Cenk Tosun and Gaetan Bong’s own goal earned Everton a 2-0 win over Brighton at Goodison Park to ease the pressure on Sam Allardyce.
Anthony Knockaert’s red card and Wayne Rooney’s missed penalty completed an eventful afternoon on Merseyside as the Toffees secured just their third win of 2018.
Manager Allardyce was booed off the pitch at Burnley last weekend and responded to that 2-1 defeat by making four changes, including the return of Leighton Baines and Phil Jagielka.
It was Jagielka who had the first chance of the game but his header from Gylfi Sigurdsson’s corner was straight at goalkeeper Matthew Ryan.
The Toffees continued to dominate the early stages but failed to carve out any clear-cut chances. That allowed Brighton to ease their way back into the game, with the in-form Glenn Murray firing in a stinging long-range drive that was parried away by Jordan Pickford.
Back at the other end, Sigurdsson’s fizzing cross from the right was pushed away by Ryan, with Yannick Bolasie volleying the rebound over.
Bolasie then sent a header just wide as Brighton failed to clear Jagielka’s long free-kick into the box.
The home finally made their pressure count 15 minutes into the second half. The lively Bolasie skipped in from the left flank before delivering a teasing cross towards Theo Walcott that was eventually deflected into his own net off the thigh of Bong.
Moments later another Bolasie cross found Walcott but his ball across the box was pushed away from the lurking Tosun by Ryan.
Brighton brought on Jurgen Locaida in an attempt to get back into the game and the club-record signing nearly made an immediate impact when his shot from inside the area was well blocked by Seamus Coleman.
Everton suffered an injury blow with 18 minutes left when Walcott limped off with a knee injury to be replaced by Dominic Calvert-Lewin.
Just as nerves were beginning to descend on the home crowd, Everton doubled their advantage with 14 minutes left.
Baines found Tosun in space inside the area and the Turkey international curled in an effort that took a slight deflection off a Brighton defender before thumping in off the crossbar.
Brighton’s afternoon got even worse moments later when Knockaert was issued a straight red card for a two-footed lunge on Baines.
Everton could have put a shine on the result when Calvert-Lewin was brought down in the box by Shane Duffy. However, Rooney’s penalty was superbly stopped by the impressive Ryan.