Everton 1-1 Brighton. Ashley Young’s unfortunate own goal allowed Brighton to salvage a late Premier League point at Everton.
The visitors were being contained by a resolute Everton backline before Kaoru Mitoma’s cross from the left on 84 minutes took a deflection off Young and looped in over Jordan Pickford.
It was a cruel finish to the game for Sean Dyche’s side, who had snuffed out the danger for most of the game but were unable to cling on to the lead given them by Vitaliy Mykolenko’s early goal.
Ukraine full-back Mykolenko fired home a strike which deflected in off Lewis Dunk at the near post after only seven minutes, when the visitors could not clear his initial effort.
Brighton captain Dunk thought he had made amends with a stunning volley from Pascal Gross’ free-kick, but the effort was ruled out by VAR for offside.
The visiting centre-half also forced Jordan Pickford into a fine save in the second period with a dipping free-kick, before Young’s unlucky intervention gave them a draw.
Dyche will be left irritated that his side could not cling on to all three points, but this was another promising performance from an Everton side that were so hapless at the start of the season.
The manager was adamant they were heading in the right direction, despite losing four of their first five games – drawing the other at Sheffield United – and scoring only two goals.
And Everton have indeed turned the corner, suffering defeat in only two their past eight games and also progressing to the Carabao Cup quarter-finals on Wednesday night.
The Toffees’ trip to Brighton last season saw them claim arguably the most surprising result of the campaign as they came away with a thumping 5-1 victory, and this game back on home soil looked to be going in their favour too.
Mykolenko’s early goal, reacting quickest after his first shot was kept out by Brighton goalkeeper Bart Verbruggen, put them on course for back-to-back league wins for the first time in 13 months.
They had only 20% possession but offered more of a goal threat and could have had more but Abdoulaye Doucoure, fresh off committing his future to the club until 2025, saw his thumping volley pushed away by Verbruggen.
James Garner curled a free-kick over and the imposing Dominic Calvert-Lewin dragged wide, while Dwight McNeil fired a low drive narrowly off target in the second half.
The hosts managed to shackle Brighton’s attacking threat with the colossal Jarrad Branthwaite subduing teenage striker Evan Ferguson, who failed to make an impact before being substituted in the second half.
But with time running out, the fleet-footed Mitoma turned right and left before his cross into the box struck Young’s knee and sailed over Pickford almost in slow motion before nestling in the back of the net.
After a thrilling first season under Roberto de Zerbi in which they qualified for the Europa League, the Seagulls have hit a sticky patch this term, now winning just one of their last eight games in all competitions.
They may have felt aggrieved in the first half when Dunk looked to have equalised with a superb strike, but the celebrations were cut short after VAR adjudged him to be marginally offside.
Brighton have had injuries to key players such as Pervis Estupinan, Danny Welbeck and Solly March to deal with but their off-colour form will be of concern to the Italian manager.
Source – BBC