Everton earned a hard-fought point in their Premier League encounter against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Thursday night, easing the pressure on manager Rafa Benitez.
The Toffees were without a host of first-team stars due to injury and illness, forcing them to start two teenage academy graduates against the reigning European champions.
However, it was two of their young homegrown talents that stepped up to the plate for Everton and secured them just their sixth point since 25th September.
Chelsea dominated proceedings throughout the game, racking up 80% possession and Mason Mount gave them a deserved lead on the 70-minute mark after he slotted home following Reece James’ pass.
But Benitez’s charges fought back admirably just four minutes later when 19-year-old Jarrad Branthwaite struck on his first league start of the season after Anthony Gordon’s free-kick.
Everton had Jordan Pickford to thank for a string of impressive saves to keep them in the game as well as the match-winner Branthwaite, but it was arguably Gordon who was the real hero.
As per SofaScore, the England U21 international was awarded a match rating of 7.6 out of 10, the highest of any outfield player to feature for the Merseyside outfit.
Gordon proved extremely useful for Everton in their battle to gain territory up the pitch, winning a whopping 11 duels, drawing five fouls from opposition defenders and successfully pulling off three of his four attempted dribbles.
And the youngster was also extremely diligent in his defensive work. The 20-year-old made three clearances, pulled off two tackles and made one interception, highlighting his hugely effective display.
The Liverpool ECHO’s Adam Jones was equally as impressed with Gordon, awarding him an 8 out of 10 for his determined display.
“Looked very progressive on the rare occasions he managed to pick up possession throughout, and was rewarded with a great assist from a free kick,” wrote Jones. “Never stopped sprinting throughout.”
With winnable fixtures against the likes of Burnley, Newcastle United and Brighton to come, Benitez will be hoping Gordon can maintain this sort of form over the festive period.