By George Overhill

18th Mar, 2023 | 6:16pm

Seamus Coleman hailed as Everton saviour by Sky Sports pundit for vital intervention vs Chelsea

Alan Smith hailed Everton captain Seamus Coleman as “vital” when he proved to be the saviour as the last line of defence at Chelsea.

In a first-half where Graham Potter’s team were unsurprisingly in the ascendance at Stamford Bridge the home side put together a flowing move after the first quarter of an hour.

One-touch passes freed Joao Felix down the right with Kai Havertz and company streaming forward on the left, with just Coleman and Jordan Pickford standing between them and the goal, but as the ball was played across the Toffees skipper got a crucial touch to divert it into his recovering defenders and avert what looked set to be the opener, and Smith was highly impressed.

Speaking live on the Sky Sports match coverage (18 March, 5.51pm) he said: “It was a Seamus Coleman touch, a vital one, that prevented even more danger occurring.

“It was a lovely move from Chelsea [but] Coleman coming across from that right-back position and just reading the pass [saved Everton].”

Leading from the front

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Ever since the injury to Nathan Patterson threw the Irishman back into the starting line-up he has been absolutely key, and central to the revival under Sean Dyche.

He may not be the endless motor up and down the right that he was as a younger player, but he isn’t far off it this year, and he used all his experience to halt that threatening Chelsea move.

Everton were carved apart with worrying ease through the midfield and if the captain wasn’t in place and able to get a touch on the ball it seemed certain they would go behind.

For as long as the visitors can manage to frustrate the home side there is a result to be stolen in the capital, so preserving the clean sheet at least until the half was a big step.

It is going to take a lot more work in the same vein as Coleman’s after the break to keep Sean Dyche’s men in contention to spring an upset, but the first half showed some encouraging signs in defence.

If they can work a chance or two in attack that could be all it takes to secure some vital points on a day where relegation rivals picked up big wins.