Everton inch closer to safety as Richarlison rescues last-gasp point against Leicester

Everton 1-1 Leicester: The Brazilian struck in stoppage time to put the Toffees four points clear of the drop

Richard Jolly
Goodison Park
Wednesday 20 April 2022 22:34
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<p>Richarlison scores for Everton in stoppage time</p>

Richarlison scores for Everton in stoppage time

Everton’s season has been beset by injuries but they can be grateful for injury time at Goodison Park. Their winners against Arsenal and Newcastle came deep in added time and, with 91 minutes on the clock, Leicester were leading. Then Richarlison scuffed in a first home league goal since December. Everton may not have deserved a point, but it may prove priceless.

It moved them four clear of Burnley and took them into territory they have not charted since September: they have gone two games unbeaten. And if that illustrates how sorry their season has been, Goodison may wonder if a corner has been turned. Victory over Manchester United was stirring, a draw with Leicester rather less impressive and the broader concern should be how dominant Brendan Rodgers’ team were for swathes of the game. A side with less to play for played better. Yet, as Everton face Liverpool and Chelsea before a swift rematch with Leicester, they will take points however and wherever they come.

This felt an improbable one, not least because Richarlison’s finishing had been hapless. A first-half shot and a second-half header went horribly wide. Perhaps it was as well his equaliser took a touch off Ricardo Pereira, given the waywardness of his other efforts. The other unlikely element came from his suppliers, with Dele Alli crossing and Salomon Rondon getting a touch, Frank Lampard’s substitutes exerting an impact.

For Lampard, whose last defeat as Chelsea manager came to Leicester, there was the sense they are not playing a part in his downfall again. Instead, Goodison may be his salvation: all 10 of his points have come on home soil.

When Harvey Barnes struck, however, an 18th defeat in 24 league games beckoned. While Leicester had played three times since Everton beat United and Rodgers made seven changes, his side showed the cohesion, the chemistry and the cleverness. They were aided by the elusive excellence of James Maddison, who started on the right but roamed around effectively. Leicester showed the assurance in possession as Everton looked far too limited.

So defiant defensively against United, Everton were opened up easily inside six minutes. First Pereira and then Maddison was afforded too much room on the right. The latter was allowed to pick out Kelechi Iheanacho with a cross and, while his flick took a telling touch off the sliding Yerry Mina’s back, Barnes had a simple finish for his first goal in 10 games.

Maddison could have doubled the lead, following a slick move that involved an Iheanacho backheel. Jordan Pickford was only really tested by a vicious effort from Maddison after the break. They could rue the way their superiority was not translated into a bigger advantage.

Leicester celebrate Harvey Barnes’s goal

Yet Everton were muted for a long period. They failed to trouble Kasper Schmeichel until Richarlison’s snap-shot in the 67th minute. In the first half, Demarai Gray at least came close, whipping a shot wide after a well-worked short corner.

They were at least a bit more animated after the break, with Goodison roused from its slumber. Schmeichel held Mina’s header as the defender was making his first appearance in 10 weeks, a time in which his reputation swelled with every defeat he missed.

His place on the treatment table was taken by Dominic Calvert-Lewin, who may be out for two weeks. Yet if it felt a blow, even though his stop-start season has not yielded a goal since August, it meant Richarlison started as a striker. Perhaps, had Calvert-Lewin been fit, Rondon would not have been summoned. He was and he played his part.

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