Leicester: Leicester City and Everton remain deep in relegation trouble after slugging out a 2-2 draw in a gripping basement battle at a raucous King Power Stadium on Monday.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s first goal since October, a penalty in the 15th minute, put Everton ahead but Leicester equalised seven minutes later when Caglar Soyuncu fired home.
Jamie Vardy’s clinical finish gave Leicester the lead in the 33rd minute before a manic end to the opening half in which Everton missed two open goals and Leicester playmaker James Maddison had a penalty saved by Jordan Pickford.
Survival hopes get a huge boost
Alex Iwobi dragged Everton level with a volley nine minutes into the second half and both sides strove for the winner that would have given their survival hopes a huge boost.
In the end they both had to settle for a point, which was more welcome for Leicester who moved out of the relegation zone and up to 16th place with 30 points from 34 games.
Everton, who have not been out of the top-flight for 69 years, stay second-bottom on 29 points from 34 games. They trail Nottingham Forest and Leeds as well as Leicester by a point.
“It’s a point and we don’t come away from Leicester with zero,” Pickford said. “We know we’re still in the bottom three and it’s very tight down there.
“We roll our sleeves up and keep working hard with a fighting spirit.” SIX-POINTER If ever there was a relegation six-pointer it was the Bank Holiday clash between the sides occupying 18th and 19th places in the table and the contest crackled with intensity throughout to keep a fired-up crowd on the edge of their seats.
Everton, now without a win in 13 away games, began full of energy and Iwobi was denied by a superb Daniel Iversen save.
Calvert-Lewin, Everton’s often forgotten striker due to his long spells in the treatment room, then put his side ahead with a clinical penalty after being nudged over by Timothy Castagne.
Everton’s lead was short-lived though as their defence failed miserably to deal with a set piece and Soyuncu half-volleyed past Pickford while slipping over.
The roof lifted off the stadium when Everton conceded possession and Maddison spotted veteran Vardy’s run with an exquisite pass and the ever-reliable striker coolly rounded Pickford to put his side ahead.
An incredible end to a rip-roaring first half saw Everton twice squander gilt-edged chances to equalise with Dwight McNeil was denied by a reflex save from Iversen and then Calvert-Lewin somehow failed to convert a tap-in with the goal gaping — instead diverting the ball straight at Iversen’s legs.
Seconds later Vardy dinked a lob against the bar and deep into stoppage time, after Everton’s Seamus Coleman went off on a stretcher, Leicester were given a penalty for a Michael Keane handball, but Maddison’s tame kick was beaten away by his England team mate Pickford.
“I double-bluffed him and got one up on him,” Pickford said.
Everton took advantage of their let-off to equalise in the 54th minute when McNeil’s cross was flicked on by Calvert-Lewin and Iwobi was unmarked to dispatch a volley into the net.
A vibrant Everton looked the more likely winners with Abdoulaye Doucoure forcing another great save by Iversen, although Leicester were almost gifted a winner when Pickford got in a tangle after a dash out of goal and watched in relief as Vardy shot rolled agonisingly wide of the empty goal.
While Leicester moved up a couple of places, they remain in grave peril in a relegation battle likely to go to the wire.
“This was probably the worst we’ve played in my four games so far. The important thing is you don’t lose these games,” Leicester’s interim coach Dean Smith said.