Despite a late Wayne Rooney goal from the penalty spot, Everton’s search for a win away from home in the Premier League goes on.
The Blues have now gone 11 away games without a win and looked certain to suffer another defeat when Anthony Knockaert gave Brighton and Hove Albion the lead with less than ten minutes to play.
Clever play from Bruno and Pascal Gross on the right-hand side allowed the home side to get a dangerous cross into the Everton box. Jose Izquierdo’s shot was blocked Michael Keane but the Frenchman Knockaert was waiting to put the ball beyond Jordan Pickford to give the home side the lead.
Ronald Koeman’s side last win away from home came against Crystal Palace last January thanks to a late Seamus Coleman goal and they required another late goal down at The Amex Stadium to spare their blushes this time around.
Kevin Mirallas broke away as Everton defended a free-kick on their own 18-yard box and the Belgian was brought down as he charged into the Seagulls half. Winning their own free-kick, Gyfi Sigurdsson lifted a ball into the box, looking for Dominic Calvert-Lewin.
The young forward was elbowed in the jaw by Bruno and referee Michael Oliver subsequently pointed to the spot. However, the Spaniard escaped what looked a certain red card as Oliver deemed only a yellow as necessary.
Rooney confidently rolled the ball past Matthew Ryan to spare the Blues blushes.
Everton could have won the game late if not for the heroics of Ryan. The Australian’s magnificent double save, first from Nikola Vlasic and then Mirallas, saved the home side from a potential late blow.
Blues dominate early going
The Blues dominated the early proceedings but were unable to make their dominance in possession count. Sigurdsson carved out the best chance for the away side but directed his shot straight at Ryan.
Chris Hughton’s side seemed set in letting Everton play on the ball and looked to hit the visitors on the counter-attack, utilising the pace of Knockaert and Gross to cause Koeman’s side problems.
Yet, the Dutchman's side looked more resolute than in recent weeks, confidently hoovering up loose passes and not allowing easy passes in to their 18-yard box.
Idrissa Gana Gueye had a number of chances early on. Firstly forcing Ryan into a low save that forced a corner. Another in a counter-attack where he bent his shot just wide of the Australian’s left-hand post.
Both of Gueye’s effort came from the creative spark of Vlasic. However, Everton’s bright spark was unable to find the net, or his footing as he continually slipped over the Amex pitch.
The home side grew into the first half and the game as time went on. Lewis Dunk had a goal-bound effort cleared off the line by Keane after a scramble in the Everton 18-yard box following yet another deflected effort from Knockaert.
Despite a number of late chances for each side, neither side would break the deadlock in the first half.
Home side make late chances count
The game could have taken a different turn had it not been for referee Michael Oliver. The Northumberland born official missed two shouts from Everton - firstly on a potential red card for Davy Propper and later for a penalty for Gylfi Sigurdsson.
Before being replaced by Oumar Niasse, Gueye was fouled by Propper as he looked to launch on a counter attack. Initially, the challenge looked like a normal fifty-fifty but on replay, the Dutch midfielder led with his studs showing and stood on the Senegalese midfielder’s ankle.
Despite that, the second-half domination from the home side and chances for the Seagulls paid off as they found their goal. Hughton, the more positive of the two managers, made attacking chances at the right times and saw his proactive approach pay off.
Jose Izqueirdo off from the subs bench, seemingly to take advantage of his match-up with Mason Holgate, had a powerful, low effort saved by Pickford that led to a chance for Knockaert but the Frenchman had yet another effort blocked by Michael Keane.
In a back and forth end to the game, Everton had chances to take the lead but Calvert-Lewin fired a great chance but effort fired right at Ryan.
Sigurdsson had a penalty shout ignored by Michael Oliver as he tried to link up with Vlasic to carve out a chance just after Calvert-Lewin’s initial attempt. As the Icelandic midfielder attempted to shoot, he had his shirt pulled back by two Brighton player but referee Oliver missed it.
Blues paper over cracks
With many expecting another defeat for Everton, the point may give Ronald Koeman a starting point in which to point towards, if the Blues are going to turn their season.
However, the result only papers over the cracks for Koeman as the Dutchman continues to rightly come under fire from Blues supporters. It doesn't get any easier for Everton as they get set to take on Lyon in the Europa League during the week and then face off against Arsenal at Goodison Park on Sunday afternoon.
Similarly to last season, Koeman will be looking at the Arsenal game to start to turn his sides season around but may struggle with the Gunners as they look to bounce back from Saturday's defeat to Watford.