MX23RW : Wednesday, December 19 06:15:45
Mar 10, 2018 at 3pm UK at ​Goodison Park
Attendance: 39,199
BrightonBrighton & Hove Albion
Bong (60' og.), Tosun (76')
FT(HT: 0-0)

Knockaert (80')

Live Commentary: Everton 2-0 Brighton & Hove Albion - as it happened

Relive Everton's 2-0 win over Brighton as the Toffees return to winning ways at Goodison Park, climbing back into the top half of the table in the process.
Live Commentary: Everton 2-0 Brighton - as it happened
© SilverHub

Everton climbed back into the top half of the Premier League table courtesy of a 2-0 victory over Brighton & Hove Albion at Goodison Park this afternoon.

An own goal from Gaetan Bong on the hour mark broke the deadlock in what had been a tight affair up to that stage, but from then on Everton were on top and Cenk Tosun added a second with just under 15 minutes remaining.

Brighton were then reduced to 10 men when Anthony Knockaert's reckless challenge was punished by a straight red card, but Mathew Ryan prevented things getting even worse for the visitors with a late penalty save to deny Wayne Rooney.

Find out how all of the action unfolded courtesy of our minute-by-minute coverage below.

2pmGood afternoon! Thank you very much for joining Sports Mole for today's Premier League clash between Everton and Brighton & Hove Albion at Goodison Park!

These two sides are only separated by goal difference in the table as things stand, but neither are yet safe from relegation and victory today would take them one step closer to that.

There is plenty riding on this one, then, so let's waste no time in getting started with a look at the team news...

2.02pmEVERTON STARTING XI: Pickford; Coleman, Keane, Jagielka, Baines; Rooney, Davies, Walcott, Sigurdsson, Bolasie; Tosun

2.02pmEVERTON SUBS: Robles, Martina, Klaassen, Niasse, Calvert-Lewin, Holgate, Baningime

2.04pmBRIGHTON STARTING XI: Ryan; Schelotto, Duffy, Dunk, Bong; Knockaert, Kayal, Propper, Izquierdo; Gross; Murray

2.04pmBRIGHTON SUBS: Krul, Bruno, Goldson, Suttner, March, Ulloa, Locadia

2.06pmWhat can we make of those two teams, then?

Well, we'll start with the hosts, who notably welcome Wayne Rooney back into their starting lineup this afternoon after the former Manchester United man was dropped against Burnley last weekend.

Rooney looks like he will play in a deeper-lying midfield role, with the trio of Walcott, Sigurdsson and Bolasie in front of him, although Sam Allardyce could also deploy a 4-3-3 system with the players he has chosen today.

Everton striker Wayne Rooney celebrates scoring during his side's Europa League clash with Apollon Limassol at Goodison Park on September 28, 2017© SilverHub

2.08pmWhichever way they line up, there should be plenty of creativity in this Everton side as they look to improve their recent form, with Sigurdsson likely to be their chief creator.

Walcott made a bright start to life at Goodison Park but has gone off the boil a little in the last few weeks, whereas on the other side Bolasie is still perhaps working his way back to full fitness after such a long time out. There is plenty of pace on those wings for Everton today, though.

2.10pmCenk Tosun is once again chosen to lead the line this afternoon, having scored his first Everton goal since his £27m January move to break the deadlock against Burnley last weekend.

Calvert-Lewin drops to the bench as a result, being replaced by Bolasie, while the Toffees will also be without the influential Idrissa Gueye in midfield as he is replaced by the returning Rooney.

2.12pmThere are also two changes in defence for the hosts today, including a long-awaited return for Leighton Baines following a lengthy spell out through injury, replacing Cuco Martina at left-back.

Ashley Williams will serve the first of his three-game ban for his senseless red card against Burnley last weekend, but captain Phil Jagielka makes a timely return to fitness to fill in for him.

2.14pmAs for Brighton, they are able to include Schelotto at right-back despite the wide man being forced off with concussion against Arsenal, following a hefty blow to the head.

Indeed, it is an unchanged back five from that famous win over the Gunners as Duffy, Dunk and Bong also continue in front of Mat Ryan. Dunk, of course, scored against Arsenal and will be hoping to threaten at the sharp end of the field again today.

2.16pmThe man of the moment for Brighton right now is Glenn Murray, though, with the striker finding his scoring touch in recent weeks and establishing himself as one of the in-form players in the top flight.

Murray already has seven Premier League goals this calendar year - only Mohamed Salah and Sergio Aguero have managed more in the entire league - and in all competitions his recent record stands at eight goals in his last 10 outings.

Brighton & Hove Albion striker Glenn Murray in action during his side's Premier League clash with Crystal Palace at the Amex Stadium on November 28, 2017© SilverHub

2.18pmMurray has had a good supply line in that time, though, and Pascal Gross has to be in the conversation for the most unexpected star of this season.

Gross has registered eight Premier League assists already this season, and only Manchester United's Paul Pogba and Man City trio Kevin De Bruyne, Leroy Sane and David Silva have managed more.

2.20pmChris Hughton had no new injury concerns heading into this match, but he has still made one change to the team which beat Arsenal last time out.

That change comes in midfield as Stephens drops out of the starting lineup, with Kayal replacing him in the middle of the park. Knockaert, Propper and Izquierdo do all retain their places in midfield, though, as Brighton stick with their 4-4-1-1 formation.

2.22pmIt is a Brighton team which will come into this match full of confidence, but the same certainly cannot be said of the home side tonight with Everton enduring a poor run of form, and a poor season overall in truth.

The Toffees expected to be pushing for the top six this season considering their summer investment, but with nine games of the season remaining they are in the bottom half of the table and 11 points of sixth-placed Arsenal - not to mention 24 adrift of the top four.

2.24pmIndeed, at the start of this season these two sides would have had very different objectives, but coming into this one they are level on points with Brighton sitting above their hosts today.

Everton should have done enough to avoid relegation this season, but they do still have a bit of work to do in these closing months with two wins still needed to reach the magic 40-point mark.

2.26pmThere is a seven-point gap separating Everton from the relegation zone as things stand, but merely surviving is not enough for the fans this season and the pressure has been beginning to grow on the shoulders of Sam Allardyce.

In many ways Allardyce was fighting from the off as many fans did not want him in the first place due to his style of football, and now that they have suffered a prolonged dip in form there have been serious questions raised over his long-term future.

Everton manager Sam Allardyce at the Premier League match against Chelsea on December 23, 2017© Offside

2.28pmThat dip in form has seen Everton pick up only nine points from the last 33 on offer in the Premier League, after a start which saw them amass 10 from a possible 12 in Allardyce's first four games.

Across all competitions the Toffees have now lost three of their last four and only won two of their last 12, losing seven of those since December 18 - including each of their last two.

2.30pmEverton will need to turn that form around sooner rather than later if they are to avoid being dragged into the relegation zone, and both this match and next time out against Stoke City will be key matches in doing that.

It will get a lot tougher for the Toffees after that as they then face Manchester City and Liverpool, although both of those games do come at home, where they have been much more impressive this season.

2.32pmIndeed, Everton have won their last two home games and have only been beaten once in front of their own fans in their last nine league outings here - that at the hands of Manchester United on New Year's Day.

If only home form counted Everton would be sitting pretty in seventh places having amassed 26 of their 34 points at Goodison, with only the top six having picked up more home points this season.

2.34pmEverton have lost 19 matches so far this season, which is already their most in a campaign since 21 in 2005-06, but the majority of those have come away from home - including each of their last six on the road.

At home Everton have scored more than twice as many goals as they have away, in addition to conceding significantly fewer too. A good omen for this match is also the fact that they have won their last six league home games against newly-promoted teams, and another victory today would give them a run of seven for the first time ever.

2.36pmBrighton have been more impressive than many promoted sides so far this season, though, and they will be delighted with their current position in the Premier League table.

Like Everton, there is still work to do for the Seagulls, but if you had offered them ahead of their first season in the Premier League the chance to be sitting in the top half of the table with nine games of the season remaining, they would have snapped your hand off.

Brighton & Hove Albion manager Chris Hughton watches on during his side's Premier League clash with Crystal Palace at the Amex Stadium on November 28, 2017© SilverHub

2.38pmSo tight is the bottom of the Premier League table that league positions can actually be fairly deceptive at the moment, and 10th place certainly does not mean that Brighton are safe at the moment, but they do have a healthy lead over those in deeper trouble.

Brighton still need two wins to reach the coveted 40-point mark, but with seven points separating them from the bottom three and only nine games remaining, they should be relatively safe barring a big collapse.

2.40pmThe main concern for Brighton will be that they have a very difficult run-in, with all of the current top four still to play between now and the end of the season - in addition to an FA Cup match against Manchester United next weekend.

That said, Brighton are coming into this match off the back of a big win over Arsenal - their first ever Premier League triumph over one of the 'big six'. It was a deserved win too, with Dunk and Murray helping to pile more misery on the Gunners.

2.42pmThat win was a third in a row for Brighton across all competitions, and another this afternoon would make it four on the bounce for the first time this season - and what a time to do it too.

The Seagulls' unbeaten run now stretches back seven games, with five wins in that time stretching back to January 20. It is a brilliant run of form for a team who expected to be fighting for their lives until the very end, and another win here could just be enough to see them safe.

2.44pmIn the Premier League alone Brighton are now five games unbeaten, including wins in their last two against Swansea and Arsenal - the first time they have recorded back-to-back wins in the Premier League.

You have to go back to May 1981 for the last time Brighton won three top-flight games on the bounce, while even a draw today would see them go six top-flight games unbeaten for the first time since November 1981.

2.46pmConsidering Brighton had only won one of their 13 Premier League games prior to this recent run, it is a major upturn in form for the Seagulls, although there are of course still improvements which could be made.

Chief among those is defensively - an area where Brighton have been good for most of the season but could still do better. Only Burnley have conceded fewer goals outside the top five this season, but Brighton are also still without a clean sheet in the Premier League this calendar year, failing to keep one in any of the eight games since their goalless draw with Newcastle on December 30.

2.48pmThe majority of Brighton's best results have come at the Amex too, and despite their overall good form the Seagulls make the trip to Merseyside today having won just one of their last nine away games in all competitions - although they are unbeaten in three too, which is their longest such run since January 2017.

In the Premier League Brighton have gone eight away games without a win, picking up only three points from the 24 on offer, and stretching back to their last spell in the top flight they have won just two of their last 21 away outings at this level.

Indeed, only Everton, Stoke and West Brom have picked up fewer points on their travels this season, while no team has managed fewer goals than Brighton's seven.

2.50pmPREDICTION: Right, we're 10 minutes away from kickoff at Goodison Park now, which means that it is time for a prediction!

The formbook points to a Brighton win today, and they will certainly be full of confidence heading into this match, but it is hard to ignore their dreadful away record, whereas Everton have been much better at home. I'm going for a home win, despite Everton's recent troubles.

SPORTS MOLE SAYS: Everton 2-0 Brighton

2.52pmThese to sides have only ever met on 12 previous occasions, and Everton have enjoyed the better of their past clashes with Brighton having only won two of those.

In the league there have only been nine meetings in the past, with Everton winning four of those, with four draws and just one defeat in that time - the solitary loss coming in February 1982 when Brighton ran out 3-1 winners at home.

2.54pmThe Seagulls have never won here at Goodison Park from their five previous visits, although both of their draws at this stadium have come in their two most recent league visits.

Most recent could be fairly misleading there, though, as the last of those came in October 1982, with Everton were held to a 2-2 draw by Brighton here at Goodison.

2.56pmThe spoils were also shared when these two sides met in the reverse fixture earlier this season, and there was plenty of late drama in that October clash at the Amex.

Anthony Knockaert thought he had done enough to give Brighton all three points with his 82nd-minute opener, but Wayne Rooney rescued a point for the Toffees with a stoppage-time penalty.

2.58pmRight, the players are out and we're just about ready to get started here! Let's have a quick reminder of the team news before kickoff...

EVERTON STARTING XI: Pickford; Coleman, Keane, Jagielka, Baines; Rooney, Davies, Walcott, Sigurdsson, Bolasie; Tosun

BRIGHTON STARTING XI: Ryan; Schelotto, Duffy, Dunk, Bong; Knockaert, Kayal, Propper, Izquierdo; Gross; Murray

1 minKICKOFF: Here we go, then! We're underway at Goodison!

3 minUPDATE: There has been a very early goal elsewhere in the Premier League, with Kenedy giving Newcastle the lead against Southampton in their relegation battle.

5 minEverton have applied most of the early pressure in this match so far, settling into the game quickly and preventing Brighton from really getting hold of the ball so far.

7 minEverton win an early corner here, which is a route Brighton have struggled with this season.

8 minCHANCE! Sure enough, Jagielka is left alone to get a run on the ball and climbs highest to meet the resulting delivery, but his header is straight at the keeper.

10 minEverton have made a good, confident start to this match, which is perhaps not what you would have expected considering their recent form and the nature of their defeat last time out. The crowd is getting behind them too.

12 minBrighton are happy to let Everton see the lion's share of possession here - 70% so far - as they look to make themselves compact and then hit Everton on the break when the chance arrives.

13 minSHOT! Good work from Sigurdsson as he skips away from a defender before poking the ball in to Bolasie, but his long-range effort is high and wide of the target.

15 minRooney tries to pick out the run of Walcott behind the defence, but Bong watches it all the way and glances his header behind for another Everton corner.

17 minEverton are asking some real questions over the Brighton defence at the moment, bombarding the box with crosses. The visitors are holding firm so far, though.

19 minBaines plays a really good long ball forward into the box, but it is a difficult one for Bolasie to bring down and the ball eventually ends up in the arms of Ryan. It is wave after wave of Everton attack at the moment, though.

20 minWalcott almost gets on the end of a cross from Baines into the box, but Bong defends it well and safely sees it away to safety.

22 minUPDATE: Bottom-of-the-table West Brom had taken the lead against Leicester through Rondon, but the Foxes have now levelled things up courtesy of a Vardy equaliser. Elsewhere, Swansea are already down to 10 men following a red card for Andre Ayew.

22 minCLOSE! Everton are very close to an unorthodox opener here! Ryan comes for a corner but gets nowhere near it, and Bolasie does really well to stick out a leg and divert it towards goal under pressure from a defender. He almost sneaks it in too, but it just ripples the side-netting on its way behind.

24 minConcern for Everton here as Sigurdsson goes down off the ball with what looks like a knee problem. He may not be able to continue here.

25 minIt was a very innocuous moment which led to that injury - and those can often be the worst - but Sigurdsson is back on his feet now and will try to soldier on.

25 minSAVE! Brighton finally have their first shot of the game, and it is no surprise that Murray fires it off. The ball broke to him around 25 yards from goal and his rasping drive stung the palms of Pickford.

27 minEverton make two breaks into the Brighton box in quick succession - the latter of which sees Davies brought down inside the area - but the referee has no penalty as Brighton once again repel the danger.

29 minSAVE! Rooney spreads the ball out wide to Sigurdsson, who is in acres of space, and his fierce cross is palmed away by the keeper. It only goes as far as Bolasie, but he slices his follow-up volley over the crossbar.

31 minEverton have dominated this opening half an hour, and the only thing missing for the home side so far has been an opening goal. Brighton have been hanging on almost since the first whistle, though.

33 minUPDATE: Newcastle have a second against Southampton, and it is Kenedy who has doubled his personal tally! They have a 2-0 lead over the Saints now.

34 minCHANCE! Half a chance for Bolasie as a Brighton defender can only flick a free kick on into an even more dangerous position. Bolasie skips in behind the defence, but can only steer his header wide of the far post.

36 minI'm sure Chris Hughton would be content with a point today, but he will also want to see more from his side going forward. A long-range Murray effort is all they have mustered in this game so far.

38 minBrighton are dealing with Everton well in open play, but they still look shaky when defending set pieces. Everton win their eighth corner of the match here, but Duffy deals with this one.

40 minA mistake from Keane almost opens the door for Brighton to create a rare sight of goal, but Jagielka is across to mop up the danger.

42 minWell, Everton have enjoyed the vast majority of the possession in the first half, but Ryan is yet to be forced into a meaningful save. Indeed, Pickford has made the most difficult save of the game so far from Brighton's only attempt.

44 minEverton started this match brightly, but it has all gone a bit flat at the moment. Brighton will be delighted with that, but the hosts need to up the tempo a bit in the second half if they are to disrupt Brighton's shape.

45+1 minThere will be a minimum of one minute added time at the end of this first half.

45+1 minHALF TIME: Everton 0-0 Brighton

3.58pmThe first half comes to an end at Goodison Park, and in truth it hasn't been the best game you will see in the Premier League this season.

Everton have dominated the possession with Brighton content to sit back, but clear-cut chances have been very few and far between at both ends of the field. Everton have looked the most likely to break the deadlock, but it is Brighton who registered the only shot on target of that first half.

4pmThat shot arrived from the in-form Glenn Murray, who has been starved of space for the most part this afternoon but almost made the most of the one sniff of a chance.

The ball fell to the striker around 25 yards from goal and he only had one thought in his mind as he released a powerful effort which stung the palms of Pickford. It was a fairly routine save for Pickford, and one he would expect to make, but it was still a decent hit from Murray.

4.02pmEverton have also come close on a few occasions, but they are yet to force Mat Ryan into a serious save despite all of their possession.

Bolasie has looked the most likely to break the deadlock having threatened on three separate occasions so far today, while Sigurdsson drew what is the closest we have seen to a Ryan save so far with a wicked cross that needed to be palmed away.

46 minKICKOFF: Brighton get us back underway for the second half at Goodison!

47 minAn early shout for an Everton penalty in this second half as Coleman bursts forward on the underlap before going down under the challenge of Dunk, but the referee is right to only point for a goal kick.

49 minBetter from Brighton as they see more of the ball in the opening stages of this second half, but a loose pass from Schelotto suddenly allows Everton to break. Walcott is played through down the right, but his eventual pass is just behind Davies and that allows Dunk to wrap his foot around and make an important challenge.

51 minBaines releases Bolasie down the left flank and the winger shows some good feet to create space for a cross. His delivery has too much on it for the two men in the middle, though and goes straight behind for a goal kick.

53 minIt may only be the early stages of the second half, but Brighton have seen 70% of the possession since the interval - a huge swing. The visitors are growing in confidence here.

55 minIt has been a scrappy start to this second half, which again will suit Brighton more than it will Everton. the hosts are in danger of letting this one just slip out of their grip a little.

57 minUPDATE: It is turning into a miserable afternoon for Southampton, who are now 3-0 down against relegation rivals Newcastle. Matt Ritchie has got the third for the Magpies.

59 minPoor from Rooney now as he plays the ball straight out of play when looking for Baines. Sloppy again from the hosts.

60 minGOAL! Everton 1-0 Brighton (Gaetan Bong, own goal)

60 minThey haven't been at their best at the start of this second half, but Everton have the lead on the hour mark!

It is really poor defending from Brighton as they allow Bolasie to cut inside from the left flank completely unopposed. The winger has the time and space to pick out a cross to the back post, where Walcott has peeled off Bong. Bong is too relaxed when looking to deal with the danger, and the final touch may well come off the defender last as Walcott looks to volley it home.

62 minBetter from Brighton as they come forward looking for a quick response to that goal. That Everton goal could be exactly what this game needed.

63 minEverton threaten again from a similar avenue which led to their opener. Bolasie is again given the space to cross to the back post, and this time Bong allows the ball to drift over his head and reach Walcott. Walcott turns it back into the middle, but Ryan pushes it away.

65 minThat goal looks like it will go down as an own goal from Bong - Walcott was in close attendance but after viewing a few replays it looks as though the final touch came off the shin of Bong.

67 minBolasie is having a growing influence on this game now, and Everton are looking a lot more dangerous as a result. Brighton seem to be terrified of getting too close to him.

69 minBRIGHTON SUB: Change from the visitors here as Jurgen Locadia replaces Kayal.

69 minCHANCE! Almost an immediate impact from Locadia as a cross into the box is only cleared as far as the sub, but Coleman is quick out to him and makes an important block.

70 minA moment of panic for Tosun as he gets an attempted clearance all wrong, slicing it up and thankfully into the arms of Pickford.

72 minWalcott needs some treatment here after being caught when trying to cut inside from a Sigurdsson pass. He looks in some pain.

73 minEVERTON SUB: Walcott will not be able to continue here as he is replaced by Dominic Calvert-Lewin.

74 minSHOT! Better from Brighton, but the end product is disappointing as Knockaert curls his effort a long way off target from just outside the area.

76 minGOAL! Everton 2-0 Brighton (Cenk Tosun)

76 minBrighton have given Everton too much room on a couple of occasions in this second half, and they have again been punished here.

It is a first Goodison Park goal for Tosun here as Baines and Calvert-Lewin play a one-two before the former picks out Tosun in space just inside the box. There is an element of fortune about his finish as it takes a deflection before crashing in off the underside of the crossbar.

78 minBRIGHTON SUB: The visitors make a change in the immediate aftermath of that goal as Leonardo Ulloa replaces Murray.

78 minEVERTON SUB: Everton also make a change, with Bolasie being replaced by Mason Holgate.

79 minCLOSE! How about this for audacity! Straight from kickoff Gross spots Pickford off his line and tries to lob him from the centre circle, but his effort floats just wide.

80 minRED CARD! Anthony Knockaert (Brighton)

80 minAbsolute madness from Knockaert, who deservedly gets a straight red card for a ridiculous challenge on Baines.

The Brighton man was caught with a ball to the head moments prior, and then he dives in two footed, shin high on Baines. There isn't much contact, but the red card is the right decision.

82 minBRIGHTON SUB: Brighton are also forced into a change here as Markus Suttner replaces the injured Bong.

84 minEVERTON SUB: Everton also make a change, and it is a rare appearance for Davy Klaassen.


88 minSAVED! Wayne Rooney misses!

88 minCalvert-Lewin wins a penalty for Everton following a push in the back and Rooney lines up to take the spot kick, but his powerful low effort is brilliantly saved by Ryan.

90 minThere will be four minutes of added time at the end of this match.

90+1 minSAVE! Chance for Brighton to give themselves a slither of late hope here as a poor pass from Holgate releases Ulloa, who holds the ball before finding Gross in support. The midfielder's subsequent shot is good, but Pickford parries it away.

90+4 minFULL TIME: Everton 2-0 Brighton

5.08pmIt is all over at Goodison Park, then, and it is a deserved win for the hosts as they climb back up into the top half of the table courtesy of a comfortable 2-0 win over Brighton.

It could have gone either way until a Gaetan Bong own goal broke the deadlock on the hour mark, but from then on Everton deserved their win, with Tosun adding a second before Knockaert was shown a straight red card for the visitors.

It could have been even worse for Brighton too as Everton were awarded a late penalty, but Rooney saw his spot kick very well saved.

5.10pmRight, that is all we have time for this afternoon!

Thank you very much for joining Sports Mole for this match as Everton leapfrog Brighton in the table courtesy of a 2-0 win at Goodison. I will leave you with our match report, and be sure to stick around for reaction too.

From me, though, it is goodbye for now!

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Brighton manager Chris Hughton reacts during his side's Premier League clash with Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium on October 1, 2017
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