Romelu Lukaku earns point for Everton

Romelu Lukaku scored his 50th goal for Everton to earn them a 1-1 draw against Crystal Palace at Goodison Park. Palace led against the run of play when Scott Dann head home 14 minutes from time, before Lukaku scored from close range to ensure Roberto Martinez’s side climbed into the top half.

It was Alan Pardew’s side who created the first chance of the evening when Yannick Bolasie created space for the cross, but Tim Howard was in the right place at the right time to block a Connor Wickham header from just a few yards out. Lukaku, who has been so key to Everton’s recent impressive run, battled his way to an opening on the edge of the box and left the visiting supporters breathing a sigh of relief when his low curling effort came back off the post.

A bright start was followed by a spell of frustration for the Toffees as Palace dropped deeper to limit the space on offer to the likes of Ross Barkley and Gerard Deulofeu, whose battle with Pape Souare on the wing took centre stage for long spells.

Palace had looked comfortable at the back heading into the break, and after a similar spell in the early stages of the second half, the visitors almost struck on the break as Bolasie sprinted into space before seeing Howard make a fine save with his leg.


Everton would soon begin to ask more questions of the Palace defence, and they were almost gifted the opening goal when Wickham headed against his own crossbar while attempting to clear a free kick.

Wayne Hennessey came to the rescue just a few moments later with a stunning save to deny Tom Cleverley, whose half-volley looked destined for the top corner after the midfielder had been given the space to reach a loose ball on the edge of the box.

Palace refused to stray from their game plan and a break sliced open the hosts, and just as the chance seemed to have passed them by, Howard was forced to push a Jason Puncheon strike behind.

The corner which followed produce the winner as Dann found the space to power his header past a helpless Howard to silence the home supporters.

Everton were unfortunate not to equalise just moments later as Lukaku brought down a high ball, before turning to strike the underside of a crossbar with a half-volley from the edge of the box.

Disappointment soon turned to delight for Everton and their Belgian striker, though, as Lukaku crept in at the back post to tap in Deulofeu’s cross. Everton were unable to force the issue as the home supporters urged them on in the final minutes, with Kone hitting a deflected effort wide in stoppage time, and Palace managed the time well to secure the point which takes them up to seventh.

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