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22:25 30th September 2016

Christian Benteke grabbed the equaliser as Crystal Palace claimed a 1-1 draw against Everton at Goodison Park.

In the battle of two Belgian strikers, Romelu Lukaku had put the hosts ahead on 35 minutes when he bent a fine free-kick over the Palace wall and into the net, but just five minutes after the restart Benteke notched his third for the Eagles with a fine header from a Joel Ward cross.

Alan Pardew's side thought they had taken the lead soon after when Damien Delaney saw a header disallowed for offside by Jon Moss, but they were well-worth a point that extends their unbeaten run to four matches.

Palace came into this Friday night game on the back of three consecutive wins with one change being made to the starting 11 as Wilfried Zaha took his place ahead of Yohan Cabaye. 

The home side started the game with some good possession and won a number of corners in the opening period, with the best chance falling to Lukaku as he got on the end of a cross from ex-Eagle Yannick Bolasie but Delaney cleared the danger.

Palace had an opportunity of their own on 11 minutes when Joe Ledley worked his way into a good position but his cross was cut out by Phil Jagielka, and from the counter-attack Ross Barkley shot over the bar from outside the box. 

The hosts had a penalty appeal waved away on 14 minutes when Tom Cleverley put the ball through to Bryan Oviedo, but as he went down and the appeals started for a spot kick, the offside flag was raised and referee Moss didn't have to make a decision on the spot-kick.

However they took the lead on 35 minutes. Delaney and Jagielka went in for the ball but the Palace captain was penalised for a high boot, and the opening goal of the night came courtesy of the left footed shot from Lukaku's direct free kick that went straight into the roof of the net, leaving Steve Mandanda helpless.

Both teams went in for half-time with that free kick separating the two sides under the lights of Goodison Park, but Palace were soon on level terms just six minutes into the start of the second half.

A delightful cross from Ward to the back post saw Benteke brilliantly rise above Coleman to head the ball into the bottom corner of the net and bring the game all square.

Ronald Koeman's men nearly regained the lead straight away when Bolasie got to the byline down the left and crossed for Idrissa Gueye, but the former Aston Villa man was denied by an excellent block by Martin Kelly. 

The visitors nearly made the most of a good start to the second period as just before the hour mark, they thought they had taken the lead. Ward again crossed and Delaney got on the end of it to put the ball in the net, but as he thought he had scored, Moss liaised with his assistant and between them they decided to keep the scores level.

On the hour mark a good piece of acrobatics from Bolasie gave the home side a chance at the other end but his bicycle kick went just wide, however it required Jason Puncheon to keep Palace on level terms as he cleared the ball off the line on 66 minutes after Gareth Barry headed Barkley's corner towards goal. 

Both sides pushed for the winner and James Tomkins nearly got the ball past Maarten Stekelenburg when Kelly looped a header back into the box but it was well held by the keeper, before Lukaku found a rushing Coleman inside the box but under pressure from defenders coming, he scooped the ball wide and the spoils were shared.

Everton: Stekelenburg, Coleman, Jagielka, Williams, Oviedo (Funes Mori 81), Cleverley, Barry, Gueye, Bolasie, Barkley (Mirallas 77), Lukaku. Subs not used: Robles, Holgate, Davies, Lennon, Valencia.

Palace: Mandanda, Ward, Delaney, Tomkins, Kelly, McArthur (Cabaye 79), Ledley, Townsend (Lee 90), Puncheon, Zaha, C. Beneteke. Subs not used: Hennessey, Fryers, Flamini, Wickham, Campbell.