Belfast Telegraph

Jordan Ayew secures Swansea a vital point against Everton

Swansea’s top scorer claimed his 11th goal of the season with the equaliser.

Jordan Ayew boosted Swansea’s fight for Premier League survival with a precious equaliser in a 1-1 draw against Everton.

Ayew, back from a three-match ban, struck his 11th goal of the season after 71 minutes just when Everton appeared on course for a smash-and-grab win at the Liberty Stadium.

Everton, who were largely outplayed during a frantic contest, had taken a scruffy lead two minutes before the break when Kyle Naughton diverted the ball into his own net.

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Ayew’s equaliser was no less than Swansea deserved and, following Southampton’s defeat to Chelsea in the early afternoon kick-off, it leaves them five points clear of the relegation zone.

Everton came into the contest with seemingly little left to play for this season apart from pride and manager Sam Allardyce warning against complacency.

Allardyce had angered Wayne Rooney by withdrawing him with more than half and hour left of the Merseyside derby the previous weekend, but the former England captain retained his place in the Everton side.

Everton, though, spent most of the first half chasing shadows as Swansea played at a quick tempo and fashioned several presentable openings.

Andre Ayew was the first to test Jordan Pickford in the Everton goal before Luciano Narsingh shrugged aside Rooney to spring a quick counter-attack.

Jordan Ayew took advantage of an Idrissa Gueye slip to reach Tom Carroll’s cross but Leighton Baines diverted his goalbound shot wide.

The resulting corner saw Cenk Tosun clear Federico Fernandez’s header off the line and Pickford was soon brought into action again by Andre Ayew.

Everton finally enjoyed some decent possession before the interval and made it count after Michael Keane had headed wide at the far post.

Seamus Coleman found Yannick Bolasie unmarked, but Lukasz Fabianski was equal to the winger’s drive as well as Gueye’s follow-up effort.

But Fabianski was out of luck as the ball struck Naughton and crossed the line before Alfie Mawson could clear.

Referee Lee Mason signalled that the goal-line technology had confirmed Everton’s opener and the visitors almost doubled their lead immediately.

Tosun’s quick free-kick sent Theo Walcott scampering clear but Fabianski left his penalty area quickly to block.

Swansea responded at the start of the second half with Carroll and Andre Ayew testing Pickford.

Nathan Dyer fired over the crossbar and Swansea were not so much knocking on the door as banging loudly on it.

Tosun made his second goal-line clearance from Mawson’s header, but Everton’s resistance was finally broken when Carroll found Jordan Ayew with a sliced pass and Swansea’s top scorer drove unerringly past Pickford.

Everton were almost back in front four minutes later when the stretching Coleman directed Tosun’s cross against the bar from just five yards out.

Swansea wasted a gilt-edged opening when Tammy Abraham blasted over from Jordan Ayew’s assist and had to settle for a point, which might yet prove crucial in the final reckoning.

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