‘It was crackers, wasn’t it?’ – James Tarkowski shares thoughts on ‘crackers’ Wolves draw

James Tarkowski recounted the moment he glanced up and witnessed “big Yerry” scoring a potentially decisive goal for Everton’s survival in the Premier League, writes the LiverpoolEcho.

Tarkowski played a crucial part in the commotion near the goalpost that resulted in his defensive partner Mina rescuing a crucial point against Wolverhampton Wanderers on Saturday. The English defender soared above Wolves’ goalkeeper Daniel Bentley, ensuring Everton’s final attack remained alive.

Just in time, Tarkowski regained his composure after his involvement in winning the ball, allowing him to witness scenes of relief and jubilation among the away fans as Michael Keane redirected Tarkowski’s header to Mina. Reflecting on the frantic game at Molineux, where Everton suffered from injuries and appeared unlikely to recover from Hwang Hee-Chan’s first-half goal, Tarkowski spoke about his team’s 99th-minute equalizer.

“I saw the keeper coming and I just thought if I could get my arm up early enough I could get my head on it. I managed to do so and as I got back up again I just saw the ball being squared and big Yerry puts it away.

“It was a nice feeling and though it is only one point it does feel like a win with the way the game went.”

Tarkowski commenced the match as part of an improvised defense, with Dwight McNeil filling in at left-back due to the absence of Vitalii Mykolenko, Ben Godfrey, and Ruben Vinagre, who were sidelined with injuries. The situation worsened when Nathan Patterson had to be substituted due to a hamstring issue, forcing center back Keane to assume the right-back position. Additionally, Dominic Calvert-Lewin was also forced off the field due to a hamstring injury of his own.

When asked about the challenges of playing in a makeshift lineup, Tarkowski remarked, “The difficulty lies in players being deployed out of their natural positions. Keane had to step in at right-back, and we have recently experienced a shortage of full-backs, with Dwight already playing on the left. We have a large squad of talented players, and everyone is expected to contribute and fulfill their role, which is what happened today.”

The last-minute heroics became necessary after Hwang concluded a move initiated by Adama Traore. Traore embarked on a powerful run from the edge of his own penalty area, shrugging off challenges and forcing Jordan Pickford into a save, with the rebound fortuitously falling to Hwang.

Tarkowski said: “It was crackers, wasn’t it? I thought we played quite well early on, the couple of injuries really changed the dynamic for us – we keep losing players in key positions at the minute.

“It was a rubbish goal, to concede from a counter attack. Traore is one of the best at it to be fair because he can just cover the ground so quickly. We probably should have brought him down at some point and it just changed the dynamic of the game. They banked it and counter-attacked and we gave it our all and managed to just nick one late on.”