Everton stretched their unbeaten streak to three matches as they earned a 1-1 draw against Brighton and Hove Albion in the Premier League.
An unfortunate Ashley Young own goal in the closing stages denied the Toffees a sixth victory in eight games, however, after Vitalii Mykolenko’s early opener.
Brighton monopolised possession in the first half yet it was Everton who carried by far the greater attacking threat. In the third minute, an Abdoulaye Doucoure volley was well saved by Seagulls keeper Bart Verbruggen.
But four minutes later, the Blues found the breakthrough. Mykolenko forayed into the Brighton box and while his first effort was thwarted by Verbruggenn, the rebound fell kindly for the Ukraine international to finish for his second goal for the club, n
Brighton thought they’d equalised on 14 minutes when Lewis Dunk was left unmarked from a Pascal Gross free-kick and thundered home a volley via the inside of the crossbar. However, the visiting captain was ruled offside following a VAR check.
Jordan Pickford in the Everton goal was scarcely tested for the remainder of the opening period, with James Garner flying a free-kick over the bar and Dominic Calvert-Lewin dragging wide for Sean Dyche’s side.
Pickford was finally forced into a save eight minutes into the second half when he pushed Dunk’s free-kick around the post. Brighton started to see more joy in terms of goalscoring opportunities although Gross blazed over when the ball was cut back from the byline in the 69th minute before substitute Joao Pedro saw an effort well blocked by James Tarkowski.
Everton then fired a warning shot of their own as Dwight McNeil’s shot from the edge of the box flashed narrowly wide. Then with nine minutes remaining, Doucoure surged into the Brighton box and crossed for Calvert-Lewin, but he just couldn’t get enough purchase on his effort.
And with six minutes remaining, the resolute Blues were finally breached - and rather unfortunately. Young managed to block Kaoru Mitoma’s cross but the ball skewed over Pickford and into the Everton net.
That set up an exciting finish but neither side could find a winner. While the Blues may be frustrated not to have picked up another win, it was further evidence that a relegation battle can be avoided this season. Here’s how we rated the Everton players.