Gray stunner ends 2022 on upbeat note for Everton

31/12/2022 54comments  |  Jump to last
Man City 1 - 1 Everton

Everton battled to earn a priceless point at the Etihad Stadium, frustrating Champions Manchester City after Demarai Gray’s world-class equaliser had cancelled out Erling Haaland’s 24th-minute strike.

The Blues travelled along the M62 boosted by the return to the starting XI of Dominic Calvert-Lewin but it was Gray, always capable of producing a moment of magic, who curled beautifully into the top corner in the 64th minute to give Frank Lampard’s men something to hold onto.

City pushed in the closing stages which included 11 minutes of stoppage time at the end of a feisty encounter but Everton’s defence held despite Rodri missing a gilt-edged chance at the death.

Haaland had remained on the field despite needing treatment with just a minute on the clock following a clash with Ben Godfrey who was back in the starting XI for the first time since the opening day of the season.

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The big Norwegian appeared determined to exact his revenge which he did firstly with the opening goal midway through the first half after only hitting the side-netting with a shot earlier.

Riyad Mahrez rounded Vitalii Mykolenko rather too easily from Everton’s perspective and centred to near the penalty spot where Haaland was on hand to sweep home yet another goal to add to his impressive tally for the season.

Kevin de Bruyne and Mahrez had shots charged down before both the Belgian and Haaland were fortunate to only receive yellow cards for poor tackles while John Stones headed onto the post from a free-kick.

The home side had their expected lion’s share of possession but the visitors were keeping them at bay and after Idrissa Gueye made a fine interception just inside his own half, he sent Gray away with a quick pass to run at City’s goal.

The winger used Mykolenko’s overlapping run down the outside as a decoy before cutting inside his marker, recovering from a slip and then whipping the ball into the top corner as Edersen just watched on helplessly.

Calvert-Lewin was replaced by Neal Maupay with 20 minutes to go and Seamus Coleman came on for Nathan Patterson who was on a yellow card while Amadou Onana and Jack Grealish had shots blocked at either end.

Everton came under predictably heavy pressure as the game wore on but survived a goalmouth scramble after Jordan Pickford had dived to his left to keep out Mahrez’s goal-bound shot and the England man made another stop to deny De Bruyne after five minutes of added time.

Phil Foden and Rodri then had efforts off target but the Spaniard could have broken Evertonian hearts with the final action of the match when Mahrez swung in a dangerous cross following a smart corner routine but he failed to make proper contact under pressure from Tom Davies and the ball dropped wide.

The point keeps the Toffees in the 16th-place berth they occupied overnight thanks to West Ham’s defeat to Brentford and will, hopefully, provide a significant psychological boost heading into 2023 following the disappointing result on Boxing Day against Wolves.


Reader Comments (54)

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David McMullen
1 Posted 31/12/2022 at 18:03:46
We worked hard and carried it through.

That's what makes the difference between losing at home to a bottom-of-the-table team and earning a point to The Champions.

Tony Hill
2 Posted 31/12/2022 at 18:06:48
A big word for Seamus. What a figure he is.

That tackle on Foden, fucking hell. What a model for the hugely promising Patterson.

Tony Everan
3 Posted 31/12/2022 at 18:20:23
A battling performance against one of the best teams in Europe. They thought it would be a stroll but our boys were having none of that.

It's there for all to see, the defence is solid, we need more threat going forward. A quality forward player signed will see us progressing up the league.

Well done to Frank and the team, the match may have been a draw but a bit of pride and confidence has been won.

Andrew Brookfield
4 Posted 31/12/2022 at 18:24:58
Great performance. But being tight defensively, running hard in midfield, and having one shot in a game is what we've all been bemoaning.

It works against the big teams, but when we're expected to have something, we still don't. This isn't the blueprint, it's just a well-executed plan which played to our strengths.

James Byrne
5 Posted 31/12/2022 at 18:29:27
Massive response from the lads today, but why can't we start the Wolves game in the same manner? We are so frustrating.

Brilliant goal by Gray.

It has to be said that the piss-poor quality of refereeing when teams play against the "big" clubs is so blatantly biased, if not corrupt!

Dave Lynch
6 Posted 31/12/2022 at 18:30:23
Tony @3 is spot on.

If we have a couple of front men that our midfield have some confidence in to play up to, we will be a different prospect.
This would allow the middle to push on and pin teams back.

Eddie Dunn
7 Posted 31/12/2022 at 18:33:28
For once, we really did hold on. It was indeed a mighty effort.

Now we need to take some confidence from this and swat Brighton away too. We simply have to back this up.

Neil Lawson
8 Posted 31/12/2022 at 18:41:57
Great team performance. It's value can be properly assessed after Tuesday's game.

Haaland. How was he not sent off? Remember Allan? How was Haaland's assault not so much worse? Oh yes. Of course. He plays for Man City, not Everton.

But terrific performance. Brilliant goal. Going out tonight with a smile.

Kunal Desai
9 Posted 31/12/2022 at 18:43:35
Dug in and ground out a result. When the pressure is off, Everton seem to play so much more freely, it's when the pressure is on – like Tuesday against Brighton and the following Saturday against Southampton – that they need to make it count.

Good point and top performance to end what has been a turbulent year for the Blues and it's supporters. No repeat of the same next year, please.

Paul Birmingham
10 Posted 31/12/2022 at 19:15:44
True grit and mind over matter toda. As much as I rate and respect Haalaad as a footballer and clinical striker; today, he will have learnt a few lessons.

Summed up the tempo of City – he legged it after his rash lunge on Mykolenko, as Tarkowski was calmly about to intervene. 🤣

Great job today by Everton FC!💙🤍🍻🍻👏🙏

Kevin Molloy
11 Posted 31/12/2022 at 20:14:00
What a fantastic result.

We have an absolutely fantastic player in Demarai Gray, we need to be exploiting him much more than we do.

That goal was absolutely top class. I think there will be interest in him this summer.

John Raftery
12 Posted 31/12/2022 at 20:30:10
The result was impressive, the performance even more so. Frank chose a pragmatic formation and the players stuck to the game plan, showing a high level of spirit and positional discipline.

An illustration of this came near the end when Maupay chose not to make what would have been a pointless chase for a long ball. Some fans voiced their displeasure but Maupay made the right decision, funnelling back into his own half to disrupt the next City attack.

This was in marked contrast to the debacle in the final minute of Monday's match when both our team and our fans lost the plot.

I've argued for some weeks Gray is a finisher and should be given a free role behind or close to the front striker. The goal today provided further evidence he is more effective in that role than he is hugging the touchline.

I thought City looked more than a little ragged as the game wore on. Indeed it was our players who looked more composed and, dare I say it, fitter.

Last but not least, Lampard made the right substitutions. Coleman for Patterson, who was on a yellow card and under pressure, was critical in helping us to see the game out.

All told, it was a great way to end what has generally been a very disappointing year.

Paul Kernot
13 Posted 31/12/2022 at 22:51:27
I loved that Godfrey got stuck in to Haarand right from the off. That set the tone. We definitely rattled them all game.

What a game that was from Ben, BTW, considering it was his first day back after such a bad injury.

Bill Fairfield
14 Posted 31/12/2022 at 23:15:01
Must admit, I didn't see us getting anything today. But well done for a well-earned point.

Hopefully we can take confidence from this performance and win on Tuesday.

Paul Birmingham
15 Posted 31/12/2022 at 23:24:07
Taking stock from a brilliant day, all in, Demarai Gray's goal today was, in terms of skill, possibly the best shot in view of the player's feints and dummies before he executed his prediction shot.

Not many execute the dummy fall and slip-up with a precision rocket shot.

Magnificent skill, should be Goal of the Season. No one's done it in my recall? That was brilliance and if Messi, had done it, then so it would be.

Bolasie tried this skill often when he was an Everton player but it didn't happen in my recall.

Game changer for the season and for Everton.


Kieran Kinsella
16 Posted 31/12/2022 at 23:30:58

Yeah, Demarai is the one player after Richarlison who can produce a magic strike. In fairness, he's also shown his nerve doing it in big games like today and the late stunner v Arsenal.

If he could just figure out a way to contribute more on his average days…

Stuart Sharp
17 Posted 31/12/2022 at 23:32:49
Neil Lawson - glad I postponed Navarone...

My first visit to the Etihad. The home fans seemed to live up to their reputation of barely making a sound. Away fans awesome as always.

I thought we were pretty good out of possession, a bit dodgy with the ball, but definitely earned that point. Iwobi tackling De Bruyne was a thing of beauty. A

ll this talk in the reports of us being physical - the worst fouls were all by them.

Happy New Year, Blues.

Paul Birmingham
18 Posted 31/12/2022 at 23:41:29
Zackly, Kieran, that was football bliss today, and Pele, George Best, Maradona, and Messi, would be in awe of the football skill in that goal.

The season is a long, long road but I've more fears for Brighton than Man Utd in my view this week.

Injuries permitting, this can be a great week for Everton FC. Show the application, belief, and invincibile attitude, walk through walls, block the Haaland... the season is restarting.

“What's Our Name?”


All ToffeeWebers, Happy New Year 2023!

Neil Lawson
19 Posted 31/12/2022 at 23:57:23
Stuart @17.

Your boozer was intending to show the alternative version where the explosives aren't set off, so good decision.

Jim Lloyd
20 Posted 01/01/2023 at 00:06:23
A great display, by our team and our fellow supporters! Brilliant for each other.

Happy New Year to all Blues, throughout our world.

Stuart Sharp
21 Posted 01/01/2023 at 00:11:48
Brendan McLaughlin
22 Posted 01/01/2023 at 00:24:13
I'm sure I've had better New Year's Eve's but not interested in remembering when...

A performance to be proud of. Demarai Gray's feint – not stumble – to throw the City rearguard off balance... and then that immaculate strike!

Well done, Frank and the boys!

Happy 2023 to all Evertonians.

Neil Copeland
23 Posted 01/01/2023 at 00:37:08
Yaaaay, get in!!
Steven Sturm
24 Posted 01/01/2023 at 00:48:33
Happy New Year, ToffeeWeb!
Neil Tyrrell
25 Posted 01/01/2023 at 02:37:35
Hands up, I expected us to get battered today.

Sometimes a draw feels like a win. Well done boys and Happy New Year to all Blues everywhere. 💙

Ian Pilkington
26 Posted 01/01/2023 at 02:58:05
This is the one away match I go to each year, thanks to my City supporting best mate, and I was dreading it.

Yet, even after Haaland's routine goal, City were strangely subdued. Their fans were completely stunned by Gray's magnificent goal and left gasping by Pickford's superb goalkeeping.

Everyone put in a decent shift – an amazing
contrast after watching the Leicester and Wolves matches – and hopefully this should be the start of a desperately needed revival.

Phillip Warrington
27 Posted 01/01/2023 at 03:12:00
Well done, lads, but this was a free hit.

Agree with Kunal (@9), the real test will be Brighton and the following Saturday against Southampton. These are the games we have to win if we want stay above clubs like these.

All the bottom-half clubs have free hits against the Top 10 clubs. These are the pressure games we have to perform in.

Mark Andersson
28 Posted 01/01/2023 at 06:34:38
Happy New Year, Blue Boys & Galz...

A nice way to start the New Year ,waking up in Australia to see a positive result...

Let's hope the players take heart and get a good run to lift everyone's spirits.

Bob Parrington
29 Posted 01/01/2023 at 07:00:33
I was expecting the worst, after the dying seconds loss to Wolves. But, hey, what a performance, crowned by a majestic goal. Pickford was impressive, too!

Let's consolidate with a win vs Brighton! UTFTs.

Danny O’Neill
30 Posted 01/01/2023 at 07:01:50
I may have been complaining about the regime of late. Had my opinion swayed as some have said. I will continue to do so.

But come matchday, it's about the team and I go into every single match with hope and optimism that we can get something.

I messaged Rob yesterday, who was amongst the fantastic travelling fans. I told him I thought I hardly breathed for the last 30 minutes. And when they put up 11 minutes, I could have fainted.

Judge a season on a season. We've shown we can perform and get a result. Just do it consistently and we'll be fine.

Demarai Gray gets a bit of stick. Like Everton, he is inconsistent. He didn't cut it at Leicester and failed to impress in Germany.

But he's one of the few players we have who can attack, excite and pull something like that out of the locker.

Very good and unassuming (unnoticed) run into the corner by Mykolenko to draw the defender's attention and create the time and space for Gray.

Jack Convery
31 Posted 01/01/2023 at 07:41:18
Radio Merseyside Phone-In after the City game.

Apparently Kenwright has given the MotM to Mike Hughes, after his put down of an Evertonian, who had the temerity to say Chairman Bill needs to go.

Mike Hughes really got stuck, in blaming all the managers for wasting the money and exonerating Bill of blame. You couldn't make it up.

I wonder who would get the sack if Radio Merseyside's listener numbers suddenly fell off a cliff? It wouldn't be the boss by any chance, would it?

Brian Murray
32 Posted 01/01/2023 at 07:49:16

He's hopefully just clinging to any old crappy notion in his little mind. He know it's a total game changer for Everton the day he leaves but he'd rather us struggle or stay irrelevant as long as he remains. Crafty nasty bastard of a human being.

Happy New Year.

Danny Baily
33 Posted 01/01/2023 at 08:55:31
Hopefully the penny has dropped regarding Gray. Ditch the front three and he's the best option in the Richarlison role from last season.

With Simms and Calvert-Lewin (assuming his injury woes persist) as cover, I don't see there being any role for Maupay at all. If possible, we should try and get him out on loan somewhere.

A deeper role could also suit McNeil (similar to the one we had Rodriguez in).

Mal van Schaick
34 Posted 01/01/2023 at 10:00:29
Thank you. You proved me wrong.

I expected a thrashing and I got a gritty performance achieving a precious point from the Champions away from home. Well done.

Jim Bennings
35 Posted 01/01/2023 at 10:19:21
Precious point but, at the end of the day, the point only becomes a precious one providing we don't fluff our lines on Tuesday night in what we have to view as another winnable home game against albeit a good Brighton side.

For now, though, let's enjoy a rare point against City and a resolute defensive performance that ended a woeful football year on a respectable note.

Gray's goal shows why he frustrates us so much, has bags of ability as we've seen in his time here but just doesn't do it enough.

The target for Demarai Gray now is can he score a few more this season and rise to the occasion, we know he's capable.

Brian Harrison
36 Posted 01/01/2023 at 10:43:17
Absolutely delighted with the point and what a stunning goal from Gray.

Certainly the players concentrated for the whole game, as you must if you are to get anything at City. I watched it again on MotD and it was suggested that this may be the template for Everton this season, and Murphy said Frank got his tactics spot on.

So we play 9 men in and around our own 18-yard box and hope to score a worldy on our odd breakaway is the way to go. And as for Frank getting his tactics right – what, by filling our box with players? That's not tactics, that's raising the white flag.

Lets not forget, in their last home game, which was just before the World Cup, Brentford went there and won. They didn't play the whole game in their own half either; when they got possession, they attacked in numbers – something we didn't do.

Again, Lampard takes off our best midfield player, Gueye, just as he took him off against Wolves. No wonder he looked far from happy to see his number raised. He did make the interception and set Gray off on his goal.

For me, Gray needs to be on the ball a lot more and the best way to achieve that is to play him in the Number 10 role. This would give us more of a goal threat with his pace and his finishing; playing off Calvert-Lewin would help create more space for others.

I agree with many posters – the draw will give the players and the crowd a lot more confidence going into Tuesday's game. But the crowd will demand the same effort and will want to see more front-foot football, although so far under Frank that's not something we have seen very often.

Onana can't play on Tuesday so another plus, maybe just play 1 holding midfield player with 2 midfield players given the freedom to attack when it's right to do so.

Dave Abrahams
37 Posted 01/01/2023 at 11:02:01
Brian (36),

That's exactly how I saw the game and we did it with virtually 10 men because, apart from one very good pass which Mylolenko cocked up,Onana was the invisible man for most of the game.

He is a passenger at the moment, being carried by Gana Gueye – who was taken off to the amazement of many fans for the second time in consecutive games – while ambling Onana continued to frustrate, me anyway.

Darren Hind
38 Posted 01/01/2023 at 11:22:46
I thought there was good reasons for all the subs and I think they worked out good.

Calvert-Lewin was blowing out of his arse and had to come off. I thought Maupay was harshly treated on two occasions where he won fouls but didn't get them.

Gana had an excellent game but, on a couple of incidents just before he was hooked, he didn't quite get there. I think Frank could see he was emptying. Tom Davies saved the point we had deserved by denying a last-kick winner.

Patterson was also excellent, but he was injured and was walking a very fine line after getting a yellow. Seamus… Well, what more can you say? He just didn't stand in for the excellent Patterson, he came on and raised the bar.

Someone said the players were fighting like fuck for Frank. I can't disagree with that. The players have now set their own bar.

Really loved Haalands desperate impersonation of somebody who wasn't in the least bit rattled. The fucker should have gone long before the end.

Pete Jeffries
39 Posted 01/01/2023 at 11:38:59
Better tactics this time from Lampard and the big defence paid off. Ben Godfrey was the Man of the Match for me, disrupting Haaland did the trick and upset City.

What a comeback after that bad injury! For me, he is better than Mykolenko, who is still learning, and he should take over at left-back to shore up the defence.

Paul Tran
40 Posted 01/01/2023 at 11:44:32
Frank got it right yesterday. Gana was looking tired after working his socks off. I also think that Frank was saving him for Tuesday, especially with Onana being suspended.

Onana looks to me like a lot of young foreign players do in their first Premier League season. The pace of the game has now overtaken his initial enthusiasm and he's looking a bit lost. His suspension may help him and ultimately us.

I loved our purpose yesterday. We weren't going to lose that match, were we? All players at this level are fit, yesterday we showed the difference between fitness and purpose.

That's the standard for the rest of the season, keep that level of purpose. And at least one more striker to make it easier for us to spend more time in the opposition half.

I've always thought we have a mid-table squad. That means we can win or lose to anybody and play inexplicably well or poorly against anybody.

It's the purpose that makes the difference. That must stay, starting on Tuesday.

Brian Harrison
41 Posted 01/01/2023 at 12:14:51
Dave @37,

I have the same outlook as you, and as Paul said in his post, Onana is struggling to come to terms with the pace of the Premier League, and Gueye is having to do the work of 2 men in midfield.

Maybe next season he will hopefully have got used to the pace of the game, but so far has offered very little in any game he has played. I would play Doucoure alongside Gueye on Tuesday and have Gray in front of those 2 with Iwobi moved out wide.

Good that Calvert-Lewin got 70 minutes under his belt and let's hope he can remain fit for the next few months as we can't play Maupay as a lone striker and hope to avoid relegation.

It's one thing playing the current Champions away and having to defend for your life, but Tuesday will require a vastly different approach. So far under his leadership, Frank's team look far more comfortable playing a defensive game than an attacking game; let's hope, with a couple of additions in this window, that changes over the coming weeks.

Dave Abrahams
43 Posted 01/01/2023 at 13:40:19
Paul (40),

Yes, I understand that first season syndrome by foreign players but Onana looks a bit more than a little bit lost to me; he's never in the right place. At the moment, he looks no better than Onyango, who also is never in the right place.

I can relax on Tuesday night knowing that Onana will not suddenly come into view and me thinking “Where the fuck has he been for the last 10 minutes?” – about three or four times during a game!!

Paul Tran
44 Posted 01/01/2023 at 14:07:13
That's a fair point, Dave, he has been disappointing lately.

He looks like he's not sure what his role is, like he's concentrating on being busy at the expense of reading the game. There's a very good player in there.

Danny O’Neill
45 Posted 01/01/2023 at 14:17:41
After losing his head and his hissy fit yesterday, I wouldn't be surprised to see Haaland targeted and wound up.

Then again, how much protection will he be given? As stated by many, he shouldn't have been on the pitch by the end of that and serving a suspension.

Kevin Molloy
46 Posted 01/01/2023 at 14:25:38

I actually don't think that challenge by Haaland was that bad. I think Mykolenko saw him coming and curled up. I also don't think Haaland 'left his foot in'.

It's remarkable to see him at the moment. He looks like the best striker in the world by a mile. You just hope injuries don't curtail his career, as that combination of speed and power never seems to last for long.

Danny O’Neill
47 Posted 01/01/2023 at 14:33:11
He is an absolute machine,Kevin, and at 22 years old, will only get better.

For me, it was a nasty tackle. A definite yellow bordering on red although the call for red will be the Evertonian in me.

He should have gone by virtue of what should have been a second yellow.

There's no way an Everton player stays on the pitch in the same scenario.

Tony Hill
48 Posted 01/01/2023 at 14:45:09
We targeted Haaland, obviously, and that included the reaction of our players to his tackle on Mykolenko. That was the sort of co-ordinated intensity we have been lacking for so long.

Let us not underrate the contribution of Coady to the successful "nastiness" we mustered yesterday. He's crucial for us and we must get him permanently, and make him Captain.

Rob Halligan
49 Posted 01/01/2023 at 14:55:25
Would Haaland have committed that tackle on Coady, Tarkowski or Ben Godfrey? I don't think so. Mykolenko is probably the quietest player in our team, and Haaland saw it as an opportunity to vent his anger on someone.

What danger was Mykolenko to City in the position he was in, 4 - 5 yards from the corner flag, and about the same from the touchline, in his own half, for fuck's sake?

It's not as if he was about to throw a dangerous cross into the city area. You could tell by his body language what he was going to do once he set off from his own 6-yard box.

Making contact or not, is irrelevant in my opinion. The intent was there to try and injure an opposing player, simply because the referee was not giving him what he wanted.

A great goalscorer, yes, but also a shithouse. Let's hope more teams start getting in his face.

Danny O’Neill
50 Posted 01/01/2023 at 15:13:02
I dislike the view that there was no contact or "he got the ball".

I too believe it should be about intent.

There was an off-the-floor 2-footer in this Tottenham v Villa game. Off the ground and out of control. Luckily, contact was minimal.

Player still on the pitch.

David Currie
51 Posted 01/01/2023 at 16:41:58
With the team that we currently have, I would play 3-5-2 and have Calvert-Lewin and Gray as the 2 strikers. Gray can hopefully get more goals in a more central position.
Si Cooper
52 Posted 01/01/2023 at 22:46:59
How do you accurately judge intent?

Unlike some others I didn't see Haaland's challenge on Mykolenko as an attempt to actually injure him, just as fired up and way too reckless to possibly be sure that you won't catch a standing leg and do some real damage.

My problem with the refs is them relying on consequence (or feigned consequence) as the measure of a challenge. Same type of challenge should get same punishment irrespective of whether the victim is able to simply dust themselves down or not.

Allan's swipe last season was just an attempt to trip a player, wild and desperate though it was, not using himself as a human wrecking ball trying to use massively superior momentum to make it so much more likely the opposition will come off a whole lot worse.

Mark Andersson
53 Posted 02/01/2023 at 09:06:26
I listen to TalkSport and some irate Manc was moaning about how dirty Everton were and got away with murder...

Football fans really are blinkered, biased and down right stupid at times.

Tony Abrahams
54 Posted 02/01/2023 at 09:38:10
Kevin @46, good words.

We should all enjoy watching talent (unless it's from across the park) and I'm also of the opinion that, although his intent was stupidly reckless, he never made contact with Mykolenko. (I believe anyone leaving their foot in normally makes contact?)

But I can also imagine the outrage, right across the phoney media, if it would have been Mykolenko, flying in recklessly on Haaland.

Silva quite rightly got booked for simulation; Haaland was lucky to stay on the pitch for his reckless tackle, but why can't football have a sin-bin, for some of these borderline decisions?

Although there is nothing borderline about simulation, which is nothing short of disgraceful, and should definitely be punished with something stronger than a booking.

Danny O’Neill
55 Posted 02/01/2023 at 09:57:53
I'd welcome that sin-bin introduction, Tony. Sending someone to the cooler for 15 minutes to calm down where appropriate makes sense to me rather than sending them off.

Like their approach to the VAR and accountable refereeing, we can learn a lot from Rugby.

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