Everton earn priceless point after Yerry Mina’s last-gasp equaliser at Wolves | Premier League
Might Everton look back on Yerry Mina poking in at Molineux to salvage an unlikely point with six seconds of nine minutes of second-half stoppage time to run as a defining moment in their fight for Premier League survival? It certainly felt significant as a blue haze, courtesy of flares lit by the travelling support, descended over this ground and the noise booming from the away end at full-time suggested this was a priceless takeaway.
A first relegation since 1951 is still a distinct possibility for Everton – they hover precariously a place and two points above the bottom three and their fate is no longer in their hands – but for Leeds and Leicester, who play across the next 48 hours, the late drama here represents a major blow to their hopes of staying up.
Until Mina converted from inside the six-yard box after Michael Keane exhibited some neat footwork, it appeared the game might be up for Everton, their top-flight status hanging in the balance. The sight of Jordan Pickford going up for a corner deep into added time spoke to Everton’s desperation to take something from this game. Wolves cleared the initial corner but Everton recycled their attack down the left flank through Demarai Gray, who sent a cross towards the back post. James Tarkowski beat Dan Bentley, the Wolves goalkeeper, to the punch and his downward header dropped for Keane, who squared the ball for Mina. “Hopefully, come Monday at 9.45pm, it’s a good point,” Pickford said.
For so long it was hard to think how this bright afternoon could have panned out much worse. Nathan Patterson and Dominic Calvert-Lewin, who was withdrawn at half-time against Manchester City because of a tight groin, were forced off with hamstring complaints before the end of the first half. Everton’s early promise fizzled out and they trailed when Hwang Hee-chan struck after a rip-roaring run by Adama Traoré, among the Wolves players out of contract this summer. Rúben Neves, meanwhile, is likely to depart in search of Champions League football and the Wolves captain left the pitch blowing kisses to the supporters who gave him a warm standing ovation as he was withdrawn.
Everton already had to cope without a recognised left-back – Dwight McNeil filled in – and again named two goalkeepers on their bench, such is the dearth of options available to Sean Dyche. Everton loanee Conor Coady was ineligible to face his parent club. Injuries do not help but given the Everton owner, Farhad Moshiri, who is hopeful of selling the club, has spent more than £500m on furnishing this squad, they are alarmingly light in key areas.
“There have been a lot of challenges,” Dyche said. “I’m not really arsed about making excuses. It wasn’t about woe is us. It was about: ‘What can we do to affect this game?’ I was really pleased with the mentality of the players. They got their reward for giving a proper shift and never losing the belief that we can score a goal, and we did.”
Traoré is an infuriating player with an reputation for verging from the sublime to the ridiculous, though strangely there is a beauty to his unpredictability. Julen Lopetegui spent much of the first half slapping his thighs in frustration, at a loss to comprehend Traoré’s decision-making. There were moments where Traoré seemed to lose focus and lack basic application, others where he was guilty of being overzealous, none more so than when the winger was booked for thundering into Amadou Onana. At one point Lopetegui berated Traoré’s failure to ready himself to receive a one-two.
A muscular 5ft 8in, Traoré was tasked with asking questions of McNeil but it was centrally where he did damage. Traoré, willed on by the slope of supporters staring back at him in the Sir Jack Hayward Stand, carried the ball 60-odd yards from midway inside his own half and burned through the middle of the pitch, bumping Onana off his back as he powered forward at speed. Traoré steered away from Tarkowski and forced Pickford into a right-hand save. Unfortunately for the Everton goalkeeper, Hwang was on hand to hook in the rebound.
Wolves had a flurry of chances to kill the game and how they would rue failing to add to their advantage. Pickford saved smartly from the substitute Matheus Nunes as the game grew stretched late on. Lopetegui chuckled sarcastically as the fourth official, James Linington, indicated nine added minutes time but it turned out to be no laughing matter. Lopetegui was booked for his protests after Mina struck. “I was very surprised, I did not understand,” Lopetegui said. “It is the first time I have seen nine minutes added in the Premier League. I think that we deserved to win.”