Johnson scores twice for Forest in a tie with Everton
To get a point against an Everton team whose performance was “a tremendous building stone” in their Premier League survival bid, according to Sean Dyche, Brennan Johnson struck twice for Nottingham Forest.
The visitors held two leads but lost the chance to leave the Premier League’s bottom three.
Everton is still in the bottom three on goal differential behind Leeds United despite winning two of their last six games under Dyche’s management.
Dyche said to BBC Radio 5 Live, “I’m happy. Since I joined, there has been a genuine commitment to the cause and we are acting appropriately.
Just the specifics remain. We must eliminate the errors, but today we countered and defended well.
“The performance had a lot of positive aspects. We are aware that we must win games, but you must start over, and this demonstrated a real advancement.
“This was a really strong effort on the road. It makes for a fantastic foundation on which to continue the adventure.
Demarai Gray scored the game’s first goal for Everton from the penalty spot after Jonjo Shelvey fouled Dwight McNeil in a thrilling match.
But Forest quickly became level. Morgan Gibbs-attempt White’s was deflected by Toffees goalie Jordan Pickford, and Johnson calmly slid the ball home at the near post.
At halftime, Abdoulaye Doucoure restored Everton’s advantage by nodding in from close range, but Johnson’s exquisite curler into the top corner with 13 minutes left gave the hosts a point.
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Everton’s poor road form continues.
Everton had the chance to move up to 16th in the rankings after fellow underachievers Bournemouth, West Ham, and Leeds all lost on Saturday, but they were disappointed as they left a boisterous City Ground.
The Toffees did make progress after losing their previous three road games without scoring.
Gray scored his fourth league goal of the season to take over as his team’s leading scorer for the year, while Doucoure’s goal-saving header prevented them from lasting a club-record 14 games without scoring more than one goal.
Before to the break, McNeil nearly added a third goal, but Keylor Navas expertly deflected his long-range shot over the crossbar.
Yet, they are paying a high price for their failure to win away from Goodison Park. With Johnson’s late equalizer, Everton now only has one league road win this year, which came against Southampton on October 1.
Key to Forest Survival: Comforts at Home
Forest has a similarly dismal home record, but their only three home losses have helped them avoid the drop.
Also, they can thank top scorer Johnson for helping them extend their league unbeaten streak at the City Ground to nine games.
His first goal was an opportunistic attempt; he slid in at the near post as soon as he saw that Pickford couldn’t tip Gibbs-shot White’s out of the danger zone.
His follow-up was exquisite. He received the ball in the box, took a touch, and then caressed a lovely shot into the top corner.
With the draw, they now have 20 of their 26 points in front of their own raucous supporters, and their home form might be key in the closing stages.
Forest manager Steve Cooper was dissatisfied with referee David Brooks’ performance because he believed Gibbs-White should have been called for a foul in the lead-up to Everton’s second goal.
I am unhappy with the referee, but we’ll think about it, said Cooper. I believed he made a lot of poor choices.
He will be aware of that, and he’ll probably also need to defend his performance. It’s unfortunate that events like those had an effect on the game.
You should judge success or failure based on what your opponent does, not on the officials. The guys are a little bummed that they lost, but they gave it their all and shown bravery.