Palace let the lead slip from their grasp twice at Selhurst Park as David Unsworth’s Everton escaped from south London with a point.
In a frantic first half, James McArthur gave the Eagles the dream start by scoring within the first minute before Roy Hodgson’s team were quickly pegged back by a controversial Leighton Baines penalty just four minutes later.
Wilfried Zaha then scored his third of the campaign to once again raise hopes, but an Oumar Niasse strike just before the break ultimately got Everton a draw they scarcely deserved, with the home side unable to find a way past Jordan Pickford in the second 45.
Palace came into this game having not scored a home league goal against the Toffees since 1994, but it took them just 51 seconds to change that stat. Yohan Cabaye fed the ball into Ruben Loftus-Cheek on the edge of the box, who was handed too much time to get the ball out from under his feet, check back and get a shot away which was parried by Pickford, but only into the path of McArthur who celebrated his return to the line-up by tapping home the rebound and hand his side the perfect start.
But the feel-good factor quickly evaporated as Everton found a quick-fire equaliser just four minutes later, albeit in very controversial circumstances. Niasse burst into the box where he knocked the ball past Scott Dann, and despite minimal contact with the Eagles captain, his legs crumpled under him. Anthony Taylor was duped into pointing to the spot, and as usual, Everton’s all-time record penalty scorer Baines made no mistake from 12 yards to level things up.
A sense of injustice quickly engulfed Selhurst Park, along with the driving rain, and it took the Eagles a while to get over that setback; indeed Niasse almost capitalised on it when he danced his way into the box and hit goalwards but Julian Speroni managed to get down low and push it away, but gradually the hosts began to build themselves back up and McArthur forced Pickford into a save with 33 minutes gone.
But two minutes later, the old ground came alive again when Hodgson’s team regained the lead with a well-worked move. McArthur spread the ball out to the galloping Joel Ward on the right flank who delivered a fantastic low centre right into the corridor of uncertainty, and after it beat Pickford the ball was on a plate for Zaha to net for the third home game in succession.
However, after the winger had been denied a spot-kick after being bundled over in the box, in what looked a more clear-cut claim than Niasse’s, Palace’s Achilles heel came back to haunt them again as they conceded late in the half to see their advantage slip through their fingers.
Speroni did well to turn past the charging Ademola Lookman but he fed a dangerous short pass into Dann. A slight hesitation by the defender was pounced upon by Idrissa Gueye and that allowed Gylfi Sigurdsson the chance to slide in Niasse, and the Senegalese striker made no mistake, coolly tucking the unexpected opportunity away to punish the mistake.
The Argentinian atoned for his error a couple of minutes after the restart when Sigurdsson cut the ball back for half-time introduction Dominic Calvin-Lewin who smashed goalwards but Speroni showed great reactions to stick out a hand and push the ball away from danger, and then Dann headed wide of the mark after a corner as the game flowed from end to end.
Unlike the weather conditions, the chances dried up after that and so Hodgson introduced the fit-again Christian Benteke with 15 minutes to play, and he had a glorious chance to put Palace ahead for a third time when he was played through by Zaha, but when faced one-on-one with Pickford, he squibbed his effort well wide of the mark.
The Belgian did better with his second opportunity when he drilled a hammer of shot from 25 yards towards goal but it came straight to Pickford who beat it away, and then in the dying embers Luka Milivojevic nearly steered home a shot from the edge of the box, but once again the England international stopper was equal to it to hand his team a share of the spoils.
Palace: Speroni, Ward, Dann, Sakho, Schlupp, Loftus-Cheek, Cabaye (Puncheon 85), Milivojevic, McArthur (Benteke 75), Zaha, Townsend. Subs not used: Hennessey, Souare, Fosu-Mensah, Tomkins, Sako.
Everton: Pickford, Kenny, Jagielka, Keane, Baines, Gueye, Schneiderlin (Davies 46), Lookman (Calvert-Lewin 46), Sigurdsson, Lennon (Sandro 75), Niasse. Subs not used: Robles, Martina, Williams, Rooney.