Football: Simms strikes late as Everton earn valuable draw at Chelsea

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LONDON - Ellis Simms grabbed a last-gasp equaliser as struggling Everton boosted their fight for Premier League survival with a dramatic 2-2 draw against Chelsea on Saturday.

Sean Dyche’s side were moments away from a damaging defeat when Simms scored his first goal for the club to stun Stamford Bridge into silence.

Everton’s show of defiance came after they twice trailed in west London.

Joao Felix had put Chelsea ahead early in the second half with his second goal since joining on loan from Atletico Madrid in January.

Abdoulaye Doucoure’s equaliser was followed by Kai Havertz’s third goal in his last three appearances as the German converted penalty in the closing stages.

Simms was on loan at Championship side Sunderland earlier this season, but the 22-year-old showed he could be Everton’s saviour in the relegation battle with his crucial leveller.

Everton are now two points clear of the relegation zone after extending their unbeaten run to three games.

It was a bitter pill for Chelsea to swallow as Graham Potter’s team squandered the chance to clinch a fourth successive win in all competitions.

The match was marred by homophobic chanting from Everton fans, who could be heard singing “Chelsea rent boy”.

It was announced in January that clubs could be charged by England’s Football Association if their fans sang the offensive song.

The UK’s Crown Prosecution Service defined the term as a hate crime last year.

That was an ugly side to a memorable match that started with Chelsea’s Mateo Kovacic volleying just wide from the edge of the area.

Chelsea were monopolising possession but Jordan Pickford kept Everton on level terms with a brave save as the keeper dived to block at Felix’s feet.

Felix, a constant menace with his quick feet and clever movement, forced Pickford to save his effort from 18 yards.

Hampered all season by a lack of cutting edge, Chelsea had scored more than once in just two games in all competitions in 2023.

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