Everton started the 2022-23 Premier League campaign with back-to-back defeats to Aston Villa and Chelsea, and while many saw the Nottingham Forest game as a chance for them to finally bounce back, the Toffees could only secure a hard-fought draw at Goodison Park on Saturday (20 August).
The newly-promoted side were coming into the game on the back of a victory over West Ham United following a defeat to Newcastle United on the opening weekend of the campaign, and they would have been very confident.
The hosts started well, with Tom Davies and Anthony Gordon coming close to grabbing the opener with fine attempts.
However, it was Forest that drew first blood, with Brennan Johnson pouncing on a rebound to find the back of the net after Jordan Pickford could only parry Ryan Yates’ effort towards his path.
The 81st-minute opener appeared ready to condemn Everton to a third loss in their opening three games for the first time in Premier League history, but Demarai Gray had other ideas.
The Blues attacker latched on to a long pass from Pickford to slot in the equaliser beyond Dean Henderson’s reach with just two minutes left in the regulation time.
Gordon should have grabbed a very late winner for Everton after he got on to Joe Worrall’s attempted back headed pass, but he could not put his effort over the onrushing Henderson, and both teams were left to settle for a share of the spoils.
The result leaves Frank Lampard’s men in 17th place on the table, while Steve Cooper’s side are in 10th.
With Richarlison gone and Dominic Calvert-Lewin out injured, the Toffees’ poor start to the season is not surprising given their lack of quality and senior striking options on the bench.
Salomon Rondon led the line against the Reds, but he could not do much despite his wealth of experience and is yet to convince in the Blues jersey.
With scoring goals a huge problem for the Merseysiders, Lampard could be forced to look into the market and make necessary attacking recruitment before the transfer window shuts down by the end of the month.
Everton attempted 19 shots, with eight of them finding the target, and after escaping relegation last season by four points, they need to start winning sooner rather than later to avoid another battle for survival.
Nottingham are looking to impress on their return to the top flight after a 23-year absence, and they are showing great intent in a bid to stay up.
A disappointed Lampard said:
“When you have 19 shots at home you expect to see more than one goal.
“To be more clinical we need to find those moments and be ruthless on them – some players have that by nature, some not so much. You need someone with a bit of composure in that moment to be clinical.”
“We should have won, we were the better team.
“It was a poor goal to concede and we shouldn’t be conceding it at this level, but let’s not lose sight of all the good things we did.”