Everton fans go wild after stunning comeback saves Premier League status - in pictures

Toffees were 2-0 down to Crystal Palace before second-half turnaround secured incredible win

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Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s diving header five minutes from time extended Everton’s proud 71-year stay in the top flight with a 3-2 victory over Crystal Palace that sparked a celebration party at Goodison Park.

Needing a win to make themselves safe and avoid an awkward last-day trip to Arsenal, the situation looked bleak when they went 2-0 down inside 36 minutes.

But manager Frank Lampard’s tactical changes, plus the emotion and force of a raucous crowd, dramatically turned things around in the second half as first Michael Keane and then Richarlison, with his sixth in nine games, teed up a rousing finale.

And with the stage set, Calvert-Lewin – fresh from scoring his first goal since August in Saturday’s defeat to Brentford – launched himself at a free-kick and watched as the Gwladys Street End behind the goal exploded, followed by the rest of the ground.

"It is one of the greatest moments of my footballing life and career," Lampard told the BBC.

" I have been very fortunate to have amazing times, especially at Chelsea as a player and a coach. But when you feel the feelings and desperation of what relegation brings to the table, it is different. You need to dig in. You lose games, you fight to do something and then you lose another game.

"People think you should fly up the table and it is never that way. Coming in here three and a half months ago with my amazing staff, positive people who work so hard, and trying to affect things and getting a reaction from the players, from the fans and feeling unity when it looked split. This club is special and I am proud to be manager of Everton on this night.

"I thought I might cry [at full-time], I thought I might jump out of my body. Nobody can question the celebrations at the end. It is easy to say 'but you haven't won anything'. You know what, come and work at this club for a few months and see the difficulties and what it means to people to stay in this league.

"See us 2-0 down at half-time, playing poorly, ridiculous second goal and then see the character they showed. See the fans on the pitch in good heart and spirit. They have pulled us over the line, they have been more than a 12th man. But the players also deserve huge credit. An amazing night."

The pressure had been so unbearable for so long, hundreds of fans and smoke grenades spilled on to the pitch in celebration of the third goal and, while it was short-lived and good-natured, referee Anthony Taylor and his assistants retreated behind a wall of police on the touchline.

There was another incursion by thousands at the final whistle and inevitably there will be consequences for Everton, but nothing as damaging as what was staring them in the face with 150 minutes remaining of their season.

The calamitous nature of their defending which allowed Jean-Philippe Mateta and Jordan Ayew to put the visitors into a deserved two-goal lead was forgotten on a night of celebration and relief at the final whistle as Lampard’s name was chanted by all four sides of this old ground.

Updated: May 19, 2022, 10:24 PM
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