Everton boss Sean Dyche praised Ellis Simms who came off the bench at Chelsea to score his first goal for the Toffees in the 89th minute of a 2-2 draw on Saturday, earning his side a vital point in their battle to stay in the Premier League.
Simms, 22, muscled his way past Kalidou Koulibaly 10 minutes after entering the fray and fired off a shot that Chelsea goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga got a hand to but could not stop.
“He’s quick, he’s strong and he used it,” Dyche told reporters, adding he had recently encouraged the striker to step up and seize his opportunity after loan spells with other clubs.
“You can’t wait to be mature as a player. You have to earn it. You have to go and work at your game and he’s beginning to understand that,” the Everton coach said.
The goal was a vindication for Dyche’s decision to bring on Simms rather than the more experienced Neal Maupay who was also on the bench when Everton were 2-1 down with 15 minutes to go.
Chelsea took a 1-0 lead in the 52nd minute when a scuffed shot by on-loan Portugal winger Joao Felix went in off a post. Everton drew level 17 minutes later when Abdoulaye Doucoure headed home after a corner.
Chelsea had seemed to be on course to record a third straight league win and extend their recovery from a sharp slump in form when Kai Havertz drove a penalty high into the net in the 76th minute, but then came Simms’ late equaliser.
“It’s about patience, I just had to wait for my chance,” the former Everton youth player - who had loan spells at Blackpool, Heart of Midlothian in Scotland and most recently Sunderland - told Sky Sports.
“We’ve got top players so I’m not going to walk straight into the team, I have to work hard and take my chance when I get it,” he said.
The draw left Everton three places above the relegation zone and two points clear of West Ham who are third from bottom but have two games in hand on the Merseyside club.