On December 18th 2017, Leroy Fer fired home from a Tom Carroll corner to give a beleaguered Swansea City side the lead at Goodison Park in the 35th minute.
By half-time though, Everton were level through Dominic Calvert-Lewin, before Gylfi Sigurdsson and Wayne Rooney went on to make the game safe in the second half as Everton ran out 3-1 winners.
Whilst hardly overwhelmed with confidence, I doubt any fan leaving Goodison that frosty December evening believed it would be the last time Everton would win a league game from behind for nearly 800 days.
But Everton are anything but predictable.
That season slogged along from there. No wins in seven followed, until Theo Walcott bagged a debut brace at home to Leicester in a 2-1 victory. Five wins between January and May closed out a sorry season in Everton’s history as Sam Allardyce was relieved of his duties on the 16th of May 2018 – signalling the 149th day since Everton had come from behind to win a game of Premier League football.
Marco Silva replaced Allardyce at the helm in June of that year. A World Cup passed, the ban on women driving in Saudi Arabia was lifted, the Incredibles 2 was released and the UK were still in the EU before Everton failed to come from behind to beat Huddersfield on September 1st, Silva’s first chance to end the 257 day streak.
Whilst Silva’s first season seemed promising overall, there were still clear issues that had to be resolved if the Portuguese manager was going to succeed on Merseyside.
It took Everton until the final game of the season to take the lead in a game that they were once losing, when Cenk Tosun bundled the ball home after some penalty box pinball in the 72nd minute against Tottenham.
After 58 games, 18 months and 510 days – Everton had finally turned a Premier League game of football on its head.
Until Christian Eriksen equalised three minutes later as the Blues ultimately went on to draw 2-2.
In a season containing over 3,600 minutes of football, Everton came from behind to lead for just three of those. The mental fragility and lack of belief within the squad was there for all to see.
Then began the 2019/20 campaign. If The Big One was a football season – it would be this one.
On August 23rd 2019, Everton had the chance to top the Premier League table – if only overnight – if they beat newly promoted Aston Villa.
The Blues had spent over £250m on players since that Swansea game, Donald Trump had become the first sitting US President to ever visit North Korea and the UK were still in the EU when Wesley slotted home to give the Villains the lead, creating that all too familiar yet unassailable feat of recovering from a goal down.
Anwar El Ghazi made the game safe in injury time, as Everton entered day 610 of searching for that elusive comeback victory.
By December, time had ran out for Silva. He was sacked on December 5th, becoming the first Everton manager since Dave Watson to fail to win a game from behind during his tenure, and Watson only managed seven games!
Even Mike Walker managed to turn a game around when he was at the helm – and thank God he did.
Duncan Ferguson took over for the following three league games, and didn’t spend a minute of any of them losing to his credit, before being replaced by Carlo Ancelotti.
By the time the affable Italian took charge of his first game against Burnley on Boxing Day, three Christmases had passed, there had been a UK General Election, and Donald Trump had played an estimated 170 rounds of golf since that now infamous Swansea fixture that seemed fairly innocuous at the time.
Oh, and the UK were still part of the European Union.
Ancelotti had managed six league games before facing Watford on February 1st of this year, and Everton had only spent 44 of the estimated 570 minutes of football trailing to their opposition.
Then Everton travelled to Vicarage Road on day 776 of this seemingly never ending road. The Pan-American Highway of winless streaks. A run that had gone on for so long, I doubt many had realised quite how far it had stretched.
After 10 minutes, Watford took the lead. Coming from one down on any ground was proving impossible for Everton, but to do it away from home, at a stadium that they haven’t won at for 13 years? It seemed unlikely at best, especially when you consider it had been 1,260 days since they’d managed such a feat away from home in a 2-1 victory over West Brom in 2016.
A brilliant through ball by basics of football lover Fabian Delph set Watford through to double their advantage in the 42nd minute. The improbable had now become the impossible.
Everton hadn’t come from two goals down to win an away game for 1,587 days – when they once again defeated West Brom, this time 3-2 – in a Romelu Lukaku and Arouna Koné inspired comeback.
But as I said earlier, Everton are anything but predictable, as Yerry Mina did his finest Florian Lejeune impression and notched two goals in added time at the end of the first half.
With momentum on Everton’s side, they searched for the winning goal that would finally put an end to this run. They just needed to clear one more seemingly insurmountable hurdle.
With the score deadlocked at 2-2, Fabian Delph was sent off for two cheap bookings. After the capitulation against Newcastle the game before, Evertonians were rightfully fearing the worst.
But in the final minute of normal time, Moise Kean and Richarlison broke from well inside the Everton half, before Richarlison laid the ball back into the Italian’s path. His scuffed effort/wonder pass fell to the feet of Theo Walcott – a man who had failed to score from his previous 27 shots – fired the ball into the back of the net. The Evertonians went berserk.
Everton had finally come from behind to win a game of Premier League football.
Since they’d last achieved it, Manchester City have lifted seven trophies, Lionel Messi has scored 103 goals, Kevin-Prince Boateng has signed for five different clubs and the UK did eventually leave the European Union.
Let’s hope we don’t have to wait another 776 days to do it again.
Images credited to Goatling, Brian Minkoff, Dom Fellowes and Xoxnob.