Crystal Palace 2-2 Everton: Eagles surrender lead twice to draw
By Ben Grounds
Last Updated: 18/11/17 6:29pm
Everton twice came from behind to earn a 2-2 draw against Crystal Palace which leaves the hosts still rooted to the bottom of the Premier League table.
Palace took the lead after just 51 seconds - their second fastest goal in Premier League history - as Ruben Loftus-Cheek's shot was palmed by Jordan Pickford straight to James McArthur, who made no mistake from close range.
But Everton levelled contentiously from the penalty spot just five minutes later as Leighton Baines converted after Scott Dann was penalised for a foul on Oumar Niasse.
Roy Hodgson's side regained the advantage when Wilfried Zaha converted Joel Ward's cross (35) from close range before Niasse was presented with a gift on the stroke of half-time to level after indecision between Julian Speroni and Dann.
Crystal Palace: Speroni (5), Ward (6), Dann (5), Sakho (5), Schlupp (6), Milivojevic (6), Cabaye (6), McArthur (7), Townsend (6), Loftus-Cheek (8), Zaha (7)
Subs: Puncheon (6) Benteke (5)
Everton: Pickford (6), Baines (7), Keane (6), Jagielka (6), Kenny (7), Gueye (6), Schneiderlin (5), Lennon (6), Lookman (5), Sigurdsson (6), Niasse (7)
Subs: Davies (6), Ramirez (6), Calvert-Lewin (6)
Man of the match: Ruben Loftus-Cheek
Everton came into the game having failed to keep a clean sheet in the league since the opening day of the season, and they extended that wretched run inside the first minute.
Loftus-Cheek, who impressed all afternoon following his bright display for England against Germany, cut inside Phil Jagielka and Pickford's save only presented the ball straight to the onrushing McArthur, who had the simplest task of slotting home.
But David Unsworth, in the dugout once more as caretaker, will have been delighted by his team's response as Niasse controlled Baines' pass before being brushed off the ball by Dann inside the box. The Senegal striker appeared to throw himself to the ground as he looked to take the ball past the defender, but referee Anthony Taylor was well placed to award the spot-kick, much to the captain's incredulity.
Crystal Palace made one change to the side that were beaten 1-0 by Tottenham. James McArthur came into the midfield as Timothy Fosu-Mensah made way. For Everton, David Unsworth made three changes as Wayne Rooney dropped to the bench along with Tom Davies as Morgan Schneiderlin, Ademola Lookman and Aaron Lennon started while there was no place for Beni Baningime.
Baines stepped up to make no mistake, blasting his penalty left-footed to Speroni's right to bring the visitors level with his third goal of the season.
But it was Palace who dominated possession for the remainder of the first half with Everton happy to sit deep and they paid the price for a lack of ambition as Palace regained the lead in fine fashion.
Andros Townsend combined well with Joel Ward down the right, and the full-back's inviting low cross managed to evade the outstretched Pickford for Zaha to slide in with a simple finish.
Just when it appeared Palace would see out the half in front, Speroni opted to play the ball short to Dann, allowing Idrissa Gueye to execute a fine tackle and Gylfi Sigurdsson played the first-time ball into Niasse's path for the striker to level with a cool finish.
Both sides had chances to win the game in the second period with Dominic Calvert-Lewin coming close and substitute Christian Benteke - on his return to the Palace side following six games out - dragging wide but both teams had to settle for a point.
Roy Hodgson: "We feel hard done by. I don't think we could've played a lot better. The two goals [conceded] were of course unfortunate. You think the first one is actually a dive, and the second one was of our own making.
"If I take those two moments out of it, then I've got to be very satisfied by what the players did. I thought we bossed the game and played some excellent football but they couldn't score more than the two goals so as a result we've dropped two more points."
David Unsworth: "Palace are a good team. They caused us problems and they have great individual players. In the period that I've been a footballer, this has always been a tough place to come.
"To be down twice in the game, we've shown some great resilience. It was a really hard-fought point."
Man of the match - Ruben Loftus-Cheek
There were doubts over the newly capped Loftus-Cheek's inclusion at Selhurst Park, but the on-loan midfielder brushed off a minor knock to produce another fine individual display.
The England international played a crucial role in Palace's first after 51 seconds after his run and shot forced Pickford to palm the ball straight to McArthur and the 21-year-old frequently found space in between Everton's defence and midfield to cause problems.
With the return of Christian Benteke and form of Wilfried Zaha, Palace have an attacking front three that should haul them clear of danger and Loftus-Cheek looks ready to shoulder the burden of responsibility as the Eagles continue to scrap for their lives.
- Palace have collected five points from their opening 12 Premier League games - only one team has ever survived relegation having won five points or fewer at this stage (Everton, four points in 1994/95).
- After failing to score in five of six home Premier League games between April and September, Palace have scored two or more goals in three consecutive top-flight home games for the first time since August 1991.
- Everton have conceded inside the opening minute of 10 different Premier League games - more than any other side in the competition's history.
- Oumar Niasse has scored more Premier League goals this season (five in seven games) than he managed in his previous two seasons combined (four in 22).
- David Unsworth (22) is the only defender to score more Premier League penalties than Leighton Baines (20). Baines scored in back to back Premier League games for the first time.
- Three of the last five occasions of both teams scoring twice in the first half of Premier League matches have involved either Palace or Everton (also Crystal Palace v Liverpool in October 2016 and Everton v Leicester in April 2017).
Crystal Palace have another home game next weekend as they entertain Stoke City in the Premier League on November 25. Everton are in Europa League action on Thursday night as they host Atalanta before visiting Southampton next Sunday at St Mary's.