Dominic Calvert-Lewin scored one barmy goal for Everton but it is the one he didn’t which will go down as the main talking point of this hectic contest.
The game was deep into three minutes of stoppage time when Calvert-Lewin’s shot deflected in off Harry Maguire, avoiding the prostrate Gylfi Sigurdsson en route.
Sigurdsson was sat in an offside position, however, and for that reason – and after a long hold up – Calvert-Lewin’s ‘goal’ was scrubbed off.
The forward had opened the scoring after three minutes when he charged down a De Gea clearance and saw the ball spin off his outstretched right leg and into the net.
United hit back 28 minutes later through Bruno Fernandes, whose dipping strike eluded Jordan Pickford’s dive.
Pickford twice saved brilliantly at the death, thwarting Fernandes and then Odion Ighalo, while De Gea made a succession of first-rate stops to atone for his mistake – notably repelling Sigurdsson point blank amid the late mayhem.
No sooner were Everton in front than they could have doubled their lead, Calvert-Lewin threatening to thrust a dagger in United’s heart two minutes after landing the first blow.
Michael Keane’s thump forward from defence caught out Victor Lindelof but not Calvert-Lewin, running behind the Swede and leaving him in the dust.
The striker opened up his body when he reached the box, aiming to slide the ball across De Gea.
Calvert-Lewin got his angles right. But so did De Gea. The United keeper made amends for his previous lapse by applying his fingertips to a ball destined for the inside of his left post to divert it off target.
Maguire stuck a vital toe in front of Theo Walcott when Richarlison crossed from the right after being released by Sigurdsson’s measured pass.
Everton, though. were being reined in a touch. The hosts had exploded from kick-off, swarming all over United and denying their opponents space and time.
Midfielder Fred escaped down the left on seven minutes and although Nemanja Matic rattled the bar after the subsequent cross was filtered to the edge of the box, it felt a significant moment.
United and Matic were emboldened and Pickford parried to his right when the Serb unloaded from his jackhammer left boot from 30 yards.
‘This is chaos’ uttered one press box sage. The comment was not a criticism, merely an observation of a game that was being largely contested close to both teams’ goals – and at a fair old lick.
Calvert-Lewin’s blood was up for one and he was cautioned for a challenge on Luke Shaw, who received a yellow card for his reaction.
Indeed, within moments there was a crowd scene, Tom Davies and Mason Holgate promptly in attendance to stand their mate’s corner.
Davies went in the book soon after for mistiming a tackle on Matic. Calvert-Lewin was on the receiving end when potential future England colleague Maguire was late to the party and booked accordingly.
United had been turning the screw when Fernandes took aim to bring his side level with a third goal in as many games.
Mason Greenwood headed over from a Fred delivery while Djibril Sidibe – on after 28 minutes when Seamus Coleman was hurt – deflected over a delicate 18-yard effort from Anthony Marital.
Between times Gomes had shrugged off Fernandes wide on the left – replicating a midfield episode early in the game – to advance and see a shot deflected off target by two closing defenders.
Richarlison, who had needed a while to shake off the limiting effects of a bang on the knee from Fred, was short on opportunities until late in the opening 45 minutes.
He saw Leighton Baines motoring down the left and correctly anticipated a premium delivery.
Dashing in front of Shaw, however, Richarlison could only glance his attempt wide of the far post.
The chaos gave way to a period of serenity following the restart.
That was until Calvert-Lewin alighted on possession down the left and duly drove at the heart of United’s rearguard.
Lindelof back off until he had no choice but to commit as Calvert-Lewin neared the penalty area.
The defender got his tackle all wrong, upending Calvert-Lewin.
Sigurdsson’s free-kick thudded the meat of the post, coming back at a rate of knots and leaving the off-balance Richarlison unable to adjust his body quickly enough to return a shot.
United’s retort came in the shape of a Greenwood surge through the middle.
He fed Martial whose strike was blocked behind by Sidibe. Davies threw himself in the way of a blast from Fernandes and at the other end Maguire got in the way of an effort from Richarlison.
Calvert-Lewin, for his part, was causing United all kinds of bother, be it with his powerful running behind or touch and strength with his back to goal.
He scampered onto a pass from Davies to run at Maguire and force De Gea into a stop down at his near post.
Baines did fabulously well on the cover to direct a fizzing Fernandes cross from the left behind – even if most of Goodison fleetingly feared the defender was about to put through his own net.
Without Baines’s intervention forward Ighalo, recently on for Greenwood, was staring at a finish into an open net.
It was Everton, though, looking more likely on the run of play.
Maguire cleared a handful of threatening corners and Sidibe recovered from careering into the hoardings behind the Gwladys Street goal to try his luck from range.
The Frenchman’s effort was deflected wide and the same was true of Richarlison’s attempt from closer in after a dart into the box.
Carlo Ancelotti had Bernard and Moise Kean on at this stage – Richarlison pulling left – and clearly fancied his chances of claiming an extra two points.
But United would have nicked it on the break were it not for a double dose of brilliance from Pickford.
The Englishman flung up his left arm to deny Fernandes at point-blank rage before tearing across his box to fling a leg in the way of Ighalo’s follow up.
Then Everton thought they’d won it. De Gea saved with his foot from Sigurdsson who remained grounded in the box.
Calvert-Lewin collected the loose ball and via a mighty deflection off Maguire found the net.
Goodison’s celebrations, however, were cut short when the video assistant referee ruled the prone and offside Sigurdsson interfered with De Gea’s attempts to save.
DCL In The Goals
For the second week in succession Dominic Calvert-Lewin got Everton off to a flyer.
The striker’s goal at Arsenal inside 60 seconds last Sunday amounted to an exhibition of athleticism, skill and imagination.
Calvert-Lewin had to wait until the third minute to break through here but the manner in which his goal unfolded followed a pattern set from kick-off.
Barely 10 seconds had elapsed when Tom Davies hared from his midfield spot to bundle United counterpart Fred out of possession.
He went after Nemanja Matic in the very next passage of play. In contrast Bruno Fernandes ran into a brick wall when he tried to dispossess Andre Gomes, nonchalantly fending off his Portuguese compatriot to retain possession.
United’s players were being given the hurry up all over the pitch.
And David de Gea was not exempt from being rushed. As the United goalkeeper deliberated over where to direct a kick downfield, Calvert-Lewin was on the hunt.
Now Calvert-Lewin, in all probability, was aiming to keep the Spaniard honest, to let De Gea know he couldn’t take liberties this afternoon.
Certainly, the Everton forward was probably not envisaging his charge towards De Gea resulting in his 13th Premier League goal of the campaign, an eighth in Carlo Ancelotti’s 10 games as Everton boss.
Jamie Carragher told evertontv this week of his long-standing belief that Calvert-Lewin needed only to add goals to his game to become the complete centre-forward package.
He is popping in all sorts of efforts these days. Under Ancelotti alone, there have been headers, poacher’s strikes – such as when netting on the rebound after a Richarlison header cracked the bar against Crystal Palace three weeks ago – and the first-rate finish converted in the home meeting with Newcastle United in January.
Here was something different altogether and no less valuable for it.
Carlo's Makes His Point
Carlo Ancelotti refused to countenance the idea of this being a decisive fixture in Everton’s run at a European qualification position.
And with 30 points up for grabs before the season is finished, it is easy to follow the manager’s logic.
Ancelotti nevertheless was looking to extend an unbeaten Goodison Park run here and add to the 17 points gained from his first nine matches.
He’s not lost two on the bounce as Everton boss and had that changed today United would have opened an eight-point gap over the Blues.
Everton would have had it all on, then, to reel in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s fifth-placed side.
There will be an element of frustration over Everton not capitalising on their quickfire start – and a feeling of what-might-have-been following the added time drama which saw Calvert-Lewin denied a second and decisive goal.
This point extends Everton’s undefeated home run to a seventh game and Ancelotti has 18 points from a possible 30 in charge.
Repeat that return between now and May and Everton will in the European shake up, no question.
Leighton Baines was starting a second Premier League game in succession for the first time in 13 months – since he played back-to-back against Huddersfield Town and Wolves last year.
Just as at Arsenal last week – when there was much licking of lips on social media from Gunners fans over the prospect of £72m Nicolas Pepe running at Everton’s 35-year-old left-back – Baines performed as if he’d been ever present this season.
Baines talked in the matchday programme of working overtime on his fitness to guard against letting anyone down should the call come.
He is meticulous over his conditioning and to remain in the shape necessary to compete in a Premier League football match without regular action is a notable feat.
It is in pure football terms that Baines’s ability to step in from the cold and immediately warm to the occasion is really remarkable.
Baines’s decision making remains as dependable as it ever was. He sees the whole picture so knows exactly when to fire in one of his trademark crosses and when a slick exchange of passes is the better bet.
The 35-year-old’s timing and judgement in the tackle is equally reliable.
He picks his moment to step in front of his man and is just as content to jockey and wait before going for the ball.
There was one piece of defending right from the top drawer when United countered late in the day.
Baines charged across to intervene and send a Bruno Fernandes delivery bulleting into the advertising hoardings behind the goal rather than the feet of Odion Ighalo right in front of it.
The defender’s ability to find space where there appears none is firmly intact, too, Baines’s movement imaginative and intelligent.
Baines played all but 25 minutes of Everton’s 1-1 draw at United back in December after replacing the injured Lucas Digne.
He was immaculate then and days later against Leicester City in the Carabao Cup dished up a reminder of his penchant for the spectacular with a scorching stoppage-time equaliser.
Again, Baines had his timing spot on.
Logic would suggest time is getting away from him with a 36th birthday later this year.
The evidence of this, however – in fact, what you see whenever he plays for Everton – indicates Baines can go on for a long while yet.
Right now. Everton have not only the best understudy left-back in the Premier League.
In Baines and Digne, they have two of the finest left-backs in the division.