Brighton & Hove Albion’s under-23s travel to Goodison Park tonight for a pivotal match in the Premier League 2 Division 1 season, kick-off 7pm, as they look to keep their title challenge alive and prevent Everton from clinching top spot.
The Seagulls are currently three points behind the Toffees with an inferior goal difference, and Simon Rusk’s team will need a victory by a three-goal margin to head into the final game of the season in pole position.
Victory by a lesser margin would take the Seagulls level on points with their title rivals, but Albion would then need to better Everton’s result on the final day of the season, or match their victory with a heavy win to overturn the goal difference deficit.
A draw for Albion at Goodison Park would keep their hopes of winning the league alive, but goal difference would have to overturn with a West Ham United victory over Everton and an Albion win against Chelsea on the final day.
Rusk’s side are unbeaten in eight league matches, but one of their three defeats this season came against the Toffees back in November, when Nathangelo Markelo and Josh Bowler fired home before Aaron Connolly’s late consolation.
Everton tasted their first defeat since the beginning of January when Manchester City sealed a 4-3 victory at the Academy Stadium last Sunday — a result that followed Albion’s 2-2 draw against Swansea City on the Friday evening.
The sides also met in the Premier League International Cup back in September — goals from Ben Barclay and James Tilley cancelled out Bassala Sambou’s opener, before Ellis Simms struck an equaliser for the Toffees.
Tickets for tonight’s game at Goodison Park are free of charge, but must be booked in advance on Everton’s website.
Supporters will be seated in the Park Stand for the 7pm kick-off against the Toffees.
Not able to make the game? Albion supporters can follow live updates on the Match Centre, with a report, gallery and reaction to follow after the full-time whistle.