EZRI KONSA’S missed kick left Aston Villa’s survival hopes hanging by a thread – just when he had looked to have blown the relegation fight wide open.
Konsa’s first top-flight goal looked to have secured the win they needed over a poor Everton which would have left them just one point away from safety.
Theo Walcott’s late effort earned a point for Everton
But the defender then failed to connect properly with a desperate overhead kick clearance which allowed Theo Walcott’s looping header to just drop over the line for an 87th minute equaliser.
It was a heartbreaking moment for the 22-year-old who knew he might just have seen safety slip off the toe of his right foot.
Dean Smith’s side are now three points behind Watford and West Ham with Manchester City and Arsenal to come.
The Hammers and Hornets meet on Friday night with the winners of the match all but guaranteed of survival.
No wonder the Villa players cut desolate figures at full-time.
Smith’s side had given themselves a fighting chance by seeing off Crystal Palace on Sunday – a team who already look to have sights on the beach with nothing to play for.
And what they really needed was Everton to provide a similar lacklustre display to the one they turned in at Wolves.
Ancelotti had made it clear to his players he would not accept anything like such an insipid showing again, making five changes to his starting line-up as if to reinforce the point.
It showed right from the off as Everton set about Villa and Alex Iwobi gave them an early scare by finding space in the box in the opening minute but was unable to keep his overhead kick down.
Villa looked petrified in those early minutes, the pressure of the match clearly affecting them as they were miles off the pace.
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They got away with one when Tyrone Mings nodded straight onto the head of Dominic Calvert-Lewin and the ball drifted just wide, then were lucky to see Bernard’s cross strike the crossbar with Pepe Reina beaten.
It needed someone in the claret and blue to grab hold of the game and that inspiration finally came from Douglas Luiz, throwing himself around the midfield to set the right example.
Gradually the strugglers settled, and they had a great chance to open the scoring when Ahmed Elmohamady picked out Mbwana Samatta with a fine cross but the striker was unable to divert his 14th minute header on target.
Jack Grealish then went close with an effort from the edge of the area deflected just over, and Luiz also tried his luck from distance before the break.
But for a side desperate for a win to keep themselves in the top flight there needed to be more.
Grealish attempted to provide that extra quality a minute into the second half, but he dragged his shot wide of the near post having been picked out in space just inside the box.
Theo Walcott rises to score with a looping header with time running out
Ezri Konsa celebrates his opener but the joy was short-lived
Villa’s star man had another chance two minutes later in a similar position, but this time opted to go for the far corner and again he was wide of the target.
The good news for Villa, though, was that after their initial promise Everton were actually turning into exactly the kind of opponents the strugglers were hoping they would be.
Putting it simply, they were producing another dog’s dinner of a display short of any quality and were there for the taking.
So up stepped Konsa, throwing himself in to divert Conor Hourihane’s free-kick into the net to open the scoring on 72 minutes.
It was the first shot on target from either side, but to Villa it could priceless if they somehow manage to complete their unlikely escape.
That said, the final ten minutes should have been far more comfortable for Villa had sub Anwar El Ghazi not contrived to miss from a yard out having been found at the far post by Grealish.
That miss almost proved costly five minutes from time when Andre Gomes found Calvert-Lewin six-yards out but the striker turned his shot just the wrong side of the post.
And Villa later paid for their wastefulness as Konsa failed to add a goal-saving block to his strike.
By: Duncan Wright
Title: Everton 1 Aston Villa 1: Theo Walcott scores late leveller to dent Villans’ survival hopes
Sourced From: www.thesun.co.uk/sport/football/12145267/everton-1-aston-villa-1-theo-walcott-ezri-konsa-goals/
Published Date: Thu, 16 Jul 2020 18:52:53 +0000