herald

Tuesday 16 October 2018

Baines the hero as Toffees claim crucial victory

Everton 3 Watford 2

Everton's Leighton Baines (centre, bottom) celebrates scoring his side's third goal of the game from the penalty spot
Everton's Leighton Baines (centre, bottom) celebrates scoring his side's third goal of the game from the penalty spot

Everton came from two goals down to secure a dramatic 3-2 home victory over Watford and move out of the Premier League relegation zone, with ex-Toffees midfielder Tom Cleverley missing a last-gasp chance to level for the visitors from the penalty spot.

Everton looked set for a sixth successive defeat in all competitions, and fourth under caretaker manager David Unsworth, when Christian Kabasele's 64th-minute header put the visitors 2-0 up, adding to Richarlison's strike in the first minute of the second half.

But Oumar Niasse pulled a goal back three minutes later, substitute Dominic Calvert-Lewin headed home an equaliser with 16 minutes to go and Leighton Baines subsequently converted a penalty in stoppage time to complete the turnaround. Cleverley then had the opportunity to make it 3-3 at the death but sent his spot-kick off-target.

What was Everton's first win in nine matches saw them rise from 19th to 15th in the table and brought a much-needed dose of positivity ahead of the international break, in which the club's hierarchy are expected to make a decision on the permanent successor to the sacked Ronald Koeman.

What becomes of Unsworth, who would like the job full-time, remains to be seen but what is certain is that he will have taken great satisfaction from this.

There was little in the way of attacking action until just before the interval, when Richarlison sped forward having been fed by Gray and got around Jordan Pickford only to shoot wide, and Abdoulaye Doucoure hit an effort straight at the goalkeeper moments later.

Richarlison then made amends for his miss less than a minute after the interval. Watford sprung a counter-attack and Gray sent a pass to Richarlison, who went around Pickford again and this time finished in very tidy fashion.

As Everton pushed for a swift equaliser, Gylfi Sigurdsson's shot was parried by Gomes and the goalkeeper then tipped away Rooney's cross under pressure from Niasse. Gomes was hurt in the incident and after receiving treatment on-field, came off with a bandage around his head, with Orestis Karnezis coming on to replace him.

Everton fans were then left stunned as Watford doubled their lead when Kabasele connected with Jose Holebas' corner. But they soon had something to cheer as Niasse latched on to Ademola Lookman's lofted pass, got the ball past the outrushing Karnezis and bundled it over the line.

Lookman's fellow substitute Calvert-Lewin then brought things all-square, nodding in at the far post from Baines' corner.

And Unsworth's third substitute, Aaron Lennon, was subsequently involved in the build-up to what proved the winner, with the winger being brought down by Holebas in the box as Baines converted the resulting penalty confidently and a wild roar erupted around Goodison Park.

The home supporters then had their hearts in their mouths as Scott awarded a penalty at the other end, but Cleverley fired wide.

Promoted articles

Entertainment News