Jurgen Locadia scores again as Brighton beat Everton
The £14million striker added to his Boxing Day goal against Arsenal.
Jurgen Locadia scored for the second successive match as Brighton ended a four-game winless run by beating Everton 1-0.
The £14million Dutchman fired home on the turn from close range in the 59th minute to settle a tight encounter at the Amex Stadium.
Locadia, who registered his first goal of the season in the Boxing Day draw with Arsenal, was initially flagged offside but the decision was overturned by referee Andrew Madley, with replays showing Pascal Gross’ corner had bounced into the striker’s path off Toffees midfielder Andre Gomes.
Everton, who had been the more threatening side in the opening 45 minutes, were unlucky not to level with Richarlison and Kurt Zouma each hitting the woodwork.
Brighton’s victory – and first clean sheet since late October – coincided with manager Chris Hughton being able to select his first-choice centre-back partnership of Lewis Dunk and Shane Duffy for the first time in five games following suspensions.
Premier League debutant David Button also played his part in Brighton’s goal, producing a solid display to cover for regular number one Mat Ryan, who is on international duty with Australia ahead of next month’s Asian Cup.
Everton manager Marco Silva made two changes from the 5-1 Boxing Day demolition of Burnley, bringing in top scorer Richarlison and midfielder Idrissa Gueye and dropping Gylfi Sigurdsson and Dominic Calvert-Lewin to the bench.
The Seagulls had the better of an uneventful first half an hour, although it was the Toffees who looked more dangerous going forward.
Brazil forward Richarlison, who moments earlier was flagged offside as he had an effort blocked on the line by Duffy, forced a smart stop out of Button, before Seamus Coleman’s follow-up effort was smothered by the Brighton defence.
Albion did not manage a shot on target in the opening period, with a blocked attempt from Locadia their best moment.
The hosts began the second period in the ascendancy and, following a smart turn and through ball from impressive midfielder Davy Propper, only a last-ditch tackle from Zouma denied Florin Andone a clear shot on goal.
Romania international Andone should have broken the deadlock in the 57th minute but his close-range header from Gross’ free-kick was too close to Jordan Pickford and he acrobatically turned over.
Brighton’s pressure was rewarded two minutes later when Locadia swept home following Gross’ right-wing corner and, after a brief delay as Madley consulted his linesman, the goal was given.
Richarlison, who had been limping due to an ankle knock before the opener, almost produced a perfect response when his low drive was diverted onto the left post by Button.
Brazilian winger Bernard then wastefully fired over after cutting in from the left.
Everton, who have now lost four of their last seven top-flight matches, had one final chance to salvage a point but Zouma’s towering header from a Sigurdsson free-kick rattled the crossbar.