Tim Howard’s Goodison gifts gladly accepted by Crystal Palace

Goalkeeper one of many to have an off day in post-Europa League hangover

Everton 2 Crystal Palace 3

Crystal Palace and Europe do not combine well for Everton. Five months on from a 3-2 win that edged Tony Pulis's team towards safety and floored Roberto Martínez's Champions League aims at Goodison Park, they conjured a repeat to give Neil Warnock his first victory since returning to the club as manager. This was not so much a post-Europa League hangover for Martínez's men as a display littered with basic errors.

Everton failed their first test of the dual demands of European and Premier League football not because of tiredness and rotation but casual, careless defending, with Tim Howard in particular enduring an afternoon to forget.

The USA international was culpable for two of Palace’s goals and received little protection from those around him. Not that they were overworked by the visitors either. Warnock’s team accepted their gifts, defended resolutely and deserved the high-fives that came from their jubilant manager on the pitch after the final whistle.

Martínez had made four changes to the team that defeated Wolfsburg in the Europa League on Thursday as rotation made a rare appearance at Goodison following the continuity of recent years. If anything, the opening half hour was a little too comfortable for Everton who, with the luxury of an early goal and unthreatening opponents, failed to rouse themselves when the chance to take control of the contest presented itself.

Leon Osman and Christian Atsu, two of the fresh faces, swiftly sliced through the Palace defence and the on-loan Chelsea winger shot into the side-netting having evaded Damien Delaney's challenge in the area and goalkeeper Julian Speroni at the near post. Romelu Lukaku bemoaned Atsu's decision to shoot rather than cut the ball back to the unmarked centre forward. His irritation lasted less than 60 seconds, however, as James McCarthy and the prominent Osman combined to create the striker's second league goal of the season.

Taking McCarthy's pass first time, Osman flicked the ball between the visitors' central defenders and Lukaku raced clear to bury a confident finish inside Speroni's right-hand post. He almost had a second from a smart turn and cross from Samuel Eto'o while Osman had a clearer opportunity when Gareth Barry picked out Atsu with a lofted chip into the area. The Ghana international squared for his fellow midfielder but Osman's shot was straight at the Palace goalkeeper. Seconds later, and from out of nowhere, it became a turning point.

Everton enjoyed 76 per cent possession in the first half, coasted at times and dealt easily with the occasional counter-attacks from Yannick Bolasie and Jason Puncheon. Yet they gifted Warnock's team an equaliser on the half hour and suddenly Palace had the momentum as Everton's performance disintegrated.

There appeared little danger when Bolasie's flick-on landed between three Everton players inside the penalty area but, with John Stones waiting for Howard to collect and the goalkeeper hesitating, James McArthur was able to intercept. Palace's record signing touched the ball a fraction before Howard and referee Michael Oliver had no hesitation pointing to the spot when Howard sent him sprawling. The captain Mile Jedinak sent an unstoppable spot-kick into the top corner.

Palace were unfortunate not to take the lead before half-time when Bolasie's long-range effort deflected off Stones and struck the crossbar with Howard stranded. It arrived shortly after the restart courtesy of another error from the Everton goalkeeper, so commanding against Wolfsburg but part of a creaking defence against Palace. The source was simple: a deep cross to the back post by the former Liverpool defender Martin Kelly, yet Howard was unable to claim under pressure from Fraizer Campbell and the ball struck the striker unwittingly on the back of the head and looped over Phil Jagielka on the line.

Martínez replaced Stones and the ineffective Atsu with Kevin Mirallas and Steven Naismith in an attempt to inject urgency and quality into the Everton attack but defensive errors continued to undermine their performance. With 20 minutes remaining Puncheon dispossessed a dawdling Osman outside the home area and released Bolasie inside the area for an emphatic low finish into Howard's far corner.

Palace's first league win of the season appeared assured but they had to endure a nervous finale when Scott Dann upended McCarthy in the box with eight minutes remaining and Leighton Baines converted the penalty with ease. Lukaku almost levelled from a Mirallas cross in the final moments but Palace held out.

(Guardian Service)