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HOPEFUL EVER AFTER Everton 1 Crystal Palace 1: New boss Glasner watches Eagles throw away lead as Onana helps Toffees out of drop zone

Amadou Onana rose highest to grab a late equaliser for Everton

EVERTON must hope that this is not the only late reprieve they get within the next 48 hours.

This is a defining week for the club off the pitch but last night Sean Dyche’s players temporarily lifted the doom and gloom as they scrapped a point when all hope appeared lost.

Jordan Ayew’s thunderbolt for Crystal Palace had appeared to give new manager Oliver Glasner the perfect pick-me-up on the day he joined the South London ranks as Roy Hodgson’s replacement.

But an 84th-minute equaliser from substitute Amadou Onana ensured dogged Everton avoided losing against fellow relegation fodder to jump out of the bottom three.

Evertonians would have left this rickety old stadium thinking that perhaps their luck is about to change.

We will soon find out as in the coming days, the result of their appeal against a ten-point deduction is likely to be announced.

The hope is it is reduced by an independent commission even though they admitted the single breach of Premier League profit and sustainability rules.

The worry is that it remains in situ and then if another punishment is added further down the line, it will thrust them deep into the danger zone.

Whatever the decision by the men in suits, the players need to do more to help matters.

Getting a point here might be admirable but they have not won in the league for TWO MONTHS and that is not good enough.

As far as Palace are concerned, Glasner – who was watching from the stands – will want to improve on their defensive capabilities on the training ground this week.

According to coach Paddy McCarthy, who took charge in the dugout hours after Roy Hodgson stood down as boss, the Austrian had NO impact on team selection or tactics.

Of course, bringing in someone who has NO experience of the Premier League and asking them to secure the club’s safety with 13 matches left is a massive gamble.

Yet something had to give, even if the manner in which it has all happened has left a sour taste for some fans.

The form under Hodgson – just the third managerial change this season – had been woeful with Palace suffering ten defeats in their past 16 league games.

Unless he was feeling under the weather, goalkeeper Dean Henderson was clearly seen as the scapegoat for the poor results and he was benched in favour of Sam Johnstone, who was making his first Premier League start since December 9.

The 5-3-2 formation was an interesting one, given that Hodgson always preferred a back four, but the narrow system frustrated the hell out of Everton in a dreadful first half for the neutral viewer.

There was one early flashpoint, which was checked and then cleared by VAR, when Dwight McNeil painfully left his studs on the ankle of Daniel Munoz.

The previous clash in South London had been a terrific, entertaining encounter but this was a nervy affair with limited chances in the first half.

Everton striker Dominic Calvert–Lewin has not scored since October and that absent confidence was evident when he headed wide from a peach of a cross by McNeil midway through the half.

You might think that Palace would be pretty decent at set-pieces but they have not scored from a corner in the Premier League for 11 months.

They went close to changing that stat but the header by Jean-Philippe Mateta on 38 minutes was hooked off the line by Ashley Young.

A demonstration perhaps why you should always have someone positioned by the posts for a corner.

Everton, booed off at half-time by disgruntled supporters, had to wait until the 64th minute for the first shots on target.

First the header by James Tarkowski was punched clear by Johnstone and then the rebound by Abdoulaye Doucoure was eventually cleared.

Yet a few minutes later, Toffees came unstuck when Ayew produced a thunderous strike to beat England No1 Jordan Pickford from outside the box.

Credit should go to Mateta’s excellent hold-up play because without that Ayew would not have celebrated a third goal of the season.

Everton have not won a Prem game since October 2022 when conceding first and they feared the worst when Calvert–Lewin missed again and James Garner had an attempt saved.

But a point was saved thanks to Onana who came off the bench and then rose above a packed penalty area to beat Johnstone.

Here is how the action unfolded at Goodison Park…