The front-row desk of the Goodison Park press box took a pounding in the second half from the fists of Slaven Bilic, sent to the stands at half-time by referee Mike Dean following his furious reaction to Kieran Gibbs’s deserved dismissal. His West Bromwich Albion team took one too as Everton continued their fine start to the season with an ultimately comprehensive victory.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin followed up his match-winner at Tottenham with a hat-trick as Carlo Ancelotti’s team ruthlessly punished Albion’s 10 men. James Rodríguez also claimed his first goal in English football, in some style, and it could have been more as the visitors’ difficult return to the top flight continued. But everything turned in the final seconds of the first half. Albion can take huge encouragement for how they performed until Gibbs’s lack of discipline played perfectly into Everton hands.
Bilic had legitimate reason to lose his cool but his ire was misdirected. It was Gibbs who warranted the Albion manager’s anger, not Dean, having stupidly let his team down by inviting a straight red card seconds after Rodríguez swept Everton ahead. The visitors had enjoyed a highly effective 45 minutes, hurting Everton on the counterattack and denying them clear chances from open play, only for a combination of the Colombian’s brilliance and Gibbs’s recklessness to undermine an impressive first-half shift.
Albion opened the scoring courtesy of an excellent goal from Grady Diangana, who showed exactly why Mark Noble and West Ham fans were incensed at his £18m sale when Matheus Pereira intercepted Rodríguez’s attempted pass to André Gomes.
Diangana took over, 70 yards from Jordan Pickford’s goal but with the clear intention of heading straight for it, a decision aided by Yerry Mina inexplicably backing off the entire way. The winger accepted the invitation to shoot from the edge of the area and beat Pickford with ease.
Sharp, incisive link-up play from Pereira, Diangana and Callum Robinson posed a constant threat and Albion almost doubled their lead when Jake Livermore struck a post on the half volley. Everton, who could have established an early lead when Calvert-Lewin headed the first of nine first-half corners wide from close range, wrestled back the initiative patiently and with clear purpose.
Calvert-Lewin brought Ancelotti’s side deservedly level with quick-thinking and an improvised finish, although Everton were indebted to VAR for allowing the goal to stand. The Everton striker was initially given offside when he back-heeled past Sam Johnstone from a yard out after Séamus Coleman’s cross appeared to be headed into his path by Richarlison. VAR confirmed it was the Albion right-back, Darnell Furlong, who diverted the cross towards his own goal, not the Brazilian, and the equaliser was awarded following a lengthy review.
Then came another reminder of Rodríguez’s enduring class. This time Richarlison did supply the assist, finding the Colombia international lurking in space outside the area. Rodríguez took two touches to control and set himself for a shot, then a third to sweep a superb finish inside Johnstone’s right-hand post from 22 yards.
Seconds later Rodríguez collapsed to the ground in a heap. The playmaker bumped into Gibbs after the defender played the ball, prompting the former Arsenal left-back to shove Rodríguez in the face with a raised hand. A clear red, and Gibbs made little protest as he departed. Unlike his manager, who berated Dean as he left the pitch at half-time and was eventually also shown a red card for his protests.
Bilic spent the second half watching from the press box. He showed no emotion when the impressive Pereira brought the ten men level with a stunning free-kick from 25 yards, curled into the top corner after a foul by Allan. He knew the task that lay ahead and three Everton goals in the space of 12 second-half minutes realised the Croat’s worst fears.
Michael Keane restored Everton’s lead when he prodded home the rebound after Johnstone parried Richarlison’s header from a Lucas Digne free-kick into his path. Calvert-Lewin claimed his second, and Everton’s fourth, when he slid in to convert Richarlison’s volley across goal after the Brazilian had been released inside the area by a beautiful Rodríguez chip. The striker’s hat-trick, and fourth of the fledgling season, went in off his shoulder as he attempted to convert another Digne free-kick with an awkward header.