Everton survived relegation by the skin of their teeth to preserve their top-flight status for a 70th successive season after overcoming Bournemouth 1-0 on a final day fuelled with drama at a raucous Goodison Park.
The Toffees, one of six ever-present clubs in the Premier League since the competition’s inception in 1992, were in the bottom three for much of the opening hour on Sunday after Leicester took the lead against West Ham.
But Abdoulaye Doucoure’s superb strike from the edge of the box in the 57th minute dragged his side back out of the relegation zone to break Leicester’s hearts, as the Foxes join Leeds United in dropping to the Sky Bet Championship.
Bournemouth, who finished in 15th place, threatened an equaliser when Kieffer Moore’s header was scrambled clear, while Jordan Pickford saved well from Matias Vina, but following an interminable 10 minutes of stoppage time caused by a hand injury to Pickford, Everton held on.
Everton continued to hold on as Leicester doubled their lead over West Ham, and with Moore now on, the Welshman caused havoc when his header back across goal was clawed away from the goal-line by a combination of Pickford and Conor Coady at the feet of Dominic Solanke.
It led to an almighty delay as Pickford and Solanke squared up, with the Bournemouth striker appealing for a bite by Mina during the heated skirmish. It would lead to plenty of time being added on for the home fans to suffer.
During the 10 minutes of stoppage time, Vina drew a fine stop from Pickford after Moore’s header back across the goal. Doucoure, who signed a contract extension in midweek, drove forward one last time to force Travers into another save to keep the contest live.
Referee Stuart Attwell mercifully put an end to all that, as a pitch invasion ensued and cries of “sack the board” rained down from those who abided by those commands to remain in their seats. Twelve months on from survival under Frank Lampard, Everton had found themselves in the same position. A busy summer now lies ahead.