Brighton 1-0 Everton: Jurgen Locadia goal seals victory
Report and highlights as Brighton clinch first win in five games
By Ben Grounds
Last Updated: 29/12/18 6:52pm
Jurgen Locadia's instinctive 59th-minute strike was enough to seal a hard-fought 1-0 victory for Brighton against Everton at the AMEX Stadium.
The Dutchman had scored just once in his first 18 appearances for the Seagulls, but his second goal in as many games was enough to end a four-match winless run for the hosts.
Brighton: Button (7), Duffy (7), Dunk (8), Montoya (7), Bernardo (7), Stephens (6), Gross (6), March (7), Propper (6), Andone (7), Locadia (7).
Subs: Murray (6).
Everton: Pickford (7), Digne (6), Coleman (6), Keane (6), Zouma (6), Mina (5), Gueye (6), Gomes (5), Walcott (5), Bernard (6), Richarlison (6).
Subs: Sigurdsson (6), Niasse (5), Calvert-Lewin (5).
Man of the match: Lewis Dunk.
Everton struck the woodwork on two occasions as Richarlison and Kurt Zouma were both denied as they searched for an equaliser in the second period.
The result consolidates Brighton's position in 13th, but they are just two points off Everton in 10th. It was the perfect gift for manager Chris Hughton, two days shy of celebrating his fourth anniversary in charge of Brighton.
David Button replaced Mat Ryan in goal for Brighton while Hughton also opted to recall striker Florin Andone in place of Glenn Murray. Lewis Dunk was back from suspension and straight into the side in place of Leon Balogun, who dropped to the bench.
Everton made two changes to the side that beat Burnley as Idrissa Gueye and Richarlison returned while Gylfi Sigurdsson and Dominic Calvert-Lewin dropped to the bench.
The hosts were without a win since beating Crystal Palace at the start of the month, and they rode their luck at times to deny an Everton side that failed to sparkle as they had in beating Burnley 5-1 on Boxing Day.
Jordan Pickford did well to punch clear under pressure from Florin Andone after an inviting low cross from Pascal Gross before Yerry Mina blocked Locadia's follow-up in Brighton's only chance of the first half.
Everton lacked a cutting edge after failing to capitalise on a mistake by David Button on his first Premier League start, with the goalkeeper spilling Theo Walcott's cross but Richarlison could not take advantage, with Shane Duffy clearing his shot off the line.
Moments later, an error from Duffy allowed the lively Richarlison to run through on goal, but his shot was parried by Button before Seamus Coleman's rebound was blocked by Lewis Dunk.
The interval came at a good time for Brighton, who re-emerged with far greater energy and penetration. A sharp turn from Davy Propper resulted in Zouma being forced into a last-ditch tackle on Andone.
Pickford was then forced into a smart save to deny Andone with a close-range header from Gross' cross, but he was powerless to keep the ball out from Brighton's next corner.
Gross' delivery was inadvertently directed into the path of Locadia by Andre Gomes, and the former PSV Eindhoven striker swivelled to shoot past the England goalkeeper. Referee Andrew Madley initially ruled the goal out for offside, but after consulting his assistant, the correct decision was made.
Everton immediately came within inches of an equaliser as Richarlison's shot went through the legs of Bernardo, but was brilliantly tipped onto the post by Button.
Silva introduced Gylfi Sigurdsson and the Iceland midfielder's free-kick with three minutes remaining found Zouma, but the Chelsea loanee could only crash his header against the crossbar as Brighton stood firm.
Chris Hughton: "Your first thought when you see the flag go up is that it's been disallowed. When you're that far away, you're not quite sure what's happened. But it very quickly became obvious to everybody, and the reaction of our players that it had come off their player.
"There will be numerous incidents where the referee is in the wrong place - even when the reaction of our players says it should go in our favour. If you don't see it, it's very difficult to give it, so it was very good officiating."
Marco Silva: "We were unlucky with the deflection off Andre and it gave the chance to Locadia. We had control for the rest of the game, but that's football. They scored one goal and we didn't score with our chances.
"It was a tough match but not with great intensity. It was not our best performance with the ball, but in the last 15 minutes, we were more ourselves, and we know they are strong with the set pieces. We had the ball, but we didn't create big chances."
Paul Merson: "It was a slightly fortuitous winner, but it was great refereeing. Brighton are just phenomenal at what they do, to be where they are in the league.
"I thought Everton were poor. I don't know if Silva made the right decision putting Sigurdsson on the bench. For me, he's the first name on the team sheet and then you go from there.
"If I was an Everton fan and I was travelling there after Christmas, travelling all that way and you're not playing Sigurdsson, I'd want my money back."
- Brighton have only lost two of their last 13 Premier League games on home soil (W6 D5), scoring at least once in each fixture.
- Everton are without a win in each of their last eight Premier League away games against south coast teams (D3 L5), since a 3-0 victory against Southampton in August 2015.
- This was Brighton manager Chris Hughton's first Premier League win against Everton since February 2013 (2-1 in charge of Norwich), having lost each of his previous five such games before today (D2 L3).
- Brighton kept their first clean sheet in the Premier League since October (1-0 v Wolves), ending a run of nine consecutive games without one.
- Everton haven't won back-to-back away games in the Premier League since September 2016 (under Ronald Koeman).
- Jurgen Locadia has scored in each of his last two Premier League appearances for Brighton, one more than he netted in his first 18 outings in the competition (1).
- Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford has conceded 15 goals in the Premier League in December, as many as he had in August, September, October and November of this season combined (15).
Man of the match - Lewis Dunk
Everton came into the game full of confidence after a five-star display at Burnley. But Marco Silva tinkered with a winning line-up as Richarlison was recalled.
The Brazilian was unfortunate not to score during a period of dominance in the opening period, but his growing frustration was largely due to the presence of Dunk, on his return to the side following suspension.
It is no coincidence the Seagulls celebrated their first Premier League win in five games with Dunk back alongside Shane Duffy, with the centre-back winning countless aerial balls and making crucial blocks as Brighton kept a first clean sheet in 10 games.
Everton host Leicester, live on Sky Sports Main Event and Sky Sports Premier League, on New Year's Day (kick-off: 12.30pm) while Brighton travel to face West Ham on January 2.