Chelsea 2-2 Everton: Ellis Simms scores last-gasp equaliser to give Toffees valuable point at Stamford Bridge and halt Blues’ resurgence in its tracks
- Youngster Ellis Simms scored his first goal for Everton as they drew at Chelsea
- Could prove a crucial point for Sean Dyche’s side in hunt for survival this season
- Chelsea pegged back twice to half their mini resurgence firmly in its tracks
At one stage against Everton, there was so much confidence flowing through Chelsea that even Graham Potter indulged in a bit of showboating.
As a ball looped up into the air and over his head as he stood in his technical area, Potter nonchalantly leant forward, let it drop and back-heel volleyed the ball into play.
Chelsea were deservedly 1-0 up at the time through a fine strike from Joao Felix who also showed off some fancy footwork throughout at Stamford Bridge.
But if there is one thing Potter has learned in this job is that Chelsea are not yet in a place where too much can be taken for granted.
And so it proved, once again.
Ellis Simms scored a last-gasp equaliser to hand Everton a crucial point away at Chelsea
The young forward showed immense power and poise to evade defenders and slot beyond Kepa Arrizabalaga
Everton had watched teams around them secure vital points earlier in the day and knew they needed to keep pace
Everton levelled a first time through Abdoulaye Doucoure to test whether Chelsea really were back after the three successive wins which suggested they might be.
And after Kai Havertz restored Chelsea’s lead again from the penalty spot, young striker Ellis Simms came off the bench to force in his first senior Everton goal to earn the Toffees another crucial point in their battle to beat the drop which they celebrated long and hard at full-time.
They had earned it with through a combination of their defiant defending to limit Chelsea to their two goals and also their response to going behind twice, a situation that seemed to stir them rather than deflate.
Instead, deflated might be how Chelsea and Potter will feel going into the international break after a late goal denied them a fourth win on the spin.
The pattern for the first 50 minutes or so was quickly set, Chelsea pinning Everton and back in their own half and Dyche’s men having to keep their concentration and work overtime to protect their goal.
Enzo Fernandez was first to threaten when he had a shot blocked and his midfield partner Mateo Kovacic blasted just wide after five minutes.
As no stranger to a spectacular volley, by his standards, the Croatian might have been disappointed not to net when a clearing header dropped to him, in plenty of space, on the edge of the box.
This was shaping up to be the sort of game made for James Tarkowski and inside the first 10 minutes his first piece of body-on-the-line defending was needed to deny Joao Felix, deployed through the middle by Potter.
After that fast Chelsea start, Everton managed to stem the home side’s flow for a spell though they flickered again with Havertz’s curler collected by Jordan Pickford, who also pounced on Ben Chilwell’s deflected cross as Felix looked to poke in.
Chelsea were rightly confident because of their form and the way they started the game.
Kovacic and Fernandez were dominant and pulling the strings in central midfield. Felix and Havertz delighted the crowd with some displays of skill.
Joao Felix had given Chelsea the lead early on in the second half and they dominated proceedings
The Portuguese was irresistible for much of the evening and consistently troubled Everton
Felix was brilliant throughout and deserved his debut Stamford Bridge goal on Saturday
Centre-back Kalidou Koulibaly drew gasps too when he killed a ball dead first time as it dropped out of the sky and over his shoulder as he ran back towards his own goal.
What Chelsea wanted, and needed, was a goal that would have been a deserved reward.
Everton, though, continued to defend diligently and frustrate. Pickford was equal to an effort from the impressive Felix before Tarkowski, again, flung himself at the feet of Reece James.
He was not the only one. Two of his teammates did similar in first-half added on time after Dwight McNeil’s foul on Fernandez handed Chelsea a free-kick in a promising situation.
Abdoulaye Doucoure equalised for Everton from a corner after putting some pressure on the hosts
James Tarkowski brought down Reece James and looked to have handed Chelsea the win
Havertz duly slotted the penalty and looked to have given Graham Potter’s side crucial victory
However Everton found an equaliser – cue pandemonium in the away end and renewed belief about their survival hopes
A pair of Chelsea efforts came from it met by a pair of Everton blocks, to see the Toffees into half-time level.
The one-way traffic continued in the early stages after the break.
Chilwell’s cross was met by Havertz whose header was batted away Pickford.
But Everton – Michael Keane and Tarkowski in particular – could only hold out for a few minutes more. It was not for a want of trying on the part of Everton’s overworked centre-back pair.
Chelsea (3-4-3): Arrizabalaga 5.5; Fofana 7.5 (Chalobah 87), Koulibaly 7.5, Badiashile 7; James 6.5, Enzo 7.5, Kovacic 7.5 (Loftus-Cheek 81), Chilwell 7.5; Havertz 7, Felix 8.5 (Chukwumeka 86), Pulisic 7 (Gallagher 62, 7).
Subs not used: Bettinelli, Kante, Mudryk, Chukwuemeka, Madueke, Cucurella
Scorer: Felix 52, Havertz 76p
Booked: Koulibaly, James
Manager: Graham Potter 7.5
Everton (4-5-1): Pickford 6.5; Coleman 6 (Mykolenko 84), Keane 7.5, Tarkowski 8, Godfrey 6.5; Iwobi 6.5, Doucoure 6, Gueye 6 (Simms 79), Onana 6, McNeil 6; Gray 6.5.
Subs not used: Begovic, Holgate, Mina, Mykolenko, Maupay, Davies, Coady, Garner,
Scorer: Doucoure 69, Simms 90
Booked: Gueye, McNeil
Manager: Sean Dyche 6.5
Referee: Darren England 6
Attendance: 40, 025
Keane stretched to poke Chilwell’s next cross, from Fernandez’s pinpoint cross-field ball, away from his box.
Tarkowski was then quick to sense the danger when the ball trickled towards Felix.
But he could not get to him in time and Felix fired the ball through Tarkowski’s legs, past Pickford and into the net off the post.
Going behind saw Everton all of a sudden take the shackles off. Keane could only divert Alex Iwobi’s cross straight at Kepa Arrizabalaga – a spectator up to this point – before he was unable to get a firm enough contact of Demarai Gray’s fierce free-kick.
Everton’s increased intent and a flurry of set-pieces then paid off when Abdoulaye Doucoure’s touch from Tarkowski’s knockdown, crossed the line before Havertz could clear and they were level.
Now came the test of where Chelsea were really at after their recent morale-boosting wins.
They answered it in five minutes.
James burst dangerously into the box, Ben Godfrey and Tarkowski combined to bring him down and referee Darren England pointed to the spot, his decision standing after a VAR check.
Pickford tried to delay taker Havertz further with some gamesmanship so the German enjoyed sending the England keeper the wrong way, sticking his tongue out and taunting him with a playful gesture as he wheeled off in celebration.
But Everton were the ones smiling at full-time thanks to a moment sub Simms will never forget, the young striker bursting past a sluggish Koulibaly and squeezing the ball under Kepa who was likely to be equally disappointed with his attempts to save his effort.
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