Match Report| The painful run continues | Brighton (A)

Ah, it really is the hope that kills you. The hope that it was just a blip. The hope we were just one game away from the winning formula….. that eureka moment. Sadly, as each game passes, we fall deeper into despair. Not even a late Wayne Rooney penalty to rescue a point can paper over these cracks.

Jagielka made his return for Williams (finally), whilst it seemed Sigurdsson was at last being given his place in the number 10 role, chaperoned by Calvert-Lewin and Vlasic either side. Good news? Well not quiet. Once again we saw a young CB in Holgate being pushed out to the right back position, whist another painful set up of two holding midfielders was only outdone by the 32 year old Wayne Rooney once again leading the line as lone striker….sigh.

The game started okay, Everton had a lot of the ball but struggled to create much in front of goal (at this point, I had that line saved in my drafts), Gueye with the best chance just after the half hour mark. He striked his effort low and hard from the edge of the box, but the keeper pulled of a great save to tip it around the post for a corner. The hosts created very little themselves and half time came with the game on a knife edge…a very blunt and dull, knife edge. In fact, a ‘butter’ knife edge would be the most accurate description.

In the second half there was no changes, and I don’t just mean to the personal. The game lacked any real quality in the final third and both teams were stumbling their way through each minute of the game. I can’t imagine Sky India will be rushing to buy the rights of these two teams again any time soon. Holgate had a decent effort on the54th minute but the keeper was equal to it. Brighton had a great chance of their own shortly after. A corner was cleared as far as Knockaert on the edge of the box and the Frenchman’s subsequent volley struck a defender before landing kindly for Dunk, whose effort was crucially blocked behind by Michael Keane. The home fans screamed for a hand ball but it wasn’t given.

Niasse came on for Gueye, but shortly after the inevitable happened. After some woeful defending in which Schneiderlin was caught napping, it was Knockaert again who reacted quickest in the box to stab home the goal. 1-0 Brighton. The final nail in Koeman’s coffin? Of course not. This is loyal old Everton. Koeman’s blushes were further spared after a moment of madness from Brighton skipper Bruno gifted the Toffees a penalty in the 90th minute. The same was smartly dispatched by Wayne Rooney. 1-1.

There was madness at the end when Everton could have nicked all three points, but once again the Brighton goalkeeper was on fire and pulled off a great double save to deny Mirallas a winner from the bench. Full time, 1-1.

Everton’s painful run continues. Whilst the results are bad, the performances are even worse. Lyon are up next. Nothing but a win keeps Everton in the Europa League. But with just two wins from our last ten games, I wouldn’t hold your breathe. Ah well, at least we all have each other. One pint of bleach please barman.- David ( @DAHughes92 )

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