Everton rescued a point on Monday night thanks to an outstanding free kick equaliser from Lucas Digne deep into added on time to preserve their unbeaten home record against Watford.
Monday night football at the Grand Old Lady saw Watford the visitors and the first opportunity for Marco Silva to cement his decision to quit the Hornets for pastures anew with Everton.
Watfords’ travelling support showed their resentment towards the Portuguese by brandishing toy rubber snakes while Evertonians offered a diametrically opposite warm welcome to the returning Gerard Deulofeu.
Silva was keen to see Everton back to winning ways after the disappointment of the Newcastle draw, with victory meaning the Blues would move above back into sixth place in the standings.
And he intimated of a potential change in defensive formation to a back three to allow Digne and Coleman a more attacking role in support of the forwards. He eventually settled on the eleven that started the recent Derby: Pickford, Digne, Mina, Keane, Coleman (c), Gana Gueye, Gomes, Sigurdsson, Walcott, Bernard and Richarlison.
Watford coach Javi Gracia was unable to include Etienne Capoue due to his red card against Leicester, midfielder Will Hughes was doubtful with a slight injury too, and Tom Cleverly still missing after almost a year out through injury.
In his pre-match briefing he noted, “We are playing well. I think the players have confidence in the way we’re playing. But, they also know we need to improve something to have better results.”
Gracia handed in his team sheet thus: Foster, Femenia, Kabasele, Cathcart, Holebas, Doucoure, Quina, Success, Pereyra, Sema and Deeney (c).
Our referee was Kevin Friend.
Two early half chances in the opening couple of minutes saw Pickford save easily from Pereyra and foster dive to gather a Walcott header from a left wing cross.
After that bright start, the following minutes saw too many misplaced passes and it wasn’t till around ten minutes in that Everton began to string some passes together. A Watford giveaway was picked up by Richarlison and he found Sigurdsson who was quickly closed down before he could shoot.
Bernard set Digne away with a smart pass but the eventual cross was just too strong for Walcott to get on the end of. Watford countered and the Blues defence was forced into some hasty defending.
Everton opened the scoring on 14 minutes with a move down the right that saw Coleman and Walcott combine with Gomes finding space to fire a perfect cross into the area for Richarlison to lash home from twelve yards.
Coleman went down two minutes later and Watford played on with Quina crossing for Deeney to volley over from two yards.
Everton again attacked fluidly down the left with Bernard finding Digne whose cross from the byeline was flicked on by Sigurdsson but Richarlison was denied a shooting chance. Yerry Mina picked up the games first yellow card for hand ball going for a cross from Sigurdsson.
The game began to turn scrappy and referee Fried was making no friends amongst the crowd with some of his decisions, one of which saw Seamus Coleman get involved in a rather heated debate with the official.
Pickford was needed for a good punch on a cross from Femenia as Watford strove to get back into the game, with Everton a touch untidy at times.
A nice move on 42 minutes saw Digne, Bernard and Sigurdsson all involved before the cross from Digne found Sigurdsson but his hot was deflected away for a corner.
Just before the break, a clearance saw Richarlison go down and again no whistle, Watford pumped the ball forward and Deeney shot wide.
Half Time: 1-0
The second half began as scrappily as the first had largely been with Watford direct and Everton failing to get a handle on the game. A poor decision for a foul by Mina gave Watford a free kick from which Pereyra hit the side netting, a warning to Everton.
A Deeney push on Coleman went unpunished and the visitors resulting shot earned a corner. On 57 minutes Pickford had to dive full length to his right to turn another Deeney effort away as Gomes went down needing treatment.
Deulofeu came on just before the hour mark and his first involvement was to find Femenia for a cross that Pereyra hit the post from, the rebound hitting Coleman to cross the line for 1-1.
And it got worse for the Blues as two minutes later we fell behind Doucoure getting on the end of a Pereyra cross to head Watford in front.
Marco Silva responded with a double change, Lookman for Walcott and DCL for Bernard. A minute later and referee Friend gave Everton a lifeline in the form of a penalty but Foster denied Sigurdsson with his legs much to the anguish of the Goodison crowd.
Cenk Tosun replaced Gana Gueye with twenty minutes remaining as Silva committed Everton to all out attack, but things were just not going the Blues way.
The final twenty minutes were largely huff and puff but with a lack of the quality needed to break down a resolute Watford rearguard.
That is until a free kick was won just outside the penalty area deep into the six extra minutes and Lucas Digne brought Goodison to erupting point with a stunning shot, bent around the wall and into the top corner.