Never-say-die spirit earns Richarlison and Everton late reward

Richarlison has scored far better goals for club and country but, in the final reckoning of this tortuous season, he might not score many more important ones than his 50th for Everton.

Lyndon Lloyd 20/04/2022 24comments  |  Jump to last
Everton 1 - 1 Leicester City

Richarlison has scored far better goals for club and country but, in the final reckoning of this tortuous season, he might not score many more important ones than his 50th for Everton. His scruffy effort that bobbled past Peter Schmeichel in the third minute of stoppage time against Leicester this evening could end up being priceless in the relegation stakes; it was certainly atonement for one of the two gilt-edged chances he spurned earlier in a game that otherwise looked beyond a Blues side that huffed and puffed but was largely outshone by the more accomplished Foxes.

But then Everton are hovering one place above the bottom three for a reason. Hobbled by a lack of both confidence and a genuine ability to play through opposition teams, Frank Lampard’s side are relying on sheer effort, occasional flashes of individual skill and earning their good fortune accordingly. They had to wait for it but they made the breakthrough in the end.

An almost full-strength Foxes outfit threatened to bury their hosts on the evidence of the opening quarter of an hour but in fairness to Everton and Richarlison himself, they hung in there, steadied themselves and, backed once more by a Goodison crowd that refused to go home empty-handed, they salvaged something from a losing position in a manner in which they proved incapable against Wolves last month.

Also true of struggling sides is inconsistency and so it was that players who have been real difference-makers at times had off days while two players who haven’t yet made the desired impact weighed in with important contributions. Fabian Delph, who stepped into the midfield to deliver a top-class performance last time out against Manchester United, looked to have reverted back to the ineffectiveness that has plagued his time with the club. Allan also had one of his off-days and Demarai Gray, a revelation at the start of the campaign, continues his search for the form that made him one of the standout Premier League signings of last summer in the early going.

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Salomon Rondon, meanwhile, came on as a second-half substitute to provide the ideal foil up front for Richarlison who had toiled thanklessly up to that point. The Venezuelan set the Brazilian up for what would be Everton’s first shot on target in the 67th minute and, intentionally or not, played a key part in the equaliser. So, too, did Dele Alli, who made his first appearance since his cameo against Wolves five weeks ago and provided the cross from which Richarlison set Goodison wild in injury time once more.

Any hope that this clash with Leicester would follow the same pattern as the one against United were dispelled very quickly. Brendan Rodgers had deployed his strongest line-up from the players available and the Foxes quickly settled into a slick possession game that opened Everton up in only the first minute.

A dangerous pass into the box that found Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall required an excellent saving tackle from Seamus Coleman but it was merely a warning sign of what would follow four minutes later. That time, James Maddison was allowed to get to the byline off Ricardo Pereira’s pass and cut it back to Iheanacho in front of goal. The returning Yerry Mina’s unorthodox prostrate block denied the striker but the ball merely fell to Harvey Barnes and he tucked a shot in off the post to give the Leicester the lead.

Maddison tested Jordan Pickford with a shot in the 11th from Iheanacho's lay-off and the visitors looked good value for their advantage until Anthony Gordon centred and Richarlison inexplicably miscued in front of goal in the 17th minute. It was an awful miss and it would be another 50 minutes before the Toffees carved out one as clear-cut.

Everton gradually found their feet and eventually caused the visitors a couple of problems towards the end of the first half.

Gray, in the side in place of the injured Dominic Calvert-Lewin, ended a well-worked move down the left by whipping in a cross that Richarlison couldn't divert on target and the former Leicester winger missed by inches a couple of minutes later when a short corner routine came to him on the edge of the box but his curling shot bent wide.

The hosts came out for the second half determined to exert some pressure on the Foxes and Alex Iwobi saw a 25-yard attempt drift over while Gray despatched a more wild shot from similar distance into the Gwladys Street End.

Lampard opted for a more attacking posture when he withdrew Allan in the 58th minute and introduced Dele for a rare appearance and Rondon joined him eight minutes later as Gray made way. Rondon challenged for an aerial ball that dropped into the path of Richarlison but Schmeichel parried the Brazilian’s shot it before gathering at the second attempt. And a near-post flick-on by the substitute later in the half almost fell to Dele at the far post but it flew over the former Spurs man's leap.

Leicester then tried to capitalise on the Blues' need to push forward as Maddison had a shot parried away by Pickford, Iheanacho saw an effort deflect over before Delph got enough on two goal-bound Maddison drives to deflect them behind to safety.

Meanwhile, Richarlison, having won a corner on the left for Gordon to take popped up unmarked around six-yards to meet the winger's dead-ball delivery but made a mess of the header and the ball bounced wide off his shoulder, to the anguish of the home crowd.

He would get one more chance, though, as an increasingly fractious contest wore into five minutes' worth of stoppage time. Coleman had a sight of goal but dallied and his shot was blocked but when Everton kept it, the ball was worked back to Dele out wide. He crossed low, Rondon did enough to ensure it by-passed Wesley Fofana and Richarlison scuffed it in such a way that it bobbled past Schmeichel off Pereira’s heel and spun into the far corner.

It was another climatic finish under the lights and the Brazil international would win one last corner for Everton to try and snatch the points but it was no to be and Lampard's men had to be content with a hard-won draw.

While a win would have been massive for Everton in their bid to avoid the drop, four points from games against United and Leicester is a decent return and it makes that disastrous defeat at Burnley all the more costly because the Blues could be breathing very easily with seven matches to go.

As it is, Evertonians will be watching nervously what happens at Turf Moor between the Clarets and Southampton tomorrow evening and then praying their team can pull off a miracle at Anfield this coming weekend. Stranger things have happened…

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Reader Comments (24)

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Paul Kernot
1 Posted 21/04/2022 at 02:17:36
Watching that was so damn frustrating. We could easily have lost. If we had a quality striker, we could easily have won it too. Then again, if we had a quality striker, we wouldn't be in the mess we're in.

I would praise the efforts of Anthony Gordon and Alex Iwobi, who I will admit is surprising the hell out of me.

I'd add an honourary mention for Mykolenko too. I think he could actually grow in to a solid left-back.

A point wasn't enough from this game but, as with every game since they beat us, it now depends how Burnley do vs Saints tomorrow.

Christine Foster
2 Posted 21/04/2022 at 03:03:12
It was unpleasant viewing for the first half. Leicester were first to everything, pass and go. We weren't even able to get the ball for long periods as we looked so disjointed and poor.

Players were still ambling back, we were pressing shadows, never close to the man or the ball. We were lucky to go in only one goal down but, as the game went on, we could see the pressure was having some effect.

Their infuriating time-wasting throughout the game cost them in the end with 5 mins added on enabling Richarlison to scramble the ball over the line for a well deserved point.

I think Gordon's passing and set plays were poor, Gray just struggled, we allowed them the midfield, far too easy, Needed Doucouré alongside Allan for the latter to play well I think...a special mention for Rondon who, despite all the justified flak he has had to date, did well and the team looked far better with Richarlison wide and a striker in the middle.

Small matter of Anfield this weekend... have to raise the game and be first to the ball every time, play Rondon and Richarlison. Upsets do happen.

Andy Peers
3 Posted 21/04/2022 at 03:05:13
Easy to say in hindsight but Mina and Delph… they were awful today. Van de Beek and Keane would have represented better.
Steve Brown
4 Posted 21/04/2022 at 06:36:12
Performances don't matter at this stage, only results. A return of 4 points from 6 is acceptable from the Man U and Leicester games.

That said, I don't think some of the blame aimed at Lampard is fair. Bringing Mina into the team and retaining Delph were supported by a lot of posters in the lead up to the game. Equally, his decision to start Richarlison as the forward was justified in my opinion – as proved by his goal. Rondon has been poor all season and patently unfit. He cannot last 90 minutes and will best serve as an impact substitute.

He will also have set up the team to stay compact and retain a high intensity in the press, but that was impacted by two things: 1) when this team concedes a goal, their confidence collapses; 2) very few players in the squad have the consistency to put in good performances in two consecutive games.

That's not to excuses Lampard for the formation, tactical and line-up changes he has made since taking over. He should have simplified the tactics and formation early. But, he has won 6 games in his first 2.5 months compared to the 1 game that the Spanish sociopath won his final 3.5 months in charge.

Alan J Thompson
5 Posted 21/04/2022 at 06:44:10
I've just finished watching the game and not read any comments and I'd have to say that for 90 minutes I was just disappointed.

From the first minute they waltzed right through us and while under the Spaniard we seemed to do nothing for the initial 15 minutes, we seemed here to run around like headless chickens, at best schoolyard football, continually chasing the ball while Leicester just used the spaces we'd run out from.

Then they waltzed through again and Mina seemed to slip onto his backside and that was it and when Richarlison missed his first sitter I just thought that it was relegation fortune and football. Indeed, it took Everton nearly 20 minutes to realize that Gordon was on the pitch which seemed to coincide with Leicester taking their foot off the pedal.

There didn't seem to be any great movement from Everton and we seemed to play three sideways passes before giving it to somebody with two Leicester players on him.

Then Richarlison missed his second sitter and Coleman just had to hit it first time but took too long and I really did think it was all over for us when Richarlison got lucky, a vital point I'm not sure we deserved but we then seemed keen to get in for the kill when the Ref who'd given us nothing all night wasted a couple of minutes for them and then seemed to blow 2 minutes early.

I'm not sure we had a MotM but I certainly thought Iwobi was our best and at long last somebody has realized he is a lot better when played more centrally. Now we just need somebody to wake up to the fact that Richarlison is better played wider which means only one of Gordon or Gray, and then to get us to move the ball forward more quickly and as Leicester showed, to use the space.

And now I tend to think how we play in our next game depends on Wolves or Southampton(?) doing us a favour tomorrow.

Peter Neilson
6 Posted 21/04/2022 at 07:23:34
Second half was an improvement.

As with the Newcastle game, when Calvert-Lewin came on, it made a difference bringing Rondon on. A centre-forward who had a chance of doing something off long balls. It's just not Richarlison's game.

Our fate is still in our own hands.

Ian Bennett
7 Posted 21/04/2022 at 07:39:52
I thought Gray was rubbish again, whilst playing Richarlison upfront with no support is a waste of time.

It's a shame that Calvert-Lewin is more interested in tarting about with GQ etc, than getting fit and putting a shift on the football pitch. Totally loss of focus on what his job is. A limited bit of success and he's fallen into the trap of thinking he's far better than he really is.

Steve Shave
8 Posted 21/04/2022 at 07:53:27
We got lucky really, pushed till the end though, which I guess will please Frank.

Overall though we seriously lack quality. People will mention his hand in the goal but I feel Alli offers nothing in return for his £100k wages pw.

Iwobi was our best player; if we survive then this relegation battle may be the making of him at Everton. I certainly hope the fans remember his efforts and take him more to their hearts.

That said, I would reluctantly move him wide at Mordor in order to play either Van de Beek or Doucouré in the slightly more advanced midfield position (assuming Delph can manage 3 games in a row) and keep Richarlison as the main striker. We can always switch it up and bring Rondon on later.

Rick Tarleton
9 Posted 21/04/2022 at 08:12:44
Not being able to find a stream, I haven't watched the game.

A point is invaluable, 3 points would have represented being half-way up the swinging rope ladder.

This season, 35 points will probably be enough. Just hoping that Burnley don't have a new manager bounce tonight. Southampton can be anything and it's nail-biting stuff.

Bob Skelton
10 Posted 21/04/2022 at 08:23:50
It's really frustrating to watch this Everton team when you come across a half-decent outfit. Leicester were much the better team, passing with confidence and just playing around us.

They pressed the back four when Pickford had the ball and we were incapable of progressing easily. They just played it smartly from the back showing us how it should be done.

The ability to receive the ball and quickly pass to a colleague should be ingrained in a professional footballer, not our collection of faux footballers though. Our only tactic is to lump the ball forward from Pickford, to our one forward, and hope for something to happen.

You can see why we are down amongst the dead men. Saying all of that, we had some good chances that we missed – hang your heads, Richarlison and Coleman, and we got a point with a jammy goal at the end.

I'm still living in hope but I just want this season to end. Goodison is a hard watch now, we are so poor to watch. The crowd does its job well but it's hard.

Free season ticket when you are over 90? Not many Blues will get to that age watching this drivel. We are the payers, not the players, and there is Sunday to look forward to!! Everything will be switched off and I'm out for the day...

Danny Baily
11 Posted 21/04/2022 at 08:31:49
Richarlison's finishing is on a par with Radzinski's.

Last night quickly went from 'must-win' to 'must-not-lose', and we didn't, which is something.

Here's hoping for a bit of luck on Sunday. There have been some shock results this season, and I'd love it if we could pull off a famous win at their place.

Sam Mellor
12 Posted 21/04/2022 at 09:35:52
I defintely agree with Paul (1), Iwobi's been tireless in his last few games, such a change from before and he's much better centrally. Still end product lacking a bit but it can't help that there isn't really a proper striker in front of him most the time.

I'm also starting to really like Mykolenko. He looks a lot more confident now, I wish Gray would have actually passed to him a couple of times when he did his overlapping runs. I also find that he looks like he's physically bigger even just in the last couple of games. When I first saw him he looked like a child in the shirt but now he's a bit more imposing. Maybe they just gave him a tighter shirt and told him to let his hair grow out a bit.

John Keating
13 Posted 21/04/2022 at 09:51:18
Seems to me the worse thing this squad can have is time between games.
The longer the gap the more they overthink the tactics and opposition.
10 or so days between our last two games and we seem more lethargic, leggy and tactically inept.
Best thing for us is the RS right up.
We already know how they play and Lampard should attempt to explain to our lot NOT to try and take them on in an open attacking type game or we'll get our arses slapped.
Last night a win would have been crucial in our survival with the RS and Chelsea coming up
We need height at the back against the RS with Matip and Saint Virgil. Myko needs a rest with Salah up against him and Godfrey's pace might be the difference.
Richie is no target man and needs to feed off either DCL or Rondon.
Hopefully Southampton and Wolves help us out
Brian Harrison
14 Posted 21/04/2022 at 09:59:19
There is no doubt that Leicester were the better side but we had 3 excellent chances to win it. Richarlison inexplicably missed the target from 6 yards and then missed a free header from a corner, and only minutes before that Coleman should have buried yet another chance.

How ironic that our equaliser was created by Alli and Rondon, 2 players who have struggled to get game time.

We started very poorly; if it wasn't for a brilliant recovery tackle by Coleman, we could and should have been a goal down in the first 2 minutes. But it was only a matter of time before Leicester did score, and it was worrying how easy they were creating openings, they moved the ball effortlessly from front to back.

I think many of us inside Goodison were fearing the worst at this point and a 2nd goal for them seemed inevitable. I think the problem in the first half was that the front 3 and Iwobi were pressing high up the pitch but Delph and Allan, wary of being caught out of position, didn't press high, so this left loads of room for their midfield to operate and create chances.

The 2nd half there wasn't the gaps for Leicester to exploit and we started to get into the game a bit more, but the game changed when Alli and Rondon were introduced.

I, like everybody, have been puzzled as to why Lampard hasn't introduced Rondon in other games rather than moving Richarlison into the main striker's role. Last night, he was struggling to win any headers in open play against Evans and Fofana but, as soon as Rondon came on, that changed.

From the first long ball played forward, Rondon won the header, flicked it on to Richarlison, who got a good shot on target. I know Richarlison has said he wants to play in the main striker's role, but his skill set isn't best used there and he is too easy to mark, where playing wide or even given a free role suits him better.

Despite him missing 2 excellent chances, he never hides and always tries to the very end and yesterday he got his reward for doing that.

I also thought Alli did okay when he came on and I like that bit of nastiness he still has when he clattered into Maddison to let him know he isn't as good as he thinks he is; I just don't like Maddison at all. Yes, he is talented but his ego is bigger than his talent.

But the player who most impressed me was Wesley Fofana, what a player this boy is. He is lightning quick, good in the air, and very comfortable in bringing the ball out of defence.

I think in the end a draw was a fair result. I heard Rodgers say he thought that his team were as close to being back to their best, so maybe a draw against a side who are back to their best wasn't a bad result.

Although we have some talented players, the pressure of playing while being in a relegation battle is taking its toll on some of them, which is understandable.

But it was terrific to see the crowd didn't give up, despite being a goal down and not playing well. In the end, I think it's our fans who are having nearly as big an effect on results as the players, even Rodgers acknowledged how much the crowd influence games at Goodison.

Tony Abrahams
15 Posted 21/04/2022 at 10:11:20
Playing at home against a talented team, I think you have got to try and make the game a bit more scrappy, especially when they are coasting and you can't get anywhere near the ball.

Energy on the pitch translates to energy in the crowd; a lack of energy on the pitch translates to nervous energy in the crowd.

I'm prepared to give Lampard time, but only if I see things that I can identify with. Last night, Everton needed to break up Leicester's rhythm, and this would have helped turn a very edgy and nervous crowd into a crowd ready to shout and scream for everything imo. (I know we did anyway, but in a more positive manner.)

I'm not sure Leicester would have enjoyed themselves so much if this would have happened, and I put this failure on the manager just as much as the players last night.

Go and fight, go and break the play up, engage the crowd in a positive manner, all these vital commodities were missing last night, as Everton once again played like a team, being at two stations.

Only Ancelotti and Allardyce have been able to get this team playing compact and, although it was ugly, it kept us out of serious danger. Koeman, Silva, and Benitez, all got the sack because they couldn't get Everton playing as a proper unit, and this is now my main concern once again.

We lack a lot of everything, this is definitely not the manager's fault, but he's been here long enough to know these players now, and he talks about Goodison so passionately, and surely he must know that we are a crowd that feeds off energy.

Stu Darlington
16 Posted 21/04/2022 at 10:26:42
Funny game, football, isn't it? 6 months ago Rondon was a big unfit lump and laughing stock; now, he should be leading the line as our main striker! Iwobi was another of our worst ever buys, arguably our best player over the last few games.

My main frustration is why the management team don't seem to learn. Everyone knows that Richarlison is not a central striker so where do we regularly play him? Central striker. Why do we still sit back and let teams come onto us? With our defence, for God's sake!

I think I know now why we got Gray for £1.5 mil. Our attack is so ineffective, no end product at all, no wonder fans are now lobbying for Rondon.

I know our manager has a pretty useless bunch to work with, but he seems to me to demonstrate a tactical naivety bordering on the clueless at times with no indication that he has any idea how to put it right. The old cliche “You don't know what you're doing” springs to mind.

The perceived wisdom is that, if you continue to do the same thing over and over again expecting a different outcome, it's a definition of madness! If that's the case, Goodison must be a giant “rubber room”

Lee Robinson
17 Posted 21/04/2022 at 10:38:27
A fantastic well-earned point on spirit alone that could prove crucial.

That was Leicester's best side who were in the mood, with an interchangeable midfield of Tielemans, Mendy, Maddison, Barnes and Dewsbury-Hall (who ran the show, how we could do with a player like him).

That midfield up against Delph and Allan, the type of players that they can't play against – quick, clever, comfortable on the ball – we shouldn't have stood a chance and it proved in the first 20 minutes.

For that we need to give huge credit for the way we got ourselves back in the game. Despite the missed opportunities, this was a point gained tonight, it's a shame we couldn't grind out results like this against West Ham, Aston Villa, Wolves etc.

I think it says a lot about Gomes and Doucouré (maybe Van de Beek) when Delph is the only recognised central midfielder on the pitch in the second. These players have obviously let Frank down many times recently, in effort alone (Doucoure at Burnley).

It's a big move dropping these players when we are in the position we are but I think Frank deserves credit for this and he's learned if we go down it's with players he can rely on, he doesn't suffer fools and it seems to be working. I can see 10/11 players leaving, available for transfer or out of contract in the summer.

I thought Iwobi and Mykolenko didn't put a foot wrong last night. If we stay up, Iwobi deserves huge credit and will be a big part of this, never injured, has played almost every position over the last few seasons, been hammered, week-in & week-out, but has stood up and I for one couldn't be happier for him.

Coleman fantastic, Dele was effective and needs to start going forward and I think Rondon made a claim for the remaining games to come with Richarlison playing off him and we go direct to get this season out the way.

Godfrey, a disaster waiting to happen though, have you ever seen a defender more uncomfortable on the ball? The amount of times he rolls it back to Pickford or to Mina to make a decision for him, he's not a leader and we need as many as we can get at the minute.

Peter Carpenter
18 Posted 21/04/2022 at 10:58:37
Can we get Ancelotti back for a couple of hours on Sunday?
Brian Harrison
19 Posted 21/04/2022 at 11:54:37

I agree with practically everything in your post, especially about Godfrey taking the easy option every time. I would love to see the stats as to how often he passes back to Pickford or his CB partner. There were times last night were he could have carried the ball forward which would mean their midfield had to engage then that creates space for him to pass to our midfield or Mykolenko. I know there are times when nothing is on passing square or back is the only option but in Godfreys case it looks like its the only option.
I think another dilemma for Lampard is how we get more bodies forward when we attack while playing Allan and Delph together in midfield. Neither has the pace to join the attack and then get back so its very rare either are near the opponents box, which severely limits our attacking options. I think everyone can see that Rondon has to play as the main striker and allow for Richarlison to play wide or just behind Rondon.

I also think he has to find a role for Alli, we know he has goals in his locker, something that Gomes, Doucoure, Allan, Delph and Iwobi don't have. Plus our front 3 that started arent scoring many between them.

Jerome Shields
20 Posted 21/04/2022 at 14:42:54
A very valuable point. I thought that the home and away Leciester fixtures would be difficult in the run-in.

Everton were poor to start with, a typical after-the-break performance. Leicester had been prepared well. Frank was a bit naive with his selection and initial tactics. Everton managed to hold on, improving as the game went on. The substitutions were right and played their part in changing the game, giving Everton the edge. Richarlison, after his efforts, deservedly got a crucial goal. .

Lyndon, you are so right that this was an important result. I would take a point from that game any day.

Kim Vivian
21 Posted 21/04/2022 at 15:20:20
Steve #8,

If that last gasp goal, that point, is the one that keeps us up, I would not begrudge Alli one penny of his wages. They're not our problem, they're the bean counter's problem.

That may prove to be a very important point grabbed from nowhere and it was good play from Alli.

Bill Gall
22 Posted 21/04/2022 at 18:13:37
The reality of this 1 point that may be the point that keeps us up, shows how the defeat at Burnley set us back; a win there and we would have been 10 points ahead today.

But then with 3 wins away from home we would be in a better place. We have to hope we can gain what we have not achieved so far this year, and that is wins or at least a point away from home.

Charles Brewer
23 Posted 21/04/2022 at 18:29:04
That was another horrible experience. Everton showing all their traditional "lack of confidence" features - the underhit pass which turns an easy situation into a frantic 50:50 was much in evidence.

Also, the "five opposition players within 3 metres, I'd better pass to the Everton player standing right next to me"; "they've got half a dozen players practically on our penalty area line, let's try to play it out from the back, slowly"

Fortunately, Richarlison applied the principle that "I may be having a really shitty match but, if I keep having a go and don't hide, I may get lucky".

Also, Iwobi has finally started playing good aggressive football to his strengths, Gordon is delighted to be in the first team and hasn't worked out he's supposed to wander about for most of the game, and Pickford remains the best goalkeeper in the Premier League by a street.

Having watched the "Helen Keller plays in goal" display for Man City vs Liverpool, I think the one position we actually have excellent cover is in goal.

Pickford, as I noted above, is better than any other goalkeeper I've seen this year, with the possible exception of Begovic. What a pity we haven't got a collection of bench-warmers of similar standing for any other position.

Jack Convery
24 Posted 21/04/2022 at 21:41:28
Looks like that point will be enough to keep us out of the bottom 3 - for now. Southampton on their hols at Turf Moor tonight. Given the derby is next for us and Burnley's game is at home versus Wolves, who hopefully will be on a mission to claim a spot in Europe next season.

Burnley have won 2-0 and now have a better goal difference than Everton. We now need to get something at Mordor and a cup of Tea won't do!! Wolves will need to do us a big favour, if we don't do ourselves a favour.

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