Wolves 1 - 1 Everton

This had the makings of a bleak afternoon for Everton. A performance that had started so promisingly had unravelled by half-time from the Blues’ perspective — Nathan Patterson, the club’s only fit senior full-back, was forced off with a hamstring problem before half an hour had elapsed and Dominic Calvert-Lewin, arguably the most important outfield player in the squad, joined him in first-half stoppage time.

In between, another sloppy giveaway had seen Sean Dyche’s team undone once more on the counter-attack, with Hwang Hee-chan knocking in the loose ball after Jordan Pickford had foiled Adama Traoré, to be followed by more bizarre decisions from the manager and a final half-hour of desperately inept attacking play from the visitors before they made the breakthrough with force of will where guile had been almost completely absent.

That it was Michael Keane, playing as an emergency striker for the final quarter of an hour, who weighed in with a smart assist nine minutes into stoppage time at the end of the second half was less poetic and more ironic given how he had laboured for a long spell as an uncomfortably awkward right-back following Patterson’s departure.

Few could have foreseen an Everton equaliser coming in the second half against a Wolves side who were combative, feisty and anything but already mentally on the beach with their flip-flops on. The Blues lacked tempo, incisiveness and belief and remained wide open and vulnerable at times to the counter; indeed, were it not for Pickford, substitute Matheus Nuñes would have killed the game late on and snuffed out all hope of Dyche’s men getting anything from this game.

But what they lacked in cohesiveness and confidence they made up for in spirit, pushing to the death and being rewarded with a goal by the last of the chronically injury-prone left standing, King Yerry Mina. This will almost certainly have been the Colombian’s penultimate appearance in a Blue jersey and the point he secured on the day (not to mention the boost it will hopefully provide as the team prepares for the final day) could yet prove decisive.

Calvert-Lewin had been passed fit to start having rested during the week and then training yesterday despite feeling tightness in his groin during last Sunday’s home defeat to Manchester City. Vitalii Mykolenko was not so fortunate, so Dwight McNeil was deployed at left-back which robbed Everton’s attack of their most potent threat and top goalscorer.

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Calvert-Lewin was the key piece, though, and Dyche’s side started well, with the striker chesting down Mina’s knock-on and firing into the side-netting in the third minute and then going close when he despatched Alex Iwobi’s dangerous centre narrowly over the crossbar.

James Tarkowski had a shot blocked, referee David Coote inexplicably failed to award Calvert-Lewin a clear free-kick on the edge of the Wolves box and just seconds later Patterson was involved a collision of legs that would force him off prematurely to be replaced, not by Mason Holgate or a switch of Iwobi to wing-back but by Keane.

Everton remained the dominant side and their best chance of the first period should have fallen to Calvert-Lewin but Mina got in ahead of him to meet McNeil’s corner and the defender couldn’t keep his header down.

The visitors’ momentum and good work to that point was undone shortly afterwards in a moment, however, when Doucouré’s weak pass was intercepted deep in Wolves territory and the hosts broke away through Adama Traoré. His shot was well saved by Jordan Pickford but he could only palm it into the path of the untracked Hwang who turned the loose ball home.

Another giveaway almost immediately afterwards, this time by Tarkowksi, let Wolves in again but, thankfully, Daniel Podence headed the rebound over the bar after Pickford had saved from Nelson Semedo.

Iwobi had a tame shot comfortably caught by Dan Bentley in the hosts’ goal and Calvert-Lewin’s last meaningful contribution was to draw a foul on the edge of the area but James Garner cleared the bar by a distance with the resulting free-kick before Podence drilled a shot wide to end the half.

With Calvert-Lewin and Patterson missing and Demarai Gray and Keane in their place, Everton struggled for purpose and balance in the second half. There had a few bright moments before the hour mark, first when the ball almost dropped for Keane in the six-yard box and then when Iwobi tested Bentley with a better effort from distance and Gray flashed an inviting ball across the face of goal with no blue shirt gambling to meet it.

Wolves had another dangerous counter-attack but Pablo Sarabia curled wide when well placed and Semedo narrowly missed the far post with a decent effort while Gray tried his luck with a trademark cut inside and shot at the other end but Bentley did enough to bat it behind.

Everton’s attempts to grab something from the contest became increasingly desperate and, in truth, increasingly ineffective as they launched the ball forward looking for Keane who had been pushed into an emergency striker’s role after Mason Holgate had been introduced in place of Amadou Onana.

Iwobi fired a good-looking shot that was searching out the inside post from 20 yards but a deflection carried it wide and substitute Neal Maupay (what has Ellis Simms done to not get a look-in, pray tell?) hooked the ball over his shoulder and wide from a deep throw-in as the game ticked towards 90 minutes.

Wolves almost put the game to bed two minutes into the nine added on by Coote for stoppages when Nunes raced clear on the breakaway but Pickford denied him with an out-stretched foot that diverted the Portuguese’s shot wide.

Then, just when it looked as though Everton’s huffing, puffing and ineffective long-ball football was to be in vain, Gray flighted a long ball to the back post, Tarkowski beat Bentley’s gloves to the ball to head it downwards where Keane knocked it square and Mina converted from close range to send the distraught visiting fans into delirium on their side of the stadium.

So it’s two from three to join Southampton through the trap door. We won’t know for sure until tomorrow but Everton could go into their final match of the season without their Premier League in their own hands but thanks to Mina’s dramatic goal at the death, the Blues have an extra point on their remaining rivals to beat the drop before they travel to West Ham and Newcastle respectively.

Unfortunately, Nottingham Forest, whose extreme trolly-dash in the last two transfer windows saw them amass enough talent to eventually see them safe, removed themselves from the final-day drama by officially ending Arsenal’s title tilt this evening with a 1-0 win. Victory for Leeds at the London Stadium would lift them above the Toffees into 17th and ensure a tortuous week of dread for Evertonians ahead of the visit to Goodison Park of Bournemouth.

Reader Comments (36)

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Tony Abrahams
1 Posted 20/05/2023 at 22:46:37
I listened but I never watched, and when Mina scored, I was overjoyed. This feeling didn't last long and speaking to my son when he was on his way home from the match, he said the coach was pretty flat, especially when you consider that a last-minute goal usually brings a lot of joy.

The reality is that, right now, it is out of our hands and nobody likes it when something that is so precious is no longer under their control so it's going to be a very hard week.

This might change if Leeds and Leicester don't win, but something hasn't felt quite right whenever I've cast my mind to thinking about our fate since yesterday evening.

Tony Everan
2 Posted 20/05/2023 at 23:12:07
The full back injuries have made a hard task much harder for the manager. Coleman out, now his reserve Patterson out. Mykolenko out, his makeshift reserve Godfrey out. Unbelievable.

I think if we can get Myko back it will help enormously, because Holgate can play right back better than LB or even CB as he has shown on occasions. It’s still far from ideal but it gives us a foundation to keep the shape that produces the goods like at Brighton.

If Calvert-Lewin is ruled out (please be fit ) then I’m in the Ellis Simms camp as a replacement, because he’s a striker, the others are not. Gray’s a decent wide player, predominantly a provider, Maupay an accessory off a big man, who most definitely cannot play on his own centrally.

McNeill attacking from the left, Doucoure supporting from midfield and Iwobi trying to get assists from the right. The two wider men doing the necessary defensive duties too.

Before all that there is the small matter of whether West Ham turn up tomorrow because Arsenal failed to tonight. They just passed it about a lot between the half way line and the Forest box , then went home .

Steve Cotton
3 Posted 20/05/2023 at 23:18:12
2 keepers on the bench sums up everything that is wrong with the club.

How is that likely to give you options when you need them? Does the manager think that they are likely to be the way to change a game if needed? I know we are down to the bare bones but that was ridiculous.

John Raftery
4 Posted 20/05/2023 at 00:15:07
Steve (3) There was nobody else available. All the fit senior players were on the pitch or on the bench.

Without being overly critical of a manager with very few options I thought Dyche was wrong to make so many positional changes. Taking Garner out of central midfield was arguably the biggest error. McNeil, our leading scorer, has been our best attacker in the last three months. Moving him to left back disrupted our forward play.

If the injuries to DCL and Patterson are hamstring strains they have absolutely no chance of being ready to play next week. Hopefully Mykolenko will be fit to return.

West Ham will have a much changed starting eleven tomorrow. Antonio, for one, limped off the other night. He will and several others who played on Thursday and celebrated afterwards will not be starting. I am hoping enough of the replacements will be keen to stake a claim for a place in their cup final line-up. I fear not enough of them will be.

Dyche has delivered just over a point per game since his arrival. Over a full season that would have been more than enough to guarantee safety. The damage was done in those weeks either side of the World Cup when we lost six out of seven league matches. We may now pay a very heavy price for the delay in sacking Lampard.

Ian Horan
5 Posted 20/05/2023 at 03:00:52
We have suffered so much with negative tactics, board statements especially ill judged timing. Palace away settling for a point with 20 minutes to go whilst still at 0-0 and 11 a side. Today was a perfect storm. We need at least a point cushion with Leeds as then we need to better their result.
Andy Peers
6 Posted 21/05/2023 at 03:58:19
I don't think anybody understands how important a win was today. After todays result that means West Ham cannot get relegated and have no skin in tomorrows game. Leeds will win tomorrows game and we will be relegated. A draw, other than some confidence, did us no good and we failed to win.
Joseph Terrence
7 Posted 21/05/2023 at 03:58:32
That point could potentially be huge. Imagine that we have a 0-0 draw vs Bournemouth and leeds wins vs whu by a goal but loses to Tottenham. We stay up in that scenario.

Let's hope that Moyes does us a favor and beats fat Sam tomorrow to make this even more clear.

Andy Peers
8 Posted 21/05/2023 at 04:04:43
Joseph # 7
The draw did not make any difference at this point with one game to go.
Andy Peers
9 Posted 21/05/2023 at 04:12:16
Also it is hard to believe that we are relying on ex-Evertonians to keep us up. We needed Arteta to win, Moyes to win two and Allardyce to lose/fail. If we do go down then lets put those three on the new Board.
Pete Clarke
10 Posted 21/05/2023 at 04:20:26
Too many thoughts swinging around my head as to what could happen but 100% that late goal gave us something more than that great feeling at the end of yesterdays game.
We plugged away despite losing important players and got a reward for it which will boost the rest of the team. That goal means we gained an important point should the other teams only draw and also kept us on a slightly better goal difference than Leeds.
What will be will be in the end but I’d rather have our points right now than theirs.
We could lose next week and stay up !
Sam Hoare
11 Posted 21/05/2023 at 08:16:28
Andy, the draw definitely makes a difference. It gives us an extra point that could prove crucial.

It’s not what we wanted of course but it’s better than a loss.

I don’t think Leicester will beat Newcastle but all of us are worried about West Ham.

I’m also pretty worried about having to beat a useful Bournemouth team with no DCL and no full backs next weekend. What a wretched season it’s been. I feel so angry at the custodians of the club for doing this. Whatever happens next weekend they will not be forgiven.

David Bromwell
12 Posted 21/05/2023 at 08:20:14
Could only listen on the radio yesterday but as we all know we are just hanging in by our finger nails. What a mess Dyche inherited, 4 centre backs, on the pitch at the end, but he does himself no favours. And if as I fear Calvert Lewin will not be fit next weekend there will be a riot at Goodison if Maupay is selected ahead of Simms. Seemingly our only plan now is to kick the ball early and long up the pitch and it's very clear to everybody that whatever Neil Maupay is he certainly is not a target man.

Difficult to believe we once had the name tag, The School of Science, not sure what is appropriate these days. It's going to be a long week, supporting Everton is I am sure bad for your health. Thank God the season is nearly over.

Paul Smith
13 Posted 21/05/2023 at 08:27:10
Not worried about Leicester. If Leeds don’t win today I’m confident we can beat Bournemouth even with Maupay playing. Leeds today is the key.
Jerome Shields
14 Posted 21/05/2023 at 08:28:50
Everton have had the air of relegation about them for a while.Whether it be the squad, tactics, prones to errors or luck.We all know the symptoms.But there is always the chance that they would pull something off.

At FT 45' they were beat, effectively relegated.But they managed to get a equaliser and there is hope.Over the next two days a lot could happen, complicated by the fact that the teams Leeds and Leicester are playing don't have much to motivate them.More than likely it could be dependent on Everton's last game, which is not a forgone conclusion.

After that it is a complete rebuild job under difficult circumstances no matter what League Everton are in, as the Club has been run into the ground.

Bill Fairfield
15 Posted 21/05/2023 at 08:59:08
Just can’t see West Ham getting stuck in today,not with a cup final on the horizon. If we’re in the bottom three tonight,we’re staying there. I’am praying it doesn’t happen.
Andrew Keatley
16 Posted 21/05/2023 at 09:49:10
It’s very hard to call. There are lots of permutations. Anything can happen. Leeds and/or Leicester will probably need to get two very good results back to back to finish above us.

I sometimes wonder why I come onto this website. The defeatism on here is astounding. Maybe we will do enough to finish 17th, maybe we won’t - but some fans seem to get a perverse joy out of confidently predicting our demise. Whether we succeed or fail, you have already claimed the mantle of losers; congratulations!

Stu Darlington
17 Posted 21/05/2023 at 09:51:37
There’s a good chance Leeds will win today and go above us.That would need us to win against Bournemouth next week with injuries and an unbalanced team,and Leeds to either lose or draw at home to Spurs,who look in disarray at the moment. I hate it when our fate is no longer in our own hands.
Rob Baker
18 Posted 21/05/2023 at 10:00:04
@Andy 8. I agree with you. A point is neither here nor there. A win and we were safe effectively, a loss probably relegated. Today and tomorrow are the pivotal days now. The permutations are getting simpler as time passes. If either Leeds or Leics win, I think we are down. I don't see us beating Bournemouth with our depleted squad. The only scenario is all 3 teams keep losing and we stay up that way. Other teams are not doing us favours.
Peter Warren
19 Posted 21/05/2023 at 10:02:50
I think Keane was best option over Holgate yesterday - away from home. We have nobody who scores and he can score or create havoc in the box which he did.

I don’t blame the manager for him having no full backs or utility players to go there / he’s inherited an unbalanced squad, no new signings and low on skill, effort and confidence.

I actually think he’s done brilliant - we are in my view the second worst side in the league and to even have a chance of staying up is remarkable.

Ian Bennett
20 Posted 21/05/2023 at 11:49:15
Poor goal given away.

Poor parry by Pickford, Gueye & Onana both had chance to bring down the player to stop the attack.

Players made out of weetabix, our injury record is appalling. Tells me that they're not fit or conditioned to play 38 games, never mind 50. Big money and we are getting 20 gamesca season tops.

Jerome Shields
21 Posted 21/05/2023 at 12:17:19
Had another look at Mina 's 98' goal.It has relegation survival written all over it.
Chris Leyland
22 Posted 21/05/2023 at 12:17:37
Agre with Ian on their goal. Onana had the chance to bring him down and take one for the team but he bottled it.

It might be very difficult to control exactly where a ball goes when you are making a save but Pickford does seem to have an unfortunate habit of always parrying shots to exactly where the opposition player is following up.

To others saying ‘teams don’t have much to play for against Leeds or Leicester’ well, neither did Wolves yesterday and neither will Bournemouth next week. It doesn’t always really work like that. It’s a big ask for Alardaarse to turn a woeful Leeds team in to a winning machine capable of back to back wins. They could do it but they also might not.

Mark Taylor
23 Posted 21/05/2023 at 12:20:53
Not much positive to take from that. The draw helps slightly but Forest winning more than cancels that out, plus now West Ham are definitely safe, we all fear how the Leeds match will turn out.

One positive was Garner who I think might grow into his role. He looks a better buy than Onana who continues to be average at best. Hopefully we can keep him if we do go down. A side built around him, Patterson, Branthwaite and McNeil should be good enough to get us back up. And at least we know Simms can score in the lower divisions.

On that topic, I also hope Simms gets the nod ahead of Maupay next Sunday. Granted he is no quicker than Maupay and far from the finished article but we don't know for sure he's useless at this level whereas we know Maupay is.

Daniel A Johnson
24 Posted 21/05/2023 at 12:25:04
Peter Warren [19]

I 100% agree no one has barracked Dyche more than me at times this season (esp after the Fulham match), but he has done remarkably well to keep us still in the fight. I'm still amazed by that Brighton result.

If DCL and Patterson had stayed on the pitch we would have won yesterday.

Eddie Dunn
25 Posted 21/05/2023 at 12:33:09
Chris, Onana is guilty of daft mistakes each game. He is young and thinks he is Pogba, but he may well become a good player.
Yesterday Dyche had to deal with various problems and the team lost it's shape accordingly.
Like others, I thought it was silly moving Garner, who was instrumental in our good control in the first half at Brighton.
Likewise losing Mc Neil to the left bacl role robbed us of his goal threat and crosses.
However, the last gasp equaliser is the kind of moment that keeps a team in the mix and flattens the rival's morale. Leeds would have ran out at the London Stadium with a lot more belief if we had lost.
I think the Irons will be fighting fro their places in that final, want to give their fans a show on their last home game and Moyes will fire them up.
My worry is Leeds will beat a flat Spuds next week and we will lack the firepower to topple Bournemouth.
I am hoping for two Leeds defeats and two Leicester defeats.
Peter Hodgson
26 Posted 21/05/2023 at 13:25:49
Spot on Mark @23.

I too hope that Garner stays with us and grows as he could be the midfielder we build our future around (how many times have we said that I wonder?) but I this time I do believe it.

Please Sean, unless Simms has some drastic accident during the week don't even think about putting Maupay on the team sheet. Retire him somehow.

In Moyes and his troops we trust or something like that anyway.

Mick Davies
27 Posted 21/05/2023 at 15:50:55
Leeds will win at West Ham

Well don't bother filling in your fixed odds coupon. This result has propelled us back into the driving seat, as their goal difference has been dented again, and only Leicester can catch us, even if we beat Bournemouth, but they have to win both games and hope we don't hammer Bournemouth (remember we put 6 past them with Lukaku, McCarthy etc).

It relies on Newcastle doing us a favour, and after Moyes, Arteta and Allardyce being involved in our destiny, it's down to a boyhood blue, Eddie Howe, to do us a favour tomorrow.

Johan Elmgren
28 Posted 21/05/2023 at 15:58:02
If we beat the drop, which looks all the more likely after today's Leeds-loss, I think we should go all-in for Graham Potter to replace Dyche.

I like Dyche, and will be forever greatful to him if we stay in the Premier League, but his blind stubbornness to continue with Maupay, who is contributing absolutely nothing (plus other things), just convinces me that we will go nowhere with him. We'll probably be in another relegation fight next season if he stays.

I think he puts too little faith in youngsters like Simms, who I'd pick every time before Maupay, and I'm also worried that he will drive Branthwaite, who's doing so well at PSV, away from the club by not playing him, because I don't think he will. He'll probably play Keane and Tarkowski as a first-choice centre-back pairing when both are available (predicting Mina will be gone in the summer).

Potter, on the other hand, would probably go for Branthwaite and has a great track record with youngsters. We need to be betting on our youngsters now, as it's clear to see the older players like Iwobi, Gray, Doucoure, Keane, Gana, and Tarkowski aren't up for it.

If we want to aim higher in the league, I say bring in Potter!

Terry Farrell
29 Posted 21/05/2023 at 16:27:04
God bless the Hammers. I go to the away game every year with a guest and about 10 Hammers and they are all great people and don't want us to go down. I remember when the boot used to be on the other foot! Hope Dom is fit but I can't see it.

Why wasn't Tom Cannon in the squad at Wolves? Does anyone know?

Jerome Shields
30 Posted 21/05/2023 at 16:33:40
Johan #28,

Dyche will stay. They can't afford to pay off another Manager.More importantly will be funds available for players.We just can't go into next season with a lot of the squad we have.

When we finish the drama of next weekend we have the prospect of the Independent Commission if we stay in the Premier League and idiots clawing all over the place trying to get a bargain out of Moshiri, which is not going to happen.

Johan Elmgren
31 Posted 21/05/2023 at 17:34:21
Jerome, you're probably right, it's more wishful thinking from my part, but I think he would do a great job for us. And I think he's still available? Maybe he won't be the next time we're looking for a manager...
Andy Crooks
32 Posted 21/05/2023 at 17:42:46
Andy Peers, take a bow! You must give the bookies some bashing.
Danny O’Neill
33 Posted 21/05/2023 at 06:05:29
Well Bill, that's why I never gamble on football.

Let's see how it goes tonight and hope that we are in control of our own fate.

Paul Hughes
34 Posted 22/05/2023 at 11:30:29
Johan (28). Potter did a good job (but not as good as his successor) at well-run and stable Brighton. He was all at sea at the dysfunctional mess that is Chelsea.
Now, which category would you place Everton in?
I think he'd go the way of the previous managers we have chewed up and spat out.
Johan Elmgren
35 Posted 22/05/2023 at 13:14:39
Paul, wasn't Potter a part of developing that well-run club? They got a stable 9-finish last season and this season starting with 4-1-1 before being snapped up by Chelsea. He did it on a shoestring-budget, and with average players he built up to get the best out of.

De Zerbi is of course doing a great job now, but it's built on the foundation of Potter, and includes important recruits made under Potter. Caicedo, Buonanotte, Enciso and Mac Allister for instance. If Potter was involved in recruiting I don't know, but the organisation behind the team is apparently much better there, than here. Didn't Potter contribute in that development, both on and off the pitch? At least that's my perception of it, but I might be wrong.

At Chelsea I can only assume he wasn't given enough time. At Brighton it took kinda long time to implement his idea and bring in the players suitable for it, and at Chelsea he didn't get that time. But it's a relevant question you pose, because it's quite possible that he won't get that time here either.

It's just that I don't see Dyche as the man to take us forward. I don't see him building up our young players to reach their possible potential. I think Potter would really get the best out of players like Simms, Branthwaite, Cannon, Paterson, Onana, McNeil, Warrington, etc...

But for now maybe we just want to be a stable mid-table club, the kind that Dyche definately has the potiential to make us? Not gamble with a "progressive", more "high-risk" manager? I don't know, I only know that I want us to progress and develop, and I think that will be hard under Dyche...

Danny O’Neill
36 Posted 22/05/2023 at 13:40:16
I get what you're saying Johan.

Potter done well at a well run club.

But he wasn't the reason.

The reason was the club was and is well run.

We have been blaming managers for years when the real problem lies elsewhere.

Everton have been poorly run. Potter wouldn't have sorted us out. We would have destroyed him, almost on a Mike Walker scale.

A manager who achieved decent success at a well run (at the time) provincial club, who had relevant success.

But then put into the limelight of expectation, flopped almost immediately.

Happed to Potter.

To my point. We need to stop blaming Managers. It's the club.

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