouyate respectively. Kouyate was deployed as one of three centre-backs against Villa, so Vieira has dropped a defender for the sake of an additional midfielder.

05:51 PM

One change for Everton

Lampard has retained confidence in the team which faced Brentford on Sunday, sticking with the same starting XI with one exception.

Michael Keane, who was ill at the weekend, comes back in to replace the suspended Branthwaite. It looks like Everton will stick with 3-4-3, with Alex Iwobi and Vitalii Mykolenko as wing-backs.

05:46 PM

Crystal Palace team news

05:46 PM

Everton team news

05:43 PM

A reminder of tonight's Premier League schedule

05:32 PM

Team buses arrive

05:01 PM

The view at Goodison Park

05:00 PM

Everton tantalisingly close to safety

Having squandered their chance to secure Premier League survival with two games to spare, Everton will have another crack this evening.

Burnley's 1-0 loss to Tottenham and Leeds' 1-1 draw with Brighton on Sunday meant that, had Everton beaten Brentford, they would have been safe. Instead they succumbed to a chaotic 3-2 defeat, with Jarrad Branthwaite and Salomon Rondon sent off as Thomas Frank's men came from 2-1 down to claim victory.

Given that his side face a trip to Arsenal on the final day, Frank Lampard will be desperate to wrap things up tonight. Disappointing as their performance against Brentford was, Everton were roared on by a galvanised Goodison Park and, with Crystal Palace beached in mid-table, this is another opportunity for the players to justify the fans' faith in them.

Palace are dangerous opponents, however, even if they have little to play for other than their league standing and points total. They come into this game on a four-match unbeaten run and with an ongoing sense of forward momentum under the management of Patrick Vieira.

While Vieira has been praised for shedding the staid conservatism of the Roy Hodgson era, Palace have conceded only three goals in their last five games and seem to have struck a balance between creative silkiness – as embodied by Conor Gallagher and Eberechi Eze – and defensive bristle. They have already beaten Everton twice this season, once in the league and once in the FA Cup, by an aggregate scoreline of 7-1, albeit both games were at Selhurst Park.

Lose or draw tonight, and Everton face the prospect of battling it out with Leeds and Burnley on the final day. Burnley play Aston Villa this evening, so Everton fans may want to keep an eye on that game.

Speaking before the match, Lampard made no bones about how important this match is for his side's survival hopes. "Historically it could be a big night for us because we know the situation.

"I'm certainly not overplaying the idea of a relegation battle as if that is something to get excited about. It is just that, with the situation we are in, it is absolutely pivotal to the future of the club in the short term to get the results we need to stay in the league. Also, football is about moments and about the opportunity for the players, the staff and the fans to come together and share a moment that means a lot to the club. And we shouldn't understate that.

"It won't be cause for huge celebrations if we get the right result but, at the same time, everyone is fighting in the same direction for something, so we have to understand what a big night that could be for the club."

Vieira, meanwhile, did his best to add to the nervous tension. "I think it will be no different from the last game that they played," he said, when asked to assess the threat posed by Everton. "I think they will be playing with a lot of pressure.

"They will be really aggressive. And I think, from the first minute, they will be up in our faces. So we are expecting a tough, tough game."

Frank Lampard has seven wins from 19 games in charge of Everton - AP
Frank Lampard has seven wins from 19 games in charge of Everton - AP
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