Everton 2-3 Brighton: Seagulls continue excellent away form with thrilling win at Goodison Park
LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - JANUARY 02: Alexis Mac Allister of Brighton & Hove Albion celebrates after scoring their third goal during the Premier League match between Everton and Brighton & Hove Albion at Goodison Park on January 02, 2022 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by James Gill - Danehouse/Getty Images)

Brighton & Hove Albion increased the mounting pressure on Everton manager Rafa Benitez after clinching victory in a gripping encounter on Merseyside. 

Brighton took a two-goal lead in the first half at Goodison Park after overpowering a disjointed Everton side with slick passing and confident team play.

The result helps to illuminate the contrast in confidence and cohesion between the two sides at present, with Brighton moving up to eighth in the division and Everton stagnated down in 15th place. 

After a slick and dominant first half from the visitors, which saw a comfortable two goal cushion, Everton improved after the break through two Anthony Gordon strikes. 

Gordon's goals came either side of a fantastic rising finish from Alexis Mac Allister, his second of the match having opened the scoring minutes into the first half.  

Dominic Calvert-Lewin wasted a glorious opportunity after missing a penalty shortly after Dan Burns' took advantage of shoddy defending to double the scoreline 21 minutes in. 

The atmosphere turned tense in the closing moments as Gordon failed to take his opportunity to complete his hat-trick, and Everton were left condemned to a ninth defeat of the season and a third in five matches.

Story of the match:

Brighton set the tone of the match early on, with Mac Allister netting his third of the season after just three minutes of action, sweeping in a first time finish from Neal Maupay's knockdown after a smooth passage of transitional play. 

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The lead was doubled when the away side capitalised on some atrocious Toffees defending, as Dan Burn nodded in unmarked from yards out following a Brighton corner. 

Everton's first half woes continued swiftly after, with Calvert-Lewin - making his first appearance since August after injury - smashing a poor penalty onto the bar after Enock Mwepu's shove on Gordon inside the box. 

After the break, Everton quickly halved the deficit through Gordon's deflected strike, with Adam Lallana unfortunate to see his intervention result in a diverted ball easing past the hapless Robert Sanchez.

Mac Allister grabbed his second with a thunderous shot from outside the box, latching onto Mwepu's ball and silencing the growing momentum both on the pitch and in the stands for the home faithful.

Gordon scored once again soon after after flicking in a first time hit from the right, but his efforts were in vain as Everton succumbed to defeat.

Sanchez also reaffirmed his worth between the sticks for Albion after making a brilliant stretching save to deny the impressive Allan from restoring parity at 2-1.

The scoreline tells the tale of a close encounter, and to some degree it was; enthralling, action-packed, energetic, but Brighton's level of football is something Everton supporters yearn for, and it was that level of ability that ultimately secured the victory for the away side.

Key takeaways:

Fluidity and resilience

In the first half, Brighton brushed Everton aside and looked set for a crushing victory after establishing a two-goal cushion.

Everton responded well after the break, and Gordon's brace indeed complimented an upturn in performance for the home side, but Brighton held up. 

Graham Potter's decision to switch to a back-three in the second half aided their pursuit of victory, and they were safely able to secure their first ever Premier League win away to Everton. 

Excellent away record continues

The campaign has now entered January, and Brighton have played half of their matches in the division. 

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To have lost merely one fixture away from home thus far is nothing short of exemplary and a testament to the efforts of Graham Potter in cultivating a dogged, determined mentality throughout the club. 

Everton join the likes of Liverpool and Chelsea in failing to see off the Seagulls at home so far, and such results will do wonders as the South Coast club continue to strive towards a first top-half finish in the Premier League

Next time out:

Both teams return to action next Saturday in the third round of the FA Cup.

Brighton are away to West Bromwich Albion whilst Everton travel to Hull City as the respective top division outfits aim to commence a gripping cup run.