- Late penalty denies Seagulls third successive home win
- Anthony Knockaert scores his first Premier League goal
- Albion ahead until Wayne Rooney levels in the 90th minute
- Seagulls up to 14th ahead of Friday’s trip to West Ham United
Brighton & Hove Albion made it seven points from their last three home games but were minutes away from a third successive win at the Amex, only to be denied by an 90th-minute Everton equaliser from the penalty spot.
A slow burner of a game burst into life in the closing stages. Anthony Knockaert thought he had won it for the Seagulls when he fired them ahead from close range in the 82nd minute with his first Premier League goal for Brighton.
But with the game approaching injury time, Bruno was penalised for a foul in the box and Wayne Rooney levelled from the penalty spot.
The drama wasn’t over with Mathew Ryan twice denying Nikola Vlasic in the closing moments of stoppage time.
Albion had made three changes to the side beaten by Arsenal last time out with Knockaert, Glenn Murray and Markus Suttner returning for the first top-flight game between the clubs for 34 years.
There was another rumbustious atmosphere at kick-off inside a sold-out Amex but there was a cagey start to the contest with little goalmouth incident in the first 20 minutes as both sides often gave the ball away needlessly.
Goalkeeper Ryan, fresh from helping Australia reach a play-off for next year’s World Cup finals on Tuesday, made the first save of note when he got down to push away a low drive from Idrissa Gueye.
The Seagulls gradually began to build some momentum and it took two brave blocks by Michael Keane to deny them a goal in the 31st minute. When Albion’s first corner was half-cleared to Knockaert, Keane threw himself in front of the Frenchman’s volley from the edge of the box. The loose ball fell to Lewis Dunk on the corner of the six-yard box but Keane again produced an excellent block with his shoulder, as the home fans appealed for a penalty.
Gueye was Everton’s main threat and he took a pass from Rooney four minutes later but sent a curling effort inches wide of the far post.
Albion were frustrated on several occasions by Everton’s well-drilled offside trap and a dogged visiting side beaten only once in their last 20 contests against promoted teams.
There had been little to choose between the teams at the break with Dunk and Shane Duffy again superb at the heart of Brighton’s defence.
Ryan came to Albion’s aid again eight minutes into the second period, instinctively blocking a powerful shot from Marcus Holgate before making a more comfortable save from Gueye’s header.
Those chances were indicative of Everton’s intent as the game entered the final third. In their next raid Vlasic turned Markus Suttner to create precious space inside the box only to lose his footing as he shot, the ball drifting harmlessly wide.
Albion made a double on 72 minutes when Jose Izquierdo replaced Solly March to make his home debut and Uwe Huenemeier came on for Duffy. Almost immediately Everton had a decent chance but Calvert-Lewin, after controlling a cross on the left, could only fire tamely at Ryan.
Izquierdo was soon into the action, cutting inside and forcing Jordan Pickford to push his shot away for a corner. Everton failed to clear and it needed a block from Keane again to keep out Knockaert’s goalbound effort as Albion began to build up a head of steam.
And with eight minutes to go the Seagulls broke through. Bruno did superbly on the right to get past Leighton Baines and tee up Izquierdo. His shot was blocked by Keane but the rebound was squared invitingly by Pascal Gross for Knockaert to give Pickford no chance from eight yards with a powerful low drive.
Pickford prevented Albion from doubling their lead in the 87th minute when he produced a superb one-handed save to keep out substitute Izzy Brown’s shot and that proved to be a crucial intervention by the Everton keeper.
It looked as if Albion had done enough but with a minute left Everton were awarded a penalty after Bruno, who was booked, was penalised for a foul on Keane as the defender tried to get on the end of a free kick. Despite vehement protests by the home side, referee Oliver pointed to the spot and Rooney sent Ryan the wrong way.
Ryan came to his side’s rescue with a brilliant double save in the final moments to deny Vlasic, as Albion picked up a point which lifted them up to 14th in the table ahead of Friday’s trip to West Ham United.
Albion: Mat Ryan; Bruno (capt), Lewis Dunk, Shane Duffy (Uwe Huenemeier 72), Markus Suttner; Anthony Knockaert, Davy Propper, Dale Stephens, Solly March (Jose Izquierdo 72); Pascal Gross; Glenn Murray (Izzy Brown 84).
Unused subs: Tim Krul, Gatean Bong, Ezequiel Schelotto, Jayson Molumby.
Everton: Jordan Pickford; Morgan Schneiderlin, Michael Keane, Phil Jagielka (capt), Leighton Baines (sub: Kevin Miralles 83); Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Gylfi Sigurdsson, Nikola Vlasic, Mason Holgate; Idrissa Gueye (sub: Oumar Niasse 69); Wayne Rooney (Tom Davies 90).
Unused subs: Maarten Stekelenburg, Ashley Williams, Cuco Martina, Davy Klassen.
Referee: Michael Oliver
Attendance: 30,565 (3003 Everton)