Friday 14 December 2018

Everton climb to ninth thanks to their third home win in a row

Everton's Theo Walcott celebrates scoring their first goal with Seamus Coleman
Everton's Theo Walcott celebrates scoring their first goal with Seamus Coleman

Phil Medlicott

Everton got back to winning ways as they registered a third successive victory at Goodison Park by beating Brighton 2-0.

The Toffees took the lead on the hour through Gaetan Bong's own goal and Cenk Tosun then cracked a shot in off the bar in the 76th minute, his second goal in two games.

Brighton were reduced to 10 men four minutes later as Anthony Knockaert was given a straight red card for a wild tackle on Leighton Baines.

Wayne Rooney had the chance to make it 3-0 with an 88th-minute penalty, but Mathew Ryan saved the spot-kick.

Everton are up to ninth in the Premier League, while Brighton - with their five-match unbeaten run in the top-flight over - drop a place to 11th, still seven points above the relegation zone.

Everton went into the contest having lost at Burnley and Watford in their previous two games and with boss Sam Allardyce's position under scrutiny.

Their form on the road has been a major concern, with five successive defeats in the league, but they had won their last two home matches and started this one brightly.

Seamus Coleman sent the ball across the face of goal and wide in the fourth minute, Phil Jagielka's subsequent header was caught by Ryan and Yannick Bolasie then curled a shot off-target.

Everton were winning plenty of corners and it was from one delivered by Gylfi Sigurdsson in the 22nd minute that Bolasie got a foot to the ball at the far post, but he could only divert it into the side-netting.

Brighton's first attempt on goal, three minutes later, saw Glenn Murray unleash a firm shot that Jordan Pickford blocked.

Everton were soon back to bossing possession but struggled to find the same intensity.

Ryan parried a Sigurdsson cross-shot on the half-hour mark, with Bolasie shooting over on the follow-up, and the latter then misdirected a header from a good position.

Brighton, who had produced some decent defensive work, tried their luck on goal again early in the second half as Pascal Gross drilled wide, and the recalled Rooney saw a shot deflect wide off ex-Everton man Shane Duffy.

The hosts then made the breakthrough as Bolasie sent a fine delivery into the box, aimed at Theo Walcott, and the ball went in off Bong's leg.

After Walcott had to come off injured, with Dominic Calevert-Lewin replacing him, Tosun doubled the advantage as he collected the ball from Baines and fired home.

Things got worse for Brighton as Knockaert was dismissed for his lunge on Baines, and referee Roger East then pointed to the spot when Duffy brought down Calvert-Lewin.

Ryan - who also saved a Charlie Adam penalty last month - kept Rooney's resulting effort out by diving to his right but it was scant consolation for the Seagulls as Everton secured all three points.

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