Lucas Digne’s last minute cracker rescues a point for Everton

Séamus Coleman’s own goal had levelled the scores before Watford then took the lead

Everton’s Lucas Digne scores their second goal from a free kick during the Premier League encounter with Watford. Photo: Andrew Yates/Reuters

Everton’s Lucas Digne scores their second goal from a free kick during the Premier League encounter with Watford. Photo: Andrew Yates/Reuters

 

Everton 2 Watford 2

Watford fans brought inflatable snakes to taunt Marco Silva but were deflated when Lucas Digne’s stoppage-time free-kick denied them a first victory since October. Three points, the only true way to punish their former manager, were in sight when Christian Kabasele handled just outside his penalty area. The visitors were resigned to their fate before the French full-back floated the ball inside the top corner to rescue a point for Everton.

Richarlison, Everton’s £40m summer signing from Vicarage Road, gave Everton a controversial early lead that was long forgotten by the time Gylfi Sigurdsson failed to convert a second half penalty. Seamus Coleman had put through his own goal by that stage, with Abdoulaye Doucoure converting a towering header seconds later to give Watford their first victory since 27 October. Everton could have no complaints after a second consecutive meagre display on home soil.

Watford’s dispute with Everton over what they deemed an “unwarranted approach” for Silva last year remains unresolved. It was their decision to sack the Portuguese coach in January following a run of one win in 11 matches but the circumstances that preceded his exit still rankle. He was greeted with a display of inflatable snakes in the away section before kick-off as the Watford fans who journeyed to Merseyside on a Monday night made their feelings clear. It was their former player, not their ex-manager, who caused the greater upset on the night, however.

Richarlison scored five goals in his first 13 outings for Watford last season but none in the 28 games that followed. The Brazil international eclipsed that sum in his 10th appearance for Everton and claimed his eighth of the season when sweeping the hosts into an early, polished yet controversial lead. There was no disputing the quality of the move that brought Silva’s current team the lead. Theo Walcott, making his 300th Premier League appearance, released Seamus Coleman down the right and he found André Gomes moving into space on the edge of the Watford area. The Portugal international exchanged touches with Walcott before delivering an inch-perfect ball for Richarlison to convert beyond Ben Foster at close range. But Walcott was clearly offside when he received Gomes’s pass and, despite mass appeals from those in green, the referee, Kevin Friend, and his assistant were unmoved. Watford had another grievance with Everton.

The hosts were bright in attack with Bernard and Gylfi Sigurdsson bringing finesse and vision in the final third. The pair almost combined to create a second for Richarlison but Craig Cathcart made a crucial intervention facing his own goal. The Northern Ireland defender also denied Sigurdsson when the Iceland international attempted to guide a finish past Foster and Yerry Mina was booked for deliberate handball from the No 10’s inviting cross.

Watford also threatened regularly in an open, flowing first half. Roberto Pereyra found himself in space inside the Everton area with only a minute gone but shot tamely at Jordan Pickford. Troy Deeney volleyed over from two yards out when Isaac Success shot across goal – his blushes were spared by an offside flag – and the visiting captain steered a long ball from Domingos Quina wide on the stroke of half-time.

Mina flirted with a second yellow card when he took Success and the ball as the forward broke in search of an equaliser. Enough of the ball in Friend’s view, to the obvious disgust of Success and Javi Gracia in the Watford technical area. They would find consolation in their team’s dominant start to the second half.

The visitors’ strength, pace and movement – combined with a careless and chaotic restart by the hosts – turned the contest firmly in their favour. Silva raged at his players from the sidelines but the lead evaporated before the Everton manager could implement change. Pereyra, Abdoulaye Doucouré and Deeney went close before the equaliser arrived fortuitously but not without merit. A slip by Lucas Digne invited former Evertonian Gerard Deulofeu to release Kiko Femenia down the left. His first-time cross was steered on to a post by Pereyra but, just as Watford thought their luck was out, the rebound struck Coleman on the thigh and rolled into an empty net.

Watford were ahead two minutes later thanks to another raid down their right. As Everton dawdled over a free-kick, Gracia’s team reacted sharply with Femenia playing Pereyra into space. The Argentinian delivered a deep cross to the back post where Doucouré rose above Coleman and sent a textbook header past Pickford.

The game had exploded into life and seconds later Everton were awarded a penalty when Christian Kabasele needlessly jumped into the back of Mina when competing for a Digne throw-in. Sigurdsson seized the responsibility to draw his team level but, as with his spot-kick against Fulham earlier in the season, was unable to convert. Foster saved the penalty with his trailing leg to deepen Silva’s frustration against his old employers. – Guardian service

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