The last time Everton weren’t in the top flight, Winston Churchill was Prime Minister. Always present among the elite since 1954, they have never been in such difficulty since. Now, with Manchester United, Leicester, Liverpool and Chelsea next door, a club that had Champions League aspirations could soon find itself below the dotted line.
When Richarlison scored his second penalty, they needed to have a cushion of seven points over Burnley and the bottom three. Instead, a Maxwel Cornet capped comeback meant half an hour completed a six-point swing, leaving Burnley rejuvenated and Everton in jeopardy.
“If we didn’t know we were in a fight before, we certainly know now,” Frank Lampard said after a trying night. He looked intimidated and beleaguered in the swirling rain at Turf Moor as a miserable record was extended. Everton are yet to pick up a point on the road under him and their sixth straight away defeat could be their costliest yet.
Sean Dyche galvanized his side by citing Everton’s dismal stats, mentioning a meager run of six points from a possible 42 away from Goodison Park. “I said it was up to us to go and expose this,” he revealed. “I said to the players at half-time, ‘I’m not sure they know how to win a game.'”
Neither would Burnley, arguably, having won just three of their first 28 games this season. Now the trip to Norwich on Sunday offers a chance for two wins in five days. Their fortunes certainly changed in front of goal. After scoring three times in 11 games, Burnley scored three in one night.
Indirectly, their manager was a contributor. Dyche showed a golden touch. He recalled Nathan Collins, Jay Rodriguez and Cornet and each scored. The Ivorian also got an assist. The same was true for Matej Vydra, the replacement he sent as he searched for a winner. Dyche had chosen an unusually attacking formation, blocking Cornet on the left wing, and was justified.
Burnley beat Everton, but again Everton fought back. “We lost points that we should have won,” Lampard said. “The goals are goals we shouldn’t concede. Mistakes are mistakes.
They are far too common. Alex Iwobi was at fault for West Ham’s winner at the weekend and was again at fault for Burnley’s opener, failing to keep up with Collins as he volleyed into the Cornet corner; set-piece problems are a familiar failure. The third was the consequence of two slices: the first by Jordan Pickford, offering a throw to Burnley, the second by Ben Godfrey, finding Vydra. He cut the ball for Cornet to finish strong.
“We know Maxwel can score a goal,” Dyche said. Dwight McNeil, who hasn’t scored all season, was dropped. Rodriguez’s goals were also rare, but his second in 39 league appearances was Burnley’s equalizer, with the longtime Burnley fan timing his run into the box to meet Charlie Taylor’s low cross. Cornet’s winner made it the first time Burnley had scored first in a Premier League game, lost their lead and won. It was a show of character. They found the spirit they lacked against Manchester City on Saturday.
Turf Moor has rarely been louder recently and Burnley responded. They put the indecisive Everton defense under heavy pressure. The visitors will have regretted the absence of Michael Keane and Allan through suspension, and Burnley’s doggedness paid off in an entertaining and error-laden thriller.
Their searing finish secured a standout performance from Richarlison in vain. The Brazilian seemed on a one-man mission to save Everton. He had an overhead kick parried by Nick Pope, cut the woodwork with a drive and, after Jonjoe Kenny’s cross took flight and hit the far post, nearly converted the rebound. He tormented Connor Roberts. He was both brilliant and debauched.
He ended a 10-game drought by converting two penalty kicks, the first granted when Ashley Westwood unnecessarily shot Anthony Gordon, the second after Mike Dean saw him on the monitor again, when Aaron Lennon grabbed Vitalii Mykolenko. Both were challenged by Dyche.
“The first is a package as he could run and get the ball; the second, my big picture is that players have never been more agile, more athletic, leaner, more fit but one tap on the foot and then they’re gone.
Lampard had more serious concerns. “There are nine games where we absolutely have to give it our all, every ounce we have,” he said. But it was a night when Everton were once again overly generous with their freebies.