- Albion beaten for third time in Premier League at Goodison Park
- Richarlison’s first-half strike proves decisive
- Albion improve in the second half with Leandro Trossard hitting the bar
- Seagulls stay 14th ahead of Aston Villa’s visit next Saturday
The Seagulls have never won at Everton and a well-taken goal by Richarlison seven minutes before the break was enough to settle a game that only came to life in the second half when Albion had their chances to equalise.
Leandro Trossard hit the bar with a strike from just inside the box and substitute Glenn Murray forced England goalkeeper Jordan Pickford to make a flying save to keep out his late header, before his shot in the closing stages dropped agonisingly wide of the right-hand post.
Although Everton had two goals ruled out by VAR they were hanging on at the end but Albion just couldn’t make their second-half pressure count and must regroup ahead of Aston Villa’s visit to the Amex next Saturday.
Graham Potter had made four changes to the side which drew with Chelsea in Albion’s last Premier League game. Aaron Mooy missed out with injury and in came Shane Duffy, Dale Stephens, Bernardo and Alireza Jahanbakhsh. Solly March returned to the squad for the first time in more than two months as a substitute after recovering from injury.
Albion had an early scare when Theo Walcott went down under a challenge from Lewis Dunk but after a lengthy VAR check referee David Coote’s decision not to award a penalty was upheld.
The first third of the contest was very scrappy with both sides guilty of turning over possession too easily although Albion created a good chance in the 17th minute when Trossard’s left-to-right diagonal ball was cushioned into Jahanbakhsh’s path by Martin Montoya, but the Iranian couldn’t keep his volley down.
The home crowd were becoming increasingly agitated and eventually Everton responded. Adam Webster produced a good block after Djibril Sidibe made space for a shot then Richarlison forced Maty Ryan to push away his drive from the right-hand side of the box.
But the Brazil striker wasn’t to be denied as he scored a great goal in the 39th minute when he evaded two challenges in the box after controlling Lucas Digne’s pass before turning and firing a low shot past Ryan into the bottom right-hand corner. It was a little harsh on Albion at that stage but there was no denying the quality of the finish.
Albion needed to respond and nearly did in the 52nd minute. A couple of step-overs later, Trossard had space on the left corner of the box for a right-foot curler which beat Jordan Pickford but came back off the bar. The Belgian had dragged an effort wide a few minutes earlier as Potter’s men pressed much further up the pitch.
Everton were still dangerous though as the game opened up and it needed a solid challenge in the six-yard box by Dunk to deflect Richarlison’s effort over for a corner.
The visitors made a double change when Steven Alzate and Pascal Gross came on for Jahanbakhsh and Montoya with Bernardo moving back to a familiar left-back role. The game had become much more open and Ryan did well to block Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s shot from point blank range before making an even better save when the striker got clear of Dunk to unleash a powerful shot pushed away by Albion’s keeper.
With 20 minutes to go Albion were very much in the game and Potter brought on additional firepower in Murray. Everton had a second goal disallowed by VAR for handball by Calvert-Lewin but Murray nearly made an instant impact when he met Bernardo’s cross with a towering header pushed away at full stretch by Pickford.
Murray thought he’d equalised two minutes from time when he connected with Neal Maupay’s pass but although his effort beat Pickford, it dropped agonisingly wide of the right-hand post. It was the home fans praying for the final whistle as Albion just came up short.
ALBION: Ryan, Montoya (Gross 62), Dunk, Duffy, Webster, Jahanbakhsh (Alzate 62), Stephens (Murray 72), Propper, Bernardo, Trossard, Maupay.
SUBS NOT USED: Button (GK), Bissouma, March, Schelotto.