'Farcical': Football world erupts over 'awful' stomping incident

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·Sports Reporter
·5-min read
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Ben Godfrey (pictured left) stamping on Takehiro Tomiyasu and (pictured right) Tomiyasu speaking to the referee.
Ben Godfrey (pictured left) escaped punishment after this challenge on Takehiro Tomiyasu (pictured right). (Images: Twitter/Getty Images)

Everton snapped their winless run after a dramatic 2-1 win over Arsenal, but a controversial challenge marred the tight encounter.

Demarai Gray scored a stunning stoppage-time strike to secure the Toffee's a 2-1 come-from-behind Premier League victory over Arsenal at Goodison Park.

However, the match was marred after Ben Godfrey stomped on Arsenal star Takehiro Tomiyasu's face and escaped with no punishment in the first half.

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The incident was reviewed by VAR, but it was deemed not even a yellow card was needed.

Many fans believed the incident was accidental, but plenty also thought it was deliberate and it was amazing he escaped a red card.

Premier League legends Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher both agreed it deserved a red.

“You’re talking to two of the masters of trying to make it look accidental," Neville said on Sky Sports broadcast.

“We think he definitely means that. However I can see why VAR have said it’s accidental, you couldn’t prove it… but as a professional, you know.”

Premier League fans blow up over Ben Godfrey incident

Fans were left divided over the incident, which would have had a huge impact on the match, but many were left stunned it wasn't a red card.

Despite the incident, Arsenal started off strong as the visitors took the lead through Martin Odegaard's volley at the end of the first half, moments after Richarlison had an effort disallowed for offside by the VAR.

Richarlison had another attempt ruled out by VAR just before the hour mark, before the Brazilian drew the Toffees level with a 79th-minute header when Gray's shot came back off the bar.

Gunners substitute Eddie Nketiah should have restored his side's lead in the 84th but he somehow hit the post with a header from point-blank range.

Gray then secured Everton's first victory in nine league outings by firing home a long-range cracker that went in off the post in the second minute of additional time.

There could have been another for Everton but former Gunners attacker Alex Iwobi, who had come off the bench, could not convert a one-on-one opening but in the end they held on as Arsenal substitute Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who hasn't scored since October, shot wide with the last kick of the game.

The game ended with the crowd in delirium, having earlier seen some Everton fans leaving their seats in the 27th minute in protest over the running of the club - come 2022 it will be 27 years since the Toffees last won a trophy.

It came a day on from Marcel Brands leaving his role as Everton's director of football, and the club saying boss Rafael Benitez would continue to receive owner Farhad Moshiri and the board's "full support" in the aftermath of last Wednesday's painful 4-1 derby loss to Liverpool.

Everton moved up from 16th to 12th while Mikel Arteta's remained seventh.

Captain Seamus Coleman praised the Everton fans who lifted the Toffees in the face of adversity after they fell behind, and also singled out Gray's performance.

"We knew whatever goes on behind the scenes, the fans always come here to support us," Coleman told Sky Sports.

"I tell him (Gray) every day. Sometimes these players don't realise how good they can be.

"He has bundles of ability. He needs to work hard every day as that is what the top players do."

with AAP

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