Review

Everton win to stay up and send down Leicester and Leeds

28 May 2023
Abdoulaye Doucoure, Everton

Abdoulaye Doucoure hits decisive goal to beat Bournemouth and keep the Toffees ever-present

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Everton maintained their record of never getting relegated from the Premier League as a brilliant goal from Abdoulaye Doucoure helped them battle past AFC Bournemouth with a nervy 1-0 win to send down Leicester City and Leeds United.

Sean Dyche’s team knew victory would render the results of Leicester and Leeds academic, but nerves were aplenty for Everton fans at Goodison Park and at King Power Stadium over the course of the two matches.

At Elland Road, Leeds were rarely in with a shout of getting the win they needed against Tottenham Hotspur.

They suffered a nightmare start, Harry Kane striking inside two minutes to equal Andrew Cole’s overall Premier League record of scoring in 26 matches in a season. It was also Kane's 10th goal on the final day of the season, a record that outstrips Cole’s nine.

See: Aston Villa qualify for Europe

Everton went close to an opener when Idrissa Gueye’s shot was tipped over by Mark Travers. But three minutes later they fell into the relegation zone when Harvey Barnes, restored to the Leicester starting XI, put the Foxes ahead against West Ham United in the 34th minute to put his side in 17th.

In the last minute of the first half at Goodison, Yerry Mina made a crucial block when Dominic Solanke seemed set to put Bournemouth ahead. Then at the other end, Travers made a brilliant stop to deny James Garner.

Relegation places confirmed

Position Pos Club Played Pl GD Points Pts
17 Everton EVE 38 -23 36
18 Leicester City LEI 38 -17 34
19 Leeds United LEE 38 -30 31
20 Southampton SOU 38 -37 25
View More

Just as they did in the first half, Leeds conceded in the second minute after the break, Kane showing great skill to set up Pedro Porro to double the lead.

Jack Harrison pulled a goal back for Leeds, but only a minute later Kane struck again to extinguish Leeds’ faint hopes of an improbable comeback, scoring his 30th Premier League goal of the season. Lucas Moura added a fourth in stoppage time in his final match for the club.

Back at Goodison, Travers was again in place to deny Demarai Gray the goal that Everton needed. But 10 minutes later the Cherries goalkeeper could do nothing as Doucoure blasted Everton into a crucial lead.

Wout Faes doubled Leicester’s lead with a towering header and, although West Ham struck back through Pablo Fornals, the Foxes held on for the win they needed and could only wait to see what happened at Goodison.

On Merseyside, there were 10 minutes of stoppage time and Everton fans, who knew an equaliser for Bournemouth would send them down, could barely watch. Those who did saw Jordan Pickford dive to his left to save Matias Vina’s vicious volley.

That was the last threat for the Toffees and there was elation when the final whistle was eventually blown to keep Everton safe and make Leicester only the second team to have won the Premier League title and been relegated, after Blackburn Rovers.

Also in this series

Part 2: Aston Villa qualify for Europa Conference League
Part 3: Dyche: A magic day but it must not happen again
Part 4: Smith: We fell a little bit short

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