Everton snatch ugly defeat from the jaws of precious victory

Wednesday, 6 April, 2022 0comments  |  Jump to last
Burnley 3 - 2 Everton

Ben Godfrey's unfortunate mis-kick gifted Burnley the winner in a game Everton will feel they should have won

Everton suffered another potentially calamitous defeat to a bottom-three team as they surrendered a 2-1 half-time lead to go down 3-2 against fellow strugglers Burnley in a match they dared not lose.

A pair of Richarlison penalties in the first half had wiped out a 13th-minute Nathan Collins goal from a corner and put the Blues in the driving seat in this relegation six-pointer, but yet more dreadful defending and a catastrophic mistake in front of their own goal condemned Everton to their 18th defeat of the season.

With Michael Keane suspended following his dismissal at West Ham on Sunday, Frank Lampard drafted Jarrad Brainthwaite in to the defence to counter the aerial threat of Wout Weghorst and kept Mason Holgate in the defensive midfield berth he occupied at the London Stadium.

Vitalii Mykolenko and Jonjoe Kenny continued as the fullbacks in the absence of Seamus Coleman who hadn't fully recovered from illness but while the Ukrainian was instrumental in winning Everton's second penalty, Kenny had an evening to forget and one that could cost him his spot in the side for the run-in.

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Beginning the evening four points behind the visitors at the bottom of the Premier League, Burnley started the brighter of the two sides and went close when Ashley Westwood missed with a curling shot from the edge of the box after Everton had failed to clear their lines.

And it was all-too familiar failings defending a set-piece that reared their head soon afterwards when no Everton player got near Maxwell Cornet's in-swinging corner from the Burnley right and Collins steered it home from close range to give the Clarets the lead.

The Toffees were handed a route back into the game just three minutes later, though, when Anthony Gordon was felled in the box by Westwood and referee Mike Dean pointed to the spot. Richarlison deceived Nick Pope with a stutter-step run-up and slid the ball into the other corner to level the match.

The Brazilian almost doubled his tally a few minutes later but his shot took a deflection and looped inches over the crossbar and he almost found his striker partner Dominic Calvert-Lewin in the 25th minute after being played in by Alex Iwobi but Connor Roberts blocked off the pass.

Everton did take the lead five minutes shortly before the break, however, when Richarlison tucked away his second penalty of the evening. Mykolenko was tripped by Aaron Lennon as he tried to manoeuvre around the winger and though Dean didn't initially award the spot-kick, he did so after consulting the pitch-side monitor.

Though Burnley started the second half the stronger of the two sides, with Sean Dyche's half-time assertion that “I'm not sure Everton don't know how to win a game, particularly away from home” ringing in their ears, but it was the Blues who almost extended their lead in the 52nd minute in a moment that felt, in retrospect, like the pivotal moment of the match.

Twisting and turning his marker in the Burnley box, Richarlison eventually rattled off a shot that caught the outside of the post rather than flying in and three minutes later, Kenny's overhit cross grazed the same post and just eluded the Brazil international as he tried to knock it in.

Two minutes after that, it was 2-2. Kenny made the critical error of committing himself against Charlie Taylor down the hosts' left, giving the left-back all the space he needed to hare forward and deliver a low cross that the untracked Jay Rodriguez met first time and banged home from a central position.

Still, Everton had their opportunities to re-establish their lead. Iwobi jinked in towards the six-yard box but was closed down at the last, Gordon was teed up by Richarlison but the unbeatable James Tarkowski deflected his effort off target and, from the resulting corner, Jarrad Branthwaite could only guide a header narrowly over the bar.

Cornet forced an excellent one-handed save from Jordan Pickford at one end while substitute Demarai Gray had an effort deflected over but successive errors five minutes from the end led to Burnley scoring a heart-breaking winner. Kenny made the ill-fated decision to shoot from 30 yards out that allowed Burnley to counter-attack.

Pickford sliced the ball badly out of play and from the throw-in, the ball was crossed into Everton's area, Godfrey mis-kicked it straight to Matěj Vydra who cut it back from the byline for Cornet to smash it home to make it 3-2.

Salomon Rondon was thrown on in Holgate's place in the 87th minute and the Venezuelan came very close to scoring a dramatic winner off Calvert-Lewin's lay-off but his volley inches bounced wide.

With the very result that Everton had to avoid, Burnley close the gap between the two clubs to just one point with the same number of games played. Dyche's men have the far more forgiving run-in but Lampard will hope that he can coax enough out of his charges in their forthcoming home fixtures to get enough points on the board to ensure survival.

 


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