Everton 1 - 1 Crystal Palace
Romelu Lukaku took his tally to 50 goals in 100 appearances for Everton with the equaliser
Romelu Lukaku struck with nine minutes to go to register his sixth goal in five games and cancel out Scott Dann's 76th-minute but Everton were left cursing their luck following an entertaining encounter at Goodison Park.
The Belgian striker notched his 50th Everton goal on his 100th appearance for the club, converting Gerard Deulofeu's centre from close range, as the Blues poured forward in an attempt to salvage a game they had done more than enough to win by the time they conceded another soft goal.
Lukaku hit the post with terrific efforts from outside the box and Conor Wickham headed off his own crossbar as Everton tried to turn their superiority into goals but were forced to chase the game when Dann silenced Goodison Park with an unchallenged header that put Crystal Palace on course for another win on Merseyside.
Sheer persistence from Deulofeu, who had battled all evening to find the telling final ball, saw him skip to the byline and serve up the equaliser. But while Roberto Martinez's men pushed for a winner, they couldn't find another way though and had to be content with another point.
Martinez mad two changes from the side that won at Middlesbrough with Tom Cleverley continuing in place of the injured James McCarthy, Arouna Kone coming back in for Leon Osman and Tim Howard reclaiming his place in goal.
The Blues looked as though they come determined to entertain with some lovely touches and interchanges in the early going and Ross Barkley went close with a curling effort before Wickham connected with Yannick Bolasie's cross and forced a point-blank save from Tim Howard at the other end.
Lukaku, looking to equal Peter Beardsley's feat of six goals in consecutive matches, then turned smartly on a loose ball and rattled the upright with a low drive, Kone blazed well wide and Seamus Coleman's fierce effort cannoned off a defender and wide as the home side continued to carry the greater threat going into the half-time interval.
The second half eventually became a more open affair as Everton continued to probe Palace's defences but Kone side-footed over the bar before Wickham headed Barkley's free kick toward his own net but was spared by the woodwork. Howard, meanwhile, foiled Bolasie with an out-stretched foot as the visitors broke quickly with the Blues' defence out-numbered.
It felt as though it would only be a matter of time before Everton scored but Wayne Hennessey pulled off a stunning save to deny a superb Cleverley effort, while Jason Puncheon reminded Everton of Palace's threat on the counter when he prompted a two-handed stop from Howard.
It was from the Toffees' Achilles heel of aerial balls to the edge of the six-yard that the visitors eventually scored, however, and it left the home faithful with a familiarly sinking feeling against the team from South London.
Martinez's side picked themselves up quickly, however, and after Lukaku smashed a terrific half-volley off the crossbar, he was in the right place in front of goal to tuck in Deulofeu's ball as it nicked off Barry's leg on its way across the face of Hennessey's goal.
Keeping faith with the team as it was – Leighton Baines's introduction in favour of Brendan Galloway after 61 minutes would be the only Everton substitution on the evening &8211; Martinez hoped his players; momentum could carry them to a winning goal. The Blues lacked imagination in the closing stages, however, and were held at bay through the final minutes and three minutes of stoppage time.
A second successive and ultimately disappointing draw in the League lifts Everton up two spots into ninth while Alan Pardew's Palace take the 6th place that Martinez no doubt had his eye on before kick off.
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