Solid Everton grind out another victory

Saturday, 26 September, 2020 295comments  |  Jump to last
Crystal Palace 1 - 2 Everton

Dominic Calvert-Lewin scored his fifth goal in three League games to set the Toffees on their way to victory

Everton extended their 100% start to the new season with a hard-fought win at Selhurst Park that was secured by a controversial penalty late in the first half.

IFAB's new handball rules took centre stage again as a second incident in the box involving Joel Ward resulted in a spot-kick being award to the Toffees and Richarlison converted from 12 yards with aplomb.

That restored Everton's lead after Cheikhou Kouyaté had cancelled out Dominic Calvert-Lewin's 10th-minute opener and while Carlo Ancelotti's men were slightly less expansive in the second half and had to deal with a good deal more pressure from Palace, they held on fairly comfortably to return to the top of the Premier League for the time being.

Ancelotti had reverted back to his trusted starting XI, with three of his new signings back in the side, and after a slightly untidy start, the Blues got to grips with their task and Abdoulaye Doucouré had an early shot saved at the near post by Guaita.

A minute later, though, the visitors took the lead thanks to a fine passing move. Doucouré's pass to James Rodriguez was stroked into the Palace area first time by the Colombian to Seamus Coleman who squared neatly for Calvert-Lewin to side-foot in off the goalkeeper from close range.

Wilfried Zaha was being kept quiet enough and was booked for kicking out at Yerry Mina and it was from a more rudimentary situation that the hosts equalised. Andros Townsend delivered a deep corner to the back post where Kouyaté out-jumped two Everton players to power a header past Jordan Pickford.

A quick Everton counter-attack where Rodriguez sent Richarilson away was charged down and a handball claim on Ward was eventually denied by Video Assistant Referee, Anthony Taylor.

The Palace defender wasn't as lucky late in the half, however, as he fell victim to the new handball laws. Accidentally handling Lucas Digne's header just inside the box, Ward's arm was adjudged by referee Kevin Friend, after a check of his monitor, to have been in an unnatural position and a penalty was awarded.

Richarlison swept the resulting spot kick high into the net following a halting run-up to send Ancelotti's men into the interval a goal up.

Everton withstood a couple of potentially nervy dead-ball situations early in the second half but almost doubled their advantage when Rodriguez picked Calvert-Lewin out from a corner but the striker could only prod wide when a surer connection would surely have resulted in another goal.

The Blues' No.9 was on the end of another of the Colombian's deliveries from the same side a few minutes later but he and Michael Keane went for the same ball and neither could properly connect with it.

Jordan Ayew flashed a deflected centre across the face of Everton's and Kouyaté missed at the far post with another header from a free-kick before a James volley off Digne's cross was deflected behind.

Calvert-Lewin survived another VAR check for handball in the area with 20 minutes to go while he had one more half chance at the other end that he sliced into the goalkeeper's arms as the closing stages were characterised by Everton shutting things down and preventing their hosts from creating any meaningful chances of their own.

The result, which was more than fair on the balance of play, ended Palace's winning start to the new season saw Everton win their third successive League game and fifth in all competitions to send them back to the top of the table for the time being.  

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