04/11/2023 0comments  |  Jump to last
Everton 1 - 1 Brighton

Vitalii Mykolenko scored his first goal of the season but it was cancelled out late on

Everton had to settle for a point at Goodison Park as Brighton finally made the breakthrough their dominance of possession suggested they might but with a heavily deflected goal via the thigh of Ashley Young.

The Blues had led since the seventh minute when a deflected effort by Vitalii Mykolenko beat Bart Verbruggen in the Seagulls' goal and were relieved to see Lewis Dunk's impressive volley ruled out for offside later in the first half, but they couldn't fashion another goal and were undone six minutes short of a hard-earned victory.

Everton started strongly, with their dilligent press trying to force mistakes from Brighton's back line but it was from a standard attack that the hosts almost took the lead in the third minute.

Dwight McNeil's cross came off James Milner and Adboulaye Doucouré hammered a volley from close range that Verbruggen parried away but the opening goal came just four minutes later from a similar position.

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Mykolenko had done superbly to win the ball inside the visitors' half and he continued his run to be in the right place when McNeil's cross came off Jan Paul van Hecke. The Ukrainian's first shot with his left foot was blocked by the keeper but when he rattled the rebound goalward with his right, it diverted up off Dunk's out-stretched leg and into the roof of the net.

Simon Adingra dragged a shot wide as Brighton threatened for the first time and when Jarrad Branthwaite was adjudged to have fouled the Ivorian a few minutes later, Everton were remiss in leaving Dunk free to smash a first-time effort in off the underside of Jordan Pickford's crossbar.

A long delay for another forensic review by Video Assistant Referee Michael Oliver ensued before Dunk was ruled to have been fractionally offside and the hosts breathed a sigh of relief.

Dominic Calvert-Lewin was felled just outside the Brighton box and James Garner curled the resulting free-kick a yard or so over in the 24th minute and, on the half-hour mark, Calvert-Lewin surged away on the counter-attack with Doucouré but he went on his own and screwed a poor shot well off target.

Then, as half-time approached, McNeil went down in the opposition penalty area under a challenge from Van Hecke but the officials determined that the Dutchman had been knocked into the Toffees' winger before flattening him as he tried to drive towards goal.

Brighton had controlled the ball in the first half, enjoying over 80% possession but they found Everton almost impossible to get through and had just one shot on target to show for their efforts by the halfway stage. 

Roberto de Zerbi's men increased the pressure in the second half and, with their hosts struggled to carry the same threat on the counter, it was largely one-way traffic until the final quarter of an hour.

Doucouré chased Billy Gilmour down to the edge of Everton's box and tripped him unnecessarily setting up a direct free-kick opportunity for Dunk but Pickford flew across goal to push the defender's effort over.

Midway through the half, Christian Gross fired over from around 15 yards out and James Tarkowski did well to charge down a shot from substitute Joao Pedro as Brighton couter-attacked with purpose but it was almost 2-0 with 15 minutes left.

Jack Harrison cut inside and the ball broke to McNeil who set himself and drilled a shot that flew a few inches the wrong side of Verbruggen's left-hand post.

A minute later, Doucouré powered into the box and tried to centre it for Calvert-Lewin but it was cut out and then, as the game moved into the final 10 minute, Calvert-Lewin appeared to be hauled down in the area but despite yet more howls for a penalty, nothing was given.

The contest had become more combative in the closing stages, but on the one occasion that Young afforded Kaoru Mitoma too much space down Brighton’s left, the Japanese profited.

Driving past Harrison, Mitoma attempted to swing the ball in and it took a wicked deflection off Young and  Pickford couldn't keep it out as it spun over his out-stretched glove. 

Tarkowski had a late chance from a corner from the left but headed straight at the keeper and, after four minutes of added time, the referee called time with the spoils shared.


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