Ellis Simms scored his first goal for Everton as Sean Dyche’s side came from behind twice to draw with Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.
Everton’s improved resilience under Dyche was on display once more, and Simms, a 22-year-old local product, was the hero with a superb late equalizer to derail Chelsea’s hopes of a fourth consecutive victory.
Chelsea broke down Everton’s resistance seven minutes after the break when Joao Felix drilled home a low drive, but they were pegged back after 69 minutes when Abdoulaye Doucoure scrambled home an equalizer from a corner.
Everton were only level for seven minutes until Kai Havertz scored from the penalty spot after James Tarkowski fouled Reece James – but there was a late twist in the tale.
Dyche had brought Simms on to try and save a point, and he delivered with a powerful run and finish a minute from time.
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“A young player making his way up the ranks. We know he’s got power and pace, and he finished nicely under the keeper “Dyche said of Simms in an interview with BBC Sport.
“I’m overjoyed for him. He spoke with me last week, and I told him to tell me where he needed to improve. He told me four things, and I told him, “You’re right” – one of them was playing stronger, which he did today.”
Simms was recalled to Goodison Park in January as then-manager Frank Lampard sought to bolster his attacking options after loan spells at Blackpool, Hearts, and, most recently, Sunderland.
Prior to this season, he had only made one appearance for Everton, but he has appeared in six games since returning to his boyhood club, including four under Dyche.
Simms stated to Sky Sports: “It’s all about patience – all I had to do was wait for my chance. I’m not going to walk right into the team because we have top players. I need to work hard and seize every opportunity that comes my way.”
Everton’s display of fortitude
Everton fans celebrated this point as if it were a victory, and their joy was justified given the character and fighting spirit Dyche has instilled in his team.
They kept Chelsea at bay until the second half, then responded brilliantly to going behind twice, especially when they gathered themselves again after Havertz’s penalty.
Everton defended well throughout, were willing to put bodies on the line, and demonstrated their threat from set pieces once more when Doucoure headed in at the far post from a corner.
The highlight, however, was Simms, who returned to Everton after a loan spell at Sunderland and outmuscled Kalidou Koulibaly before racing on to beat Chelsea keeper Kepa with a cool finish.
Everton survived a couple of late scares but deserved to after a performance that gives them real hope of avoiding relegation from the Premier League.
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Chelsea squanders victory chance Chelsea will be furious at the way they allowed Everton to come back twice and take a point away from Stamford Bridge.
Graham Potter’s side took control of the game by leading twice, but Everton fought their way back into contention on both occasions.
Felix brought class to the proceedings and fully deserved his goal, but he was replaced late in the game as Potter took a more conservative approach that ultimately failed to achieve the desired result.
Chelsea have improved in recent weeks, but this was a missed opportunity that halted their revival.
Potter is still adjusting to the massive influx of players following Chelsea’s transfer spending spree, but this was a bitter disappointment after that recent upturn.