Andros Townsend’s stunner makes Everton fly under Rafael Benitez
Posted On September 14, 2021
Rafael Benitez’s golden touch as Everton’s new manager continued as his side made a remarkable comeback with three goals in seven minutes to beat Burnley 3-1 at Goodison Park.
While Spain’s two predecessors Marco Silva and Carlo Ancelotti struggled, and ultimately failed, to instill a spirit that kept them from winning league games from losing positions, the former Liverpool boss l ‘did twice in his first two home games.
But even a man who oversaw the Istanbul miracle in the 2005 Champions League final would have found it hard to imagine the method of that turnaround as his side looked beaten and battered after Ben Mee scored his 200th appearance in Premier League with the first goal in the 53rd minute.
However, in the span of 379 seconds – which included a tactical substitution and a lineup change – the hosts turned the game around via a Michael Keane header against his former club, a stunner from Andros Townsend and a head-to-head. clinical face of fellow new arrival Demarai Gray.
And all of this was achieved without last season’s top scorer Dominic Calvert-Lewin, who is expected to be out for at least two to three weeks with a broken toe and thigh.
Getting a win from behind, at home against Southampton on the opening day of the season, after all of their previous problems could be seen as luck.
Doing it twice in successive matches indicates something else; a breeding of determination and resilience to dig deeper and fight for the jersey – something that Goodison’s loyalists felt lacked for some time.
Abdoulaye Doucoure was at the heart of Everton’s best moments, but two newcomers Townsend and Gray, reported for a combined £ 1.7million in a bargain-priced summer transfer window, added a push and a motivation that the men on the team lacked in previous years.
Townsend’s goal was a beauty shot, clinging to Doucoure’s pass to hit a shot at Nick Pope. Gray’s one-on-one finish was as cool as you want it to be and rocked the old floor to where, moments earlier, he was moaning.
An attritional first half from Burnley had the desired effect of tiring their hosts, although the Clarets could have been ahead before half time with a better finish.
Unusually, it was their air force that let them down as Chris Wood failed to take enough lead on a Dwight McNeil cross and Mee nodded in a corner, while Josh Brownhill fired. directly on Jordan Pickford.
Calvert-Lewin’s absence became more and more noticeable, as Richarlison’s use as a center forward against Mee and James Tarkowski just didn’t work with Everton’s tactic of getting the ball moving quickly.
Doucoure made the first real save of the game when he hit Townsend’s pass to force Pope to strike, but it was a rare foray into the penalty area and it was no surprise when Burnley took the advantage just after half-time.
Everton failed to handle McNeil’s free kick and then Johann Berg Gudmundsson’s cross as Mee walked through a crowd of blue shirts to get home from close range.
But their fighting spirit eventually emerged during a mad period kicked off by Keane powerfully sending home a header close to Townsend’s center post.
Benitez immediately changed to 4-3-3, removing center-back Ben Godfrey for midfielder Andre Gomes, and the game changed in an instant.
Doucoure played a big role when he first picked Townsend from the center line and the winger cut inside on his left foot to hit home a brilliant, looping, diving shot.
He then sliced Burnley with a deep ball to send Gray qualifying for the 3-1 and the Frenchman was only denied a deserved goal by an offside flag as Everton went wild.
Another vicious Townsend attempt from a distance was repelled by Pope while Gomes’ excuse for missing the mark with a clear view of the goal could only be over-excitement.
With four games remaining unbeaten for Benitez and the victory lifted Everton to fourth place, but tied with Manchester United, Chelsea and Liverpool on 10 points.