Brighton & Hove Albion 1 Everton 0 - Locadia strike earns Seagulls first win in five
Jurgen Locadia's second goal in as many games ensured a first win in five in the Premier League for Brighton & Hove Albion as they defeated Everton 1-0 to record their first home win over the Toffees since 1982.
Manager Chris Hughton made three changes from Boxing Day's 1-1 home draw with Arsenal. David Button made his first Premier League start of the season, replacing the excellent Maty Ryan after he was called up for Asian Cup duty with Australia. Captain Lewis Dunk returned from suspension to replace Leon Balogun while Florin Andone came in for Glenn Murray.
The first half was a 45 minutes of contrasts for Brighton - dominating the opening stages of the half before letting Everton take the game to them.
On 11 minutes, Everton won a corner which was whipped in from the left by Lucas Digne. The Seagulls defence cleared but only as far as Bernard and his cross found Michael Keane but his header went just wide.
Brighton had a great chance to open the scoring three minutes later. Pascal Gross received the ball from a throw-in and drove into the box. His driven effort was smartly stopped by Jordan Pickford as he pushed the ball away to safety. Jurgen Locadia's follow up volley was goal-bound but struck a Toffees defender.
After offering very little in the way of attacking threat in the opening 25 minutes, Everton sprung in to life with three great chances to open the scoring.
Largely a spectator for the first part of the half, Button was called into action to take what looked like a routine cross from Theo Walcott on 27 minutes. However, Ryan's replacement spilled it into the path of Bernard who poked the ball to Richarlison. The Brazilian forward shot for goal but Shane Duffy made a superb stop on the line to keep things level.
Two minutes later Button then redeemed himself making a great stop after Richarlison flashed an attempt at the Seagulls goal. The Brighton 'keeper palmed the ball away only as far as Toffees skipper Seamus Coleman but his shot was blocked by Lewis Dunk.
And just a minute after that Button was called on to save Idrissa Gueye's deflected effort as the away side looked to ramp up the pressure.
Just as the fourth official raised the board to indicate one minute of added time, Dale Stephens got himself tangled up with the ball and played a panicked back-pass in the direction of Button that went out for a corner. Bernard played the ball into the box from the corner but Brighton cleared well as the half-time whistle blew.
The Seagulls had the first opportunity of the second half just four minutes after the restart. Davy Propper received the ball on the edge of the area and performed a delightful turn to spin past Yerry Mina. The Dutch midfielder played a ball into Andone, clear on goal, but Kurt Zouma blocked the Romanian striker's shot to force a corner. The corner from Gross found the head of Dunk but his attempt went over the bar.
Like the beginning of the first half, the Seagulls were bossing the opening stages of the second half. A 57th minute free-kick from Gross on the edge of the box, after a foul on Bernardo down the left, found Andone who forced a superb save out of Pickford.
On the hour, Andone then played his way into the box but his shot was once again blocked by Zouma, for a corner. Gross ball into the box hit Andre Gomes and rebounded out to Locadia who tucked the ball past Pickford.
There was some confusion as the assistant referee initially rose his flag for offside but referee Madley correctly adjudged that the ball hit the Toffees player. This gave the Dutch forward his second goal in as many games and the Seagulls had the lead.
Just 60 seconds later, Richarlison's shot was parried onto the post by Button to keep Brighton in the lead. Walcott then made a great run on 68 minutes into the box from the right but his shot was high, wide, and handsome.
On 78 minutes Montoya burst down the right flank and his volleyed cross found Locadia. The Dutchman rolled the ball to substitute Glenn Murray but his shot from the centre of the box was brilliantly cleared by the head of Keane.
The Toffees won themselves a free kick down the left with four minutes of the game to go after a foul by goalscorer Locadia. Toffees sub Sigurdsson whipped an inch-perfect cross into the box and Zouma thundered a header against the bar, with Button rooted to the goal-line.
With just two minutes of the game to go Everton won themselves yet another free-kick, this time just outside the D of the area. Digne, after so much success from dead ball situations in previous weeks, stepped up to take it but his shot hit the wall.
The assistant referee raised the board for four additional minutes at the end of the second half. The visitors ramped up the pressure, winning a throw-in that caused havoc in the Brighton box but it was cleared.
After keeping the visitors at bay throughout added time, Madley blew his whistle and the Seagulls claimed a valuable three points as well as a first clean-sheet since October.
Brighton: Button, Montoya, Dunk, Duffy, Bernardo, Propper, Stephens, Gross, March, Andone (Murray 73), Locadia. Unused: Steele, Bong, Balogun, Kayal, Bissouma, Gyokeres.
Everton: Pickford, Zouma, Keane, Mina (Sigurdsson 64), Coleman, Gueye, Andre Gomes (Calvert-Lewin 71), Digne, Walcott, Richarlison, Bernard (Niasse 79). Unused: Stekelenburg, Baines, Jagielka, Davies, Niasse.
Referee: Andrew Madley
Man of the Match: Lewis Dunk