A late Rooney penalty rescues Everton from another humiliation at the amex
Wayne Rooney’s last-minute penalty was enough to rescue one point for Everton on Sunday afternoon despite being inferior to a rather beatable Brighton side. They were poor all game and were only saved from defeat by Michael Oliver’s decision in the last minute to penalise Bruno for an elbow on Dominic Calvert-Lewin in the box. That gave Everton the penalty which Rooney converted. Of course, with the momentum behind them Everton nearly won the game at the end, Brighton keeper Mathew Ryan having to save from Kevin Mirallas in added time. But coming that close to winning should not get Everton and Koeman off the hook, not even close.
This point leaves Everton 16th in the table, just three ahead of the relegation zone, desperately underperforming given expectations at the start of the season.They have only won twice in the league this season, at home against Stoke City and Bournemouth. Their last away win in the league was at Crystal Palace on 21 January.
In the second half Everton were maybe marginally better as Mason Holgate and Calvert-Lewin forced Ryan to make two more saves. But that was as good as it got. It was Brighton, not known for being entertaining themselves, who really turned it up and who put themselves in a position to win the game.
Brighton had not offered much in the first half, underlining the fact that they may not score enough goals to keep themselves in the Premier League. Their best moment was when a shot from Dunk hit Michael Keane on the arm. But in the second half Brighton started to improve, especially when the exciting Jose Izquierdo entered the fray. With his first touch he forced Jordan Pickford to save, and then Anthony Knockaert had a shot blocked on the line. Suddenly the Everton defence was panicking after Izquierdo fizzed another wide. Then with seven minutes left Bruno surged down the right and pulled the ball back into the box. Izquierdo’s shot was blocked but it fell to Knockaert who slotted in.
Brighton were 1-0 up – it was just their sixth goal from their eighth league game – and against opponents playing this badly, they should have seen it out. They have already won two home league games this season, against West Bromwich Albion and Newcastle United, and this would have been a very welcome third.But Bruno got overly physical in the penalty area, Michael Oliver saw it, and Brighton dropped two points. They will regret allowing a team to come here, play this badly, and escape with anything.