LONDON (Reuters) – Brentford’s Vitaly Janelt hooked in an 84th-minute goal to earn a 1-1 home Premier League draw against Everton after Chelsea target Anthony Gordon looked as if he might have delivered a victory as a possible leaving present for the visitors.
Midfielder Gordon, who could soon be on his way to Chelsea for around 60 million pounds, put Everton ahead after 24 minutes and, despite almost incessant pressure from the hosts, Everton looked as if they might hold on for a first win of the season.
Brentford, who hammered Manchester United 4-0 in their last home game, hit the woodwork three times and the fans were beginning to think it would not be their team’s day until Janelt rescued a point six minutes from time.
Everton, with one point from their opening three fixtures, were shaky at the back but took the lead with the sort of goal that looked as if it had been coming at both ends.
Conor Coady launched a long ball over a static defence, Gordon brought it down and then slotted calmly past David Reya.
Either side of that Brentford hit the post, first via a Mathias Jensen shot and then when Ivan Toney, completely unmarked, thumped a header against a post. The rebound fell nicely for Yoane Wissa who volleyed horribly over the bar.
The muscular presence of Toney was a painful reminder to Everton of their lack of a real striker and until Dominic Calvert-Lewin is fit to return they look destined to continue to struggle for goals and points.
Brentford took control in the second half as Christian Norgaard hit the bar and Everton’s Jordan Pickford made some sharp saves before the hosts eventually secured a point when Keane Lewis-Potter flicked on a corner for fellow substitute Janelt to knock the ball in from close range.
The draw takes Brentford to five points from four games but left coach Thomas Frank with no idea how they did not win.
“That will be a mystery forever. Wow, what a performance. I think in some ways it was better than against Manchester United,” he said.
“I think the fans should be crazy proud. It was a good snapshot, but can we produce performances like this consistently? That’s the challenge.
“We’ve come from behind three times already this season and that’s a reminder of the mentality, the culture, this thing we’ve been creating for some time.”
At the end of the game Gordon gave his shirt to an Everton fan, who will wonder if he will next see him wear that or another shade of blue, but manager Frank Lampard said he was determined to keep the youngster.
“I don’t come away from today thinking that he’s made someone pay more millions for him, I come away thinking that I want him to stay – simple as that,” he said.
“I speak every day with him at the moment because I understand that this is a difficult moment for him, because it brings a lot of attention and we just expect young people to just handle it and it’s not easy,” Lampard added.
“My advice was just to prepare and play as usual and I was delighted with him today – he played a great game. I see him being an Everton player for a long time and an England player for a long time.”
(Reporting by Mitch Phillips, editing by Pritha Sarkar/Hugh Lawson/Ken Ferris)