Simms piles pain on Potter

Toffees take heart from unlikely draw




dmg media (UK)


AT ONE stage against Everton, there was so much confidence flowing through Chelsea that even Graham Potter indulged in a bit of showboating. As a ball looped up into the air and over Potter’s head as he stood in his technical area, the Chelsea manager nonchalantly leant forward, let it drop and back-heel volleyed the ball into play. Chelsea were deservedly 1-0 up at the time through a fine strike from Joao Felix who also showed off some fancy footwork at Stamford Bridge. But if there is one thing Potter has learned in this job is that Chelsea are not yet in a place where too much can be taken for granted. And so it proved, once again. Everton levelled a first time through Abdoulaye Doucoure to test whether Chelsea really were back in form after their three successive wins which suggested they might be. And after Kai Havertz restored Chelsea’s lead from the penalty spot, young striker Ellis Simms, who spent some of last season on loan at Hearts, came off the bench to force in his first senior Everton goal. The strike earned the Toffees a crucial point in their battle to beat the drop which they celebrated long and hard at full-time. ‘We’re really disappointed because we’ve dropped two points at home,’ said Potter. ‘You saw the intention of the team, there was a lot of positive things in the performance. But ultimately we haven’t defended well enough. To concede two goals means it’s not so easy to win the game. That’s the disappointing thing. ‘When you look at how much we put into the game and how much we tried to attack, to be cheap with the goals we concede is frustrating.’ After a fast Chelsea start, Everton stemmed the home side’s flow for a spell though Chelsea flickered again with Havertz’s curler collected by Jordan Pickford, who also pounced on Ben Chilwell’s deflected cross as Felix looked to poke in. Mateo Kovacic and Enzo Fernandez were dominant and pulled the strings in central midfield. Felix and Havertz delighted the home crowd with their skill. Everton, though, continued to defend diligently and frustrate. Pickford was equal to an effort from the impressive Felix. In first-half added-on time, Dwight McNeil’s foul on Fernandez handed Chelsea a free-kick. Two Chelsea efforts came from it and were met by Everton blocks to keep the score level at half-time. The one-way traffic continued after the break. Chilwell’s cross was met by Havertz whose header was batted away by Pickford. But Everton — Michael Keane and James Tarkowski in particular — could only hold out for a few more minutes. It was not for a want of trying on the part of Everton’s overworked centre-back pair. Keane stretched to poke Chilwell’s next cross away from goal after Fernandez’s pinpoint cross-field pass. Tarkowski was then quick to sense the danger when the ball trickled towards Felix. But he could not get there in time and Felix fired the ball through Tarkowski’s legs, past Pickford and into the net off the post. After going behind, Everton removed the shackles. Keane could only divert Alex Iwobi’s cross straight at Kepa Arrizabalaga before he got firm contact on Demarai Gray’s fierce free-kick. Everton increased their intent and a flurry of set-pieces paid off when Doucoure’s touch from Tarkowski’s knockdown crossed the line. Chelsea were back in front within seven minutes. James burst into the box, Ben Godfrey and Tarkowski combined to bring him down and referee Darren England pointed to the spot. Havertz sent England No 1 Pickford the wrong way, sticking taunting him with a playful gesture as he wheeled away in celebration. But Everton were the ones smiling at full-time thanks to a moment sub Simms will never forget, the young striker bursting past a sluggish Kalidou Koulibaly and squeezing the ball under Kepa who will likely be disappointed with his attempt to deny the striker. CHELSEA (3-4-3): Arrizabalaga; Fofana (Chalobah 87), Koulibaly, Badiashile; James, Fernandez, Kovacic (Loftus-Cheek 81), Chilwell; Pulisic (Gallagher 62), Havertz, Joao Felix (Chukwuemeka 86). Subs (not used): Kante, Bettinelli, Mudryk, Madueke, Cucurella. Booked: Koulibaly,James. EVERTON (4-5-1): Pickford; Coleman (Mykolenko 84), Keane, Tarkowski, Godfrey; Iwobi, Doucoure, Gueye (Simms 79), Onana, McNeil; Gray. Subs (not used): Holgate, Mina, Begovic, Maupay, Davies, Coady, Garner. Booked: Gueye, McNeil. Referee: Darren England. Attendance: 40,025.