Brighton and Hove Albion gained all three points against Everton thanks to Jurgen Locadia’s second half goal from a Pascal Gross corner.
The first half was hotly contested as both sides created few chances to go ahead in the game with debutant David Button’s save from Richarlison’s shot the only key moment in the first period. The game came alive in the 59th minute when Gross’ corner fell to Locadia who poked in on the turn to put Albion ahead. There was some confusion with the officials over a potential offside, but the referee rightly gave the goal.
Everton hit the woodwork twice in the second half from Kurt Zouma’s header and an effort from Richarlison which Button did superbly to turn onto the post. The Toffees lacked a cutting edge in front of goal and the Seagulls defended well to gain their first clean sheet since October 27th.
Locadia repaying manager’s faith
Albion striker Jurgen Locadia is proving exactly why the Seagulls spent £14m on him with two goals in two games. A run of games has seemed to do the Dutchman the world of good as he has gained confidence and took his chances with a tight grasp.
His threat on the left side of a front three has been obvious with the forward constantly running at full backs and getting shots on goal. Locadia should now be able to kick on in 2019 and continue in the form he has ended 2018 in.
Button’s positive debut
Brighton ‘keeper David Button also performed well under tough circumstances, replacing Mathew Ryan who is participating in the Asia Cup with Australia. Despite spilling an early cross, Button quickly settled and made two very good stops, most notably in the second half from Richarlison’s effort, which he expertly tipped onto the post.
A clean sheet and three points will certainly cap off a good debut for the Englishman, in what was his first ever game in the Premier League and a day to remember.
Seagulls defence flourishes
The back four of the Brighton team again showed exactly why they are where they are with another solid performance in front of their own goal. Lewis Dunk returned to captain the side at the expense of Leon Balogun, who had previously deputised for Shane Duffy, while he had served a three-match suspension. Dunk showed why he is an England International with a commanding performance and some great passes to the frontline.
Full backs Martín Montoya and Bernardo continued to show why they were in the team with some vital interceptions and clearances, along with some galloping runs up and down the line to support Albion’s wide players. Bernardo will especially be happy with himself, as he has been excelling since his return to the side in November. Montoya will have hoped that he has done enough to be above Bruno in the pecking order, and he has certainly done himself no harm.
Brighton go into 2019 sitting in 13th place on 25 points, and Everton sit 10th with 27 points. Next up for Brighton is a trip to the London Stadium for a Wednesday night tie with West Ham United, whole Everton host Leicester City on Tuesday.