Superb Doucoure strike keeps Everton safe
Abdoulaye Doucoure’s superb strike on the dramatic final day of the 2022/23 season secured 1-0 wins over Bournemouth and Everton in the Premier League to avoid relegation.
The pressure came on the Toffees after Leicester City took a 34th-minute lead at home to West Ham, meaning the Foxes jumped out of the penalty area temporarily in the lead of Everton.
But Dookure’s superb performance towards the end of the campaign secured the club’s 70th consecutive season in England’s top division, having spent just four seasons outside the top flight since the Football League was founded in 1888 .
Manager Sean Dyche made two changes to his side in the last 1-1 draw with Wolves – both mandatory, with DeMallegrey and Connor Coady recalled to the starting XI in place of Dominic Carr Fort Lewin and Nathan Patterson, both out with hamstring injuries.
Vitalii Mykolenko was also unavailable, missing a third game in a row after suffering a thigh injury in training that forced the Blues manager to change formation and use Dwight McNeil and Alex Iwobi at wing-back.
As expected, the raucous Goodison crowd was seated early, creating a hostile atmosphere and the volume was turned up shortly before kick-off blue spiritsand big old team Shout out to the PA system.
Bournemouth won the pre-match coin toss and opted to change teams before kick-off, meaning Everton would attack Howard Kendall Gladis at the end of the first half.
In the tense opening quarter of an hour, every touch of the ball by Bournemouth was met with loud jeers from the home crowd as the Toffees struck first.
Gray’s deft movement inside the box earned the hosts their first corner of the game after his cross was blocked by Marcos Senesi.
The resulting pass was cleared by Dominic Solanke at the near post but only reached Gray, whose first shot barely went over the bar.
McNeil was again tasked with providing the ammunition from his deep position and he combined well with Alex Iwobi on the left of Everton, whose deep cross provided Amadou in the 23rd minute. Onana created chances but the Belgian’s header never upset Bournemouth’s Mark Travers on target.
However, the Bournemouth keeper was called up eight minutes later and responded brilliantly to Idrissa Gana Gueye’s shot after Onana came on.
Everton vehemently called for a penalty – one of several in the opening period – to wave as Garner was tied up in the box before frustration turned to nervousness as Merseyside Word from County reached Harvey Barnes to have Leicester lead the stadium at King Power.
Bournemouth’s first chance came via a corner seven minutes before the break and luckily David Brooks’ shot deflected wide of Dango Ouattara, who turned to open a yard for himself and then Shoot through the goal.
Moments later, the Cherries came close again after a possession high up the pitch, but Yerry Mina provided a crucial block at the crucial moment to stop Dominic Solanke.
In the 6th minute of the second half, Mina crossed the ball into the Bournemouth box. Gray headed the ball, but the substitute striker failed to get the ball either side of the goalkeeper, who took the ball from near the post. .
The moment Goodison had been waiting for had arrived.
Onana sent the ball into the box again, it bounced softly from 20 yards and Doucoure fired a brilliant first effort into the corner with Travers firmly on the spot.
Leicester City extended their lead over West Ham through Wout Faes, increasing the pressure on Dyche’s men.
But Everton defended resolutely and limited their opponents to very little range with clear chances.
Pickford’s most important contribution of the game came four minutes into second-half stoppage time when he scored a 20-yard kick after substitute Kiefer Moore had brought down Matthias Wiener.
Then, after 100 minutes of action, referee Stuart Attwell blew his whistle to confirm Everton were safe and ignited jubilation in L4.