What Seamus Coleman did to Everton fans at full-time proved Frank Lampard right

What Seamus Coleman did to Everton fans at full-time proved Frank Lampard right

Updated: 1 month, 4 hours, 55 minutes, 43 seconds ago

At half-time he was pulled down the tunnel to end a heated touchline row. In the second half he produced magic. At the final whistle he was fist pumping to the Gwladys Street crowd. As Everton needed its club captain, Seamus Coleman delivered once again.

"You talk about legends of football clubs and he is certainly one of those.”

When Frank Lampard described Coleman as one of the best people he had ever met, then later added those words as his tribute continued, it was clear he meant them. But as they were said in the aftermath of Everton's great escape neither would have thought that, nine months later, Lampard would be gone and Coleman would be carrying the weight of another crisis on his shoulders.

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The torment has been clear in his actions and in his performances. Once again over-relied upon with Nathan Patterson having continued to struggle with injury problems, the 34-year-old has once again had to fight his body as well as opposition wingers when his beloved club has needed him most.

“On day one Seamus came to me, sat in my office and was honest about the club", Lampard said in May, speaking of the open appraisal he received at Finch Farm when he joined in January of last year. Whether Coleman has had a similar conversation with Sean Dyche since he replaced Lampard this January is not yet public knowledge. But that Coleman has again been hurting is in no doubt.

His 400th appearance in Royal Blue could have been a high-point but it instead came amid another frustrating Everton collapse at Anfield just days ago. Instead the fireworks were saved for Leeds United and not just the biggest game of Everton's week, but of the season so far. They were initially on show as he left the pitch at half-time. Coleman had to be pulled down the tunnel by Abdoulaye Doucoure as he engaged in a heated argument with what appeared to be a member of the Leeds coaching staff. Whatever that row was over, it was Coleman who had the last laugh with his game-changing - potentially season-defining -intervention in the 64th minute.

As he latched onto a ball over the top by Alex Iwobi, Coleman appeared to have few options other than to chase or watch it bounce down the right touchline. Instead he produced a moment of magic that had a ferocious home crowd gasping in astonished silence. Yards from the byline he hooked a half volley that confounded Illan Meslier at his near post and made the net bulge like too few Everton players have done during this torrid season. It was a strike so stunning it took the near 40,000 inside Goodison what felt like an eternity to come to terms with.

Coleman wheeled away in celebration and, for 30 minutes, Everton held on to a lead that throws open a survival fight that had looked increasingly desperate. In truth, through Doucoure, Tom Davies and others they came closer to doubling their lead than Leeds did to an equaliser. At the end, Coleman ran across the box in front of the Gwladys Street pumping his fist in jubilation. It was a moment, a celebration, he deserved not just for his sensational goal but for every other second of the 401 matches he has fought for the Everton badge.

What comes next remains to be seen. But Everton deserved all three points in a game that stood as testament to moving with a degree of efficiency when replacing a manager. For all the talent within this managerless Leeds side it was a team unable to assert control or order over a game high on intensity and low on organisation. Coleman won this game for Everton, but the stability brought by Dyche was a key factor, as was the dynamism of Idrissa Gueye and Doucoure.

The goal came as Everton sought to regain an initiative they had earned in the first half. The Blues had overcome a nervous start to be the better side in the opening 45 minutes. Leeds started on the front foot and had a chance to punish Everton when Gueye's loose ball on the halfway line allowed Patrick Bamford to run at Conor Coady, who did well to hold up the forward and allow his teammates to recover. As the game settled down, Everton began to dominate. Gueye and Abdoulaye Doucoure took charge of the midfield battle and several attacks were sprung from their work to disrupt Leeds' efforts to push forward.

The first saw Everton work the ball across the pitch to Dwight McNeil, whose cross was just too high for his teammates breaking into the box. Moments later Meslier spilled the ball on the edge of his box but Amadou Onana and McNeil were unable to find room to take advantage on the edge of a crowded box. The opportunities sparked a flurry of Everton efforts as the home side grew in confidence. Gueye broke down the right and nutmegged Max Wober before pulling the ball back for Onana, who shot over from 16 yards.

Then Leeds twice cleared off the line as they struggled to deal with a corner, Neal Maupay's flick almost giving the home side the lead. Meslier then clawed another header away after James Tarkowski once again rose highest at the back post from another corner.

A frantic finale ended with a mass brawl that started with Tyler Adams and McNeil squabbling in front of the away fans, saw every player except James Harrison rush to get involved and concluded with four bookings before Cyrensio Summerville got the better of Vitaly Mykolenko but could only head onto the roof of the net. It was a let-off for Everton but it was the Blues carrying the momentum going into the break. Stats of 56% possession, seven shots and three efforts on target underpinned the hosts' dominance of a half they would have deserved to end in the lead. Jordan Pickford had not had a save to make, in contrast.

When the second half began Leeds gave Everton another scare, this time Bamford swiping at fresh air when played in by Harrison. As the game became increasingly stretched and the intensity grew and grew there was a fear in the stands that it would be Everton who would suffer.

But then came Coleman. And that moment. And hope that not all is lost.