Everton versus Burnley is never a glamorous game, but with the tie delicately poised as a relegation six-pointer, this was always going to be a high-intensity, high-pressure game.
Hosts Burnley started off the better side by far, dominating possession and seemingly catching Everton on their heels. And to no one’s surprise, the Clarets got the first goal too after just a dozen minutes, with Nathan Collins beating Alex Iwobi to tap in the deep corner.
If you thought the Toffees would fold, like they have so many times this season, then you are mistaken this time. The Blues would hit right back with Anthony Gordon winning a penalty after being dragged down in the box, and Richarlison sending Nick Pope the wrong way.
The Blues were in the ascendancy at that point, and made it count with Vitalii Mykolenko dragged down in the box by former Blue Aaron Lennon. Richarlison stepped up again and sent Pope the wrong way, again, to make it 2-1 for the Blues. Everton withstood a spell of pressure to go into the half with the lead, a rare event away this season.
There was a feeling that the Blues would be made to rue it if they didn’t score a third, and that became prescient minutes into the second half as Burnley started the way they had ended the previous stanza. Jonjoe Kenny got beaten on the sideline and watched as Charlie Taylor’s pinpoint cross was tapped in by Jay Rodriguez to level things up.
Everton continued to see plenty of the ball, and had at least half a dozen chances to extend their lead, but a combination of Pope, defensive blocks and the woodwork foiled Richarlison, Gordon and even Kenny.
Then the mistakes crept in as the noise ratcheted up, and Jordan Pickford miscued an aerial clearance as winds and rain buffeted Turf Moor. The cross that resulted from that was mishit by Ben Godfrey, fell kindly to Mattej Vydra whose cutback was slammed home by Maxwel Cornet with just five minutes left to play as the home crowd went into raptures.
There was a late chance for Salomon Rondon as his shot stabbed from the edge of the box went just wide of the post with Pope rooted to his spot, but there was nothing else to prevent Everton from falling to their seventh consecutive away league defeat.
Richarlison was on his game tonight. Full of running, perfect finishing on the two penalties, active and purposeful in both halves. He might deny it, but he is really at his best when playing on the left of a 4-3-3 formation.
I don’t even know what Everton or even Lampard can do at this point. They didn’t have this game quite under control, but wasted so many chances to either extend their lead or break the deadlock.
The lack of on-pitch leadership and mental strength continued to haunt this team. More chances missed, more mistakes, more goals conceded, more losses, more points dropped. Story of Everton’s season.