Conor Gallagher produced two sensational finishes to fire Crystal Palace to a 3-1 victory against Everton in the Premier League.
Everton went into the game on a high after their late victory against Arsenal on Monday Night Football, ending their own run of seven Premier League games without a victory.
But they struggled to find any sustained rhythm in the first half and went behind late on as Gallagher (41) fired home his fifth Premier League goal of the season.
There was no marked improvement after the break as Palace continued to create the better chances – Gallagher twice going close shortly after the restart. There was an unlikely source for the Eagles’ second too as James Tomkins (62) turned home at the back post after Everton failed to clear Will Hughes’ corner.
But Rafael Benitez’s side did keep Crystal Palace from a clean sheet as Salomon Rondon (70) bundled home his fitst goal for the club soon after. The striker had replaced an almost anonymous Richarlison just before the hour, who cut a moody figure as he watched on from the bench.
As Everton sought the equaliser, the game became heated with a number of tackles and confrontations, but Gallagher (90+3) made sure of the points with a stunning strike from range in injury time.
The victory ends a run of three successive league defeats for Palace, sending them above Everton into 12th place with 19 points. It’s back to the drawing board for Benitez ahead of a trip to his former side Chelsea in midweek, slipping down into 14th.
How Crystal Palace saw off Everton
Crystal Palace began well in front of their home fans and had a string of early chances. Some superb play from Jordan Ayew saw him burst into the area, but his strike went straight at Jordan Pickford. Gallagher then sent a curling effort over the crossbar. Odsonne Edouard also tested Pickford, but his effort was pushed away strongly by the Everton goalkeeper.
But the visitors began to find their attacking feet around the half an hour mark. Demarai Gray made a superb solo run from midfield, but his shot went straight at Vicente Guaita. It was a similar story shortly after, with Ben Godfrey beating Joel Ward down the left, but his squared pass was sent into the goalkeeper’s arms by Andre Gomes.
Crystal Palace: Guaita (6), Ward (6), Tomkins (7), Guehi (7), Mitchell (7), Hughes (7), Kouyate (7), Gallagher (9), Ayew (7), Edouard (7), Zaha (7).
Subs used: Schlupp (6), Benteke (6), Clyne (n/a).
Everton: Pickford (6), Coleman (7), Holgate (6), Keane (6), Godfrey (7), Delph (6), Doucoure (7), Gomes (6), Gray (7), Townsend (6), Richarlison (5).
Subs used: Gordon (7), Rondon (6).
Man of the match: Conor Gallagher.
As the clock ticked towards half-time, Palace made a deserved breakthrough. Having been the last-gasp hero against Arsenal on Monday, Gray went to the other end of the spectrum as his poor attempted clearance landed into space for Ayew to run on to. It was then a pretty simple squared pass that Gallagher fired home.
Gallagher could have netted a hat-trick inside 10 second-half minutes. He saw a header glanced just wide after a lovely cross from Wilfried Zaha. Then, after a neat move with Ayew, he lashed an effort into the side of the net as Palace continued to impress.
- Crystal Palace made three changes. Nathaniel Clyne, Jeffrey Schlupp and Christian Benteke dropped to the bench, with Joel Ward, Will Hughes and Odsonne Edouard into the XI.
- Everton also made three change. Yerry Mina missed out through injury, with Allan also not in the matchday squad, while Anthony Gordon was among the subs. Mason Holgate, Fabian Delph and Andre Gomes came into the side.
The hosts soon had their second of the afternoon. Hughes delivered a corner and no one got a touch onto the ball. It found Tomkins at the back post, who turned home from close range.
Soon after though, Everton pulled one back to make for a feisty finish. Seamus Coleman’s floated cross found Rondon in the area, who in turn laid it off for Abdoulaye Doucoure. His shot deflected through the area and into space inside the six-yard box. Rondon was the quickest to it, sliding the ball into the back of the net.
Everton began to play with more urgency – Anthony Gordon seeing an effort parried by Guaita in the pick of the chances – but it was a stunning late goal from Gallagher that secured Crystal Palace the points.
Everton took a quick free-kick deep on their own flank and as Andre Gomes tried to play out from the back, Gallagher nipped through to steal the ball away. He then unleashed a stunning, curling strike from 25 yards, before a jubilant, bundled celebration from his team-mates.
Man of the match – Conor Gallagher
What an incredible season Gallagher is having. He is now Crystal Palace’s top scorer and scored two sensational goals. But he also put the work in defensively too as he continues to shine for the Eagles.
He told Sky Sports after the game: “Definitely the perfect way [to settle it] I feel it was a fantastic performance from us. Conceding made it a nervy last 20 minutes.
“This game was massive for us. We have lost the last three so to get the three points was important. It feels unreal. I feel we’ve been unlucky in the last few games. We wanted to give the fans a good performance and we did.
“The last one, that feeling is incredible. I won the ball back, Christian [Benteke] was telling me to leave it but there was no chance I was leaving it.
“I love it [at Crystal Palace]. Hearing them sing my name is a great feeling for me and gives me confidence which is amazing for a player. Hopefully I can continue to impress them. I always give my all and I try to affect the game as much as I can.”
Souness: Everton were so negative
Sky Sports’ Graeme Souness:
“What I’m mystified about is that the mood after Monday’s win against Arsenal at Everton would have been buoyant.
That first 45 minutes here, almost an hour, they were so negative and so passive.
“I’m not sure how you prepare a team, after such a high of the last 30 minutes against Arsenal, and say: ‘Right, the way we’re going to play against Palace, who have lost three games, and have no confidence, we’re going to play negative, sit Fabian Delph in front of the back four, we’re going to try and nick the game.’
“I think that’s a hard sell from a manager. They were a shadow of a team in the first half.
“We saw Rafa’s approach of football is quite unique and different to lots of coaches, we saw that at Newcastle, he likes to play counter-attack football and tries to steal games.
“I don’t think Evertonians will accept that. The whole idea was to take Everton to the next level, and it hasn’t happened. They should have approached this game on the front foot. They’ve been so negative.”
What the managers said
Crystal Palace manager Patrick Vieira: “It was a really good team performance. We were under pressure for periods and we stuck together.
“To win a game we needed to win took a lot of personality and courage. The players worked well and really hard.
“We need to improve. When you’re playing well and 2-0 up, you have to learn to manage the game. This is a step forward. During 90 minutes, you’ll go through a difficult period. It’s about how to manage that. This is how we will improve as a team.
“The atmosphere here is really special. We felt the support from the fans. This is a really special football club. The fans make it special.”
On Conor Gallagher: “There’s still a lot to come from him. He’ll need to manage his strength and find out the best way to manage his energy. He’s a fantastic player to have. He gives everything to the team and he can score goals. To have a midfielder who can score 10-15 goals is important.
“We don’t think about what will happen in the future. We have him for a year and we are pleased to work with him. It’s a win-win. We’ll see what happens at the end of the season.”
Everton manager Rafael Benitez: “Richarlison has a problem in his calf. We knew that at half-time. We were thinking about changing him, but we didn’t do it as we gave him five minutes to see how he was.
“We didn’t want him to get injured with so many games and he was not affecting the game, so you make the substitution as you know what is going on. But you can’t explain that all the time.
“I’m disappointed that the people don’t realise that you make the substitutions and they go well as Rondon was a key player for us with the way he held the ball. Richarlison wasn’t helping when he was moving his arms when he knew at half-time we were going to give him five minutes to see how he was.
“He said at half time, ‘give me five minutes and we’ll see how I’m getting on’ – I can’t explain that to every fan what is going on.
“It was a strange game. They started well and then we adjusted our positions and got more control, but when we had control they scored. At the start of the second half another mistake from a corner, and another mistake at the end and you concede. You cannot do that in the Premier League.
“I would say coming here we knew they would try to play and be offensive. As soon as we changed the shape we had the control. We had the chances at 2-1 and we were there.”
- Everton have conceded the opening goal in each of their last six away games in the Premier League – their longest such run since December 2017, when they did so in seven consecutive away games across spells under Ronald Koeman, David Unsworth and Sam Allardyce.
- Crystal Palace have scored in each of their last seven home games in the Premier League, equalling their record for scoring in consecutive home outings in the competition (7 games – previously achieved in 2017 and 2019).
- Conor Gallagher has been directly involved in 41% of Crystal Palace’s goals in the Premier League this season (six goals, three assists), the highest proportion for a team by any English player in the competition this term.
- Crystal Palace defender James Tomkins scored his first Premier League goal since December 2019 (v Southampton), with 10 of his 13 goals in the competition coming from corner situations.
Crystal Palace host Southampton at 7.30pm on Wednesday, while Everton go to Chelsea at 7.45pm on Thursday. Watch free highlights from both games shortly after full time on Sky Sports.com, the Sky Sports App and the Sky Sports Football YouTube channel.