sport news Everton 1-0 Bournemouth: Abdoulaye Doucoure's strike seals Toffees' safety trends now
After all the pain and the hurt and the anger and the darkness, it took just one sweet strike of a right boot in the sunshine to haul Everton back from the threat of oblivion and in to the light.
Coming to the end of his third season at Everton, Abdoulaye Doucoure had only previously contributed eight Premier League goals. Costing £20m back when Carlo Ancelotti was manager, the Mali midfielder has in some ways been typical of what has been wrong at Goodison Park. Not terrible, not great. Just a bit 'So what?'. Here, amid all the tension and the fear, he was for almost an hour part of an Everton performance far too high on emotion and nowhere near high enough on quality.
Football, however, can sometimes be about big moments as much as it can be about a team or collective capability. A bounce of a ball can change things. And so can a bolt of lightning. Here, on this day of all days, Doucoure moved on to one of the former and provided the latter.
The ball forwards from Everton may generously be described as optimistic. The header down from a Bournemouth defender was adequate but not conclusive. But when Doucoure steadied himself to drive a right foot shot with the outside of his boot from 20 yards the power alone was enough to beat goalkeeper Mark Travers to his left and give Everton a glimpse of what everybody had come here hoping to find.
For a couple of minutes here, time was almost suspended as Everton supporters lost themselves in the anticipation of possible salvation. Early tears were shed. Young children were tossed in to the air. Some of them even came back down again. Fireworks cracked on the streets outside. And then reality dawned that there was still half an hour left.
Abdoulaye Doucoure's second-half screamer ensured Everton staved off relegation
The midfielder picked up a loose ball on the edge of the box and thundered into the net
Jordan Pickford celebrated wildly with the home crowd after a blue flare was thrown forward
Everton fans rushed the pitch after the final whistle after ensuring their top-flight safety
In the end, we played another forty. There were ten minutes added on. You can imagine how slowly that passed for many that were here.
There were some tricky moments as blue legs tired. Jordan Pickford's save from Matias Vina in the 93rd minute was testimony to an experienced goalkeeper's powers of concentration.
Everton got there, though. Just after 6.30pm they got there. Referee Stuart Atwell put his whistle to his lips and prompted celebrations that will surely have made the foundations of Everton's new stadium shake a few miles away down on the banks of the Mersey.
Everton are due to move there at the end of next season. So this could, had it ended differently, been the last top flight game ever played at this great stadium.
That was what was at stake here, as well as pride, dignity, happiness and financial security.
Everton have been dismal for the whole of this season. In fact they have been dismal for two seasons. Last year they stayed up by four points. This time round the margin is two. Something has to change on the blue half of Merseyside.
As they swarmed on to the field here at full-time, they sang 'Sack the Board'.
Things have been so toxic at Everton for so long that chairman Bill Kenwright and his colleagues have not felt safe enough to attend games for quite some time. They were not here today.
Everton (5-4-1): Pickford 6.5; Garner 6, Mina 6, Coady 6.5, Tarkowski 6.5, McNeil 6.5; Onana 6, Gueye 6, Doucoure 7.5, Gray 7 (Simmis 85mins 6 ); Iwobi 6.
Subs not used: Holgate, Keane, Begovic, Maupay, Lonergan, McAllister, Welch
Goals: Doucoure 57
Manager: Sean Dyche 7
Bournemouth (4-2-3-1): Travers 6.5; A Smith 6.5 (Anthony 82mins 6), Zarbanyi 6, Senesi 6, Kelly 6; Billing 6.5, Lerma 6; Brooks 6.5(Vina 55mins 6), Christie 6.5 (Moore 64mins 6), Ouattara 6; Solanke 6.5
Subs not used: Stephens, Cook, Mepham, Randolph, Stacey, Sadi
Bookings: Solanke, Smith, Senesi, O'Neil
Manager: Gary O'Neil 6
Referee: Stuart Attwell
The hosts' supporters were sent into pandemonium after Doucoure broke the deadlock
Bournemouth's stand-in goalkeeper, Mark Travers, stood firm with a number of superb saves
But all that can be suspended for a day or so. Relief can hold sway now. Sean Dyche's Everton were not always convincing here. There was too much emotional football really. But they proved themselves up to the task. A clean sheet helped. They remain a Premier League club and that is all that matters.
The noise prior kick-off was such that the players must have been able to feel the vibrations in the dressing room. Whether it did Everton any good is open to question as for much of the first half, their football reflected the tension. Dyche's players played frantic football early on and only started to threaten to break through when they