Richarlison’s goal and Jordan Pickford’s heroics between the posts breathed life into Everton’s Premier League survival bid as the Toffees beat Chelsea 1-0 at Goodison Park.
Burnley’s dramatic win over Watford on Saturday left Everton five points from safety with two games in hand, and despite being underdogs for the visit of Chelsea, Frank Lampard’s side rose to the challenge.
There were four more yellow cards than there were shots on target during a bruising first half, but the entertainment ramped up after the interval thanks to Richarlison’s composed opener.
Vitalii Mykolenko wasted the chance to make it 2-0 before Pickford produced two stunning saves to keep Everton in charge as they ultimately held on to a potentially vital win.
A feisty opening period produced little goal-mouth excitement, with the most gripping incident arguably being the prolonged confrontation between the two sets of players after Mason Mount fouled Yerry Mina, with Seamus Coleman and Cesar Azpilicueta booked for going head-to-head.
The lively Anthony Gordon had gone close a few moments earlier, though, shooting just wide of the bottom-right corner after cutting in off the right flank.
That was at least evidence of some Everton intent, and that – coupled with their desire to scrap – earned them the lead just after half-time, as Richarlison robbed Azpilicueta and coolly swept past Edouard Mendy after Demarai Gray set him free.
Mykolenko inexplicably shot wide from close range a few moments later, before Pickford took centre-stage.
First, he incredibly denied Azpilicueta’s rebound effort right on the line after Mount’s shot hit both posts, then blocked a point-blank Antonio Rudiger strike with his face.
Finally, he got down well right near the end to keep Mateo Kovacic’s goal-bound attempt out.