The fans were bouncing well before the game, just the raucous welcome the Everton coach got when it pulled in to Goodison Road showed that they were ready to carry their team to victory and Premier League security following Burnley’s loss and Leeds United’s draw before kickoff.
The team certainly got the memo, starting off the game strong and even took the lead just ten minutes in. Anthony Gordon’s freekick was mishit by Richarlison, and Dominic Calvert-Lewin on his return to the squad just got his chest on the ball to guide it into the far corner.
However, a couple of minutes later Richarlison went down in the box with Sorensen grabbing handfuls of his shirt. Referee John Oliver called play to continue, and from there Jarrad Branthwaite brought Ivan Toney down in a last man tackle. The ref brandished the red card at the young Everton defender, waved away any appeals that VAR should review the shirt pull and the game was changed irreparably for the Blues.
From there things got worse as Brentford stroked the ball around and a cross found Yoane Wissa in a dangerous spot. His shot from a narrow angle was unfortunately deflected by captain Seamus Coleman and past Jordan Pickford to level the score.
Everton still battled on and Richarlison won himself a penalty just before halftime when he was clattered by Sorensen. He dusted himself off and coolly slotted home to give the Blues the lead going into the break.
The second half started like the first one ended, but Brentford used lateral movement to great effect and were able to score two quickfire goals against the ten men of Everton. Wissa again and then Rico Henry with perfectly-placed shots took the wind out of the Toffees sails, and from then on the result was never in doubt.
The Blues future remains in their own hands, a win on Thursday against Crystal Palace and Everton will be safe, but the pressure is mounting again.
Once again a poor decision by the referee, and then somehow bizarrely missed by VAR too, and the entire game changes. If that shirt-pull on Richarlison gets called either by John Oliver or by VAR and Everton have a penalty when leading 1-0, and the red card to Jarrad Branthwaite doesn’t happen either. The Blues will probably get another apology from head of refs Mike Riley, but that will be scant consolation in this relegation battle.