Aston Villa’s Premier League future hangs by a thread after Everton’s 87th-minute equaliser meant Dean Smith’s struggling side had to settle for a 1-1 draw at Goodison Park.
As a result Villa, with an inferior goal difference, remain three points from safety which means they realistically have to get something out of next week’s visit of Arsenal if they are to take it to a potential last-day decider at West Ham.
They were left to rue Anwar El Ghazi’s miss-of-the-season contender 10 minutes from time when he ballooned over from close range.
It was a missed opportunity for the visitors in a generally dire game in which the goals were the only shots on target, which spoke volumes about the state in which both clubs currently find themselves.
Everton hit the woodwork 15 minutes in after a mis-hit cross from Bernard brushed the top of the crossbar.
Toffees boss Carlo Ancelotti’s temper was gradually bubbling to the surface as the game progressed, and he made his frustrations known to goalkeeper Jordan Pickford after he kicked quickly trying to find Bernard and sent the ball straight out of play.
The England goalkeeper did not help himself when he was almost caught in possession by Mbwana Samatta moments later as Ancelotti’s frustrations grew not just with him but the whole team.
With 18 minutes to go the Italian’s fears were realised as Ezri Konsa touched home Conor Hourihane’s cross for only this third club goal.
El Ghazi’s glaring miss from barely a couple of yards could have settled the nerves, which were jangling when Dominic Calvert-Lewin stabbed wide – but Villa hearts were broken when Theo Walcott nodded home to extend an 11-match unbeaten home league record.
Final score: Evertpn 1-1 Aston Villa