Match Reports

Dunk rises to the occasion to earn Albion a point

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Skipper marks his 400th league game with a stoppage-time equaliser as Albion draw 1-1 against Everton.

By Bruce Talbot • 24 February 2024

By Paul Hazlewood
Delight for Lewis Dunk after he grabbed a stoppage-time equaliser for Albion.

Lewis Dunk celebrated his 400th league appearance with a stoppage-time equaliser as Albion’s perseverance against Everton was belatedly rewarded.

Jarred Branthwaite’s 74th-minute goal looked to have given Everton a second successive win at the Amex, and when Billy Gilmour was shown a straight red card with nine minutes to go for a challenge on Amadou Onana it looked like a first home Premier League defeat since August.

But Dunk rose to the challenge in the fifth of nine added minutes when he powered home a header for the second successive home game after Pascal Gross – almost inevitably – provided the assist, his tenth of the season. On an afternoon when they’d had 64% possession and 30 shots with seven on target, it felt a deserved reward.

By Paul Hazlewood
Danny Welbeck runs at the Everton defence during a first-half when the Albion striker was a constant threat.

Two changes from the 5-0 win over Sheffield United saw Igor and Evan Ferguson return to the team.

Simon Adingra led the team out to a standing ovation as Albion fans celebrated his AFCON win and was the Ivorian flyer prominent in a good start as he won three corners in the first eight minutes attacking Ben Godfrey down the left before Facundo Buonanotte bent a lovely pass from halfway into Danny Welbeck’s path. Jordan Pickford rushed out of his goal and Welbeck pushed the ball past him, but it rolled a yard wide.

By Paul Hazlewood
Simon Adingra holds off his marker and gets in a cross.

Welbeck went close again on 18 minutes after another link-up inside the box with Buonanotte. This time Godfrey deflected his effort wide and Dunk headed the resultant corner straight at Pickford. Six minutes later Adingra again teased Godfrey before shooting first-time narrowly over the corner of post and crossbar then Jan Paul van Hecke, like Dunk earlier, met a corner unmarked but again directed his header straight at Pickford.

Everton created their first chance on 31 minutes and Dominic Calvert-Lewin should have scored. A brilliant diagonal by Dwight McNeil found Vitalii Mykolenko overlapping down the left. Calvert-Lewin met the cross but his glancing header went wide.

By Paul Hazlewood
Jan Paul van Hecke attacks a corner during a dominant first-half spell from Albion.

A cynical hack on Welbeck earned James Tarkowski a booking and the Albion striker blazed a free-kick from just outside the box well over at the end of a first half when all that was lacking from Albion’s effervescent performance was a goal.  

De Zerbi was booked for his protests to the fourth official after Welbeck was fouled by James Tarkowski early in the second half as Albion continued to push. Everton were a threat on the break though and Tariq Lamptey made a spectacular clearance off the line in the 57th minute. McNeil’s deep cross was caught sweetly on the volley by Abdoulaye Doucoure, but Lamptey headed if off the line as a disbelieving Doucoure buried his head in his hands in frustration.

By Paul Hazlewood
Evan Ferguson shields the ball from Ben Godfrey,

De Zerbi made a triple change on the hour, bringing on Pervis Estupinan, Ansu Fati and Joel Veltman and Fati nearly broke through with 20 minutes to go. Pascal Gross worked some room for a shot which was blocked and Fati was quickest to react but Godfrey got across to make another block. 

There was a huge roar when Julio Enciso came on for Buonanotte but seconds later the Amex was silenced when Everton went in front on 73 minutes. Pickford’s free kick from inside his own half wasn’t cleared and dropped to Branthwaite 12 yards out and he fired high into the top corner, giving Bart Verbruggen no chance.

Albion’s task got even harder when Gilmour’s strong challenge on substitute Onana just above the ankle left them with ten men for the closing minutes, but the response was impressive.

By Paul Hazlewood
Simon Adingra acknowledges the Amex crowd after he got a standing ovation pre-match for his efforts with AFCON winners Ivory Coast.

Fati forced Pickford to turn his shot round the post after good work by Enciso, who then had an effort blocked by the Godfrey, the wall in human form. But deep into stoppage time up stepped the skipper. Two Gross turns created space for the German to deliver from the right to the edge of the six-yard box and Dunk rose to power a header back across goal and beyond a despairing Pickford. How big a goal could that turn out to be?

Albion: Verbruggen; Lamptey (Veltman 60), van Hecke, Dunk, Igor (Estupinan 60); Gilmour, Gross; Adingra, Buonanotte (Enciso 72), Welbeck (Fati 60); Ferguson (Lallana 74).

Unused subs: Steele, Webster, Moder, Baleba.

Referee: Tony Harrington

Attendance: 31646