Late Ellis Simms goal earns Everton a point and checks Chelsea’s progress

Everton ended Chelsea’s winning streak with a dramatic late equalizer from substitute Ellis Simms at Stamford Bridge to bolster their hopes of Premier League survival.

The 22-year-old overcame Kalidou Koulibaly to make it 2-2 in the 89th minute after Kai Havertz’s penalty gave Graham Potter’s team four straight wins.

Joao Felix put Chelsea ahead early in the second half of a game they had dominated up to that point before they were held back by a header from Abdoulaye Doucoure.

The hosts once again regretted missed opportunities, their fluid attacking game dulled by a lack of killer instinct in the penalty area.

The first burst of anticipation from a raucous home support came early. Michael Keane’s header from a Ben Chilwell corner landed on the edge of the area, where Mateo Kovacic volleyed him just wide.

Christian Pulisic, back with the team for the first time in two months, got in on the left and pulled the ball back for Chilwell to jab it towards the stretching Felix, whose contact was just too light to turn it past Jordan Pickford.

Joao Felix gave Chelsea the lead (PA)

Chelsea’s breadth of play challenged Everton’s defensive organization and fluidly attacked down both flanks, with Reece James and Chilwell delivering their incisive, energetic bests. Enzo Fernandez hit short and long balls with deadly precision, and Felix stretched the guests with his mesmerizing ball control.

However, despite Chelsea’s best efforts, a first-half goal would not materialize. Felix – through whom every promising attack seemed to flow – tried a drilled effort from 18 yards that flew straight into Pickford’s gloves. A skillful free-kick ended in Fernandez’s low shot, which was blocked.

The hosts had started the game in the bottom half of the table but a winning run and finally the feeling that Potter knew his preferred starting XI and form had lifted Stamford Bridge’s spirits. Although Raheem Sterling was injured, they attacked like a team comfortable in each other’s company, full of vigor and conviction.

Chelsea v Everton – Premier League – Stamford Bridge

Ben Chilwell also caught Chelsea (PA)’s eye

The second half started with more Chelsea pressure. Chilwell, again excellent throughout, crossed from the left and Havertz mounted to head deep on goal which was batted by Pickford. On the rebound, Keane Felix hit the ball and cleared it.

The goal was the architecture of Chelsea’s two best players. Fernandez hit another great pass that landed perfectly on Chilwell’s left foot, who cushioned his cross into the middle. Keane was first on the ball for Everton but the defender was too off balance to make good contact. His half clearance came from Felix, who made a touch, aimed and rolled the ball home off Pickford’s far post with deft precision.

Keane almost immediately made amends for his defensive error and broke free of his marker when the ball was whipped in by Demarai Gray but didn’t make the contact the cross deserved.

Chelsea v Everton – Premier League – Stamford Bridge

Abdoulaye Doucoure (left) equalized the points (Nigel French/PA)

The visitors were encouraged and with 20 minutes to go they were level. A corner from the right was parried by James Tarkowski, who struggled across Chelsea’s defense to get his head on the ball and when it fell into the six-yard box, Doucoure acted quickest to nod it over the line , when Havertz tried in vain to break away.

Chelsea reacted like a team fueled by renewed confidence. James won a penalty when he was knocked down by Tarkowski. That gave Havertz a chance to restore the lead, which he duly took and sent Pickford the wrong way.

But Everton couldn’t be beat. With a minute left, Doucoure passed the ball to Simms, who shot over a feeble challenge from Koulibaly and sidefooted past Kepa Arrizabalaga to secure a potentially priceless point in Everton’s fight for survival.

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