This was a frenzied occasion, furiously contested in slippery conditions and richly entertaining as a result, but it was also evidence as to why these teams have endured such miserable campaigns to date. When Jordan Pickford dived to push away Luka Milivojevic’s vicious drive in stoppage time at the end, Crystal Palace’s last hopes of moving back within vague touching distance of the pack were gone. This was another improved display but the worry is if Everton, an awkward mishmash of a team at present, cannot be overcome, then who can?
It was Palace who were the more cohesive team throughout, and the more threatening with Wilfried Zaha, Andros Townsend and Ruben Loftus-Cheek irrepressible. Yet, for all that they could complain for Everton’s first equaliser, they gifted disjointed visitors a second route back into the game and, with it, shed two vital points. Roy Hodgson wore a scowl as he retreated while David Unsworth, still an Evertonian caretaker manager, thumped his chest in apparent pride. This was the first of eight games which will surely determine Palace’s campaign. It felt as if the chance to begin with a win had been passed up.