Everton left fuming and still in relegation danger after more bewildering officiating

Sunday, 15 May, 2022 0comments  |  Jump to last
Everton 2 - 3 Brentford

Jarrad Branthwaite's 18th-minute red card left Everton with 72 minutes to try and hold onto their lead or at least get something from the game

Everton's protracted bid to secure Premier League safety continues after a harrowing home defeat to Brentford that hinged on another moment of refereeing injustice just 18 minutes into the match.

The Blues were leading 1-0 when a stonewall penalty was ignored at one end and Jarrad Branthwaite was sent off for a clumsy but unwitting denial of a clear goalscoring opportunity at the other and the Bees were able to capitalise in the second half even though Richarlison's penalty had made it 2-1 at half-time.

Salomon Rondon also saw red late on for an ugly tackle on Rico Henry, ending Everton's hopes of salvaging what could have been a hugely important point in the context of the relegation battle which remains unresolved heading into the final week of the season.

With Yerry Mina already ruled out and Ben Godfrey not yet ready to return, Lampard lost another senior centre-half in the build-up to the match when Michael Keane fell ill. That meant Branthwaite having to start at the back alongside Seamus Coleman and Mason Holgate.

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In midfield, Fabian Delph and Donny van de Beek were missing through injury and Allan was apparently struggling with a knock even though he was named among the substitutes, so André Gomes lined up with Abdoulaye Doucouré while Dominic Calvert-Lewin made a rare start up front.

Everton started well and might well have been ahead inside the first 5 minutes. Anthony Gordon's flick-shot was saved by David Raya and Richarlison was there to meet the rebound but planted his header wide of goal.

The Brazilian then stretched to meet a cross from Alex Iwobi but steered it wide while Ivan Toney flashed a header narrowly over from a free-kick for Brentford.

The hosts took the lead in the 10th minute, however, with a scruffy goal that initially looked to have been scored by Richarlison but ultimately proved to be Calvert-Lewin's.

Gordon was chopped down by Mads Bech Sørensen and stepped up to take the resulting free-kick that he bobbled to the near post, Richarlison helped it on and it brushed off Calvert-Lewin's chest before finding the inside of the post.

Eight minutes later, though, the game turned irrevocably in Brentford's favour. A clear pull on Richarlison's shirt by Kristoffer Ajer went unpunished in the visitors' box and when the ball was launched forward for Toney to chase, Branthwaite tangled with the striker and brought him down as the last man.

That meant an instant dismissal for the young defender and 72 long minutes for Everton to try and protect their lead. They would lose it eight minutes before the interval after Christian Eriksen, who had seized control of the contest, barely missed with a free-kick and both Iwobi and Gomes had had to make important interventions in their own penalty area.

Gomes himself would test Raya with a crisp 30-yard shot but when Vitalii Mykolenko got back to concede a corner in front of the Gwladys Street and the set-piece was initially repelled, the ball was whipped back in to the back post by Toney where Wissa fired it back across goal and benefitted from a decisive deflection off Coleman that diverted into the goal.

Brentford had three opportunities to turn the match on its head when Henry's volley was saved by Jordan Pickford, Eriksen picked Toney out with a ball over the top but Pickford also foiled him before Mbeuno's effort was fisted away by the keeper.

The game was heading into the break when Pickford launched the ball forward for Calvert-Lewin to flick on, Richarlison was felled by Bech in the box and this time referee, Michael Oliver, pointed to the spot but, controversially, elected not to show the Dane a second yellow card.

Richarlison stepped up and sent Raya the wrong way before rapping the ball down the middle to send the Toffees into half-time with a 2-1 lead.

The Brazil forward came very close to teeing Calvert-Lewin up for a second when his cross from the left just eluded the England striker following excellent anticipation by Iwobi.

At the Park End, Pickford punched Eriksen's cross away and then repelled the Danish midfielder's free-kick but, in the 62nd minute, Brentford levelled the game again.

Gordon stopped Henry's cross to concede a corner but, when the set-piece was fired in from the Bees' left, Wissa stooped to flick it on at the near post, sending it sailing over everyone and into the far corner.

Two minutes later, it was 3-2. Gordon lost track of a deep cross from the Brentford right and Henry rose unchallenged to head past Pickford and silence what had been a boisterous and expectant Goodison Park crowd at kick-off.

Lampard withdrew Gordon and Gomes in favour of Demarai Gray and Jonjoe Kenny and Doucouré had an excellent chance to make it 3-3 with a far-post header but he botched the contact somewhat and Raya batted it behind.

Then, after Eriksen had narrowly missed from 20 yards and Lampard had played his last card in the form of Rondon, the Venezuelan destroyed the prospect of any late drama when he went in with both feet and scythed Henry down, prompting a straight red.

Holgate cleared off the line to prevent Eriksen making the scoreline worse before the final whistle blew on an emotional, angering, roller-coaster match that leaves Everton still searching for a decisive victory that would assure their survival in the top flight.

 


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