An under-par Brighton left Goodison Park empty handed this afternoon, as Everton struck twice in the second half to seal a 2-0 win in the Premier League.
Chris Hughton's side were penned in their own half for most of the game, with the Toffees pressure paying off an hour in through a Gaetan Bong own goal, with Cenk Tosun sealing all three points for the hosts with just under a quarter of an hour remaining, ending the Seagull's seven game run without a defeat.
There was late drama in the final ten minutes of the game as Anthony Knockaert received Albion's first straight red card of the season, with Maty Ryan preventing Wayne Rooney from adding a third from the penalty spot.
After picking up a knock in training, midfielder Dale Stephens missed his first game of the season for Albion's trip to Merseyside, with Beram Kayal coming in for their only change from last weekend's win over Arsenal.
The home side quickly took control of the game at Goodison Park, with Seamus Coleman sending a low shot wide of the far post from a narrow angle on the right four minutes in. They should have done better with their first effort on goal eight minutes later, as Phil Jagielka headed Gylfi Sigurdsson's corner straight at Ryan.
Sam Allardyce's side continued to maintain possession and looked to press for an opening goal, with many of the home fans thinking they'd broke the deadlock on 22 minutes. Yannick Bolasie fired the ball into the side netting at the far post after Ryan failed to clear Sigurdsson's corner from the left. Albion's first real foray into the final third of the pitch saw top scorer Glenn Murray sting the gloves of Toffees goalkeeper Jordan Pickford from distance three minutes later.
Down the other end, Ryan was alert to keep out Sigurdsson's angled shot from wide on the right on 28 minutes minutes, with Bolasie sending the rebound high over the goal. Former Crystal Palace winger Bolasie was given time again to carve out a chance on 34 minutes, heading Shane Duffy's half clearance across goal and wide from the left.
Brighton's struggles going forward continued as the half entered the final ten minutes. Miscommunication between players saw them misplace numerous passes, handing the home side more chances to pen them in, Their only half chance in that period on 43 minutes saw Murray's header from a Lewis Dunk cross comfortably taken by Pickford.
Albion needed some great defending from Shane Duffy to prevent a fierce drive from range by Rooney heading towards goal. The former Everton defender threw his body at the ball to send it out for a corner on 56 minutes.
However they found themselves behind four minutes later, as the ever-dangerous Bolasie sent a ball towards the back post from the left. Walcott appeared to get the final touch from close range, however replays showed that a deflection off Bong sent the ball into the back of the net for an own goal.
After going behind, Hughton reverted to the 4-4-2 formation that served his side so well in the Championship for the final 20 minutes, with Jurgen Locadia coming on for Kayal and Pascal Gross dropping into the midfield four. The Dutchman's first touch saw his shot from the left charged by a group of Everton players in the box, as they defended an Albion corner on 70 minutes.
However it was all over for Albion six minutes later, as Leighton Baines teed up an unmarked Tosun in the middle of the box, with the striker letting rip a fierce shot that cannoned in off the crossbar for their second of the afternoon.
Albion's frustrations boiled showed the restart, as Gross attempted an audacious shot from the kick off, which sailed just over the bar.
Their torrid afternoon turned even sourer with ten minutes remaining, as Knockaert jumped in with a two-footed lunge at Baines on the left touchline near where the visiting Albion supporters were sat. Whilst there was little connection in the challenge, the intent was enough for referee Roger East to produce a straight red. Bong was also forced off with an injury and replaced by by Markus Suttner.
Just when they thought it couldn't get any worse, the Seagulls conceded a penalty on 82 minutes, with Duffy judged to have tripped substitute Dominic Calvert-Lewin in the box, with Rooney stepping up to take the spot kick. The former England captain scored from the spot in the last meeting between the sides back in October, however this time Ryan guessed correctly, making a wonderful save to his right to push the ball out to safety.
A late chance from Gross was Albion's only response in the dying minutes of the game, however a consolation wouldn't have been a fair reflection of the result. The Seagulls struggled to pick up any momentum all afternoon and were outperformed by their opponents in most areas of the pitch, with Ryan one of the few to come away with
It was a disappointing showing on the road in a similar vein to losses at Huddersfield and West Brom earlier in the season. Whilst they won't have a chance to redeem themselves in the top flight until after the international break, Albion will have to regroup quickly for another tough test on the road in the FA Cup Quarter-finals at Manchester United next weekend.
Everton: Pickford, Coleman, Jagielka, Keane, Baines, Rooney, Davies (Klaassen 84'), Sigurdsson, Walcott (Calvert-Lewin 73'), Tosun, Bolasie (Holgate 78')
Unused Subs: Robles, Martina, Niasse, Klaassen, Baningime
Albion: Ryan; Schelotto, Duffy, Dunk, Bong (Suttner 82'); Knockaert, Kayal (Locadia 69'), Propper, Izquierdo; Gross; Murray (Ulloa 77')
Unused Subs: Krul, Bruno, Goldson, Suttner, March, Ulloa,