The Media Review: Everton

The reports from Sunday's win at Goodison Park.

By Nick Szczepanik • 03 January 2022

By Paul Hazlewood
Alexis Mac Allister has started Albion's last three Premier League games.

It would be satisfying to say that Alexis Mac Allister was the central figure in the Monday reports of Albion’s 3-2 victory over Everton after scoring two excellent goals in the club’s first win at Goodison Park. But although the Argentina midfield player earned his share of the headlines, it was another setback for Toffees manager Rafael Benítez that led most intros.

That, of course, is hardly a surprise bearing in mind that the locally-based writers are immersed in the sporting politics of the city of Liverpool and that Benítez was always going to be a divisive figure to the blue half after six seasons in charge of the Reds.

But Graham Potter’s men, and Ally Mac in particular, still forced their way into the early paragraphs with yet another productive visit to Merseyside after a win and a draw at Anfield on their previous two trips.


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Mac Allister on wonder goal at Everton

“For the first time in their history, Brighton won at Goodison Park, taking advantage of the errors of the hosts and incessant threat of rancour from the stands,” wrote Chris Bascombe in the Daily Telegraph. “Graham Potter could raise a toast to the Argentina international with a surname which suggests he enjoyed Hogmanay, Alexis Mac Allister scoring twice in the 3-2 win.

“His second was a peach worthy of the three points just as Everton threatened to complete a second half comeback having been roused by the outstanding performance of their youngster, Anthony Gordon.

“Brighton were a goal up within three minutes, Mac Allister benefiting as Everton’s defenders took on the role of passive observers. Joel Veltman crossed, Neal Maupay casually headed to Mac Allister, and he stroked past Jordan Pickford.

“The lead was doubled on 21 minutes when Mac Allister’s corner was flicked on by Enock Mwepu so Dan Burn, unmarked at the back post, could celebrate. Too easy. Brighton seemed only to need to carry on passing, passing and passing a little more. 

By Paul Hazlewood
Dan Burn's back-stick header put Albion 2-0 up at Everton.

“Gordon cut the gap when his ambitious shot from distance ricocheted off Lallana past the stranded Robert Sanchez. Sanchez then finger-tipped an Allan drive which was heading for the top corner, and Potter was concerned enough to repel an aerial bombardment by introducing Shane Duffy.

“Mac Allister’s second, a thunderbolt from the edge of the penalty area on 71 minutes, seemed to have secured the points only for Gordon to strike again six minutes later, converting Kenny’s cross. Everton pushed for the equaliser, but Brighton withstood the pressure to make a small slice of history.”

In the i, Richard Tanner wrote that “the victory completed a great week for the Seagulls after their win over Brentford and draw at Chelsea, and moved Graham Potter’s team up to eighth in the Premier League table.

“Mac Allister had been frustrated by his lack of game-time a few weeks ago but has shown his quality after starting all three games in a great week for the Seagulls and manager Graham Potter praised his attitude.


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Graham Potter on historic Everton victory

“Potter said: ‘It shows how quickly fortunes can change in football. A few weeks ago Alexis was disappointed that he wasn’t getting enough game-time. But he has stayed patient and professional, worked hard in training and has taken his opportunity in the last three games.

“’He scored two great goals today but it was his overall contribution that impressed as well. It’s a fantastic three points, it completes a big week for us and is a great way to start the New Year. Historically Goodison has not been an easy place for us to come’.”

In The Guardian, Andy Hunter wrote that “Graham Potter celebrated a landmark win and hugely rewarding week with unrestrained glee. Two fine goals from Alexis Mac Allister sandwiched a Dan Burn header to give Brighton a richly deserved triumph and seven points from a demanding festive sequence against Everton, Chelsea and Brentford. 

“Potter’s side squandered leads regularly last season but underlined their progress by withstanding an Anthony Gordon-inspired recovery and sealing victory through Mac Allister’s stunning long‑range strike beyond Jordan Pickford.

“’It’s a great start to the new year and a great end to a really big week for us,’ the Brighton manager said. ‘I thought we played well first half and then the goal we didn’t want changed the atmosphere in the ground. We had to see that out and we did it really well.’


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PL Highlights: Everton 2 Albion 3

“Brighton were the more coherent, composed and dangerous side from the outset. Potter’s team swept into an early lead when exploiting the gaps that Everton’s shape was designed to eradicate. Joel Veltman picked out Neal Maupay with a cross from the right that the unmarked striker headed over Michael Keane towards Mac Allister. The midfielder, also meeting no resistance as he arrived in the penalty area, placed a volley inside Pickford’s bottom right‑hand corner.

“Everton’s defence was found wanting again when Brighton doubled their advantage. Mac Allister turned provider when he drilled a corner to the near post where Enock Mwepu connected with a glancing header. Dan Burn, all alone at the back post having peeled away from Keane, headed home from close range.

“Gordon brought Everton hope shortly after the restart with his first goal for his boyhood club. Receiving Allan’s pass, the 20-year-old cut inside Marc Cucurella and Mac Allister before unleashing a left-footed drive that deflected off Adam Lallana and sailed beyond a wrong-footed Robert Sánchez. 

“Brighton re-established their two-goal lead through Mac Allister. Everton appeared to have dealt with a counterattack when Mason Holgate denied Maupay as the forward raced through on goal. But Keane put his team under renewed pressure with a poor clearance straight to Burn.

By Paul Hazlewood
Alexis Mac Allister moved up to four Premier League goals for the season after his brace at Goodison Park.

“The defender found Leandro Trossard and his low cross was flicked on to Mac Allister by Enock Mwepu. Brighton’s match-winner connected perfectly with the bouncing ball and Pickford was left grasping at thin air as the midfielder’s shot found the top corner from distance.”

Paul Joyce of The Times wrote that Albion “performed with a pizzazz that would not have been needed until a late push for parity from the hosts.

“The football Brighton played was at odds with that which Everton could muster and in Alexis Mac Allister the visitors had the man of the match, who scored two very different goals to showcase his repertoire.

“Mac Allister, who had licence to move off the right and operate in the space behind a two-man attack of Neal Maupay and Leandro Trossard for Brighton, would twice elude Everton’s defence.

“He had time to sweep a pass out to the right back Joel Veltman but should not have been allowed to continue his run unchecked. Yet when Veltman’s cross was played into the area, Maupay cushioned a downward header which Mac Allister side-footed beyond Jordan Pickford, the Everton goalkeeper, from six yards. The final touch was the ninth of a patiently constructed move that went right to left and back again.


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Extended PL Highlights: Everton 2 Albion 3

“The breakthrough neatly encapsulated the difference between the teams. Brighton were bright and vibrant, performing with a clear understanding of how they should build attacks.

“’Graham [Potter, the Brighton manager] is in his third season with the side and established his method, little by little,’ wrote Benítez in his programme notes. ‘Every player knows what is required and the result is a team that has no fear, only faith in the plan.’

“Everton, in contrast, were unable to perform the basics.”

Joe Bernstein’s praise in the Daily Mail was tempered by his low opinion of the Everton performance. “Brighton deserve credit for a first win at Goodison in their history,” he wrote. “The second of Alexis Mac Allister's brace was goal of the afternoon, a bullet shot into the top corner following a lovely build-up.

By Paul Hazlewood
The Argentina international took his tally up to four for the season with a brilliant strike from the edge of the box.

“But they were also helped by Benítez's line-up which saw veteran right-back Seamus Coleman selected at left wing-back while Lucas Digne stayed on the bench.

“The Goodison groans only increased when the visitors added a second after 21 minutes. A barnstorming run from Yves Bissouma forced a corner and Mac Allister's delivery was flicked on by Enock Mwepu. Dan Burn, all 6ft 7ins of him, was left unmarked at the far post to nod in.

“There were boos at half-time but Everton got the break they needed to reduce arrears after 53 minutes. Gordon cut inside and hit a low left-footed shot that was unthreatening until it deflected off Adam Lallana and diverted into the opposite corner.

“The winger was quickly in the action again when he claimed he'd been barged in the back for a penalty, leading angry Brighton players to remonstrate as he lay on the floor.

“Brighton extended their lead after 71 minutes in stunning fashion. Mason Holgate had made a saving tackle to deny Neal Maupay but the visitors recycled the ball and when Trossard chipped towards Mwepu his first time lay-off was belted into the top corner by Mac Allister from just outside the box.”

According to Frankie Christou of The Sun, Albion’s win “sees them climb up to eighth and claim back the ‘best of the rest’ title. Despite being made to work for a point against Chelsea on Wednesday night, it was Brighton who looked the fresher of the two sides. 

“And it immediately paid off as the visitors did not wait around to get 2022 off to the best possible start as Mac Allister opened the scoring after three minutes.

“The ball was worked out wide to full-back Joel Veltman who sent a ball into the box for Neal Maupay to cushion down a header. 

“It fell perfectly for Mac Allister to finish first time past a scrambling Jordan Pickford. 

“But if the Toffees' defending was woeful for Brighton’s first, it was atrocious as Burn hit the second. 

“Enock Mwepu revived a poor corner with a flick on at the near post which found a completely unmarked 6ft 7in Burn at the back post for the easiest of finishes inside the six-yard box. 

“Goodison Park rumbled with boos as the defender wheeled away in celebration, almost not believing his luck at being left all alone. 

“Referee John Brooks awarded a penalty after referring to his pitchside monitor as Mwepu clattered into youngster Anthony Gordon. 

By Paul Hazlewood
Alexis Mac Allister grabbed his third Premier League goal of the season with a smart poke past Jordan Pickford.

“It teed up Calvert-Lewin to become Everton saviour once more as he stood over the spot-kick. And having scored in three of his past four Prem appearances against the Seagulls, he would have fancied his chances. 

“But the England striker turned Benítez’s smile into a frown as his effort sailed over the bar and into the stands. 

“Pickford stopped the first-half from being a total embarrassment for Everton as the Three Lions keeper pushed a low, rasping drive from Adam Lallana away. 

“And it proved to be a vital save as Gordon’s first senior goal seven minutes after the break gave Everton a lifeline.

“But they were soon silenced when Mac Allister notched his second and Brighton’s third after his stunning 20-yard effort found the top corner.”