The Media Review: Everton

Read the reports from our 1-1 draw with Everton.

By Nick Szczepanik • 25 February 2024

By Paul Hazlewood
The skipper equalised with a fantastic header against the Toffees.

Lewis Dunk’s late leveller against Everton meant frantic rewriting of intros in the Amex press box for the early editions of the Sunday papers.

But it also meant that our skipper was able to mark a personal landmark in style, as Michael Beardmore pointed out on the BBC Sport website.

“A day of mounting frustration for the hosts had appeared set to end in defeat until Dunk crowned his 400th league appearance for his hometown club with a leveller befitting that milestone,” he wrote.

By Paul Hazlewood
Lewis Dunk was making his 400th league appearance on Saturday.

“He has made a habit of popping up with big moments - usually booming headers - for the Seagulls since their ascension to the top flight and he outjumped Ben Godfrey to arc in his 31st goal for the club.

“Such a direct goal was a relief for a side who were without two chief creative forces as Kaoru Mitoma's back injury forced him to join top scorer Joao Pedro on the treatment table, a busy spot at Brighton this season.

“Brighton bossed the first half but could not break the Toffees down, Danny Welbeck being twice denied by last-ditch blocks while Dunk and Jan Paul van Hecke sent headers from set-pieces straight at Jordan Pickford. Simon Adingra flashed another effort just over.

By Paul Hazlewood
Simon Adingra was welcomed back out onto the Amex pitch before kick-off, where he was given a standing ovation after winning AFCON with Ivory Coast.

“They were in danger of losing their heads in the second half, including boss Roberto de Zerbi who was booked for complaining James Tarkowski was not given a second yellow card for a foul on Welbeck.

“When Gilmour saw red, the game seemed up, but Dunk's intervention ensured the Seagulls extended their top-flight club record of unbeaten consecutive home games to 11.”

In The Sun On Sunday, Isabelle Barker wrote that “Brighton’s heroic captain produced a last-gasp leveller on 95 minutes to cancel out Branthwaite’s 71st minute rocket.

By Paul Hazlewood
Billy Gilmour received a straight red card in the second half.

“It had been a nightmare afternoon for ten-man Brighton who had seen Billy Gilmour sent off for a challenge on Amadou Onana ten minutes after Branthwaite’s opener.

“But Dunk flipped the script with an equaliser that heaps more pressure on the Toffees in the relegation dogfight, with them sitting just a point above the drop zone.

“Tariq Lamptey kept the score level with a jaw-dropping goal-line clearance with his noggin following a stinging volley by Doucoure from Dwight McNeil’s cross.

By Paul Hazlewood
Tariq Lamptey pulled off a magnificent goal-line clearance to keep the scores level at 0-0.

“Brighton produced a flurry of chances like a pinball machine in Everton’s box, with Gross, Fati and Gilmour all coming close. 

“Dunk wrapped things up with his moment of magic in the dying seconds. Everton didn't clear a corner properly and Gross whipped it back in for Dunk to power a header past Jordan Pickford.”

According to John Aizlewood in The Sunday Telegraph, “Brighton could claim they deserved more. Sorely missing Kaoru Mitoma, absent with a back injury, they were mostly dominant and Everton needed to defend deeply and serenely to thwart them. Yet, even before Branthwaite scored, little Tariq Lamptey twisted every sinew to spectacularly head Abdoulaye Doucoure’s fearsome volley over, with Bart Verbruggen beaten every which way.

By Paul Hazlewood
James Tarkowski hacked down Danny Welbeck in the first half, which saw the Everton skipper booked.

“Danny Welbeck might have had a first-half hat-trick, but Lamptey’s heroics heralded both a triple Brighton substitution which disrupted their rhythm, a period of relative Everton expansion and their goal.

“Everton were gifted a further fillip when Billy Gilmour received a straight red card for scything through Amadou Onana. From there, Beto ought to have made it safe.

“But Brighton were still in the ascendency and Branthwaite added to his heroics at one end with a heroic block at the other, before Pickford made what seemed to be a match winning save.

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“As the fifth of those nine minutes approached, that seemed to be that. It wasn’t.” 

In The Observer, John Brewin had a little dig at the Toffees’ tactics when he noted that “the problem with playing for time in modern football is that it is usually now added on. In the fifth minute of nine in stoppage time, Lewis Dunk, after skill and composure from the ever-dependable Pascal Gross, nodded in the first header Everton have conceded all season. 

“The [Everton] plan was to sit back and seize on counterattacks and set pieces. A similar strategy was effective for West Ham in August but Brighton had lost none of their 10 home league games since. Dunk, on his 400th league appearance, eventually extended that run.

By Paul Hazlewood
Kaoru Mitoma missed Saturday's game with a back injury.

“Calvert-Lewin had probably Everton’s best chance of the first half, only for a sharper-minded Dunk to get there first. By then, home fans were agonising over their team’s inability to convert dominance – 62% possession in the first half – and chances, the absences of João Pedro and Kaoru Mitoma keenly felt. 

“After Gilmour, perhaps unluckily but also correctly, was dismissed, Everton failed to relieve the pressure from 10 men. Gross, turning Beto inside out, showed a poise and incision his teammates had been lacking all afternoon. Dunk did the rest.”

In The Sunday Mirror, Hector Nunns looked further ahead. “Lewis Dunk and Jarrad Branthwaite might well be fighting for a place in England’s Euro squad later this year,” he wrote.

By Paul Hazlewood
Jarrad Branthwaite and Lewis Dunk coming up against each other in our clash earlier on this season at Goodison Park.

“But the two central defenders showed Gareth Southgate an extra string to their bows and all the forwards on show how to find the back of the net at the Amex.

“Brighton skipper Dunk levelled with a towering header five minutes into nine of stoppage time added on at the end of the match.

“And that came after 21-year-old Branthwaite had broken the deadlock in the 73rd minute with a magnificent finish as he lashed a loose ball into the top corner.


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Extended PL Highlights: Brighton 1 Everton 1

“It is now, though, a total of 36 appearances combined for starting strikers Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Evan Ferguson without a goal.

“Brighton’s chances looked to be all but gone when Billy Gilmour was given a straight red card after 80 minutes by referee Tony Harrington for a follow-through challenge on sub Amadou Onana.

“The Seagulls are now 11 unbeaten at home in the Premier League, extending their best ever run in the top flight.”