Demarai Gray’s late goal ensured Everton did not lose their opening three top-flight games for the first time since 1990

Demarai Gray salvaged a late point for Everton against Nottingham Forest at Goodison Park as the Toffees’ winless start to the new Premier League season continued.

Brennan Johnson looked to have scored a winner for the visitors that would have condemned Everton to a third defeat in their opening three games for the first time in the Premier League.

Not since 1990 have the Toffees endured such a poor start, but winger Gray’s 88th-minute leveller ensured Frank Lampard’s side avoided that unwanted piece of history.

Johnson finished smartly in the 81st minute after Jordan Pickford palmed out Ryan Yates’ effort from range but Forest led for only seven minutes.

Anthony Gordon – who continues to be linked with a move to Chelsea – then had a chance to win it for the hosts but could not lift his effort over goalkeeper Dean Henderson.

Toffees toil in attack

Lampard is still moulding his squad as Everton head towards the business end of the transfer window and he will surely be prioritising reinforcements in attack in order to avoid this season turning into another relegation battle.

With Richarlison sold to Tottenham Hotspur and Dominic Calvert-Lewin not yet fit, Salomon Rondon is the Toffees’ only available centre forward.

The Venezuelan has hardly been prolific in England but the hosts looked better for moving Gordon on to the flank to use Rondon as a focal point in attack.

The experienced striker turned his marker and fired wide in the second half in his most threatening moment but it was Gray who looked most dangerous, delivering a series of inviting free-kicks in the first half that were not capitalised on.

Midfielder Tom Davies latched on to one of Gray’s deliveries, but only with his heel after escaping at the back post and miscuing a golden opportunity for Lampard’s outfit to break the deadlock early on.

In the end, the 26-year-old winger had to do it himself to stop Everton emulating the 1990 team.

Gray found himself through one-on-one from Pickford’s long kick and rolled a composed finish beyond Henderson to save the Toffees’ blushes and earn his side’s first point of the term – one that was greeted with a palpable sense of relief by the home fans.

“When you have 19 shots at home you expect to see more than one goal,” said Lampard, who believes his side should have won the game.

“We should be more clinical, to find those moments and be ruthless – some players have that by nature, some not so much. You need someone with a bit of composure in that moment.”

Forest make impressive return

Back in the top flight after a 23-year absence, it is going to be a season of notable moments for Nottingham Forest and they were on the verge of a first Premier League away win since 1999 until it was clinically snatched away on Merseyside.

Steve Cooper still harboured aspirations of making it as a player with Wrexham the last time these sides met in the Premier League at Goodison, when Ron Atkinson picked up his first win as Forest manager that same year.

Cooper spent the majority of his playing days at Bangor City but, after switching to coaching aged 27, has instead shown his managerial ability and, backed by £140m of signings, will expect to stay in the top division.

Neco Williams is one of those to have come in and he looked dangerous on the right, while Taiwo Awoniyi – also once of Liverpool – failed to capitalise on a James Tarkowski mistake in the first half.

Yet it was one of Forest’s homegrown youngsters who stole the limelight as Wales winger Johnson found the bottom corner with nine minutes to play. 

The visitors could not hang on, but four points from their opening three games is a solid start for Cooper’s side.

“We should have won, we were the better team,” said Cooper. “It was a poor goal to concede and we shouldn’t be conceding it at this level, but let’s not lose sight of all the good things we did.”

Player of the match

N WilliamsNeco Williams


  1. Squad number3Player namePatterson

  2. Squad number11Player nameGray

  3. Squad number30Player nameCoady

  4. Squad number17Player nameIwobi

  5. Squad number19Player nameMykolenko

  6. Squad number2Player nameTarkowski

  7. Squad number4Player nameHolgate

  8. Squad number10Player nameGordon

  9. Squad number8Player nameOnana

  10. Squad number26Player nameDavies

  11. Squad number7Player nameMcNeil

  12. Squad number33Player nameRondón

  13. Squad number1Player namePickford

Nottingham Forest

  1. Squad number7Player nameN Williams

  2. Squad number20Player nameJohnson

  3. Squad number1Player nameHenderson

  4. Squad number26Player nameMcKenna

  5. Squad number9Player nameAwoniyi

  6. Squad number14Player nameO’Brien

  7. Squad number10Player nameGibbs-White

  8. Squad number15Player nameToffolo

  9. Squad number22Player nameYates

  10. Squad number5Player nameMangala

  11. Squad number3Player nameS Cook

  12. Squad number4Player nameWorrall

  13. Squad number11Player nameLingard

  14. Squad number21Player nameKouyaté



Formation 3-4-3

  • 1Pickford
  • 4Holgate
  • 30Coady
  • 2Tarkowski
  • 3Patterson
  • 26DaviesSubstituted forOnanaat 57′minutesBooked at 60mins
  • 17IwobiBooked at 35mins
  • 19Mykolenko
  • 10GordonBooked at 21mins
  • 33RondónSubstituted forMcNeilat 57′minutes
  • 11Gray


  • 5Keane
  • 6Allan
  • 7McNeil
  • 8Onana
  • 15Begovic
  • 20Alli
  • 23Coleman
  • 25Gbamin
  • 29Vinagre

Nottm Forest

Formation 3-4-1-2

  • 1Henderson
  • 4WorrallBooked at 20mins
  • 3S Cook
  • 26McKenna
  • 7N WilliamsBooked at 29mins
  • 5MangalaSubstituted forYatesat 55′minutes
  • 14O’Brien
  • 15Toffolo
  • 11LingardSubstituted forKouyatéat 84′minutes
  • 20Johnson
  • 9AwoniyiSubstituted forGibbs-Whiteat 61′minutes


  • 2Biancone
  • 10Gibbs-White
  • 13Hennessey
  • 16Surridge
  • 17Mighten
  • 21Kouyaté
  • 22Yates
  • 23Freuler
  • 25Dennis

Andre Marriner


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