With the end of the Premier League season now in sight, matches of magnitude will start coming thick and fast. Arguably the first to fall into that category was this clash of two sides desperate to avoid the drop into the Championship.
Having had a player sent off in each of their last three top flight games, Everton’s discipline could be seen as a key issue in their less than impressive performances which have led to them being sucked into a relegation battle. When defensive midfielder Mason Holgate was booked after just three minutes, Frank Lampard was no doubt rolling his eyes thinking, “here we go again”.
Despite not scoring in their previous four games, Burnley enjoyed the brighter start, with Ashley Westwood’s curling shot going just wide of the Everton goal. Their early dominance was rewarded with Nathan Collins ending the team’s drought and scoring his first goal for the club, firing home from close range following Maxwel Cornet’s corner.
However, when you’re in a scrap for survival, it would be wrong to get carried away because undoubtedly your hopes will be stripped away within a flash. Enter Richarlison. Anthony Gordon went down under a challenge from Westwood and – soft though it was – Mike Dean pointed to the penalty spot, and the Brazilian forward did the rest, rolling the ball past Nick Pope to the goalkeeper’s left hand side.
The attention was once again on Dean five minutes before half time, when he took a look at the VAR screen following a clash in the box between Vitali Mykolenko and Aaron Lennon. Lennon was adjudged to have tripped the Ukranian, giving Richarlison another opportunity from twelve yards. Same approach. Same result. Everton took a 2-1 lead into the break, and took a Premier League record with them after becoming the first team to score two penalties in the first half of an away game.
Burnley knew they had to come quickly in the second half, and Sean Dyche would have been delighted with how they hauled themselves back into the game. Charlie Taylor’s driving run down the left hand side took him to the byline, where he slammed the ball across the box to find Jay Rodriguez who ghosted in to sweep home the equaliser.
Richarlison was hungry for a hat trick, and an ambitious overhead kick had to be clawed away by Pope to ensure things stayed level. At the other end, Jordan Pickford was called into action to push Cornet’s fierce effort over the bar as the home side responded to the Turf Moor crowd, who were trying to roar their team to victory.
With five minutes left, the stadium erupted. Matej Vyrda squared the ball inside the box and this time Cornet was not to be denied as he slammed the ball into the net to score what could be one of the biggest goals in Burnley’s recent history if it is to spark a rise to Premier League safety.
Burnley remain in the bottom three, but are now just one point behind Everton – who face Manchester United, Leicester, Liverpool and Chelsea in their next four matches.