Everton 3 Burnley 1: Andros Townsend scores stunner and Demarai Gray on target again as Toffees stage quickfire comeback

RAFA BENITEZ is ready to smash the Premier League cartel as unbeaten Everton moved level with Manchester United, Chelsea and Liverpool at the top of the table.

Three goals in five minutes sparked a sensational second-half-comeback after the Blues were in danger of being bullied into submission by Burnley.

Don’t forget that it was this time last season that they briefly went top before limping home in tenth place.

And it was Burnley’s 2-1 win at Goodison in March which was to prove the beginning of the end of Everton’s love affair with Carlo Ancelotti.

So new boss Benitez isn’t going to get too carried away by this bright start to his mission to win over the fans upset by the appointment of a former Liverpool boss.

But he has certainly done all that could be asked of him so far and the spirit his team showed to come through this war of attrition suggests that he is on the right road.

No Premier League boss spent less in the transfer window than Benitez but two of his bargain basement signings once again provided the inspiration for this precious victory.

Free transfer Andros Townsend led the fightback with a goal and an assist before £1.5million Demarai Gray secured the points at the end of five minutes of madness.


Yet for the best part of an hour it looked as though this was the night that Everton fell back into the familiar routine which saw them lose nine times at home last season.

Ben Mee had marked the occasion of becoming the first Burnley player to make 200 Premier League appearances by heading his team into a 53rd-minute lead.

But then Townsend picked out Michael Keane for a 60th-minute equaliser against his former club and suddenly there was only one team in it.

It was back in 2018 that Townsend scored one of the goals of the decade against Manchester City and his 30-yard curler into the top corner tonight wasn’t far behind that wonder strike.

And before Burnley had time to catch their breath, Gray had put the game to bed when he raced on to Abdoulaye Doucoure’s delicious through ball to calmly slot home.

Burnley’s previous visit to Merseyside last month prompted complaints from Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp about their physical approach.

But it was clear right from the off that they were not about to change their ways when Richarlison was clattered by Josh Brownhill the very first time he touched the ball.

Everton’s Brazilian international doesn’t need much invitation to go to ground at the best of times.

So he clearly wasn’t going to relish the up close and personal presence of Burnley bruisers Mee and James Tarkowski.

It was as subtle as a flying brick and Everton were fortunate not to concede an early goal when Chris Wood inexplicably failed to apply a head to Dwight McNeil’s inviting cross.

The visitors might even have had a penalty when Tarkowski was hauled down by Doucoure which VAR ruled was not a clear and obvious error by referee Martin Atkinson.

It was a full 28 minutes before Nick Pope was called into action to make a decent save from Doucoure’s powerful shot on the turn.

With Richarlison becoming increasingly annoyed by his lack of protection from ref Atkinson, Burnley were beginning to fancy getting their first win to get their season up and running.

But Benitez had other ideas and now even the most sceptical Everton fans are starting to accept the Spaniard.

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