Brighton and Hove Albion dominated possession and showed impressive resilience as they battled back to a 1-1 Premier League draw at Everton
Ashley Young’s unfortunate own goal denied Everton a sixth win in eight matches as a determined Brighton snatched a late leveller at Goodison Park.
Defender Vitalii Mykolenko looked like being an unlikely match-winner with his first goal in 18 months until Kaoru Mitoma’s cross took a freakish deflection off the Toffees’ other full-back with six minutes remaining.
Having taken the lead, Everton tried to keep Roberto De Zerbi’s team at bay and were assisted by VAR ruling out Lewis Dunk’s first half strike for offside and also a good save by Jordan Pickford to deny the Seagulls captain.
Brighton, who have taken just three points from the last 15 available, enjoyed 90 percent possession in the opening 10 minutes but Everton had already managed three shots on target, two of those from Mykolenko in the attack which led to his goal.
Joao Pedro’s second-half introduction for Adam Lallana gave Brighton a better option going forward but even then they did not properly threaten, with Pickford’s first genuine save coming in the 55th minute when he tipped over Dunk’s free-kick. But he could not reach the wickedly dipping ball which sailed over him from Mitoma via Young.
Here’s how the players rated…
Bart Verbruggen – Not tested much as Everton sat deep. Poor goalkeeping for Everton’s goal, pushing the ball back into the danger zone for Mykolenko to have a second bite at the cherry. Always risky distribution, as is the De Zerbi way. 6/10.
Joel Veltman – Relatively solid. Does the run-of-the-mill things very well but should have stopped the cross into the box for Everton’s goal. Got away with a blatant push in the back on McNeil, who was racing in behind. Made a great last-man tackle to stop McNeil inside the box. 6/10.
Lewis Dunk – Quality from the captain. Technical on the ball, strong off the ball. Won it back high on multiple occasions to keep the pressure on Everton. Had an exquisite volley in-off-the bar ruled out for offside by the joyless VAR, for the finest of margins. Made some lovely sweeping passes out to Adingra. Forced a good save from Pickford with a vintage knuckleball free-kick. 7/10.
Jan Paul van Hecke – No two ways about it; he was at fault for the Everton goal. Lost his man Mykolenko inside the box, who had enough time and space to have TWO shots on goal from six yards out. Always looks like he’s got a mistake or two in him. Cut a frustrated figure at times. 6/10.
Pascal Gross – The German was deployed in a hybrid inverted left-back role by the ever-tactical De Zerbi. It didn’t really work and was abandoned at half-time. Had enough of the ball but failed to break down the well-organized Everton 4-5-1. Missed a great opportunity, skying the ball from 10 yards out. 6/10.
Simon Adingra – Tough afternoon for the young 21-year-old Ivorian winger, who was constantly crowded out and doubled up on by the Burnley-esque Everton setup. Failed to produce an end product and struggled against the dogged Mykolenko. 6/10.
James Milner – Deployed on the left-wing. No pace but a ton of experience. Rarely did anything wrong, but you couldn’t help feeling Ansu Fati would have been a better option to get at the aging Ashley Young. Moved into left-back in the second half. Subbed off late on. 6-10
Billy Gilmour – A poor afternoon for the Scotsman. Was always looking to get on the ball, but many of his passes were backward or sideways. Was hooked off after 65 minutes for Dahoud, who got the assist for the equalizer. 6/10.
Kaoru Mitoma – A quiet game by his high standards. Had the beating of Ashley Young all day in a one-on-one but was crowded out a lot of the time. Made up for it by forcing the equalizer in the last 10 minutes when Brighton looked like they were going home with nothing. 7/10.
Adam Lallana – Tough afternoon for the former Liverpool man. Not given much space to operate and struggled to turn and make something happen. Subbed off at half-time for Joao Pedro. 5/10.
Evan Ferguson – Showed some good hold-up play to bring others into the game but was given little space by the compact and aggressive Everton defence. Used his body well to protect the ball. Subbed off for Fati in the second half. 6/10.
Ansu Fati – Subbed on for Ferguson. Played just behind Joao Pedro. Came on and brought a spark, showing his ability to beat men and get in behind. A case could be made that he should have started. 6/10.
Joao Pedro – Subbed on at half-time for Lallana. Struggled to make a mark on the game. Failed to finish off a great opportunity following a swift Albion counter-attack, which started from some risky but clever play from Verbruggen in goal. 5/10.
Mahmoud Dahoud – Subbed on for Gilmour in a bid to bring more spark and positivity into the middle of the park, and that he did when he got the assist for Mitoma with a lovely switch of the play. Has made a case to be starting the next game. 7/10. Facundo Buonanotte – Subbed on late for Milner as De Zerbi threw caution to the wind in search of an equalizer. N/A. Igor Julio – Subbed on late. N/A.