It was Bank Holiday doubles all round as Sean Dyche ignored the dreary weather to lead a surprisingly successful away day to the coast. Everton may not have won on their travels since October 1 but they do like to be beside the seaside.
Indeed, the only teams they had previously managed to beat on their travels this season have been Fleetwood and Southampton.
However, two goals apiece from Abdoulaye Doucoure and Dwight McNeil, together with an unfortunate Jason Steele own goal certainly turned the tide for the team who had scored the lowest number of goals before today in the top four divisions in England.
More importantly it has enabled them to dig their way out of the quicksand of the bottom three. And to make the celebrations a family affair for the Dyche’s, earlier in the day his son Max had secured promotion to League One with Northampton after a 1-0 win at Tranmere.
“I’m very pleased for my lad and my family will be very pleased for him too,” Dyche said. “I’m not sure I saw that scoreline coming. It’s a big one for any team on the road. There has been a lot of noise about Everton playing away but we have been improving the mentality, generally speaking.
“I said to the lads, though, it is only another step. It is just a step. There are three more big steps we have to take.”
Everton were on it right from the start. After 34 seconds, Dominic Calvert-Lewin had turned Lewis Dunk on the half-way line and Doucoure nipped in front of Patterson to meet his cross.
His second was something special – McNeil broke from his own half and crossed deep, with Doucoure whalloping the ball home on the volley. The third was a little more prosaic – McNeil’s shot deflecting in off Steele’s boot.
But nobody could get near the two-goal late flourish the former Burnley striker provided, dribbling round Steele to roll the first over the line and thumping the last into the top corner.
Alexis Mac Allister had briefly pulled the scores back to 3-1 with a goal which bounced off his body after Kauro Mitoma’s shot had hit the foot of the post.
Otherwise, Jordan Pickford was in brilliant form in the Everton goal, tipping two brilliant efforts onto the woodwork himself and on the only other occasion he was beaten watching relieved as the ball again bounced back off the crossbar.
Overall, though, it was a desperately disappointing end to Brighton’s realistic hopes of Champions League hopes so soon after their stunning win over Manchester United.
Manager Roberto De Zerbi held a dressing room “lock-in” after the game and told his players where they are ultimately falling short.
“We did not forget the win against Manchester United and the biggest quality of the big teams is to forget when you win,” he said. “Today we arrived at the stadium in time for the second half.
“The first half we showed we are not ready to compete for the big targets – but I am talking about mentality not football ability.
“If we want to fix our target higher we have to improve very fast. Sunday we will show our quality and you will see the true Brighton.”