Jurgen Locadia scored his second goal in as many games to help Brighton and Hove Albion to a 1-0 home win over Everton as Chris Hughton’s side claimed all three points in a Premier League game for the first time in five attempts.
Everton went into the game having thrashed Burnley 5-1 on Boxing Day, but struggled to break down a resolute Seagulls defence, despite having Richarlison back in their starting line-up.
The Brazilian forward missed the best chance of the first half after Brighton’s second-choice goalkeeper David Button, playing in the absence of Mat Ryan, fumbled the ball in the box and the home side seemed to gain confidence from each failed Everton attack.
The visitors thought Locadia was offside when he stroked the ball in from close range, but referee Andrew Madley correctly allowed the goal to stand as Everton came unstuck as they aimed for back-to-back league wins for the first time since October.
Florin Andone had a chance to give Brighton the lead when Pascal Gross whipped in a dangerous cross, but Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford bravely charged the ball down and pushed it away before the Romanian could strike.
Button spilled a cross before the ball dropped to Richarlison to take a shot at Brighton’s goal, but Shane Duffy was on hand to block the attempt, and Seamus Coleman missed another Everton chance from 15 yards moments later.
Kurt Zouma’s superb sliding tackle on Andone denied the Brighton striker when he went through on goal four minutes into the second half and Pickford made a brilliant reaction save to keep the same player from scoring moments later.
Brighton, though, did take the lead just before the hour mark when a corner bounced off the legs of Everton’s Andre Gomes and fell to Locadia, who gleefully swept it into the corner of the net from inside the six-yard box.
Richarlison hit the post with a low shot from 12 yards as Everton responded and Zouma crashed a header against the crossbar in the last five minutes, but there was to be no comeback for Marco Silva’s below-par side as the points stayed on the south coast.
It’s all over and Albion end 2018 in style…
— Brighton & Hove Albion ️ (@OfficialBHAFC) December 29, 2018
What does it mean? Brighton end the year on a high
Brighton remain in the bottom half of the Premier League table, but will be delighted to have gone two matches unbeaten after a run of three defeats earlier in the month. Everton, meanwhile, have won just one of their last seven.
Locadia swoops again for Seagulls
In a tight, niggly game there was a sense that the odd goal was always going to settle it and Locadia, fresh from scoring his first of the season against Arsenal, made no mistake when the opportunity fell to him at point-blank range.
Frustration gets to hot-headed Bernard
Everton’s front three of Theo Walcott, Richarlison and Bernard had enough quality to beat Brighton, but the latter’s performance was more notable for his outbursts at the referee than his efforts on the ball.
Key Opta Facts
– 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 (a 2-1 victory when in charge of Norwich), having lost each of his previous five such games (D2 L3).
– Brighton kept their first clean sheet in the Premier League since October (a 1-0 win v Wolves), ending a run of nine consecutive games without one.
– Everton have not won back-to-back away games in the Premier League since September 2016 (under Ronald Koeman).
– Everton goalkeeper 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).
Everton will hope to make amends for a 6-2 home defeat to Tottenham when they entertain Leicester City on New Year’s Day, before Brighton travel to West Ham for an evening kick-off the following day.
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