Everton twice fought back to draw at Selhurst Park today, putting in another alarming performance in the process. A Leighton Baines penalty and Oumar Niasse goal helped Everton to take a point away from the Premier League’s bottom club Crystal Palace, 2-2 the final score.
It couldn’t have started any worse in all honesty with Everton making a trademark slow start. Ruben Loftus-Cheek was sky high on confidence after impressing for England mid-week and he positively entered the Everton box and curled a shot at goal with less than a minute played. Jordan Pickford managed to push it away but only as far as James Mcarthur who tapped home with ease to give rock bottom Palace a crucial lead. An all too familiar start for the Blues.
However our fortunes swiftly improved as just five minutes after the opening goal from Palace, the Toffees had an unlikely door back into the game after Niasse was clipped by Scott Dann as he drove into the box. It looked very soft but Anthony Taylor was in no doubt and pointed to the spot. Everton’s all time record penalty scorer Leighton Baines stepped up and coolly dispatched the spot kick to restore parity and give the Blues something to build from.
Palace dominated possession for the remainder of the first half with Everton far to happy to sit back and soak up the pressure, to the annoyance of the majority of Everton fans watching. Our unambitious and uninventive approach cost us once again as Palace regained the lead with a well-worked goal.
Andros Townsend combined well with Joel Ward down the right with Ward driving a low cross into the box and agonisingly past the outstretched Pickford and Michael Keane, which left Wilfried Zaha with the simplest of tasks to slot home.
It was beginning to feel like both sides were try to outdo each other in terms of poorness as Julian Speroni then opted to play a risky ball the unprepared Dann with seconds to go in the half, who had the ball brilliantly nicked off him by the industrious Idrissa Gueye. The Senegalese midfielder slipped in his compatriot Niasse to slot the ball past Speroni and silence the Selhurst Park crowd, all square at the break.
The second half was one of limited chances and actions. Palace were certainly the more positive of the two sides as they tirelessly looked for that desperately needed win. Everton were depressingly satisfied to sit back and defend a point as they often little to nothing going forward.
The hosts just lacked that cutting edge and Roy Hodgson hoped that fit-again Christian Benteke could provide it, however it proved the opposite as he squandered the home side’s best chance of the second period. The impressive Zaha hassled the ball away from Keane and laid it on the a plate for the big Belgian but his rustiness showed after six games out and he put his gilt edged chance wide. Other than that it was a half of almost’s and nearly’s with Palace trying and failing to produce up top and Everton just failing to try at times.
The game would peter out to its conclusion with the points being shared in the capital. David Unsworth’s claim for the full time job weakens with every lacklustre performance and today was certainly one of those. Five goals in the last two games and four points is encouraging on paper, but when you look deeper you see the problems are still there. It could and probably should have been worse, but even in our current predicament, we would have expected to put in a much better showing out there today against the bottom team in the Premier League.