Everton 3-2 Watford: Leighton Baines fires Toffees to a dramatic comeback
By James Kilpatrick
Last Updated: 06/11/17 12:01am
Goals from Oumar Niasse, Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Leighton Baines saw Everton come back from two goals down to beat Watford 3-2 in a dramatic contest at Goodison Park.
Richarlison and Christian Kabasele gave Watford a commanding 2-0 lead early in the second half, but goals from Niasse, Calvert-Lewin and Baines' spot-kick in stoppage-time ensured an incredible fightback.
There might have been further drama as Tom Cleverley had the opportunity to convert a penalty for the visitors in the 11th minute of injury time after Richarlison was brought down by Jordan Pickford - but the former Everton midfielder fired wide as the hosts held on for a crucial victory.
The win means Everton move up to 15th in the Premier League table, while Marco Silva's Watford remain in ninth.
Everton: Pickford (6), Kenny (6), Keane (6), Jagielka (6), Baines (8), Gueye (6), Davies (6), Sigurdsson (6), Baningime (6), Rooney (6), Niasse (7)
Subs: Lookman (7), Calvert-Lewin (8), Baningime (6)
Watford: Gomes (8), Femenia (7), Kabasele (7), Britos (6), Holebas (5), Doucoure (6), Cleverley (5), Hughes (6), Carrillo (6), Richarlison (7), Gray (7)
Subs: Karnezis (4), Mariappa (7), Okaka (5)
Man of the match: Leighton Baines
Both sides struggled to get into any real rhythm in a scrappy but entertaining first half. Everton were almost made to pay for not breaking the deadlock in the 39th minute as Andre Gray slipped Richarlison through Everton's high line but though the 20-year-old Brazilian rounded Pickford, he fired his strike into the side-netting.
Two minutes later, Abdoulaye Doucoure unleashed a clean strike from distance which Pickford blocked in a half that Silva's side edged.
Watford carried their momentum straight into the second half as Richarlison atoned for his earlier miss. A rapid counter-attack saw Gray unselfishly lay the ball off to the winger, who skipped by Pickford and poked his shot in off the post (46).
Everton made six changes. Michael Keane, Phil Jagielka, Leighton Baines, Tom Davies, Oumar Niasse and Wayne Rooney all came in for Cuco Martina, Ashley Williams, Morgan Schneiderlin, Aaron Lennon and Ademola Lookman.
Will Hughes made his first Premier League start in place of Etienne Capoue. Suspended Troy Deeney was replaced by Andre Gray.
But Everton replied quickly. Gomes pulled off a fine double save to deny Niasse and Rooney yet, unfortunately for the Brazilian goalkeeper, he was forced off injured after colliding with the Senegalese forward's knee when he landed - prompting the ample added time.
Christian Kabasele doubled Watford's lead after heading in Jose Holebas' corner but, moments later, the visitors gifted Everton a route back into the match. Holebas' scuffed clearance led to a mix-up with substitute goalkeeper Orestis Karnezis, allowing Niasse to slot home the ball (67)
Calvert-Lewin then came off the bench to head home Baines' corner (74) and a comeback to remember for the strugglers was sealed when Holebas slipped into Aaron Lennon, resulting in an Everton penalty which Baines calmly converted (90+1).
Watford nearly took a point back to Vicarage Road as Richarlison was hauled down in the penalty box by Pickford deep into stoppage time, but Cleverley fired his penalty wide to ensure Everton claimed a morale-boosting victory.
Man of the Match - Leighton Baines
Baines showed his experience and composure at an incredibly important moment in Everton's season by cooly placing his spot-kick to ensure his side would complete the victory against Watford.
The 32-year-old also produced Everton's closest opportunity in the first half as his shot was tipped away by Gomes, and he added an assist to his record for Calvert-Lewin's goal to mark a fine performance.
David Unsworth: "I'm proud of the club. Proud of the fans and players, and the way we got back into the game.
"We showed great fight and spirit and that's what you need when you're at the bottom of the table.
"You have to show desire and determination and never give in. You have to show that type of attitude. We didn't give it and we've climbed up the table tonight and it looks better than it did before the game."
Marco Silva: "It's the type of match that are not easy to explain. Its disappointing for everybody and the players in the dressing room. But this is football and you have to keep working and going.
"If we performed like that again we'll be in a good way. We have some young players and others with lots of experience so we have to be different in some moments.
"In that moment [Niasse's goal] we respect they tried to give everything but it was more our mistake to let them back in the game again."
- Everton came from two goals down to win at home in the Premier League for only the second time ever and for the first time since May 1994 v Wimbledon (3-2).
- Watford have lost each of their last three Premier League games, after losing just one of their previous eight under Marco Silva this season (W4 D3).
- Richarlison has been directly involved in six goals in the Premier League this season (4 goals, 2 assists), more than any other Watford player.
- Oumar Niasse has netted four goals in his four Premier League appearances at Goodison Park for Everton this season.
After the international break, Everton travel to Selhurst Park to face Crystal Palace on Saturday, November 18. Watford, meanwhile, face West Ham the following day on Nissan Super Sunday.