Abdoulaye Doucoure scored the winning goal in Everton’s 1-0 win over Bournemouth, saving the team from relegation and extending their top-flight stay to a 70th successive season. Doucoure’s 20-yard strike was his 10th goal for the club and capped a remarkable turnaround for the Mali international, who was training alone in January after a fallout with former manager Frank Lampard. Everton’s win required a clearance from Conor Coady and a good save from Jordan Pickford in added time to keep them safe. The club had been two points outside the drop zone but Leicester‘s win over West Ham meant they were heading for their first relegation since 1951. Although Everton is not out of trouble, with the club posting losses of over £430m over four years and an outstanding Premier League charge for breaching profit and sustainability rules, survival and relief for now is enough. The win was also significant as it may have been the last Premier League game at Goodison Park, with a new 52,000-capacity stadium at Bramley-Moore Dock set to open in 2024-25.
The game was not an easy one for Everton, with no fit full-backs and Sean Dyche forced to start with a back three. Midfielder James Garner coped relatively well on the right flank, but winger Dwight McNeil struggled to cope going the other way. Up front, winger Demarai Gray found adapting to the central role tough, leading to a weak header being scooped away by Bournemouth’s second-choice goalkeeper Mark Travers, who made crucial saves throughout the game. Everton had been in this situation twice before in 1994 and 1998, but this time, the stakes were higher. Doucoure’s winning goal saw the team scrape home and avoid relegation for a second successive season, sparking a pitch invasion.
The win saves Everton from relegation and the potential financial issues that could have arisen from it. However, the club is not out of trouble, with significant losses over the last four years and an outstanding Premier League charge for breaking profit and sustainability rules. For now, the club is relieved to have survived, and the win marks a significant moment in its history.