Everton emerged with a good deal of credit but no points from their contest with Premier League champions Manchester City. Aymeric Laporte's goal on the stroke of half-time separated the sides until deep into stoppage time at the end of the game, when substitute Gabriel Jesus wrapped up the away team's victory.
Marco Silva's team created their share of opportunities and worried City following a series of attacking substitutions late in the game but Pep Guardiola's powerful outfit rode out a tough period and sealed the contest at the death.
City had seen plenty of the ball before scoring but nobody could say the goal was coming.
Everton were making it very difficult for the visitors to move the ball with their customary fluency. More than that, the home team were posing a genuine threat in attack.
Bernard steamed in at the back post to connect with Theo Walcott’s cross on 29 minutes, the Brazilian’s header nicking off Kyle Walker and going behind.
Tom Davies had started that move with a pass punched into Walcott – and captain Davies was having a big say in setting the tempo for Everton, closing hungrily to prevent City from playing out from the back and freeing their collection of lightning technicians to wreak havoc.
The 20-year-old bombed forward to collect a lofted pass from Dominic Calvert-Lewin 12 minutes before the break. Davies helped the ball onto Idrissa Gana Gueye whose effort was blocked away for a corner.
Calvert-Lewin, who shrugged off the attentions of John Stones to break clear in that instance, had seized on a loose Leroy Sane pass inside 60 seconds. The striker ate up ground down the right and sent over a decent ball only for Bernard to be penalised for impeding the retreating Fernandinho.
Sane’s technique was rather more impressive minutes later. When Lucas Digne cleared a corner at the near post, the ball dropped for the German to cushion on his chest and arrow a volley which was bending back towards goal from the moment it left his boot – but not enough to arc inside the post.
Ilkay Gundogan timed his run into the box to meet David Silva’s low cut back and prod against the bar from six yards after 19 minutes. Midfielder Gundogan was emerging as one of the game’s key influencers at this juncture.
Prior to hitting the woodwork, he had an effort deflected over by Kurt Zouma after running onto a return pass from compatriot Sane. And it was from a left-wing Gundogan corner that Laporte headed wide at the back post.
Zouma shut the door on Sergio Aguero after David Silva ran through the heart of the pitch and nudged the ball forward to the Argentine in the penalty area.
And Jordan Pickford produced an astonishing one-handed stop from Aguero two minutes before the break. The flag was already up but the save was of sufficient quality to warrant mention.
Pickford did need to save point blank from Bernardo Silva’s header following a bout of City pressure just short of the hour. Aguero returned the ball with an overhead kick which a proportion of City’s away support fondly imagined had gone into the net. It had actually travelled a fraction wide.
Pickford, however, had no chance with Laporte’s header in the final act of the opening 45 minutes. David Silva flighted over the free-kick after Gana had been punished for a challenge on Fernandinho and the defender rose to deposit the ball in the left corner.
Laporte was in the thick of it immediately after the restart, barrelling into the back of Walcott but doing himself a degree of harm in the process.
Jonjoe Kenny blocked from Bernardo Silva before jumping to his feet and launching himself in front of an effort from Raheem Sterling midway through the second half. A defender who takes pride in his work, Kenny allowed himself a little punch of the air as the ball looped over the top.
Sterling had come on for Sane. Everton, meanwhile, introduced Gylfi Sigurdsson for Andre Gomes, the Icelander’s first involvement seeing him run into a mountain of traffic at the edge of the City box as Everton countered after Davies had blocked David Silva’s shot.
The volume was cranking up inside Goodison Park, a booking for Fernandinho after he upended Gana raising the roof. Richarlison came on for Bernard and Cenk Tosun replaced Walcott, the Turk going down the middle and Calvert-Lewin pulling wide.
And it was only the anticipation of Ederson which prevented manager Silva's final two substitutes combining for an equaliser. City right-back Walker took a poor touch, allowing Richarlison to steal in and thread a pass for Tosun. City goalkeeper Ederson, however, was out of his box and clearing in a flash. Ederson survived an aerial barrage as Everton went for the visitors' throats late on. But City were resolute during the extended period of added time.
And when one City substitute Kevin De Bruyne slid the ball through to another in Jesus, the Brazilian took his chance to convert, albeit he needed a second go to head over the line after Pickford had smothered the forward's initial finish.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s strike-rate this term isn’t at all bad. Four goals in eight starts he’d scored before playing from the off tonight.
And he really did play from the off, fastening onto an errant pass from Leroy Sane and speeding away down the right. Manchester City, in that instant, had no answer to the pace and power of Everton’s 21-year-old striker.
His clipped cross might have amounted to more, too, had Bernard not been penalised for a shove on fellow Brazilian Fernandinho in the middle.
Another episode just past the half-hour served to demonstrate the destructive effect of Calvert-Lewin’s strength and mobility. He muscled past John Stones, the England centre-half unable to match Calvert-Lewin for physicality or pace, to advance.
Calvert-Lewin was composed on reaching the box, too, manoeuvring the ball onto his right boot and dinking a tremendous pass into the feet of Tom Davies.
Calvert-Lewin’s energy and appetite hurried Aymeric Laporte into cheaply coughing up possession to Tom Davies early in the contest, too. Featuring in his 67th Premier League match one month away from turning 22, Calvert-Lewin was never likely to see a lot of the ball here.
He nevertheless had a proper centre-forward’s job on his hands. Calvert-Lewin had a responsibility to retain possession when it came his way, allowing his midfielders and defenders a breather.
The former Sheffield United player was charged with transforming balls knocked down the right flank into very good passes, sprinting across to gather and run at left-back Laporte.
And, be sure, French defender Laporte knew he was in a game. He was still rubbing the side of his head 60 seconds after conclusively losing out to Calvert-Lewin in an aerial duel late in the first half.
Calvert-Lewin positioned himself as high up the pitch as possible to stretch City – but always poised to provide a shorter passing option. It was telling that when Marco Silva introduced fresh attacking blood during the second half, Calvert-Lewin remained on the field. And he remained a real menace for City, too.
Tom Leads From The Front
Calvert-Lewin's mate and fellow England Under-21 international Tom Davies’s performance deserves a mention, too. Skippering Everton for the fifth time this season – and fourth in the Premier League – the 20-year-old led by example.
This was a fearless display from Davies against a team with whom he will forever be inextricably associated owing to the thrilling goal against City with which he announced himself as one of English football’s brightest prospects two years ago.
Indeed, there was something of the impudence Davies showed on that January afternoon when he turned skilfully out of a congested area shortly after half-time – the midfielder’s charge only being halted when Fernandinho entered the scene to illegally stop him in his tracks.
Davies was operating in an advanced position, enabling him to employ his energy to hassle and hound City’s defenders. A couple of times, he tore across the ground to make tackles on away players trying to clear their lines.
The homegrown player was sound in possession, too. One precise pass fed Theo Walcott in a dangerous pocket of space. Another, following an adventurous run into City’s box, fed Idrissa Gana Gueye for a shooting opportunity
Davies’ confidence was right up when he tried to spring Everton on the counter with another neat turn deep in his own territory just after the hour mark. Fernandinho was the player who Davies was poised to escape. And, once more, the Brazilian resorted to foul means to stop his man.
Davies stepped into a slightly deeper role after Gylfi Sigurdsson replaced Andre Gomes and he was well-placed to get in the way of a goalbound hit from David Silva as City sought to kill the game. He did not deserve to be on the losing side.