It was not quite Marco Tardelli celebrating the clinching goal in the 1982 World Cup final but the release of emotion was furious.
It is not Seamus Coleman’s responsibility to score that often and so, it is not particularly unusual that twenty-two months had passed since his last one. It is details of that period that matter, though.
For eleven of those months, he was injured with a broken leg in two places. He has since returned as Everton’s captain. Having wrapped his shot past Mat Ryan, he charged towards the left corner flag at the Gwladys Street end, the veins in his neck pulsing.
Everton had needed a goal because they had dominated Brighton until that point but this was not reflected in the scoreline. In the first half, Brighton had equalised out of nothing and there was a sort of dread inside Goodison Park that can be undermining even if lots of effort is present.
Had decisions gone in their favour last week at Old Trafford, it is possible that tonight Everton would be just behind Tottenham Hotspur but only on goal difference and the conversation about this team’s development would a lot more enthusiastic than it is.
There are signs at Everton, indeed, that with effort there is also a structure and a plan. It has taken Marco Silva three months to settle down but it feels like he is making progression. This was the best performance at home under his guidance and the margin of Everton’s win should have been greater.
The reasons to be encouraged: 1) Everton have a star in Richarlison. The conviction in his movement and finish for his second goal of the afternoon here was in the world class category. 2) Three of Silva’s other summer signings are now making contributions with Lucas Digne a suitable replacement for Leighton Baines, Andre Gomes adding calm to the midfield and Bernard, trickery in the attack. 3) Everton were one of the slowest sides to watch last season. It is not the case anymore.
Everton’s governance was almost absolute. Gylfi Sigurdsson should have scored twice inside the opening ten minutes, spurning almost identical opportunities delivered from opposite sides of the pitch by Everton’s full-backs, Coleman and Digne. They would have been the sort of goals you associate with the Icelander whose timing is reliable as any attacking midfielder in the league. On each of these occasions, though, despite being in space, he rushed his chances and both shots were woefully off target.
Instead, Sigurdsson would turn provider. The move for Everton’s opener started with a Brighton corner kick, which ended up at his feet in roughly Everton’s left back position. From there, the counter-attack was swift and after intelligent combination play between Bernard and Sigurdsson, Richarlison was zoning in on Ryan, the Brighton goalkeeper, who was beaten with a rising finish.
Brighton did not look like a team that had not conceded since September. Yet Everton did not capitalise on their control. Brighton’s equaliser came as a surprise, though Solly March’s cross deserves recognition for its excellence. It would have been harder for Lewis Dunk not to score with a header. Gareth Southgate was in attendance and this moment might help Dunk secure a second international call up in as many months.
Each of Everton’s last two home games had ended in victories following rousing second half performances. Their intentions here were made within two minutes of the break after Idrissa Gueye smacked the inside of the post with a low shot and from the rebound, Richarlison failed to convert Bernard’s fired cross. Their lead was established soon via an unlikely source in Coleman. Their victory was secured by Richarlison in glorious fashion, as he capitalised on a stray pass from Beram Kayal to use his searing pace and skill to race past Shane Duffy and then Ryan in two touches before sliding the ball smoothly into an open net. Maybe Everton - like Richarlison - are on the move.
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