HomePremier LeagueLate Gray goal gives Everton 1-1 draw with Nottingham Forest

Late Gray goal gives Everton 1-1 draw with Nottingham Forest

Soccer Football – Premier League – Everton v Nottingham Forest – Goodison Park, Liverpool, Britain – August 20, 2022 Everton’s Demarai Gray scores their first goal Action Images via Reuters/Lee Smith

LIVERPOOL, England (Reuters) – Winger Demarai Gray fired a late equaliser to give Everton a 1-1 draw with Nottingham Forest at Goodison Park on Saturday as they picked up their first point of the new Premier League season following a rocky start.

After a wide-open first half that finished scoreless, Salomon Rondon almost put the home side in front early in the second with a quick turn and shot, but the ball flew just wide at the foot of the left-hand post.

Forest gave a debut to club record signing Morgan Gibbs-White a day after he arrived from Wolverhampton Wanderers on a five-year deal and he led a lively raid down the left that almost resulted in a goal for Neco Williams.

Though both sides created plenty of chances in an open and free-flowing game, they lacked the killer instinct in front of goal and the match looked to be heading for a draw until Brennan Johnson popped up in the 81st minute.

The 21-year-old, who netted 16 goals in the second-tier Championship last season, reacted quickest to steer home a rebound for his first goal of the season and looked all set to give his side their second victory in a row.

Gray had other ideas, however, latching on to a long ball from goalkeeper Jordan Pickford before confidently slotting the ball into the net to the delight of the home fans in the 88th minute.

Roared on by the crowd, Everton went in search of a winner and they nearly got it when midfielder Alex Iwobi let fly with a stoppage time shot, but his effort flew over the bar and landed on the roof of the net as the game finished in a draw.

“We’re disappointed to come away with just one point, we controlled the game and created so many opportunities but we switched off,” goal-scorer Gray said.

“The positive to take is obviously that we equalised. Last season we might not have come back so we showed character to take a point.”

Despite some misplaced passes, Everton looked far better than they did in their first two games, which ended in defeats by Chelsea and Aston Villa.

“Performance-wise we were good today, but nobody is fully happy with a point. If we keep playing like that, we will win games and we approach each game trying to win,” Gray added.

(Reporting by Philip O’ConnorEditing by Christian Radnedge)