“The prospect of my first night match at Goodison Park as Everton manager is exciting,” learn the opening line of Rafael Benítez’s programme notes. The actuality didn’t disappoint. Everton reworked a warfare of attrition with Burnley right into a extremely achieved victory that maintained Benítez’s unbeaten begin and left Goodison purring below the lights.
Andros Townsend illuminated issues on the pitch with a very gorgeous strike as Everton made it two comeback victories in two dwelling video games below their new supervisor. Prior to Benítez’s arrival, Everton had received solely two of 59 Premier League matches when conceding first.
Their spirit was evident in a stirring restoration following Ben Mee’s second-half header. There was appreciable type too. Michael Keane equalised swiftly in opposition to his former membership earlier than Townsend discovered the highest nook from over 25 yards and fellow summer time signing Demarai Gray struck for the third time in three league video games. All within the area of seven minutes.
Burnley had deserved their lead however the platform for a primary league win of the season was destroyed by Everton’s emphatic response. “You can see from the first minute of the first game that the commitment is there and these players want to compete,” mentioned Benítez. “The players want to react and change things when they concede. Hopefully next time we score first. It would be much easier for my health.”
Everton began with out Dominic Calvert-Lewin and might be with out the England worldwide for a minimum of three weeks with a damaged toe and thigh damage. In his absence, the Everton supervisor deployed Richarlison in assault and switched to a three-man central defence to fight the bodily risk of Chris Wood and Ashley Barnes. His staff took some time to adapt and Burnley managed the opening half hour, urgent tirelessly and denying Everton area within the remaining third.
Richarlison was lucky to escape damage when tackled from behind by Josh Brownhill within the second minute. Brownhill’s problem bore comparability with the Pascal Struijk sort out that resulted in Harvey Elliott dislocating his ankle at Leeds however fortunately with out the identical, dire consequence. Benítez made his displeasure clear on the sideline. The Burnley midfielder was not punished.
Wood was inches away from connecting with a harmful cross into the world from Dwight McNeil, who was making his one centesimal Premier League look for Burnley. Mee was one other Claret celebrating a milestone look – the captain changing into the membership’s first participant to attain 200 Premier League video games – and was shut to changing an Ashley Westwood nook on the again publish. But Jordan Pickford didn’t have a save to make till the twenty seventh minute when Barnes teed up Brownhill for an inviting probability he drove straight on the England keeper.
Everton’s brightest moments had arrived sporadically by means of Gray however the Brownhill probability ignited a much-improved finish to the primary half. There was loads of needle too. Richarlison sparked a melee after a body-check on Mee. James Tarkowski took the ball after which Richarlison early within the second half. “The ball is there and you know the ankle is behind it,” Benítez mentioned. “The referees need to decide what is a fair challenge and what is dangerous.”
Townsend was caught from behind by Charlie Taylor, after which booked for dragging down the Burnley full-back as he broke down the left. McNeil swept the ensuing free-kick into the Everton space the place Ben Godfrey’s clearing header fell to Johann Gudmundsson on the appropriate. The winger’s return was immaculate, dropping into area between two Everton defenders, and Mee marked his 2 hundredth recreation with a swooping header into the underside nook.
Burnley’s hard-fought benefit didn’t final lengthy. They have been blown away, in reality, as Everton – and Townsend – responded beautifully. The equaliser arrived shortly when Seamus Coleman discovered the previous Crystal Palace winger in area on the appropriate. Townsend toyed with Taylor earlier than slicing again inside and floating a left foot cross for Keane to head inside Nick Pope’s close to publish.
Five minutes later Goodison ignited. Townsend once more ran at Taylor, this time in a extra central place having been picked out by Abdoulaye Doucouré. The winger once more reduce inside on to his left foot however this time opted for aim and unleashed an unstoppable shot into the highest nook.
Burnley have been falling aside, Everton flying. Within two minutes Doucouré prised open the visiting defence with a piercing cross-field cross into the trail of Gray. The cut price £1.7m summer time signing raced clear and beat Pope with ease for his third aim in three successive league video games.
Doucouré thought he had added a fourth seconds later however was offside from Coleman’s low cross. Tarkowski additionally had a aim disallowed for offside and Sean Dyche was left to rue Burnley’s winless begin to the marketing campaign.
“I was very pleased with how we’d played up until their goal,” he mentioned. “After we conceded we had a mad six minutes and the game had gone away from us. That’s the Premier League for you, but it has happened twice this season and we’ve got to get a grip of it.”