In a compete turaround in form, Everton tonight battered Brighton and Hove Albion 5-1 at the Amex Stadium to move out of the relegation zone.
What an incredible and utterly unexpected result that was! No one saw this coming as the Toffees crushed their opponents on the South Coast to record a sensational outcome.
I had written in my match preview that this game was a sort of free hit for Everton given the respective positions of the two teams and the Blues’ long winless run on the road.
Also I noted, that every now and then this team does produce a totally unpredicted effort and result, so could it be this match? And indeed it happened again tonight.
In addition, finally, Sean Dyche listened and restored both Yerry Mina and Nathan Patterson in defence, something so many of us, including me, wanted to see.
Mina was immense this evening and Patterson also defended well too giving the Toffees’ a much more solid looking backline.
Everton got a perfect fast start with Abdoulaye Docoure netting in just the first minute. The powerful Mali midfielder then added a second half an hour later as the Blues’ took complete control of the game. Would it be too early to score?
But, instead they produced a superb performance overall with the Toffees’ playing some slick counter-attacking football and negating the home team’s strengths well.
Many Everton players were delivering arguably their best displays in a royal blue shirt for many a month or even year.
Then the visitors made it three to take full control of the contest though an own-goal from keeper Jason Steele that further deflated their hosts.
After half-time Brighton had more of the match but when called upon the Blues’ defence stood firm and repelled every attack, although the Seagulls did hit the woodwork several times.
Then, the Blues’ added a fourth as man-of-the-match candidate Dwight McNeil took Alex Iwobi’s pass to score his first of the night. Nothing, not even the terrible May weather could dampen Everton’s excellence.
Away supporters were in dreamland as they witnessed their much-maligned team running rings around a side that had swept so many better teams aside so often this season, and the Toffees’ themselves with ease back in January.
The Seagulls did pull a goal back, but it was of no avail as the Blues’ added a fifth through the outstanding McNeil.
Well, that was a performance out of the top drawer and one we have so rarely witnessed from this group of players who managed only their second away win of the campaign.
Now, the challenge is can they mainatin the intensity, work ethic and attacking incisiveness that we saw tonight. After that result, perhaps one more win might just be enough to stave off relegation.