Everton won their Premier League membership with a stunning comeback victory against Crystal Palace in which they overcame a two-goal deficit.
After Palace’s Jean-Philippe Mateta and Jordan Ayew scored twice in the first half, the hosts, who will remain in the Premier League for a 68th consecutive season, seemed to be on the verge of loss.
Everton turned the game around in the second half by adopting a more forward strategy, inspired by their noisy supporters.
Michael Keane scored nine minutes after halftime to give Frank Lampard’s side hope, and when Richarlison struck the bottom corner with a misfired attempt with fifteen minutes remaining, Goodison Park erupted in jubilation as a priceless draw seemed inevitable.
However, the greatest was still five minutes away. In an injury-plagued season, Dominic Calvert-Lewin scored his first goal since August at Brentford on Sunday, sparking chaos with a diving header from a Demarai Gray free-kick.
As spectators poured onto the field to celebrate, blue smoke filled the stadium as smoke flares were released.
The decisive outcome spared Everton supporters the last-day anxiety they endured in 1998 and 1994, when the club also maintained its Premier League position.
This time, with a trip to Arsenal on Sunday, they can at least take solace in the knowing that, as difficult this season has been, they will stay in the Premier League, and they will want to build on the spirit seen in the final weeks of the season.