And breathe, Everton fans.
After experiencing one of their worst seasons in club history, the Toffees’ 3-2 win over Crystal Palace on Thursday means they are living to see another season in England’s top-flight league.
Needing a win against Crystal Palace to guarantee safety from relegation heading into the final matchweek, things initially looked bleak when the Patrick Vieira-led side took a 2-0 lead through 36 minutes of play.
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The Toffees, led by Frank Lampard who replaced Rafa Benitez as manager mid-season, hadn’t bounced back from a two-goal deficit at halftime to win ever – until now.
Everton found life in the 54th minute when central defender Michael Keane finished a left-footed shot after a set piece. From there, the Toffees were the aggressor at the urging of the home fans.
Then in the 75th minute, Brazilian striker Richarlison scored a left-footed shot of his own that deflected into the goal to level the score at 2-2. A tie would suffice for Everton, but it was clear the players wanted to go all out for the win.
Everton winger Demarai Gray, who was crucial in the buildup for the second goal, delivered a beautiful ball into the penalty box on a free kick, which found Dominic Calvert-Lewin for a header to make it 3-2 in the 85th minute.
Fans immediately raided the pitch even though there was still ample time left on the clock.
Once the commotion was settled, seven minutes of stoppage time was all that stood in front of Everton.
In the end, the Toffees survived, and it meant everything to the fans. Nothing would delay their celebrations in Goodison Park now.
Everton, one of the founders of the English Football League, has been a staple in the Premier League spanning several decades. They had not been relegated from top-flight football since 1954, which was a whopping 68 years ago.
They will finish the season in either 16th place or 15th, depending on Southampton which has a one-point advantage. It’s the lowest Everton will finish since the 2003-04 campaign when they were 17th.
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Following that year, the Toffees soared up the standings to end the 2004-05 season in fourth place. Let’s see if another miracle is in store for them next year.