Unbelievable, insane and crazy! Everton have once again cheated the drop on the final day of the season courtesy of a superbly taken goal by Abdoulaye Doucoure.
What to say about this afternoon’s drama at Goodison Park? Going into the match the Toffees knew they had a clear and simple task: just win the game!
Everton boss Sean Dyche had injuries to key players, particularly Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Nathan Patterson both out injured.
So, the manager had to reshuffle his side and find an eleven that could do the job required.
He opted for three centre-backs with Conor Coady returning to the team alongside James Tarkowski and Yerry Mina (in what is almost certainly his last game for Everton) and they kept a clean sheet of course.
That tactical change also meant that Dwight McNeil could return to a more attacking role, while returning Amadou Onana and Alex Iwobi played behind Demarai Gray, who was the forward picked to replace Calvert-Lewin,as I expected.
Inevitably, given the situation and what was riding on the outcome together with the fact neither of the two teams has a lot of attacking quality, the match was a tense, rough and ready affair.
Despite not having anything to play for Bournemouth were up for the game and they fought hard to prevent the Blues getting an early lead.
In fact the visitors had the majority of possession overall, although they didn’t make much use of it in an attacking sense.
The home side couldn’t create much themselves, although there were speculative shots from Gray, Idrissa Gueye and James Garner.
At half-time Everton were in the relgation zone as Leicester City were winning against West Ham and so they had swapped places with the Toffees.
That meant it was all or nothing in the second half.
But, as time ticked on it didn’t look as though the Blues would find a breakthrough. Enter Doucoure to provide the moment of the match.
The 30-year-old, who has fortunately just had his contract extended for another year by the club, delivered a powerful 20-yard finish of sublime quality to put Everton one up.
But, they couldn’t add to that lead and a single goal always felt like it was too slender a lead. All the Cherries needed to do was equalise and the Blues would be going down.
Then as the normal ninety minutes came to an end there was another ten minutes to be added on because of an incident involving Jordan Pickford earlier in the game.
Pickford was to once again prove his worth with a superb save during that extra time period as Bournemouth almost had that equaliser.
However, eventually, finally, the referee blew for the end of the match and the celebrations could begin, replicating last season’s scenes at Goodison after the win over Crystal Palace.
The Grand Old Lady though has seen far too many of these last day escapes over the last twenty-five years or so. It is ridiculous and disgraceful.
Today makes it three time Everton have stayed up on the final day of the season. This has got to stop because eventually if they keep doing this the Toffees will run out of lives and be relegated.
So, Dyche has delivered with another of his trademark 1-0 home wins and Evertonians can enjoy tonight, although it is more a sense of huge relief again than anything else.
But, this summer there have to be big changes at this football club after a thorough review of what has gone wrong. The re-building must start now in earnest.