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Seamus Coleman answers critics with decisive goal as Everton see off Brighton

The Republic of Ireland defender, who missed 10 months with an horrific double break of his leg in March 2017, registered his first goal for 652 days.

Everton defender Seamus Coleman definitively answered his critics with the decisive second in a 3-1 win over Brighton which saw Richarlison score twice.

The Republic of Ireland defender, who missed 10 months with an horrific double break of his leg in March 2017, registered his first goal for 652 days.

Rarely outspoken, the Everton stand-in captain’s hands-to-ears celebration in front of the Gwladys Street End told you all you needed to know about his opinion of those who had questioned him.

Coleman struck after Lewis Dunk’s header had cancelled out Richarlison’s fifth of the season midway through the first half, although the Brazil international had the final say when he capitalised on Dunk’s 77th-minute error to end Brighton’s mini-resurgence

Everton, with a fourth win in five league matches, should have been comfortably ahead before they took the lead with Gylfi Sigurdsson missing two good chances.

Defender Michael Keane – impressing again in front of England manager Gareth Southgate – slipped a pass inside Brighton left-back Gaetan Bong for Coleman to cut-back into the path of the Iceland international, who wildly miskicked from eight yards.

Sigurdsson, under pressure from former Toffees defender Shane Duffy, then poked wide an equally-good chance from Lucas Digne’s cross, before Kurt Zouma missed with a header.

The hosts’ opener actually came from a Brighton corner with Sigurdsson counter-attacking, exchanging passes with Bernard, before sliding the ball through for Richarlison to lash home.

That meant the £40million summer signing, whose participation looked like being cut short early on when he rolled his right ankle chasing a lost cause down the touchline, had scored as many Premier League goals in nine appearances this season as he did in 38 in the previous campaign.

The move was so expertly executed it received a second round of applause from fans when it was replayed on the big screen inside the ground.

Everton’s lead was short-lived as another Brighton corner resulted in a goal, only this time for the visitors.

Played short to move the Toffees’ zonal defence, Solly March swung a cross to the far post where Dunk headed home.

Having failed to capitalise on their dominance early in the first half, Everton did not make the same mistake after the interval with Idrissa Gana Gueye’s low drive rebounding off a post to Bernar,d whose cross was volleyed wide by Theo Walcott.

But five minutes in Coleman delivered his response to growing criticism by firing an effort across goalkeeper Mat Ryan and inside the far post.

Sliding on his knees with hands raised to both ears in front of the Gwladys stand, his release was a mixture of joy, anger and frustration after a first goal since January 2017.

Brighton, after three successive 1-0 wins, failed to threaten in the remaining 40 minutes and – when Richarlison latched onto Dunk’s loose crossfield pass to round Ryan – the Seagulls’ 105-year wait for a victory at Goodison Park continued.

Everton manager Marco Silva was even afforded the luxury of giving £27.1million summer signing Yerry Mina a late debut with the Colombia international now free from injury.

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