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Déjà vu for unlucky Everton

11/02/2015  Comments (0)  jump
Chelsea 1 - 0 Everton

Romelu Lukaku looked certain to score but was denied by Peter Cech with the score at 0-0

Everton were beaten at Stamford Bridge by a very late goal for the second season running as Willian's deflected low drive crept inside Tim Howard's post.

It was rough justice on Roberto Martinez's side who had worked tirelessly to keep the Premier League leaders at bay only to see a resolute defensive stand buckled just two minutes from the end after Gareth Barry had been sent off for a second bookable offence.

The 33 year-old had joined his defensive midfield partner Muhamed Besic in the referee's notebook inside the first half an hour as the Blues dug in and successfully frustrated Chelsea with a doggedly resolute display.

While Besic was withdrawn at half time in favour of James McCarthy, Barry remained on the pitch but was pulled up for an ill-advised trip on Willian in the 87th minute and given his marching orders. Tim Howard punched away a header from the resulting free kick but Willian's first-time effort deflected off Steven Naismith's toe, went through Darron Gibson's legs and inside the post with the goalkeeper rooted to the spot.

Howard, back in the starting XI despite Joel Robles's impressive form as his deputy over the last six weeks, had helped keep matters level going into the final stages, denying Loic Remy with a one-handed save in the first half and then beating away efforts by Eden Hazard and Nemanja Matic in the second.

It was Peter Cech at the other end who pulled off the save of the evening, though, with a world-class stop to deny Romelu Lukaku at point-blank range. The Belgian looked certain to convert Bryan Oviedo's low cross but the 'keeper's reaction save with his foot diverted it away from goal.

Substitute Kevin Mirallas, meanwhile, flashed a shot narrowly over before Matic had a goal ruled off for offside on Branislav Ivanovic.

Tempers flared following Barry's final transgression and Ivanovic was fortunate not to face censure himself for a strangle and apparent head-butt on McCarthy but Everton's concentration faltered in the aftermath and Jose Mourinho's side were able to sneak the three points.

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