Match report and free highlights as things get worse for Everton and Frank Lampard; Conor Coady's second-half header proves the difference; Jonjoe Kenny was sent off for two yellow cards with 12 minutes to play
Sunday 13 March 2022 18:32, UK
Wolves plunged Everton further into relegation trouble as Conor Coady's second-half header left only goal difference keeping them out of the drop zone.
Frank Lampard's side have lost five of their six Premier League matches and had no answer to Coady's header on 49 minutes.
Frustrations were clear to see in Everton's chasing of the game and Jonjoe Kenny picked up two yellow cards with 12 minutes to play as Wolves cantered to a 1-0 victory at a disgruntled Goodison Park.
The result leaves Lampard's side, who have not suffered relegation in 71 years, level on 22 points with 18th-placed Watford but they do have three games in hand on the Hornets. That said, Burnley in 19th place are just one point behind Everton, who have only one game in hand on Sean Dyche's men.
A run of just nine points from the last 60 available and only two league wins since September has left a squad drained of confidence in danger of dropping out of the top flight for only the third time in their history and first since 1951.
Richarlison had an early shot saved by Jose Sa from Vitalii Mykoleno's ball over the top and he smacked an effort into the side-netting after the break but Lampard's side only created 0.45 worth of expected goals as Wolves' defence stood strong.
Lampard had been relying on the Goodison effect to provide his side with the boost they needed for their survival bid but the atmosphere turned increasingly toxic and there were hundreds of empty seats before the final whistle.
The victory for Wolves moves them up to seventh in the Premier League table and firmly keeps them in the European hunt.
Everton: Pickford (6), Coleman (6), Holgate (6), Godfrey (6), Kenny (4), Doucoure (6), Van de Beek (5), Mykolenko (6), Gordon (7), Gray (6), Richarlison (7)
Subs: Alli (5),
Wolves: Sa (8), Kilman (8), Coady (8), Saiss (7), Jonny (7), Marcal (7), Ruben Neves (9), Joao Moutinho (7), Dendoncker (7), Hwang (6), Jimenez (7)
Subs: Trincao (7)
Man of the match: Ruben Neves
Ruben Neves winning the man-of-the-match award is becoming as common as Wolves keeping a clean sheet. After a season of stagnation in Nuno Espirito Santo's regimented system, the Portuguese midfielder seems at ease playing a more all-action style alongside Joao Moutinho in the Wolves midfield. Against Everton, he showed Donny van de Beek and Abdoulaye Doucoure the array of his skillset, dominating in that area of the field.
There was the usual crisp passing and snappy tackles, but what marks him out as a midfielder with the ability to go right to the top is his vision and ability to make a difference in the final third. He provided the match-winning moment of quality, on an afternoon where it was lacking in most areas of the pitch, when finding Coady with a stunning cross on the run down the right flank. The header was a beauty but it was made by an equally-important assist.
At full-time, the away end, packed to the rafters with Wolves fans, sang his name. It must be an absolute pleasure to watch him week-in, week-out.
Any Everton fans in denial about the prospect of relegation can no longer just shut the curtains and pretend it's not happening. This is very real.
And the scenes at full-time in the stands at Goodison Park mirrored that fear and anger towards their team. The famous old ground was supposed to be a place where the club can haul themselves away from danger. A fortress.
But when the atmosphere is like it was at full-time, playing away from home all of sudden might be a thing to relish from a set of players who have continually let their down their supporters. It is now a hinderance.
It is now just goal difference separating them from the drop zone. Yes, they have three games in hand on Watford and one on Burnley but games in hand are absolutely worthless if you can't win football matches. And Everton are the absolute Premier League kings at that. A run of just nine points from the last 60 available and only two league wins since September has left a squad drained of confidence in danger of dropping out of the top flight for only the third time in their history and first since 1951.
Frank Lampard has had little impact in changing their fortunes around either. It is now five defeats in his six games as manager in the Premier League. He has an almighty fight on his hands to get this Everton team believing that they are truly too good to go down.
Everton boss Frank Lampard: "The goal changes the game because it completely changes the atmosphere in the stadium. We had to try to react to that and then as we started to react we lose a man later in the game. It is what it is, we lose the game and have to look to the next.
"When you're in the moment when things aren't going for you, you have to keep working until things turn in your favour. We have belief here but at the moment it's tough. It's been a long time since the club has not been winning the games we want. We have to keep fighting and keep working, simple as that.
"The Premier League gives you tough games every game. We need to turn a corner somehow. It can only come through work and confidence. Everyone wants the same thing here. We want to stay in the Premier League but the first thing is to keep fighting for it."
When asked if he still believes he can keep Everton up, he replied: "Of course".
Everton's next Premier League game will see them host Newcastle on Thursday at 7.45pm in what could prove to be a key fixture in this season's relegation battle.
Bruno Lage's Wolves side will return to Premier League action on Friday at 8pm as they take on Leeds, live on Sky Sports.