It started and ended with flares and there were a few flare-ups in between, while there may be trouble for Richarlison for throwing one of the smoke bombs after scoring the only goal, as Everton earned the raw, visceral victory that gives them hope of Premier League survival and extending their proud 68-year stay in the top-flight.
The scenes before, during and at the end said it all. They said how much this meant to Everton’s fans, how they drove their team on in adversity and they showed just how much of a difference the supporters can make. The ferocity was simply awesome and inspiring. It was inflamed and tense throughout, fraught and edgy and laced with desperation and desire as only such encounters can be with this evocative old stadium rocking once more.
Frank Lampard did a lap of the Goodison Park pitch to show his appreciation and understandably looked utterly drained. The Everton manager actually jumped in the technical area, as if he had received an electric shock, when the board went up to show seven minutes' added time but they saw it out to reduce the advantage Leeds United and Burnley have over them to two points.
Everton have one more game to play than their relegation rivals and, so, their destiny remains in their hands. If desire equates to points then the fans alone will ensure they are safe. Thousands of them greeted the team bus as it arrived along the tight streets around Goodison Road, with the air thick with the smoke from royal blue flares, and there were also plumes across the stadium at kick-off. Five more flares were thrown on the pitch at the final whistle.
One was also hurled in celebration when Richarlison scored and while he certainly did not mean any harm when he appeared to toss it back his action is likely to prompt an FA investigation.
There were more pyrotechnics with Chelsea disturbed in their Liverpool city centre team hotel the night before, head coach Thomas Tuchel confirmed he was woken up at 1am and 3am by fireworks, and sparks during the game also. Yerry Mina – more than once – clashed with Chelsea players and at one point referee Kevin Friend spoke at length to the two captains, Seamus Coleman and César Azpilicueta.
For Lampard, who meant so much to Chelsea over the past two decades, there was also something of a belated gift from Azpilicueta who was badly at fault for the goal even if it was also the result of Everton’s intense pressing, led by Richarlison.
There was a string of saves from Jordan Pickford, two of which were simply superb, and Everton have now gained 10 points from their last four home games. In fact all of Lampard’s 13 points since he arrived as manager in February have come at Goodison Park and with only two of their final five league games at home he cannot depend upon that form to stay up as he later acknowledged.
But how he will have delighted in beating Chelsea and how irritated their coach Thomas Tuchel looked following a result that suddenly calls into question whether they are as nailed on for a top-four finish as we all assumed. They look worryingly toothless up front and it was another indictment of Romelu Lukaku that he remained on the bench as they chased a goal. They had 78 per cent possession, as with their midweek dominance of Manchester United, when they also played better, but they just did not make it count.
Given how attritional and competitive the game was it always felt like it would take something special – a piece of skill or a catastrophic mistake – to break this firmest of deadlocks and so it proved. The second-half had only just started with Thiago Silva playing a simple square pass to Azpilicueta who, under pressure from Richarlison, dallied with his clearance charged down and the ball breaking to Demarai Gray. The winger was pulled back by Azpilicueta with the referee playing the advantage as it fell to Richarlison who swept it home. Soon after Everton should have been celebrating again as a chance fell to Vitaliy Mykolenko, after good work from Abdoulaye Doucouré, who had time and space at the far post but could only find the side-netting.
That would have given Everton some security but instead it was Pickford who provided that. Firstly Kai Havertz teed up Mason Mount whose sweet half-volley struck one post and then ran along the goal-line, rebounding out off the other and out to Azpilicueta whose powerful first-time drive was somehow pushed away by Pickford. From the corner it also appeared Antonio Rudiger would score but superbly – and bravely – Pickford smothered his close-range shot with the defender left holding his head in disbelief. The saves were the kind that fuel belief as much as the goal.
There more stops – from Ruben Loftus-Cheek and substitute Mateo Kovacic – and Everton also had chances as fatigue hit and the game finally opened up. Gray could have ended any doubt but shot narrowly over while Anthony Gordon was denied.
It felt like bedlam, especially when the game ended with Mina dropping to his knees in prayer and the flares thrown. “It’s a grand old team to play for,” rang around the jubilant stadium with Lampard hailing the fans as the man of the match. With Pickford, they were. Everton are fighting, fighting to the bitter end when it felt a defeat would have extinguished hope.
Everton vs Chelsea, as it happened:
Full time: Everton 1 Chelsea 0
That's a great win for Everton, well done to them. A goal from Richarlison, a great atmosphere from the crowd, and some super goalkeeping from Jordan Pickford.
Let's get straight to Jason Burt's report.
90+ mins: Everton 1 Chelsea 0
It will! Everton have held on.
90+ mins: Everton 1 Chelsea 0
Rondon has the ball up front, thinks he'll take it to the corner, but cuts inside and nearly gets a shot away... ball bobbling around, Dele Alli gets onto it but he too is denied. Will that be enough?
90+ mins: Everton 1 Chelsea 0
Ha! The ball goes into the stands, Chelsea's James goes over to get it... a fan has stuck it up his jumper. "Dunno where it is mate?" etc.
90+ mins: Everton 1 Chelsea 0
Can Everton hold on? Holgate booked for timewasting.
90+ mins: Everton 1 Chelsea 0
Kovacic does really well to hold it up in the box and get his shot in. Pickford is equal to it again.
And again, Pickford gets up well to gather.
MoM for me, Pickers.
90 mins: Everton 1 Chelsea 0
Crowd roaring on their boys. Fully seven minutes to be added.
Chelsea have the ball, probing and picking away.
88 mins: Everton 1 Chelsea 0
Gray with some excellent defending, and then turns defence into attack. Gordon free, gallops away, gets the shot in.
84 mins: Everton 1 Chelsea 0
D Gray ha a chance to wrap it up, he picks it up in the inside left channel, it opens up for him and he glides forward. Shoots over.
83 mins: Everton 1 Chelsea 0
Niggly sort of a game. Havertz is at it again. Everton trying to run down the clock.
78 mins: Everton 1 Chelsea 0
Richarlison has to come off. Injured. Rondon on.
77 mins: Everton 1 Chelsea 0
Pickford is having a good game. Reacts well now to tip a hard shot over.
74 mins: Everton 1 Chelsea 0
Chelsea on the attack now. Havertz fouls Mina, but then claims a foul.
Alonso is booked for running his mouth.
When Richarlison scored earlier
he threw a flare into the crowd!
71 mins: Everton 1 Chelsea 0
Richarlison in familiar pose, having a bit of a lie down in the opponent's area.
69 mins: Everton 1 Chelsea 0
Delph is off, Allan is on.
68 mins: Everton 1 Chelsea 0
Pulisic and Ziyech are coming on.
67 mins: Everton 1 Chelsea 0
Azpilicueta with a cross, Havertz has got away from Mina and should have done better with a free header.
64 mins: Everton 1 Chelsea 0
There was a VAR check for handball there. No hands. They might also have looked at what seemed to me a nudge from T Silva into the back of D Gray.
63 mins: Everton 1 Chelsea 0
Everton really going for it. And doing well. Chelsea under pressure, a handball shout against James.
59 mins: Everton 1 Chelsea 0
Pickford again! From the corner, Rudiger gets free and smashes the ball at goal. Pickford blocks it with his.... face! Ouch. Brave.
58 mins: Everton 1 Chelsea 0
Brilliant save from Pickford! Mount hits a shot that strikes the post and rebounds out. The follow up strike comes in and Pickford does superbly well to react and block. Azpilicueta must have been sure that was going in.
56 mins: Everton 1 Chelsea 0
Gordon with a chance to deliver a dead ball, but makes a hash of it.
53 mins: Everton 1 Chelsea 0
Really good chance for Rudiger to get his side back into this, but from the corner, he heads wide from 15 yards.
49 mins: Everton 1 Chelsea 0
Oooh it should be two! Chelsea over-run at the back again, the ball is slipped to Mykolenko. He is free in the box Mendy rushes out and the Everton man fires wild and wide.
GOAL! Everton 1 Chelsea 0 (Richarlison 46)
A shocking moment from Chelsea's Azpilicueta! He dithers on the ball, Richarlison pinches it, and wallops it past the keeper!
46 mins: Everton 0 Chelsea 0
The second half kicks off.
Half time: Everton 0 Chelsea 0
"Very enjoyable so far" is the verdict of the Sky commentator. I cannot say I agree. Thought that was pants. Take out the fouls and there would have been nothing to tell you. Still, fair play to Everton, who are using a back three/back five and fighting hard.
45 mins: Everton 0 Chelsea 0
Delph the latest - the 5th - man to be booked. He fouled Mount.
44 mins: Everton 0 Chelsea 0
Doucoure has a shot charged down. Thiago Silva the brave man.
43 mins: Everton 0 Chelsea 0
But the corner comes to little.
Havertz and Mina tangle. Chelsea man the guilty party on this occasion, barging him.
42 mins: Everton 0 Chelsea 0
Good move from Chelsea on the break there, Coleman with some excellent defending. His positioning is super. But Chelsea keep the move alive and Alonso gets the shot away. That's deflected behind.
41 mins: Everton 0 Chelsea 0
Havertz falls on the ball and won't release it. This has been about as entertaining as a rugger match thus far, so perhaps that's fitting. He's penalised for use of hands in the ruck. Richarlison gets forward but blooters his cross out.
39 mins: Everton 0 Chelsea 0
Good spell of pressure for Chelsea. But they cannot make much of it. James makes a sloppy pass.
36 mins: Everton 0 Chelsea 0
Mina and Mount tangle, the Chelsea man shoves his opponent over.
Booking for Mount.
But it escalates, Azplicueta and Coleman come together, get in each other's face. Skippers taking up the cudgels.
The ref books both of them.
33 mins: Everton 0 Chelsea 0
I make that three shots to Everton, two for Chelsea. Just that Gray effort on target though.
31 mins: Everton 0 Chelsea 0
Everton's bright young spark Gordon drives forward and hits it with his left. Wide of the post.
30 mins: Everton 0 Chelsea 0
Chelsea, obviously, are the better side and they are controlling the game in midfield. But no real work for Jordan Pickford as yet.
26 mins: Everton 0 Chelsea 0
More from the PA! "Operation Goodison: all clear. All clear."
Sadly the same cannot be said about their relegation fight...
25 mins: Everton 0 Chelsea 0
A wrestling match between Mina and Havertz ends with the Chelsea man throwing himself to the floor. Pathetic stuff, you have to say.
24 mins: Everton 0 Chelsea 0
James has an opportunity from a volley but cannot do much with it.
23 mins: Everton 0 Chelsea 0
Mount with an attractive ball for Havertz, excellent defensive read from Coleman.
22 mins: Everton 0 Chelsea 0
Surreal moment when the Goodison PA announcement delivers an ear-splitting test exercise.
20 mins: Everton 0 Chelsea 0
Lots of tackles flying in from both sides, neither manager can complain about the effort he is getting.
19 mins: Everton 0 Chelsea 0
Mykolenko. gives it Demarai Gray, who shoots. Mendy equal to that.
Azpilicueta the latest man to get a sore one, Richarlison his aggressor.
16 mins: Everton 0 Chelsea 0
Rudiger brings down Coleman, who retaliates in anger by pushing him. The former is booked, the latter escapes.
14 mins: Everton 0 Chelsea 0
But James can do little of use with the freekick.
13 mins: Everton 0 Chelsea 0
Nice play from Mount, who has such excellent movement between those attacking lines. Panicky, Holgate rugby tackles him.
11 mins: Everton 0 Chelsea 0
Good pressure from Everton, Chelsea cannot get it clear. Ball is pumped into the box. Contesting the ball with Azpilicueta, Mina throws himself to the ground. Poor, and not untypical, of that player. Ref fortunately is not buying it.
7 mins: Everton 0 Chelsea 0
Mount has a crack from range. Over.
5 mins: Everton 0 Chelsea 0
Richarlison shows good strength to drive forward, James knocks him over with no attempt to play the ball.
Chelsea, not helped by some unwelcome over-elaboration from Havertz, eventually clear.
4 mins: Everton 0 Chelsea 0
Chelsea trying to slow the game down, control it, quieten a hot start from Everton and an up-for-it Goodison.
2 mins: Everton 0 Chelsea 0
Gordon himself flips the freekick over the wall, but cannot get it on target.
1 mins: Everton 0 Chelsea 0
Gordon surges forward right from the kick off, Loftus-Cheek trips him just outside the box.
are in yellow, Everton in blue, and it's the hosts who kick off.
The locals look right up for this!
Seems like a boisterous, excited atmosphere. Everton are currently 18th, five points behind Leeds in 17th.
Time for heroes
Blue smoke rises
Everton: Pickford, Coleman, Mina, Holgate, Mykolenko, Doucoure, Delph, Iwobi, Gordon, Richarlison, Gray. Subs: Kenny, Keane, Allan, Calvert-Lewin, Begovic, Davies, Branthwaite, Rondon, Alli.
Chelsea: Mendy, Azpilicueta, Thiago Silva, Rudiger, James, Loftus-Cheek, Jorginho, Alonso, Mount, Havertz, Werner. Subs: Arrizabalaga, Kovacic, Lukaku, Pulisic, Chalobah, Saul, Ziyech, Kenedy, Sarr.
Referee: Kevin Friend (Leicestershire)
coming up at 2pm, what a huge match for Frank Lampard.
And here is the Chelsea side
Here is today's Everton line-up
Frank Lampard turns to Harry Redknapp for advice
By Richard Tanner
Frank Lampard says he has picked up some “nuggets” about relegation battles from his uncle, Harry Redknapp, as he attempts to steer Everton to safety.
Redknapp took Southampton down in 2005 but kept south coast rivals Portsmouth up the following season and has been a useful sounding board for Lampard, who takes on former club Chelsea at Goodison Park today – the first of six games that will decide the Merseyside club’s fate.
“I speak regularly with Harry,” Lampard said, “He is always a great voice of reason and experience and he has been in this situation before.
“I won’t tell you what he said because it is not that kind of advice. I will chat to Harry casually and some things he says you think ‘yeah, of course’.
“For me, speaking to people like Harry, you find the best things they say are really simple. And I’m not trying to put Harry down because it is the opposite because the smartest managers make things sound simple.
“So whenever I speak to him whether it was, ‘What do you think about taking the Everton job Harry?’ ‘What do think about the Chelsea job?’ ‘What do you think about this situation where we have eight games to go because you were there with Portsmouth?’
“Those things are easy to bounce off him and you might get some nuggets from there. It’s great though to have him on the end of the phone.”
Lampard says his family are crucial in giving him an escape from the tension of the relegation dogfight and a sense of perspective. “You need to have real support at home and I’m fortunate that I have that with my wife and children,” he added. “I probably learnt a lot in my year out of football to keep that perspective... You must be able to go home and feel support at home.”
Lampard, who won every trophy available at Chelsea as well as 106 England caps, is used to pressure at this stage of the season and admits it would feel strange for a campaign to end without the anxiety of “must-win” fixtures.
“In my first year in management at Derby the play-offs were pretty stressful. I remember the first year at Chelsea after the restart [following lockdown] we were desperate to come fourth and it was touch and go up to the last game of the season,” he said.
“There was also pressure in my final period at Chelsea, when you are wanting to get results in a short period of time. It looks different now and I understand what is on it for the club here so there is a real level of intensity for that.”
Defender Yerry Mina and striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin return to Lampard’s squad for today’s game, although Donny van De Beek and Andre Gomes are still missing from the lineup.