Everton produced a stunning performance to secure a crucial victory and climb out of the Premier League relegation zone, denting Brighton’s European ambitions in the process.
The Toffees were in superb form, particularly in the first half, as they scored four goals to seal a memorable 5-1 win at the Amex Stadium.
Everton started the game on the front foot and took the lead after just 34 seconds, with Dominic Calvert-Lewin setting up Abdoulaye Doucoure for a tap-in after a mistake by Brighton captain Lewis Dunk.
Doucoure then doubled Everton’s lead with a precise volley from Dwight McNeil’s cross before McNeil got in on the act himself, with his low cross deflecting off Brighton goalkeeper Jason Steele and into the net.
The Seagulls struggled to find a response in the first half and were booed off the pitch at the interval, lucky not to be further behind after Everton’s James Garner had an effort blocked by Dunk.
Everton continued to dominate in the second half and added a fourth when McNeil rounded Steele and slotted into an empty net after a superb pass from Alex Iwobi.
Brighton made four half-time changes and improved in the second period, hitting the woodwork twice through Evan Ferguson and Alexis Mac Allister.
They finally managed to pull a goal back when Kaoru Mitoma’s sliding effort rebounded off the post and in off Mac Allister. But it was too little, too late as McNeil scored a stunning goal in added time to complete the rout.
Everton sign off with a fifth goal on the south coast — Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) May 8, 2023
Dwight McNeil bags his second of the game! pic.twitter.com/1pFb1oQmna
The win was a huge boost for Everton’s survival hopes, as they moved out of the drop zone and into 16th place in the table, leapfrogging Nottingham Forest, Leeds, and Leicester City.
Meanwhile, Brighton remain in seventh place, seven points behind fifth-placed Liverpool with two games in hand.
The Toffees will be hoping to build on this result and continue their push for survival in the remaining fixtures of the season.