Report: Walcott Clinches Stunning Comeback Win For Everton

Only in the fullness of time will we learn how important these three points were for Everton.

But, boy, when Theo Walcott rolled in the winning goal at Vicarage Road and Everton’s bench emptied in jubilant celebration – this felt meaningful.

The game had entered its 90th minute when the indefatigable Richarlison burst forwards with the ball at his feet, defenders trailing in his slipstream.

He’d been given the bird by home fans but kept his cool all afternoon. And he remained in iceman mode, slipping a pass to his right for Moise Kean, breaking his neck to join the attack.

Kean could hear Walcott screaming for possession to his right and supplied his teammate accordingly.

Ben Foster hurried across to close the angle, leaving Walcott little margin for error.

Walcott was unfazed and stroked his finish inside the near post to complete the most brilliant come-from-behind success. And ensure Everton hit back from the disappointment of losing that two-goal advantage against Newcastle United in the most emphatic fashion.

Everton were 2-0 down after 42 minutes and down to 10 men following Fabian Delph’s 71st-minute dismissal.

All this against a side in buoyant mood and unbeaten in five home Premier League games.

Consider, too, it had been 35 top-flight fixtures since Everton conceded the opening goal in a game and won.

Yerry Mina launched the comeback from two behind – Watford having led through goals from Adam Masina and Roberto Pereyra.

Centre-back Mina bundled in a goal for Everton on the cusp of first-half stoppage time and three minutes later headed his team level.

Everton had their backs to the wall following Pereyra’s blistering strike three minutes before half-time, make no mistake.

But Carlo Ancelotti’s team took a collective breath and back they came.

And how.

Mina got the first touch on Lucas Digne’s right-wing corner bang on the 45-minute mark to instigate a penalty-area tussle for possession. Mason Holgate nudged he ball goalwards and Ben Foster could only shove it as far as Mina to turn home.

Everton, then, to all intents and purposes appeared destined to go in for half-time with a foothold in the contest.

As it transpired, the Blues returned to the changing room reflecting on a blink-and-you-would-miss-it comeback.

Everton won another corner, this one on the left and delivered by Gylfi Sigurdsson.

The ball appeared to hang in the air for an age. Mina eyed it all the way, connecting with a header which flew beyond the startled Foster.

The Colombian strode back to his own half wearing one of those ‘let’s get back to business’ faces following his first goal.

After the second, all bets were off, Mina dancing an unfettered celebratory jig and engulfed by his teammates.

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00:04 Sat 01 Feb 2020

WATCH: Watford v Everton Key Highlights

Goals from Blues' thrilling win at Vicarage Road.

Deulofeu’s close control and composure had a big say in Watford taking the lead.

The Spaniard was on the stretch to prevent Etienne Capoue’s raking pass from disappearing into touch.

Deulofeu hooked the ball back into his orbit before waiting for the underlapping Masina to arrive in the box.

Masina’s first touch invited the defender to have a go and he duly walloped a left-footed strike across Jordan Pickford and inside the Everton keeper’s left post.

Pereyra doubled Watford’s advantage when he collected a pass from Troy Deeney on the right of the box and smote the ball past Pickford, who had no chance.

Alex Iwobi and Richarlison combined five minutes into the pair’s respective returns from injury absences.

Iwobi, out for the past six weeks with a hamstring problem bustled down the left to square for Richarlison.

The Brazilian struck first time but was off balance and his effort fizzed over.

That strike was sandwiched by two near identical episodes, Mina hitting balls over the top but Richarlison unable to gather.

He was closer second time round, centre-half Christian Kabasele getting the run of the ball to deny the Everton man an unchecked run at goal.

Indeed, Everton had started the quicker of the two teams.

Dominic Calvert-Lewin charged down Kabasele from kick-off and by the interval Everton had claimed 62 per cent possession and aimed three of six shots on target.

Pickford sped from his goal to thwart the advancing Pereyra and set Everton on the attack after 18 minutes.

The keeper didn’t stop at baulking Pereyra, feeding a pass down the line for Richarlison.

Richarlison popped up at the end of the move, too, darting between challenges from Etienne Capoue and Nathaniel Chalobah – but ultimately floored by Chalobah’s legitimate challenge.

Abdoulaye Doucoure was too high with an improved overhead effort.

And Digne shut down the same Watford player when he crashed a shot from 12 yards.

Almost immediately Digne’s enthusiastic tackle on Pereyra got the home players’ and fans’ backs up.

The Frenchman’s challenge was fair and that much was confirmed by a VAR review.

The same means was used to determine Pereyra had done nothing especially untoward when he left something on Digne by way of retribution soon after.

Calvert-Lewin was thwarted by Kabasele and fellow defender Craig Cathcart combining in unconventional fashion to smuggle behind a whipped Sigurdsson free-kick two minutes after the restart.

Deulofeu raced past Djibril Sidbie but had his shot diverted behind by Fabian Delph – not long after receiving his first booking for a foul on Pereyra.

Moments earlier, Calvert-Lewin, on target five time in his previous six appearances, couldn’t force a cross from Digne goalwards.

There was an element of farce about events when Everton swept upfield 20 minutes from the end.

The away fans roared for a free-kick when Masina wiped out Sidibe.

Referee Craig Pawson played a good advantage as substitute Morgan Schneiderlin fizzed a pass forwards for Walcott.

He was taken out by Adrian Mariappa. On Everton went – until Pereyra cleaned out Richarlison,

There was nowhere to go for Pawson, then. He awarded the free-kick which was blasted into the wall by Digne.

Delph received his second yellow with 19 minutes remaining and Ancelotti sent on Michael Keane for Calvert-Lewin.

Doucoure flashed a volley wide after Everton only partially cleared a corner – in fact, the Frenchman launched a quickfire one-man assault on the Blues’ goal.

He was off target with another volleyed strike before Mina and Sidibe combined to close off the space as Doucoure charged into the box.

If it felt like Everton were on the ropes then that impression was entirely wrong.

Because in the 90th minutes Richarlison flew forwards and fed Kean, who ushered in Walcott to send the Evertonians behind Foster’s goal into delirium.

Yerry’s On A Hat-Trick

That’s what the Evertonians massed behind Ben Foster’s goal were singing whenever their side spotted up a dead ball after the break.

Some of those fans chuckle at the fact they’ve been lumping a couple of quid on Mina to net for Everton since the Colombian came to the Club in summer 2018.

He has scoring pedigree for a centre-half – Mina struck three times in three appearances at the World Cup directly before he joined.

For whatever reason, the 25-year-old has not had the same joy in front of goal at Everton.

His 35 Premier League appearances until today had yielded one goal, in a 5-1 win at Burnley on Boxing Day 2018.

How Mina capitalised after happening upon his shooting boots at Vicarage Road.

His first effort to haul Everton back into this looked simple enough. But Mina got his reward for winning Lucas Digne’s original ball into the box and remaining alert to react quickest and jab home after Ben Foster saved from Mason Holgate.

Mina’s second had echoes of his third at that World Cup – the one he deposited beyond Jordan Pickford in a last-16 match.

He strode authoritatively onto Gylfi Sigurdsson’s deep delivery from the left and rippled Ben Foster’s net with a thundering header.

In the space of three minutes Mina had changed the face of his scoring record in England

More pertinently, he had transformed this contest.

Carlo Thinking On His Feet.

Carlo Ancelotti would have been weighing up how to use his final substitution when Fabian Delph’s dismissal forced the Italian’s hand.

Gylfi Sigurdsson had already been replaced in midfield by Morgan Schneiderlin – Sigurdsson playing his first football for three weeks and providing Yerry Mina’s first goal during a decent 67-minute shift.

Moise Kean’s introduction soon after meant a change of position for Richarlison, who shifted to the left to accommodate his striking teammate.

When Delph went after being cautioned for a second time in short order Ancelotti waited two minutes before sending on Michael Keane.

The expectation might have been for Everton to revert to a back three.

As it was, Mason Holgate stepped into midfield where he excelled after being deployed there against Manchester United at the back end of last year.

Everton, then, finished the match with a completely new-look strikeforce, Moise Kean playing alone up top where Dominic Calvert-Lewin – the man who came off for Keane – and Richarlison had started.

The engine room previously populated by Delph and Sigurdsson was now the domain of Schneiderlin and Holgate.

Ancelotti, essentially, ensured his side remained solid right through its core but retained a genuine attacking threat.

How satisfying for the manager, then, when Everton burst forward to win it at the death – with Kean right at the heart of the decisive move, too. 

Richie Returns In Style

There was no missing Richarlison with his brilliant pink boots illuminating the Vicarage Road gloom.

Even if you didn’t notice him at first glance, either the locals’ catcalls or vocal adulation conferred on him by Evertonians would have informed you the Brazilian was on the ball.

Until a knee issue forced him out of the past two games, if Everton were playing, Richarlison was there.

He’d started 27 games on the spin from day one of this campaign before sitting out the meetings with West Ham United and Newcastle United.

Playing in tandem with chief rival for Everton’s top-scoring spot Dominic Calvert-Lewin, the 22 year-old was charged here with trying to stretch Watford’s efficient backline.

He swatted a first-time shot over the top after five minutes and either side of that attempt was frustratingly close to reining in balls over the top from Yerry Mina.

Richarlison tried to skip between two Watford defenders on 18 minutes and felt he had a case for a free-kick when halted by Nathaniel Chalobah’s forceful challenge.

The South American was contributing to a Premier League goal once every two games ahead of this contest – he’d scored eight and assisted three in 22 appearances.

He ran his socks off here, working tirelessly and switching effortlessly to the left following Moise Kean’s introduction.

Richarlison doesn’t shy away from a challenge either and he got stuck in here.

Faced with a challenge of an entirely different nature – to carry the ball halfway up the field – he rose to it.

Richarlison sprinted forwards to coolly feed Kean for the pass which won the match for Everton.

Not one to add to the 11 goals he’s been involved in.

Which brings to mind the saying about lies and statistics.