Frank Lampard chose to give Tom Davies the start after an encouraging performance last week when he came in for the injured Abdoulaye Doucoure, lined up next to Alex Iwobi in a 3-4-3, with regular wingbacks Vitaliy Mykolenko and Nathan Patterson on either side. The defence was Conor Coady in between James Tarkowski and Mason Holgate and Jordan Pickford captaining the side. Up top the manager finally decided to abandon the ‘False 9’ project, putting in Salomon Rondon with Anthony Gordon and Demarai Gray on either flank.
Everton started the game on the front foot, making all the early running and creating the better chances in the first quarter of an hour, stinging Dean Henderson’s palms more than once.
The visitors did well though to keep Everton to shooting chances from distance, while the Blues’ own inability to thread in intricate passes kept them from creating a decisive chance or two.
As the half wore on though, the Blues relinquished all control and allowed the visitors to take over ball dominance, and the halftime break came as a bit of a relief for the home side who looked out of ideas on how to hold the ball up in the opposing half.
Everton once again started the second half brightly, creating openings and showing more initiative than they had to close out the previous half. Lampard’s first changes brought on Amadou Onana and Dwight McNeil just before the hour mark and the Blues were able to keep up that intensity.
It was going to take a moment of initiative or an error to change the scoreline, and that came duly with just under ten minutes left to play when a Yates shot was poorly parried away by Pickford right into the path of Everton target Brennan Johnson, and he made no mistake to make it 1-0 for the visitors.
You wouldn’t have thought the Blues would fight back with that little time left or without a recognized striker on the pitch, but the Goodison Park crowd once again carried their team to a late goal at the Gwladys Street end.
Pickford made up for his earlier error with a delicious ball over the strangely high Forest backline, and Gray did brilliantly with his first touch, killing the ball and leaving an advancing Henderson for dead, and all he had to do after that was tuck home into an open goal.
The Blues had late chances to take all three points, but some profligate finishing - Gordon was particularly culpable today - meant the spoils were shared and the Toffees picked up their first points of the season.
After an excellent start to the season James Tarkowski appears to have gone off the boil. He was just okay against Aston Villa, and was quite brutal for large parts of this game today, giveaways, misplaced passes, not being assertive enough.
Quite clear again today why Everton are desperately crying out for a striker of quality. Salomon Rondon’s utter inability to protect the ball or be a distributor showed why.
Amadou Onana was a tad too excited to make his home debut today, did everything with that much more gusto and often getting carried away too. He’ll need to reign in some of that enthusiasm.
Another composed performance from youngster Nathan Patterson who was strong defensively and attacked with gusto. Having a more mobile Dominic Calvert-Lewin back will really help him too.