MX23RW : Wednesday, February 20 16:32:03
Feb 10, 2018 at 3pm UK at ​Goodison Park
Attendance: 39,139
Crystal Palace
Sigurdsson (46'), Niasse (51'), Davies (75')
FT(HT: 0-0)
Milivojevic (83' pen.)

Live Commentary: Everton 3-1 Crystal Palace - as it happened

Relive Sports Mole's live text coverage of Everton's 3-1 win over Crystal Palace, as the Toffees earned the points to take them into ninth place.
Live Commentary: Everton 3-1 Crystal Palace - as it happened
© Offside

Everton found the net twice early in the second half to pave the way for a 3-1 victory over Crystal Palace at Goodison Park.

Following an underwhelming first-half display, Gylfi Sigurdsson and Oumar Niasse bagged goals to put the Toffees on their way to back-to-back home wins.

Tom Davies added a third, shortly before Luka Milivojevic pulled one back from the penalty spot, as the home side comfortably saw the job through.

Relive how the 90 minutes of action unfolded with Sports Mole's live text coverage below.

2.00pmHello and welcome to Sports Mole's live text coverage of the Premier League meeting between Everton and Crystal Palace at Goodison Park. The Toffees were thrashed 5-1 at Arsenal last time out and have now won just one of their last eight top-flight matches, while the visitors have also stuttered somewhat after going three games without a win ahead of this trip to Merseyside.

2.02pmPalace also have a very tough run of fixtures to navigate in the coming weeks, facing four of the division's big boys across their next six matches, so avoiding defeat today will be key. The home side are at less threat of suffering relegation, having improved sufficiently since Sam Allardyce came on board to climb clear, yet lose today and all of a sudden the gap could look a lot thinner.


STARTING XI: Pickford; Coleman, Mangala, Keane, Martina; Gueye, Davies; Walcott, Rooney, Sigurdsson; Niasse

SUBS: Robles, Kenny, Williams, Schneiderlin, Bolasie, Calvert-Lewin, Tosun

2.06pmStarting with a look at the home team, Allardyce has made four changes to the side that went down 5-1 to Arsenal last weekend. No great surprise to see the return of a flat-back four, having been completely taken apart for 45 minutes of that embarrassing defeat in North London with three - or five, depending on how you see it - along the back. Seamus Coleman is back in at right-back after being rested last time out.

2.08pmColeman was very impressive against Leicester City here on his return from a 10-month layoff, and he will likely be a key player down the flank on this second outing of the campaign. Wayne Rooney and Gylfi Sigurdsson also return after being named on the bench at Arsenal, with Allardyce favouring an overly-defensive system that truly backfired. The fourth and final fresh face to be brought in is Tom Davies in central midfield.

2.10pmAllardyce looks as though he will go with Sigurdsson, Theo Walcott and Wayne Rooney in a three-man attacking midfield, playing just off Idrissa Gueye, who is once again given the nod over Cenk Tosun. The Turkey international had supporters excited when arriving from Besiktas last month, but he has not exactly been given much of an opportunity to prove himself in English football thus far. Ashley Williams, Morgan Schneiderlin, Yannick Bolasie and Jonjoe Kenny all drop down to the bench.


STARTING XI: Hennessey; Fosu-Mensah, Tomkins, Ward, Van Aanholt; Townsend, Cabaye, Milivojevic, McArthur; Sorloth, Benteke

SUBS: Henry, Souare, Riedewald, Delaney, Lee, Wan-Bissaka, Rakip

2.14pmIn terms of the visitors, the big news is that manager Roy Hodgson has handed a Palace debut to January recruit Alexander Sorloth. The Norwegian striker comes in for the injured Wilfried Zaha and will partner Christian Benteke in a two-man forward line. The only other change from the 1-1 draw with Newcastle United last weekend is also enforced - Joel Ward replacing Martin Kelly in defence.

2.16pmIt is a first start for Ward since the start of December, with his inclusion likely seeing Timothy Fosu-Mensah shuffle into central defence. Due to a number of injury issues, which Hodgson admitted was just about the worst he has ever seen in his long-running managerial career, the Eagles have also had to pad out the bench with some academy graduates. Among them is Aaron Wan-Bissaka, who is in line for his debut.

2.18pmA debut for January recruit Sorloth, then, and also possible one from the bench for Wan-Bissaka. A third newbie is also present in the Eagles' 18-man squad, too, as another mid-season signing in Erdal Rakip has been named among the subs. A slightly different look to the side, and there is no denying that the absence of key man Zaha will be felt for as long as he is out. Not that supporters needed reminding, but Palace are winless without the winger since September 2016.

2.20pmGylfi Sigurdsson, one of four players to return to Everton's starting lineup this afternoon, boasts an impressive career record against today's opponents. The Icelandic playmaker has been involved in six goals in his last six starts against the Eagles, scoring a couple and setting up four more.

Gylfi Sigurdsson in action during the Premier League game between Everton and Arsenal on October 22, 2017© SilverHub

2.22pmEverton head into this match sitting just inside the top half of the table, though their campaign could still go one of two ways. Relegation does appear to be out of the question for now, having put enough distance between themselves and the bottom three, but the seven-point gap on Stoke in 18th place could easily become four points come 5pm this evening and then all of a sudden it is squeaky bum time once again.

2.24pmAllardyce will be more concerned about his side consolidating their position in the top half, though, and seventh place does seem to be an achievable target should they pick up some form - Burnley being just five points better off. The Toffees started very well under the former England boss but have since seen results plummet, most recently going down 5-1 to Arsenal in a game that saw them rather comically collapse in the first half.

2.26pmFans questioned Allardyce's use of tactics before a ball was kicked in North London and were left furious once the half-time whistle sounded. In a campaign that is not particularly going anywhere, those in the stands need encouragement to get behind their players and at the moment that is not happening. One win in eight Premier League matches is a poor return, leaving Allardyce in need of a big performance this afternoon.

2.28pmSince beating Swansea City 3-1 to make it 13 points from a possible 15 - the first of those games coming in David Unsworth's final game at the helm - Everton have taken six points from a possible 24. That run includes heavy defeats away to Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal when looking completely out of their depth, particularly last weekend at the Emirates Stadium when Allardyce described his side's performance, in no uncertain terms, as "crap".

2.30pmEverton beat Leicester 2-1 here in their last home outing, though, and as Allardyce pointed out in the week his side do look a little more solid at Goodison Park. Still, West Bromwich Albion - propping up the table and being cut adrift - came here and took a point a few weeks back, giving Palace plenty of incentive to do the same this afternoon. This is far from a fortress, and Allardyce fast needs to make this a difficult place for opposition teams to visit.

2.32pmIt is worth mentioning the lopsided nature of Everton's fixture list, however, as they have already pretty much got all of their tough fixtures out of the way with. Their next five matches, including this one, come against mid-to-lower-end teams, providing a chance to build up some much-needed momentum heading into the spring. In fact, the Toffees now only have Manchester City and Liverpool to face of the big six, both of whom visit here in quick succession.

2.34pmDID YOU KNOW? Everton have been awarded a Premier League-high seven penalties this season, which is one more than Crystal Palace. The Toffees have also earned an unrivalled 13 points from losing positions in 2017-18 - also one more than today's opponents, who have recovered 12 points from such positions.

2.36pmOne thing that does seem strange when looking at Everton's recent results is the lack of clean sheets. Allardyce built up a reputation for making his teams defensively solid and using that as a platform to push on, though he perhaps tried to change things a bit too quickly as 15 goals have been shipped in his side's last six matches. The Toffees have conceded in each of their last six league matches and also went down 2-1 to Liverpool in the FA Cup during that run.

2.38pmSam Allardyce's Everton side are at a bit of a crossroads at this moment in time, sitting just inside the top half of the division but still not yet fully safe from relegation. Three points on the board today would not only push last weekend's 5-1 thrashing at Arsenal to one side but also consolidate their position as top-half contenders, with seventh-placed Burnley currently five points better off.

Everton manager Sam Allardyce at the Premier League match against Chelsea on December 23, 2017© Offside

2.40pmToday's game will mark the first time since 2004 that two ex-England managers have faced off in a Premier League game. On that occasion, Kevin Keegan's Manchester City earned a home win over Sir Bobby Robson's Newcastle United. Allardyce was caught on video mocking Hodgson's speech impediment in late 2016, and the Palace boss admitted this week that the relationship between the two of them is now no longer as strong as it once was as a result.

2.42pmPalace head into this match sitting 14th in the Premier League and three points above the relegation zone. The picture may look bleak when looking at it that way, though they are also just four points adrift of Everton in the top half and could realistically still finish above today's opponents. For that to happen, though, they will likely have to come away from Goodison Park with a positive result this afternoon.

2.44pmClimbing clear of the relegation is quite clearly the priority for Hodgson right now, though, rather than harbouring thoughts of challenging for a place in the top half. It remains incredibly tight at the bottom of the division, with just three points between West Ham United in 12th and Huddersfield Town in 19th. Come 5pm this afternoon, when four of the afternoon fixtures are complete, the picture will likely look difference once again.

2.46pmPalace lost their first six games of the campaign, remember, and seven of their first eight, so the job achieved by Hodgson so far is highly commendable. On the basis of their results over the last few month, you would fancy the Eagles to successfully beat the drop for another campaign, though three games without a win means that they are still unable to breathe all that easily for the time being.

2.48pmFollowing a 4-1 loss at Arsenal last month, the Eagles picked up what was a respectable point away to West Ham before dropping two more at home to Newcastle. Sitting three points above the relegation zone is all well and good, but it must be factored in that Palace face Tottenham, Man United, Chelsea and Liverpool in four of their next five matches, so today's fixture on Merseyside does take on a little added significance.

2.50pmStill, it is just two defeats in their last 15 matches since November 5 - both of those coming at the hands of Arsenal - and they are doing enough to continue ticking over in the battle to beat the drop. The Eagles have also improved massively on the road, falling to defeat just once in their last seven away from Selhurst Park following a previous run of six-successive losses to begin the campaign.

2.52pmPREVIOUS MEETINGS! Crystal Palace have won four of the eight Premier League meetings between the sides at Goodison Park, compared to Everton's two victories. The Eagles are winless in the last six encounters overall, though, drawing two and losing four of those, and were held to a 2-2 draw on home soil in November when all four goals were scored before the interval.

2.54pmWith kickoff on Merseyside now a little over five minutes away, let us check out some pre-match thoughts from both camps.

Sam Allardyce: "We have to be concerned about Palace's strengths but Zaha not playing could be an advantage. That being said, we will have to be at our best to beat Palace. They're very resilient, so hats off to Roy and his players. We need to focus on our own form. We've only lost one [at home] since I got here. Our home form is very good."

Roy Hodgson: "I don't remember a relegation battle like this one. Normally there's a clearer middle group in the league, but today there doesn't seem to be a real middle group. It doesn't take many points to get into the middle - 30 points at the moment, which is something that gives us all hope, I suppose."

2.56pmPalace given "hope" by the congested nature of the bottom half of the division, according to Hodgson, who has seen his side concede the opening goal a league-high 17 times this season. That is a disappointing record, though it must be factored in that the Eagles have managed to recover 12 points after falling behind. A third-successive draw this afternoon would likely be seen as a positive result for the experienced boss.

2.58pmAllardyce, who quit Palace at the end of last season following a short managerial spell, expects his former club to show some "resilience" in today's clash. The Eagles are certainly not easy to overcome, having lost just two of their last 15 Premier League matches, both of which came against Arsenal. Anything less than three points today, though, and questions will be asked of Big Sam.

A general shot of Goodison Park before Everton's Europa League clash with Apollon Limassol on September 28, 2017© SilverHub

1 minKICKOFF! Everton get us up and running at Goodison Park, aiming to make it back-to-back wins here either side of that real shocker at Arsenal last weekend. Crystal Palace, meanwhile, hoping to build on a run of just two defeats in 15 matches.

3 minGood defensive tackle from McArthur at the expense of a corner, which Sigurdsson whips in to no avail. Palace, without nine senior players this afternoon, having to stand firm at the back early on in this Premier League clash.

5 minInteresting to see how Sorloth and Benteke get on today, with the former featuring for the first time in Palace colours. Walcott thought he was in behind but the official eventually put his flag up for offside - looked to be the wrong call.

7 minSeven minutes in here and not a great deal between the sides so far. Not the best of atmospheres at Goodison Park, though as mentioned in the pre-match ramble that is to be expected - players need to get fans out of their seats.

9 minSHOT! Mangala with an error on his home debut, attempting to play the ball to one of his teammates but instead playing Benteke through on goal. Pickford did well to race out but a poor first touch gave Cabaye a free shot on goal from 50 yards, with his shot lacking precision.

11 minSHOT! Gylfi Sigurdsson definitely provides some real quality in the final third and, on his return to the starting lineup, he creates a yard of space and fires narrowly wide from just outside the box. Home supporters liked that!

13 minCLOSE! Some good play from Palace, with Mangala far too weak in the build-up - he does not look comfortable at all. Milivojevic, who has five goals in his last 10 Premier League outings, sends a deflected bullet strike skimming past the post.

15 minReal end-to-end feel to the match over the last five minutes. Everton have a chance to attack Palace but fail to get a shot away inside the box; Palace counter and look for Benteke with a searching ball, which has a little too much on it.

17 minEverton win a free kick in a decent position, but Gylfi Sigurdsson can only pick out the wall with his attempt. A nice feel to the game in the opening quarter, albeit with the best openings so far coming from long-range efforts.

19 minNiasse is played in behind but has a little too much to do. The striker, still favoured over Tosun, hooks it back into the centre of the box but no player in a royal blue top could meet it. Much better from the hosts over the last five minutes.

21 minNo attempts on target in the opening quarter of the match, but a game that has some potential nonetheless. Both teams clearly want to take all three points from this one and we should see a couple of goals as it progresses.

23 minMilivojevic with some classy play in midfield, getting away from a couple of players and then seeking Sorloth up top. Palace have not been able to get their two target men on the ball thus far, though, and that proved the case again.

25 minAfter a pretty frenetic six or seven minute period that saw both teams attack, this game has gone very stale. Everton unable to keep their foot on the ball at the moment to the frustration of their supporters; Palace likewise.

27 minIdrissa Gueye picks out Walcott inside the box with a deep delivery, and the Englishman did well to volley it across the face of goal. That was the plan, at least - Hennessey well positioned at his front post to collect the ball.

29 minSAVE! The closest we had come to a breakthrough so far came via long-range attempts from Milivojevic and Sigurdsson, neither of whom could find the target. First save of the match has just been made, though - Hennessey doing very well to push aside Gueye's powerful attempt.

31 minGreat stop from Hennessey but also good work from Gueye, who did well to create some space and let fly from 25 yards. Walcott looking very sharp as he drifts past four opposition players before being brought to ground by Fosu-Mensah.

33 minEverton providing the best moment of the match so far through that Gueye shot, but there is not a great deal between the sides overall. The Toffees have seen far more of the ball but have not been able to do an awful lot with it.

35 minTen minutes until half time and we are still awaiting the breakthrough goal on Merseyside. There does appear to be goals in this match but so far just one save has been made at either end; Hennessey doing well to thwart Gueye a little earlier.

37 minDavies is picked out inside the box, only for his guided shot to cannon back off Fosu-Mensah. Walcott with plenty of runs down the Everton right, but at the moment he is not getting on the ball often enough for Allardyce's liking.

39 minSAVE! An awkward one for Pickford to deal with, as he happily lets Cabaye's dipping attempt from 25 yards hit his chest and go behind for a corner. That is Palace's first serious effort on goal, with six minutes of the half to play.

41 minAn offside Benteke simply out-muscles Pickford to bundle the ball over the line, but the linesman rightly spotted the infringement. Everton go up the other end and win a corner, which Niasse helps into the middle before it is cleared away.

43 minA two-minute stoppage in play for Mangala to receive some treatment to a knee injury. With half time fast closing in, Allardyce may well wait until the interval before deciding whether a change is required in the heart of defence.

45 minEVERTON SUB! Van Aanholt manages to keep pace with Coleman and halts the full-backs run - legally, in the view of the referee. Mangala is unable to continue on his home debut, so experienced defender Ashley Williams is introduced alongside Keane.

45+2 minBenteke makes great contact with his header but cannot quite reach teammate Sorloth in front of goal. Palace's strikers feeding off scraps but the two tall strikers do look as though they can make an impact when the ball is played to them.


3.48pmThe whistle sounds for half time at Goodison Park, where the deadlock has yet to be breached. A shot on target at either end, but neither side showing the quality required in the final third to ensure that it remains all to play for here.

3.51pmA frenetic five-minute spell saw both sides comes close through long-range shots, with Luka Milivojevic sending a deflected bullet shot wide and Gylfi Sigurdsson doing likewise from a similar position. There was also half a chance for Yohan Cabaye, who profited from some slack defending from home debutant Eliaquim Mangala to send a 45-yard shot sailing wide of an empty net.

3.54pmThe first save of the match arrived shortly before the half-hour mark, as Wayne Hennessey adjusted well to get down and turn aside Idrissa Gueye's drive following some good work to create a yard of space. Jordan Pickford also had one first-half stop to make, just about managing to get behind an awkward Cabaye shot that dipped in front of him to see the sides go into the interval level.

3.57pmEverton, unbeaten in six against Palace prior to today, did have an injury blow to contend with prior to the interval as Mangala was unable to shake off a knee problem. One less sub for Allardyce to choose from, then, while opposite number Hodgson still has a full complement of changes available to make in the second half.

EVERTON SUBS: Robles, Kenny, Schneiderlin, Bolasie, Calvert-Lewin, Tosun

CRYSTAL PALACE SUBS: Henry, Souare, Riedewald, Delaney, Lee, Wan-Bissaka, Rakip

Cenk Tosun in action during the Premier League game between Tottenham Hotspur and Everton on January 13, 2018© Offside

46 minRESTART! We are back under way at Goodison Park, where there is news of a half-time change to bring you. Jonjo Kenny has been introduced in place of Seamus Coleman, who is still being worked back to full fitness after 10 months out.


48 minEverton take the lead with a minute of the second half played, and it is Sigurdsson - now involved in seven goals in seven games against Palace - who found it. A loose ball was not dealt with and, after one touch with his left to set himself up, the Iceman buried the ball past Hennessey with his second.

50 minThat goal does change the complexion of things, because Palace now have to show a little more in attack. Van Aanholt with a good diagonal into the box, which Sorloth meets but only after quite clearly shoving Michael Keane in the back.


53 minA blistering start to the second half from Everton, who have themselves a second goal. Martina picked up a loose ball and spotted Niasse seven yards from goal, with the striker guiding the ball past Hennessey with his header.

55 minYELLOW CARD! Palace's frustrations starting to boil over now as Van Aanholt is shown the game's first yellow card for halting the run of Walcott. The home side have gained confidence from nowhere and look good value for this lead.

57 minCHANCE! Huge chance for Benteke to drag his side back into the match, only to send his header from close range spinning wide of the post. Great ball from Cabaye to pick out the Belgian, who really should have buried that one.

59 minHome boss Allardyce will no doubt be telling his players to continue in this manner, with a third enough to kill the game off. Had Benteke taken that big chance, it would have been game on once again at Goodison Park.

61 minSHOT! Townsend unable to keep his shot under control. Far too many attempts from range for Palace and not enough incisive passes in the final third. Hodgson must surely be tempted to tinker with things slightly at this point.

63 minThe game fizzling out slightly over the past couple of minutes, which will suit Everton just fine. They are on course for successive home wins and will consolidate their position in the top half of the table, while Palace are deep in the mire.

65 minTownsend wants a penalty after the ball hit the hand of Martina. Would have been extremely harsh had the referee awarded it, though, as the ball first hit the full-back's knee from close range and then popped up and hit his hand.

67 minHodgson, who is without nearly a full team of players, opting against making any changes for now. A quarter of the match left to play and the visitors have an awful lot to do if they are to salvage a point on their travels.

69 minSAVE! Really good play from Palace, whose best route to goal is coming via Van Aanholt diagonals. Sorloth made good contact with his header, but Pickford got across with two strong hands to concede a corner and not a goal.

71 minYELLOW CARD! Walcott becomes the second player to be shown a yellow card after a cynical challenge. A good spell of pressure from the visiting side, who are knocking on the door for a goal. That will make things interesting!

73 minEverton's turn to enjoy some sustained pressure, which ultimately comes to little. All of a sudden we are now into the final 17 minutes of the contest, and still Hodgson is holding off from making any changes to his personnel.

75 minThe game is going through another of its quiet spells now, with the atmosphere around Goodison Park a little flat. Allardyce will see this as a huge victory in the context of things should his players see out the remaining 15 minutes.

76 minSorloth has looked lively since Palace went two goals down. The striker blasts the ball into the middle, where Benteke was waiting but could not divert it on goal. Palace desperately need a goal soon if they are to set up a grandstand finale.


78 minThat should do it! Everton have a third goal and all three points in the bag, courtesy of a first goal of the season for Tom Davies. Hennessey initially did well to keep out Niasse's shot, but Sigurdsson picked out Davies from the rebound and the youngster did the rest from a few yards out.

80 minEverton cruising over the line, then, taking them further clear of the relegation zone. In truth, the Toffees can now forget about any risk of facing the drop - the big question is whether they can close down Burnley in seventh.

82 minEVERTON SUB! Morgan Schneiderlin is introduced with less than 10 minutes left, and he is greeted by widespread boos - home fans clearly do not feel he is giving his all for the shirt. Idrissa Gueye is the player to make way.


85 minVan Aanholt pops up inside the box and forces a save out of Pickford. From the corner, the balls clips Williams on the arm and referee Jon Moss points to the penalty spot. Milivojevic converts to make it six goals in 11 outings - four of those being pens.

87 minEverton should still see this one through comfortably enough, unless Palace can find some inspiration. Hodgson has still yet to turn to his bench, and looking at the options available to him - in attack, at least - it is not all that surprising.

89 minJust the three minutes of added time to be played at Goodison Park, so this one is as good as over now. Hodgson with plenty to think about ahead of an extremely tough run of fixtures over the next month or so. Everton are back on the up.

90+1 minEverton waste a chance to add a fourth on the counter as a handball infringement forces the referee to pull play back. Palace with around 120 seconds to find a couple of goals, which on the basis of the previous 91 minutes does not look like happening.


4.58pmReferee Jonathan Moss blows for full time, meaning that Everton have earned back-to-back home wins and are now up to ninth place in the table. Crystal Palace put up a good battle in the first half but were two down within six minutes of the restart, giving them too much to do in the remainder of the contest.

5.00pmThat concludes Sports Mole's live text coverage of events from Goodison Park. An on-the-whistle report can be found by clicking here, while reaction from this and all the day's other Premier League fixtures can be found elsewhere on the site in due course. Thanks for joining!

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Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson tries to tempt you to the dark side during his side's Premier League clash with Brighton & Hove Albion at the Amex Stadium on November 28, 2017
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