Everton and Palace play out entertaining draw at Goodison Park
Jamie Clark, Sports Editor | December 7, 2015
Everton 1-1 Crystal Palace
- Home stopper Howard saves Wickham point-blank header
- Belgium frontman Lukaku hits post for Toffees
- Eagles’ Wickham flicks free-kick onto his own crossbar
- Hennessey with full-stretch save to deny Cleverley
- Dann’s header from a corner gives Palace a brief lead
- Lukaku lob hits bar, but taps in late on to take point for Everton
Toffees and Eagles in terrific encounter
Merseyside native and boyhood Liverpool fan Scott Dann’s set-piece header was canelled out by a 50th Everton goal for Romelu Lukaku, as they held visiting Crystal Palace to a 1-1 draw at Goodison Park.
Alan Pardew’s team taking a point was still enough to move them back into the Premier League’s top six with 15 games played, while Roberto Martinez and the hosts will also be eyeing the European places close behind.
An open and absorbing contest started with Connor Wickham striking somewhat tamely at Tim Howard in the home goal inside a minute. The Toffees, meanwhile, put together some lovely one-touch passing moves, but were a little overelaborate.
Ross Barkley, who has added more goals to his game this season, typified the early Everton approach, with his curling effort from the left channel dropping just wide after good work from in-form striker Romelu Lukaku.
Howard had to make a reaction stop at point-blank range from Wickham after a quarter of an hour, when the Palace striker popped up between two Toffees defenders to nod Yannick Bolasie’s left-wing near-post cross on target.
Everton ask more questions
Roberto Martinez prodigy Gerard Deulofeu, meanwhile, showed some flashes of real brilliance on the ball, with silky skills and clever footwork posing the visitors problems.
Lethal Lukaku was then unlucky to strike the inside of Wayne Hennessey’s post when firing in a low drive for Everton. The big Belgian found himself in the danger zone again before half-time, lurking with intent, but the opposition cleared off the line before Lukaku could poach a goal.
Barkley also started another terrific Toffees attack only to see the final ball into him eluded the England prospect. Speaking of the Three Lions’ future, defender John Stones’ superb tackle stopped Eagles full back Joel Ward in his tracks during a foray forward.
Howard had to be on hand to save with his legs from Bolaise 10 minutes into the second half, and Everton dominated Alan Pardew’s team thereafter with Wickham flicking on a Barkley free-kick against his own crossbar.
Hennessey pulled off a terrific full-stretch save to deny Tom Cleverley, who was teed up by a clever Lukaku lay-off.
Dann delivers again on Merseyside
Wickham cut an isolated figure for much of the match, but a rare Palace break through Yohan Cabaye allowed Jason Puncheon to get in a shot that Howard had to palm away. From the resultant corner, the visitors went ahead through defender Dann with 15 minutes left.
Gareth Barry did not track the Eagles centre back’s run and he nodded home the delivery from Puncheon. Palace’s lead was short-lived, however, as a Deulofeu cross came through a crowded six-yard box to find Lukaku at the back-post for an easy tap in 10 minutes from time.
Belgium international Lukaku had hit the bar moments earlier with a delicious lob after turning superbly to work an opening on the Eagles goal. His Everton record now reads a half century of goals in 100 appearances.
A share of the spoils in a terrific contest was a fabulous advert for Premier League football under the Goodison Park floodlights. Both Palace and Toffees will want to kick on from sharing the spoils, with Martinez rated the more likely manager to record a top six finish at 9/4 with Coral and Pardew an 11/2 chance.
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