Match Report Has a three-goal lead ever felt so fragile? No Evertonian could fail to have been proud of the way their team had surged into a 3-0 half-time lead with a breathtakingly effective display of counter-attacking football at the Amex Community Stadium today. Equally, there probably wasn’t a Blue alive who wasn’t nervously anticipating a second-half onslaught from Brighton that would threaten to wipe out that precious advantage! That is not to diminish in any way what had been — and would continue to be — a resolute performance from Sean Dyche’s charges. Rather, it was in small part a compliment to the inventive and determined Seagulls (who only recently put six past Wolves) and in large part a simple expression of what supporting Everton has become, with all the doubt and fear it engenders as this desperate struggle against relegation continues. In the end, there was little need for concern. Brighton, with their manager Roberto De Zerbi making four changes at the interval, did, indeed, come out with most guns blazing as they tried to pull off a remarkable comeback in the second half. However, they came up against a defiant visiting defence that looked significantly more robust with Yerry Mina back in the side, a tireless and tenacious midfield, and a goalkeeper in Jordan Pickford who was at the very top of his game. Brighton did eventually score, fortuitously with 11 minutes left of the regulation 90, but it was purely academic because Everton demolished them with a stunning display of counter-attacking football that could have yielded more than the five goals they did score on the day to register their biggest away win since December 2018. It was in stark contrast to the reverse fixture at Goodison Park on 3rd January, a harrowing evening on which Frank Lampard’s Everton were torn apart by De Zerbi’s men. That night, Dwight McNeil had had arguably his worst game in an Everton jersey and he was hooked before an hour had elapsed, to be replaced by Abdoulaye Doucouré, a player soon to be banished from the first team by Lampard before the current Chelsea boss was himself jettisoned by the Everton Board a fortnight or so later. Today on the south coast, behind a superb centre-forward’s performance from the increasingly sharp-looking Dominic Calvert-Lewin, two goals from Doucouré and a man-of-the-match outing from McNeil, Everton, who had won just twice in 34 away games since winning on this ground in late August 2021, lifted themselves out of the drop zone again with one of the most improbable results of the season. The Blues were simply magnificent the way they executed Dyche’s game plan of containing the much-fancied Seagulls, forcing them wide and then picking them off with rapier-like transition play. Brighton and their exacting head coach were shell-shocked as they were picked off time and again and where the likes of McNeil and Doucouré have looked clumsy and ungainly in forward areas, this evening they were deadly. It took just 33 seconds for them to get the ball rolling. Nathan Patterson, making his first start under Dyche following Seamus Coleman’s knee injury, got an important block to intercept Kaoru Mitoma’s attempt to knock the ball past him, Calvert-Lewin executed a perfect pirouette to take Alex Iwobi’s pass around his marker and after driving into the box, the striker crossed perfectly for Doucouré to knock it in assuredly at the back post. Brighton were making a point of trying to find Mitoma wide on their left to take advantage of Patterson’s inexperience and the Japanese had some early success before the Scot gradually got the measure of him as the contest wore on. Mitoma’s cross to the back post in the fourth minute was just too high for Danny Welbeck who could only glance it wide but it was Everton who nearly scored again in the 26th minute before they actually did three minutes later. Adam Webster made an excellent block to deny McNeil’s goal-bound effort but it was the winger who was the architect for Doucouré’s second as he raced away down the left flank, spotted the Mali international free on the other side of the penalty area and found him with a perfect cross that Doucouré volleyed home brilliantly. Doucouré, who had charged forward from deep in his own half, had plenty to do but finished with admirable aplomb. Remarkably, it was 3-0 six minutes after that and the goal came from another superbly-executed breakaway. Iwobi’s ball into the box was a little too far ahead of Doucouré but he kept it alive and found McNeil who took it to the byline and attempted to drive it across the face of goal. The cross caught Steele’s out-stretched leg, though, and bounced in. McNeil squandered yet another promising counter when he just failed to find Calvert-Lewin as the pair raced away in a two-on-two and Garner must have thought he had registered his first Premier League goal when he side-footed wide of the keeper from close range but Lewis Dunk got in a crucial block that ensured Brighton’s deficit was only three at the halfway stage. De Zerbi responded by making four changes at the interval, throwing on exciting young striker Evan Ferguson and the tricky Julio Encisco and for the first 15 minutes of the second half it was one-way traffic towards Pickford’s goal. The England keeper stood tall, however, saving bravely at his near post inside the first minute of the restart, parrying Enciso’s fierce drive up and behind to safety and then brilliantly turning a Ferguson header onto the post with a one-handed save at full stretch. They were important interventions because you felt had Brighton been able to get one early in the half, the momentum might have started swinging in their direction. Another half-time substitute in Solly March saw a powerful drive stopped by Mina’s head before Ferguson turned the Colombian and grazed the crossbar with a shot via Pickford’s fingertips and, from the ensuing corner, Mac Allister thumped a header off the face of the bar as Everton just about kept their clean sheet intact. Dunk dropped a header wide of the far post shortly afterwards and Pickford made another top-drawer save to palm Mac Allister’s header away before Everton defied all expectations by scoring a fourth. Iwobi surged down the left flank this time and drew one defender to him that opened up the space for McNeil to steal into and when the Nigerian found him with a perfectly-weighted pass, the former Burnley man faked to shoot, turned inside the last man and keeper and walked the ball into net before wheeling away in delight. Brighton reduced their arrears to three again almost immediately when a deep cross from the right was met by Mitoma sliding in and though he could only steer the ball into the post, it bounced into Mac Allister and then into the empty net to make it 4-1 with 11 minutes to go. The Amex Stadium had started to empty at 4-0 and those that remained did not get to witness a miraculous recovery. Mitoma’s volley might have ricocheted in off Levi Colwill but it bounced over instead and Pickford made one more save to deny Ferguson from close range but it was Everton and McNeil who put the icing on the cake in stoppage time. Once more it was a counter-attack, this time sparked by sub Amadou Onana’s ball from inside his own half that released McNeil who used Iwobi in the middle as a decoy before leathering it inside the near post and into the top corner of Steele’s goal. A point given Everton’s plight would have been a decent result against a side with designs on qualifying for Europe for the first time in their history. To have taken all three and in the manner in which they did was an incredible achievement for a team that has looked so toothless and clueless in the attacking third for so much of this season and a long-awaited thrill for thousands of travelling Evertonians who have become accustomed to misery in recent years. Calvert-Lewin’s return has made a huge difference — the striker might only have added one goal to his tally for the club since making his comeback at Crystal Palace last month but his non-stop work-rate and all-round play has added a huge dimension going forward — as has the manager’s slow realisation that his best centre-back pairing had been unused up until now, together with a gathering confidence among the players that has seen them pick up four away points in successive games and score seven times. Next weekend’s examination by Manchester City will be several orders more difficult but when you see what this Blues side is capable of when they’re in the mood, nothing is beyond the realms of possibility. Certainly, another escape from relegation looks possible if these standards can be maintained over the next couple of weeks. Lyndon Lloyd top Matchday Updates Doucoure scored after just 34 seconds and Everton went on to register a 3-0 lead by half-time with an exquisite volleyed second from Doucoure and clever play from McNeil, who went on to score a brilliant 5th with the last kick of the game! Sean Dyche makes two changes to the side that drew at Leicester last Monday as Yerry Mina and Nathan Patterson start, with Keane and Onana on the bench. Seamus Coleman is out for what remains of the season but Andros Townsend turned out for the U21s at Finch Farm this afternoon on his long road to recovery. Brighton started off in practice passing mode but Everton stole the ball, Iwobi found Calvert-Lewin who rolled Dunk with a very smart wheel turn to then cross for Doucoure and a nice side-foot in after just 34 seconds. Great start! Brighton tried to settle things down and pass the ball in a more controlled manner, a good cross almost falling for Welbeck at the far post. Everton were continually tested in every structured Brighton surge forward, and sought to make the most of the rare midfield possession they saw. Another prolonged spell of pressure was ended by Iwobi stepping in, McNeil getting fouled. From the free-kick, Pickford found McNeil but he could not find Calvert-Lewin ahead of him. Mina was well up for it and got hold of a bit too much of Undav, earning a first speech from the referee. Mitoma was then caught by Iwobi but the free-kick was defended. Mitoma got past Patterson. Everton got the ball up the other end ad looked to complete an intricate counter but it was too close to Steele. Buonanotte was too rough on McNeil and Pickford launched another mortar ball upfield that eventually fell to Calvert-Lewin who shot wide when he could have hit it more cleanly. Everton had been doing well but Mina was then shown an early yellow card for protesting a foul on him by Dunk. Patterson was also treading a narrow line, having to foul Mitoma, but the free-kick was defended well enough. Everton had been able to cope with most of the Brighton build-up play, with the diagonal cross in being picked up off Mina or Tarkowski. Dunk was drawn into fouling Calvert-Lewin and referee Cooper levelled up the yellow card count with Dunk going in the book. But Everton were eventually offside following the free-kick. Doucoure forced a good turnover but McNeil's shot was blocked behind for a corner that Doucoure laid back to Gueey whose shot was blocked by Mitoma and Gueye was late diving in on him: yellow card. McNeil got a great chance to shoot on a cutback from Doucoure, a certain goal blocked by Webster. Brighton countered but Gross tugged McNeil's shirt to end that threat. Pickford was forced into a dreadful clearance but the ball did not stick for the Brighton player. The tempo of the game was high and it favoured Everton who countered well from a Brghton attack, a good move down the left, McNeil driving purposefully, waiting for Doucoure wide right who gloriously smashed his cross first time past Steele for a brilliant second goal to Everton. Another massive onslaught from Brighton again saw that diagonal cross headed behind for a Brighton corner that was only partially cleared. Another Brighton attack came a lot closer and needed a vital interception by Tarkowski, but the Seagulls kept coming forward... until Everton countered, Iwobi and Doucoure seemingly set to score a third... Surely not. But McNeil kept it alive and played a brilliant shot in off Steele's leg for a very clever own goal!!! Calvert-Lewin got a chance to run with the ball but somehow got his feet all twisted around and the chance rapidly disappeared. The big danger for Everton is always giving dangerous free-kicks away which is what Patterson did on Mac Alllister, but Brighton played the set piece too wide. Everton had time to play some possession ball but it was quickly pounced upon by the Brighton press. Everton still had to be supremely disciplined against the tricky Mitoma, who won a corner off Patterson. From the corner, a quick VAR check was made after Dunk went down. Into added time of an amazing half for Everton, and they still needed to be very disciplined in defence to make sure the clean sheet was preserved. Calvert-Lewin was shown a late yellow card but created an incredible chance that somehow did not create a 4th goal from Garner, whose shot was blocked clear. De Zerbi reacted with four changes for Brighton at the start of the second half. They tried to play through Everton but could not get past Pickford. After not getting a single shot on target in the first half, Brighton found March free on the right and forced another save from Pickford. Brighton kept coming forward in waves but Everton defended resolutely, a short corner being passed right across the Everton area. Mykolenko then did remarkably well to anticipate Ferguson's run and to stall him without apparently committing a foul. It was relentless Brighton pressure, Doucoure getting a stupid yellow for screaming at the referee about where Brighton were taking a midfield free-kick from. But anything to maintain the concentration and intensity levels as Everton needed to be absolutely committed. McNeil did well in defence but gave away a free-kick by the corner flag that then led to a corner, headed behind. Pickford pulled off a brilliant save off the post before Ferguson was flagged offside. Past the hour mark and Everton were defending corner after corner, in vain trying to clear out to the lonley Calvert-Lewin who was often back to head those corners away. Brighton kept coming out to the right through March who made space for a fantastic shot that Mina got his head on to clear with Pickford making a frantic air-save behind him. Ferguson got some space on the left of the penalty area and a shot that Pickford fingertipped onto the bar. From the corner, Mac Allister's header also hit the bar with Pickford beaten. Brighton piled in a gain, winning another corner, again taken short and quickly, trying everything they could to catch out the Everton defence. Everton simply could not get out of their own half. Everton had perhaps weathered the worst of the Seagulls' onslaught as they got more ball in midfield, albeit breifly, until the Brighton attack won another corner, that saw Pickford pull off a tremendous save off a header by Mac Allister. And Everton broke well through Gueyye, Iwobi and McNeil, which saw McNeil dribble around Steele to score a wonderful 4th goal. Brighton got a goal back with a dangerous cross to the far post, Mitoma hitting the post and the ball going in off McAllister's head on the ground. Everton were losing concentration, unable to clear it when they could, then more Brighton corners, Mitoma's goalbound volley deflected over by Colwill. More corners and more goal threats but Everton still unable to relieve the pressure as Brighton kept up their attacking effort. Dyche finally found a way for a brief respite through some late substitutions. But Brighton attacked and Ferguson's close-range shot was batted away by Pickford. Brighton tried something different from the corner but Gilmour's shot was blocked. In one attack, Pickford came out a long way to punch another cross clear, then barged Mac Allister down as he tried to recover his position in goal. Not entirely legal perhaps but the referee didn't seem to mind! Into added time and another Brighton corner but Mitoma puts it well wide at the far post. Buuyed on to the final whistle by a tremendous rendition of Spirit of the Blues, Everton almost set up a fifth with a break but Docucore was denied. But not the next time, when McNeil went on a lovely overlap and absolutely belted it past Stelel into the roof of the Brighton net for an absolutely fabulous non-hat-trick. Brighton & Hove Albion: Steele, Gross. Webster (46' Colwill), Dunk [Y:21'], Estupinan, Buonanotte (46' March (), Caicedo, Mac Allister, Mitoma, Undav (46' Encisco), Welbeck (46' Ferguson). Subs not Used: Sanchez, Ayari, Gilmour, van Hecke, Mora. Everton: Pickford, Patterson, Mina [Y:18'] Tarkowski, Mykolenko, Iwobi, Garner, Gana [Y:23'] (87' Onana), Doucoure, [Y:56'] McNeil, Calvert-Lewin (87' Maupay). Subs: Begovic, Holgate, Keane, Gray,, Davies, Coady, Simms. Michael Kenrick top Match Preview Everton make the long trip to the south coast for a Monday evening kick-off against Europe-chasing Brighton needing to come away with a positive result to aid in their battle to avoid relegation this season. Sean Dyche takes his charges to the Amex Community Stadium hoping to emulate what Rafael Benitez achieved on the Blues' last visit there in August 2021 when goals by Demarai Gray and Dominic Calvert-Lewin secured all three points in the latter's last game before a long lay-off with a serious quad injury. Since then, Everton have won just twice more on the road and they have the fewest number of away wins of any side in the Premier League this season with their long-suffering away support having just that solitary victory down the road at Southampton to cheer so far. Brighton were a difficult proposition 18 months ago so the Toffees' win there under Benitez was an impressive result but the Seagulls are even stronger now, taking further strides forward under Graham Potter and with their progress undiminished under the former Chelsea manager's successor, Roberto De Zerbi. They come into the game sitting in seventh place, two points behind Tottenham in sixth and seven adrift of Liverpool in fifth but with three games in hand on both clubs. Mathematically, they are in with a chance of claiming an automatic Europa League slot and De Zerbi will be pushing his players to put as much pressure on the teams above them as possible. It means that Everton will be facing a highly motivated outfit and one that tore them to shreds in the reverse fixture at Goodison Park in early January in a game whose 4-1 scoreline flattered Everton who were truly abysmal on the night in what probably should have been Frank Lampard's swansong. Indeed, Brighton's brand of slick passing, movement and incisiveness in attack is the kind of opposition that Dyche's team have struggled against since he took over, with many Evertonians uneasy that he will likely persist with the central-defensive partnership of Michael Keane and James Tarkowski that has been so susceptible against players like Kaoru Mitoma and Alexis Mac Allister. The Everton boss has been stubborn in his persistence with that defensive duo as part of a general reluctance to make changes to his starting XI but he will be forced into at least one given that Seamus Coleman has been ruled out for the remainder of the campaign with the knee injury he sustained at Leicester last Monday. Scans revealed no damage to his anterior cruciate ligament but he did injure the medial ligament and will need some time to recover. Dyche has confirmed that it is unlikely the Irishman will play in any of the four remaining fixtures. Amadou Onana, however, is fully recovered from the illness that meant he was only named on the bench at the King Power Stadium and he is available for selection in the starting XI. The Belgian international missed the draw at Crystal Palace with a minor groin strain but started the home defeat to Newcastle before coming down with an unspecified bug before the trip to Leicester where he was an unused substitute in the Blues' 2-2 draw. However, he is now ready to vie with James Garner for a spot in the side but Ben Godrey has also been ruled out of the clash with Brighton due to a groin problem along with longer-term absentees, Andros Towsend and Ruben Vinagre. The Seagulls, meanwhile, will be without Adam Lallana, Joel Veltman, Jacob Moder, Tariq Lamptey and Jeremy Sarmiento while Pascal Groß and talented young striker Evan Ferguson are only rated 50/50, with both set to undergo late fitness tests. This feels like a daunting fixture, one made all the more unsettling by the fact that three of the other four teams down at the bottom with Everton are also in action on Monday, with Nottingham Forest hosting Southampton and Fulham travelling to Leicester. Depending on how results elsewhere go, it could be imperative that the Toffees get something out of their game against Brighton. Dyche will no doubt be building his players up to continue the attacking form they showed at Leicester where they did more than enough to win and could, on balance, count themselves as unfortunate not to come away with all the points. With Calvert-Lewin fit and mostly firing, Dwight McNeil in scoring form and the team generally looking more dangerous going forward, neither a draw nor a fantastic surprise win which would be fantastic are out of the question but it's going to take a highly disciplined and focused performance from the midfield and defensive standpoint. Kick-off: 5:30 pm, Monday 8 May 2023Referee: Simon HooperVAR: Darren EnglandLast Time: Brighton & Hove Albion 0 - 2 Everton Predicted Line-up: Pickford, Patterson, Keane, Tarkowski, Mykolenko, Gueye, Onana, Iwobi, McNeil, Doucouré, Calvert-Lewin Lyndon Lloyd top * Unfortunately, we cannot control other sites' content policies and therefore cannot guarantee that links to external reports will remain active.