Brighton & Hove Albion fell to a 2-0 defeat against Everton on Saturday afternoon at Goodison Park. A deflected own-goal after Theo Walcott’s effort skewed off Gaetan Bong gave the home side the lead, before Cenk Tosun doubled the hosts’ advantage, with both goals coming in the second half. Mathew Ryan did well to thwart Wayne Rooney from the penalty spot with a few minutes of normal time remaining, but it proved to be no more than a consolation as the side’s seven-game unbeaten run came to an end. Chris Hughton made one change to the side that defeated Arsenal at the Amex Stadium the weekend before, with Beram Kayal coming into the team in place of Dale Stephens in the centre of midfield – the latter missing the game on Merseyside due to a knock picked up during the week.
It was the home side who began in the ascendancy, with Seamus Coleman finding space down the right-hand side of the area and firing across goal and wide of Ryan’s right-hand post. Gylfi Sigurdsson then delivered a corner from the right, and Phil Jagielka rose highest in the centre – but his header was straight at Ryan before Yannick Bolasie curled over the crossbar. A rare Albion break forward saw Jose Izquierdo as the outlet – and the Colombian raced away from both Coleman and Rooney, but his ball looking for Glenn Murray in-behind was intercepted by Jagielka. The Seagulls looked for an opener themselves for the first time of the afternoon after Anthony Knockaert found the in-form Murray in space, and as the striker turned and fired fiercely towards goal, his effort stung the palms of Jordan Pickford – who parried the shot up into the air before gathering at the second attempt. Another Everton corner from Sigurdsson ended back with the Icelandic midfielder on the right, and when his dangerous cross was half-cleared by the visiting defence, Bolasie hooked his volley over the bar. Pascal Gross got to the byline and stood the ball up in the middle five minutes before the break, but the ball was just over the head of Murray, before Izquierdo and Bong failed to capitalise on some space at the far post. Albion’s last attack of the half saw Lewis Dunk’s cross from the right glanced goalwards by Murray once more but Pickford claimed it comfortably as the sides went in level at the break. Dunk delivered a crucial and superbly timed challenge on Tom Davies as the home midfielder entered the area in the opening moments of the second half, and Gross dragged a shot wide at the other end as Albion began the half in better fashion than the first. Shane Duffy did well to block Rooney’s effort from the edge of the area, and the ball flew slightly fortuitously over the bar after the Irishman had thrown himself in-front of the shot in trademark fashion. Everton then took the lead on the hour mark, when Bolasie crossed from the left and Walcott escaped the attentions of Bong to put the defender under pressure and the full-back’s touch found the back of the net. Ryan then did superbly to get fingertips to Walcott’s cutback as the hosts looked to turn the screw in the contest, before Jurgen Locadia replaced Kayal with just over 20 minutes left to play. The Dutchman was straight into the action as he collected a cross from Gross at the far post and smashed an effort at goal, but his strike deflected behind for a corner kick. Knockaert curled high over the bar shortly after Dominic Calvert-Lewin had replaced the injured Walcott for the hosts, before Tosun would double the home side’s advantage soon after. The striker collected possession off Baines as the winger cut inside and found him inside the area, and he fired a shot in off the crossbar to strengthen the home side’s lead. Leonardo Ulloa then replaced Murray and Mason Colgate entered the action for Bolasie immediately after the goal, before the visitors were reduced to ten men. Knockaert went in on Baines and the Frenchman was dismissed by referee Roger East to effectively end the game as a contest with just under ten minutes left to play. Markus Suttner replaced Bong as the latter had to withdraw through injury, and Davies was replaced by Davy Klaassen as the home side made their final change of the afternoon. Rooney had the chance to add a third from the penalty spot for the hosts after Duffy had brought down Calvert-Lewin, but Ryan dived to his right to strongly palm the ball away and wide. Gross and Propper both drew stops from Pickford at the other end as the game entered added time, before East brought the game to a close as Albion dropped one place to 11th – sitting seven points clear of the relegation zone.
|Everton Subs;||Brighton Subs;|
|Calvert-Lewin —> Walcott (73)||Locadia —> Kayal (69)|
|Holgate —> Bolasie (78)||Ulloa —> Murray (77)|
|Klassen —> Davies (84)||Suttner —> Bong (82)|
EFC - BHAFC; Bong (60og), Tosun (76); Knockaert (80 Red Card)
Att; 39,199 (3,000 Brighton)
Albion MOTM; Ryan