Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s ninth Premier League goal of the season earned Everton a creditable point from Saturday’s visit to West Ham United.
The visitors trailed to Issa Diop’s header when Calvert-Lewin arrived on the scene one minute before half-time to convert Mason Holgate’s flick from a Lucas Digne corner.
Indeed, West Ham’s lead lasted only four minutes, Diop converting from Robert Snodgrass’s wicked right-wing free-kick.
Jordan Pickford made a handful of terrific stops, notably denying Sebastien Haller at close range and brilliantly repelling a header from Pablo Fornals.
Everton had more of the ball than their hosts in the opening half – 59 per cent of it – but for half an hour, at least, neither side found any rhythm.
Save, in Everton’s case, for one neat sequence on 18 minutes. Full-back Digne’s eventual cross from the left went beyond Seamus Coleman – who might have been pulled up for an infringement regardless – but the way Bernard, Theo Walcott and finally Moise Kean combined to open up the left flank for Digne provided a glimpse into what was possible with some finesse.
The Blues’ clearest opening until Calvert-Lewin struck landed at the feet of attacker Walcott.
Bernard was the move’s architect, driving Everton up the right with a series of clever touches and interchanges. When the ball was shipped left to Digne he fired up proceedings, driving into the box via a return ball from Fabian Delph and delivering to the far post where Walcott’s contact was scruffy and allowed Darren Randolph a straightforward stop.
In truth Hammers number one Randolph was lightly worked in comparison with visiting counterpart Pickford before the break.
Englishman Pickford reserved his finest stop of the opening half for its final seconds.
Everton had not long levelled when Pablo Zabaleta escaped down the right to stand up a ball for Pablo Fornals. The Spaniard’s header flew off the turf and needed Pickford to tumble to his left and fling out a strong hand to preserve parity.
West Ham's goal came after Delph was penalised for a foul on Manuel Lanzini. Snodgrass's dipping delivery was met by Diop, glancing inside the far post.
Calvert-Lewin responded in timely and emphatic fashion to tae the wind out of the hosts's sails after Holgate beat Diop to Digne's dead ball.
Pickford used his left foot to repel Sebastien Haller at close range after the Frenchman was ushered in by Mark Noble on 25 minutes.
Haller was over with a header from Aaron Creswell’s cross eight minutes later, Yerry Mina’s presence enough to disconcert the striker.
Indeed, Haller had more than his share of opportunities before the interval. He got the jump on Holgate after Noble served the ball in from the left but headed too high to bother Pickford.
Everton keeper Pickford had no trouble clutching an early Snodgrass effort either – and when Scotsman Snodgrass raced through to ‘score’ after 22 minutes he had gone too early and was flagged offside.
Zabaleta tamed Snodgrass’s bouncing ball into the box but saw his goalbound effort ricochet behind off Delph.
And Haller would have had another opportunity but for the off-balance Digne jabbing out his left boot to intercept Manuel Lanzini’s low cross.
Gordon emerged from half-time for a Premier League debut in place of Bernard.
And almost immediately the Academy graduate belted a presentable opportunity over the top after Randolph’s shovelled clearance from a Walcott delivery alighted with the 18-year-old via Kean’s toe.
Diop shut the door on Calvert-Lewin at the near post following another Walcott cross and at the other end Snodgrass was too high with a header following Creswell’s run and centre.
There was much ado about nothing when the natives wondered aloud if Pickford had carried the ball over his line following a routine save. He hadn’t.
Snodgrass lashed an effort on 70 minutes which looped up viciously off Digne and was probably travelling wide.
Pickford took off to his left to tip behind anyway and he was right not to chance his angles.
West Ham substitute Abian Ajeti was spared punishment on the stroke of full-time when the video assistant referee determined the Swiss’s contact with Holgate was not maliciously motivated.
Holgate lying flat out as the game progressed got the home fans’ backs up.
Zabaleta obstructing Gordon as the Everton player flew down the left in stoppage time similarly annoyed the visitors.
Tom Davies’s shot after the resulting free-kick was partially cleared flew over the top via another home substitute in Arthur Masuaku.
And with that the teams shook on a point.
Issa Diop’s 40th-minute header breathed fresh oxygen into the previously somnolent London Stadium.
This ground can cook up a noise, sounds travelling around the bowl.
The locals, then, were poised to get right behind their team’s bid for a second home win on the trot.
West Ham had created a handful of openings by this juncture, too. Any longer without breaking through and the hosts spirits could have conceivably sapped.
Everton’s swift response, then, was especially important, extinguishing the upbeat atmosphere on and off the field at a stroke.
The Blues’ purposeful response carried them upfield and earned a corner off the boot of Aaron Cresswell.
Lucas Digne, starting his 22nd Premier League game out of 23 this term and creator of the goal which beat Brighton last week, whipped in a fabulous dead ball from the right.
Mason Holgate’s reactions were quicker than Diop’s and the Everotn man won the all centre-back duel at the near post.
Holgate’s flick hurried the ball to the far post where Calvert-Lewin had anticipated developments.
He flung himself to direct the ball home for a ninth Premier League goal this season – and sixth in eight games.
In The Pack
Sheffield United in sixth and Burnley in 15th were separated by only eight points ahead of today’s games – with Everton right in the thick of the bunch chasing down fifth-placed Manchester United.
It is reasonable to expect clear water to open up between the top eight or nine teams and the rest at some juncture in the season’s closing stages.
And much like the cyclist manoeuvring to emerge on the right side of the split when the peloton encounters a cross wind, Everton are bidding to be one of those teams in the leading pack come the final shake up.
Everton have tracked a steady upward trend since beating Chelsea to leap four places to 14th on 7 December.
They started this game 11th and with a puncher’s chance of climbing into the top eight following a run of four wins and two draws from seven matches.
One more point here pretty much preserved the status quo, Everton remaining 11th but edging one point in front of Southampton
The Blues might have expected to gain ground on Crystal Palace and Sheffield with a draw, too, but there will be a few surprises before the season is out.
For Everton's part, they have claimed 15 points from their past eight games and have every reason for optimism as they hunt down the sides in front of them.
Everton were missing Richarlison for the first time this season but manager Carlo Ancelotti went with two striker nevertheless.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s 11th goal in all competitions and ninth in the league lifted him one above his absent colleague in both tallies.
The 22-year-old’s effort was a proper ‘striker’s goal’, predatory and clinical as he bundled in Everton’s equaliser.
When Moise Kean’s race was run and Ancelotti wanted fresh legs late in the piece the call went out for Oumar Niasse, a scorer on this ground in May 2017.
With Antony Gordon replacing Bernard at half-time, Everton used two substitutes whose Premier League football this season had amounted to Niasse’s single minute at Manchester United last month.
Kean sprinted forwards to fasten onto Tom Davies’s pass after six minutes and shrugged off imposing centre-back Angelo Ogbonna to retain possession.
The striker’s work until that point had been carried out with his back to goal.
And Kean is capable of linking play – the way he filled space in midfield to collect a pass from Yerry Mina before skipping beyond Mark Noble and returning possession to his centre-back was testament to Kean’s comfort on the ball.
But he is at his most potent when stretching defences, forcing the likes of Ogbonna and similarly robust defensive partner Issa Diop onto uncomfortable ground.
Both West Ham centre-halves are happy engaging in physical battles. Facing their own goal and chasing down tearaway forwards not so much.
Kean, who wore a smack in the face from Declan Rice inside 10 minutes, was starting only his fourth Premier League game and playing with the praise of manager Carlo Ancelotti ringing in his ears.
The 19-year-old made a beeline for the hosts’ penalty area after receiving the ball from Fabian Delph but overshot his pass to Dominic Calvert-Lewin.
Fellow striker Calvert-Lewin did likewise when aiming to thread in Kean soon after, the Italian hopping made and raging at the blue East London sky as he watched the ball hurry out of reach.
Indeed, Everton’s two forwards weren’t having a whole lot of joy in their initial attempts to connect, Kean missing Calvert-Lewin with a right-wing cross into the box.
Englishman Calvert-Lewin’s contact was true enough to score one minute before half-time and he did his bit defensively, too.
The forward contributed a precious front post header to clear a late Snodgrass free-kick from an almost identical position to the one which produced the home team’s goal.
Issa Diop’s intervention prevented Anthony Gordon’s pass from releasing an advancing Kean midway through the second half.