Doucoure strikes to seal Everton safety

Everton headed into this game knowing that a win would be enough to assure another season in the top-flight, no matter what happens in the game at the King Power or Elland Road. Bournemouth would hope to spoil the Toffees’ chances of staying in the league, as they returned to the ground at which they were relegated in 2020.

With affairs at the top all decided, all that was left to confirm was who was going to drop down to the Championship. It was in Everton’s hands as a win would be enough – but if Leicester were able to Everton’s result in their crunch match against West Ham, it would have taken many different variables for Leeds to survive as they faced Spurs.

EVE: Pickford, Mina, Coady, Tarkowski, McNeil, Doucoure, Garner, Gueye, Onana, Iwobi, Gray

BOU: Travers, Smith, Zabarnyi, Senesi, Kelly, Billing, Lerma, Ouattara, Brooks, Christie, Solanke

The first half at Goodison Park contained very few chances for either team, with the only opportunity falling to Idrissa Gueye – but he failed to convert after being played through on goal by Amadou Onana. The tension was intensified as Leicester took a lead in their game, meaning Everton dropped down into the relegation zone – and with desperation increasing, Demarai Gray had a few penalty claims turned down.

Everton’s proud top-flight status was hanging in the balance, as the second half began with no changes from either side. The match-winning moment for the Toffees came just before the hour mark, as the ball fell for Abdoulaye Doucoure who smashed home from twenty yards out to send Goodison into raptures. It’s not been a bad week for the Mali international, who extended his contract by a further year and had now bagged potentially the biggest goal of Everton’s season.

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Bournemouth made alterations, sending on Kieffer Moore and Jadon Antony who had both scored against Everton earlier in the season to make the difference. With Wout Faes giving Leicester a two-goal advantage and Tottenham taking Leeds out of the equation, the bottom three would all be dependent on whether Everton could hold on.

With so much riding on this game, tempers boiled over in the Everton goal following an effort from Brooks which saw Jordan Pickford and Dominic Solanke go head-to-head. Both were subsequently booked.

Ten minutes were added on at the end of the game, which was the last thing that the Goodison Park faithful wanted to see – as Marcos Vina hit a superb volley in this time which was well saved by Pickford. Stuart Atwell finally blew his whistle after 100 minutes of the utmost stress, to bring the game and season came to a close as the Toffees survived to see yet another season in the top division.

The result lead to a pitch invasion, as Everton finish the season in 17th place for the second season running. This year, they finished on the lowest points total in their top-flight history – just a mere 36 points. Leeds and Leicester were condemned to the Championship, where they’ll join the already relegated Southampton.

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