Everton get one point closer to safety after Watford lose

Everton get one point closer to safety after Watford lose

Everton get one point closer to safety after Watford lose
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Another point in Everton’s effort to avoid relegation for the first time in almost 70 years was not exactly what Frank Lampard had hoped for before the game, but at this stage of the season, he will take anything.

Everton’s fate remains in their own hands, with home games against Brentford and Crystal Palace looming and a two-point lead over Leeds.

“I’m quite satisfied — don’t lose if you can’t win,” Lampard added. “We have to keep our cool.”

“We were frustrated in the dressing room afterwards, but if you had offered us this opportunity a few weeks ago, we would have taken it.”

For Watford, just breaking a run of 11 consecutive league home defeats as Roy Hodgson earned his first point here was enough to appease their long-suffering fans.

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“I didn’t know how many people would show out today,” Hodgson added, “but they really supported us.”

Lampard had said before the game that the stakes in Everton’s relegation struggle are higher for him than any of his Premier League crowns with Chelsea, as his side sought vengeance for a 5-2 loss at Goodison Park in October.

Hodgson’s decision to make seven changes from the side that started against Palace on Saturday appeared to make their work easier, with Ismael Sarr, Joshua King, and Emmanuel Dennis missing out on a substitutes’ bench that included three teenagers.

Despite the confidence-boosting victories against Chelsea and Leicester, Everton never looked like getting past Ben Foster, even when Lampard sent on Dominic Calvert-Lewin for the closing 15 minutes, and Watford’s fans were ecstatic at the final whistle.

With Hodgson’s departure already confirmed, they are already making preparations for life in the Championship next season, having confirmed the appointment of Rob Edwards – 35 years Hodgson’s junior – as their new manager, despite Forest Green Rovers’ complaints that talks were conducted behind their backs.

Everton should have felt perfectly at home after hearing the famous Z-Cars anthem that greeted the teams before kick-off, in addition to Watford’s lineup selection.

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Lampard recalled Michael Keane at the heart of his five-man defense after Yerry Mina was denied his services, and he almost gifted Watford an early lead by miscuing a clearing after Jordan Pickford had thrown possession away.

However, while the travelling fans were roaring behind the Watford goal, their team struggled to create a danger.

Demarai Gray, Richarlison, and Alex Iwobi all had promising chances, but a shot from Anthony Gordon that soared into the stands summed up their offensive woes.

After a stalemate in the first half, the most likely source of a goal appeared to be Watford’s Joo Pedro, who joined the club from Fluminense like Richarlison but has yet to make the same impression.

Pickford was swiftly off his line after the restart to beat the energetic Brazilian forward to a long through ball. When Richarlison’s goalbound shot bounced off Christian Kabasele, Ben Foster was forced into action for the first time.

Gray had a fantastic opportunity thanks to a stray pass from Samuel Kalu, but he couldn’t convert after quickly exchanging passes with Alex Iwobi.

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From a corner, Keane managed to direct his header towards goal, but Foster easily collected it.

Lampard was relieved when a Watford breakaway was only stopped by a last-ditch challenge from Séamus Coleman.

Following the arrival of Calvert-Lewin, Hodgson substituted defender Craig Cathcart for Kalu, which had the desired impact.

Everton came closest to stealing the points when Vitalii Mykolenko’s attempt was easily parried by Foster, ensuring Watford did not extend their unfavorable record.

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