Romelu Lukaku rescued a point for Everton as they drew 1-1 with Crystal Palace, who moved into the Premier League’s top six after an enthralling finale at Goodison Park.
Alan Pardew’s side came into Monday’s game fresh from a 5-1 drubbing of Newcastle United last time out and took all three points from their last trip to Merseyside – a 2-1 win over Liverpool on November 8.
Despite being second-best for long periods, the London club took the lead 14 minutes from time.
Scott Dann – scorer of the winning goal in the victory at Anfield – headed in a Jason Puncheon corner to seemingly put Palace on course for three points.
But, after Everton had hit the woodwork for the third time through Lukaku, the Belgian pegged the visitors back in the 81st minute.
Lukaku turned in Gerard Deulofeu’s right-wing cross to net his 50th goal for Everton on his 100th appearance for the club to seal a result that sends Palace up to sixth and Roberto Martinez’s men up to ninth.
Palace made the brighter start to proceedings and were almost rewarded for their early dominance in the 15th minute, but Everton goalkeeper Tim Howard was equal to Connor Wickham’s header from Yannick Bolasie’s near-post cross.
Lukaku then went agonisingly close to punishing Palace’s profligacy at the other end, the Belgium striker turning into space just outside the 18-yard box only to see his low effort cannon off the inside of the left-hand post.
By that point Palace’s command of the contest had begun to slip away and Pardew’s men required some last-ditch defending to preserve parity as Everton cranked up the pressure.
Everton remained in the ascendancy after the break but continued to spurn opportunities, Ross Barkley nodding Arouna Kone’s right-wing cross wide nine minutes after the restart.
For all their superiority, Everton were fortunate not to be caught cold by Bolasie, who was allowed to surge into the box from inside his own half and arrow a low shot towards goal that Howard kept out with his legs.
Palace were again saved by the woodwork on the hour mark as Barkley’s free-kick from the left was headed onto the inside of his own crossbar by Wickham, who was grateful to see the ball bounce down without crossing the line.
Goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey frustrated Everton by brilliantly turning a fierce Tom Cleverley volley over, before Howard denied Puncheon with an excellent stop of his own.
Dann looked to have won it as he rose highest from the subsequent corner to power home and Palace’s luck certainly seemed to be in when Lukaku’s thunderous volley clattered the bar.
Yet Everton finally found the goal their play deserved as the former Chelsea man popped up to level from point-blank range for his ninth goal in as many league games, with Jordon Mutch going close in stoppage time for Palace in a thrilling finish.
Key Opta stats:
– Everton are unbeaten in their last 16 Premier League games played on a Monday (W7 D9).
– Crystal Palace have scored the highest proportion of goals from set-pieces this season in the Premier League (45 per cent).
– Romelu Lukaku has scored in each of his last three Premier League appearances against Crystal Palace.
– Palace have won more points away at Everton (13) than they have away at any other team.