Ireland’s Evan Ferguson scores on first Premier League start as Brighton thrash Everton

Round-up: Mitrovic strike lifts Fulham and piles pressure on Leicester and Rodgers

Everton 1 Brighton 4

Ireland’s Evan Ferguson scored and assisted on his first Premier League start as Brighton recorded their biggest away win – 4-1 – in the league.

Any sliver of confidence gained by Everton from the weekend’s creditable draw at Manchester City was shattered by a performance lacking guts and guile and justifiably greeted with loud boos.

It was typified by a catastrophic seven-minute spell at the start of the second half in which they conceded three soft goals to 18-year-old Ferguson, Solly March and Pascal Gross to add to Kaoru Mitoma’s early first-half strike.


Demarai Gray’s added-time penalty consolation merely prompted yet more chants of ‘Sack the board’.

For the second successive home match the Toffees were booed off as a pivotal month in which they are required to, at the very least, beat fellow strugglers Southampton and West Ham and make some new signings began in the worst possible fashion.

One win and seven defeats in the last 10 matches have left Everton teetering on the edge of the relegation zone and Lampard under severe pressure four weeks away from his first anniversary at the club.

There are no such concerns for Brighton, whose enforced change of manager just six weeks into the season has barely affected them as Graham Potter’s replacement Roberto De Zerbi has guided them to eighth in the table, with this a club-record third successive away win.

The Seagulls were everything Everton are not: organised, fast, incisive and clinical and while the return of Moises Caicedo from suspension made a significant difference in midfield, De Zerbi could afford to leave World Cup winner Alexis Mac Allister on the bench for an hour.

Everton had conceded at least one goal in the first half in each of their previous five matches so it was no surprise, after Alex Iwobi had fully extended Robert Sanchez with an early shot, when Brighton took the lead.

Mitoma had already wasted a free header at the far post from March’s cross when he capitalised on Nathan Patterson’s misjudgement of Caicedo’s crossfield pass to nip in behind him.

With the full-back out of position, Conor Coady was left exposed and the Japan international cut inside the centre-half to score for the second successive game via the legs of the sliding James Tarkowski.

Brighton continued to profit down Everton’s right side and almost doubled their lead when Ferguson’s hooked shot beat Jordan Pickford but rebounded off the post after Pervis Estupinan had run 40 yards to tee up Mitoma to cross.

Lampard’s side were too slow in possession and against organised opponents they regularly found themselves running down blind alleys or turning around and passing backwards.

On the half-hour, Seagulls centre-back Levi Colwill stood with the ball midway in his own half, with no-one going to challenge him and Goodison roared its disapproval.

Striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin was feeding on scraps but, when Patterson eventually did swing over a decent cross he could only manage a partial header, while the striker failed to capitalise on Sanchez spilling a Gray shot.

Just 12 minutes into the second half the game was over, Goodison was emptying and the ground was echoing to chants of ‘Sack the board’.

When Idrissa Gana Gueye’s sliding challenge failed to cut out a pass to Sarmiento, the Ecuadorian skipped into the penalty area before cutting back a cross for Ferguson to fire home.

Then March went past Mykolenko and Tarkowski, leaving the latter sprawling on the turf, to fire in the third and while the recriminations started among players on the pitch off it fans headed for the exits, with one blue smoke cannister launched into the penalty area.

But even worse was to follow as Everton lost possession from their own free-kick close to Brighton’s penalty area and Gueye’s woeful backpass presented Gross the opportunity to run half the length of the pitch and chip over Pickford.

Gray slotted home from the spot after Iwobi was felled by Sanchez but it did little to appease those left at the final whistle, who again expressed their dissatisfaction at the running of the club while also applauding Brighton off the field.

Leicester City 0 Fulham 1

“We’re all going on a European tour,” crooned the Fulham support in the corner of this stadium as they basked in climbing to seventh in the Premier League courtesy of Aleksandar Mitrovic’s first-half strike. Who can really begrudge them the jovial celebrations? In truth, a sustained push for Europe feels unlikely but Fulham are surely on course to avoid relegation from the top flight for the first time since 2012-13 under Martin Jol. Mitrovic’s strike earned an eighth league win this season, three more than they were relegated two years ago. Harry Wilson would have ensured victory in seven minutes of second-half stoppage time but shot wide when baring down on goal.

For Leicester and Brendan Rodgers, relegation worries are going nowhere fast after a third straight league defeat. They were jeered off and remain the only Premier League team still to win from a losing position. Leicester came close to equalising in the second half but Youri Tielemans rattled the woodwork and Fulham’s goalkeeper Bernd Leno made several fine saves.

It would be easy to point towards Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall having to pull out of the starting lineup during the warmup and Boubakary Soumaré being forced off after eight minutes as factors for Leicester’s bad start but the reality is that would just be papering over the cracks. Fulham outclassed Leicester and deservedly took the lead on 17 minutes.

The manner in which Mitrovic eluded Luke Thomas and ghosted behind Wout Faes to chest Willian’s cross before smacking in past an exposed Danny Ward with his next touch sparked considerable alarm. On the touchline Brendan Rodgers retreated towards the home dugout with a face like the thunder. Marco Silva, meanwhile, tried to conceal his delight.

Seven minutes earlier Silva was not quite so pleased. Wilfred Ndidi, who replaced Dewsbury-Hall in midfield, caught Mitrovic on the ankle with a poor challenge and the striker, whose 11th goal of the season means he has equalled his best tally at this level, required a couple of minutes treatment. Silva wildly gesticulated in the direction of the fourth official, Darren England, and Mitrovic shook his head before returning to the field with a limp. Mitrovic missed a chance to add a second goal when miscuing his shot after meeting Bobby Decordova-Reid’s cutback.

João Palhinha was the best player on the pitch here, a classy operator at the base of midfield. Palhinha also went close to doubling Fulham’s first-half lead before Leicester eventually roused.

Youri Tielemans, again captain in the absence of the injured Jonny Evans, did not hide and was the catalyst for a trio of attacks, the most promising of which forced the Fulham goalkeeper Bernd Leno to intervene.

Leicester created a couple more openings after the break but their frustrations only increased as Leno denied Harvey Barnes and then Jamie Vardy with his legs. Tielemans, who aside from undercooking a routine pass before half-time barely put a foot wrong, curled wide approaching the hour and with 10 minutes to play he smacked the crossbar after a corner was cleared to the edge of the box.

Tielemans pulled another shot wide and earlier the Fulham substitute Tom Cairney resorted to a crude challenge on Ayoze Pérez on halfway, prompting the referee Darren Bond to award a free-kick rather than allowing Leicester to pour forward four v four.

Rodgers was incensed but ultimately Leicester were punished for their sloppy start.