Crystal Palace substitute Michy Batshuayi scored a late equaliser to put a significant dent in Everton’s hopes of European football as the sides drew 1-1.
Hosts Everton had missed a number of chances in the first half before playmaker James Rodriguez marked his return to the side with his 100th goal in European club football in the 56th minute.
However, Palace’s on-loan Chelsea striker Batshuayi converted an angled drive four minutes from time just moments after coming off the bench, to leave Carlo Ancelotti’s side regretting those missed opportunities.
Everton still have a game in hand on all their rivals chasing Europe and also the top four but this was a match the Italian had suggested they had to win to maintain the pressure.
The Easter resurrection of Rodriguez, returning after 8 weeks out, appeared to be the boost the Toffee’s needed on 56 mins after a largely featureless hour, as he squeezed a shot inside Vicente Guaita’s left-hand post.
Lucas Digne’s cross was turned goal-wards by substitute Gylfi Sigurdsson, but pushed back into the danger area by Guaita. Seamus Coleman collected the ball for the Colombian who was able to thread a shot through a crowd of legs.
The goal, rather than spark Everton into life, instead inspired Palace with Eberechi Eze and Wilfried Zaha both forcing saves from Robin Olsen.
But it was Batshuayi, who on recent international duty with Belgium had said he had the trust of his country but not his club, who struck within two minutes of coming on to make it just one victory in eight home league matches for Everton.
Everton will feel frustrated with chances missed by Calvert Lewin and Richarleson, who could have grabbed a hatrick but looked jaded after the fortnights international break.
Everton are now on 47 points and five off the top four whilst Palace take another step closer to the magic 40 points that all but secure Premier League survival.