Everton 1 Brighton 4: Toffees manager Frank Lampard hanging by a thread after Seagulls inflict embarrassing home loss

FRANK LAMPARD is staring into the abyss for it will surely be a miracle if he holds onto his job.

Given the total humiliation his team suffered, another one will be needed to stop Everton sliding out of the top flight for the first time since 1951.

Everton are left in a relegation scrap after their Brighton drubbingCredit: Reuters

Yet right now neither Lampard’s job as Everton manager nor the Toffees’ place in the Premier League look like they can be saved.

Already a goal ahead at half time through Kaoru Mitoma’s fine early strike, the Seagulls then spent five minutes slicing through craven and clueless opposition.

In that time just after the break Evan Ferguson, Solly March and Pascal Gross scored three more amidst a total collapse.

The sight of Idrissa Gueye rolling the ball into the path of Gross for the last of that trio of strikes in the 57th minute said it all about this capitulation.

His supposed back-pass was the perfect example of a team that has given up, lost all hope – one that was slumping to a third successive home defeat.

Plenty of those wearing Everton blue gave up and went home at that point.

None who remained could blame them.

Rarely in the near-72 years since the Goodison club last found itself in the second tier of English football can there have been such a pathetic display.

Lampard’s side took the pitch having supposedly re-invented the Goodison dogs of war of the old thanks to a battling New Year’s Eve point against Manchester City.

They were anything but in front of their despairing faithful against a Roberto De Zerbi side too good, too put together and much too passionate for them.

Lampard took over from the hated “agent” Rafa Benitez 27 days short of a year ago now and this was his 41st game in charge.

After last season’s escape he was supposed to have been the author of the re-birth of the Blues.

But he stood, arms folded, speechless and apparently lost as the team he put out on the pitch itself folded.

Former Everton boss Roberto Martinez, now jobless after Belgium’s Wold Cup no – show, is available.

Had Everton chairman had his way around 12 months ago, the first of six managers to leave Goodison under the ownership of Farhad Moshiri would have succeeded Benitez then.

He might well get another opportunity now for Lampard, with Manchester United coming up in Friday’s FA Cup third round tie, looks like being the seventh head to role under Moshiri.

Kaoru Mitoma opens the scoring for Brighton

Kaoru Mitoma opens the scoring for BrightonCredit: Getty

Kaoru Mitoma celebrates Brighton's opener

Kaoru Mitoma celebrates Brighton’s openerCredit: Reuters

Evan Ferguson puts Brighton 2-0 up

Evan Ferguson puts Brighton 2-0 upCredit: Reuters

Evan Ferguson celebrates Brighton's second goal

Evan Ferguson celebrates Brighton’s second goalCredit: Reuters

None of which should take away from the excellence of Brighton’s attacking, albeit against a side that played with little or no aggression and desire, far less pride.

Kauru Mitoma started the destruction in the 14th minute.

He collected an average cross-field pass from Moises Caciedo and turned it into a great one as he darted away from Nathan Patterson and Conor Coady to slam past Jordan Pickford.

Then up stepped Ferguson, aged 18, making his first Prem start, and a living reminder of another striker by that name who once ruled Goodison.

But Big Dunc is only a memory these days, young Ferguson a barnstorming reminder.

He shot against a post, barged through defenders, had a spat with James Tarkowski then tapped in for Brighton’s second six minutes after the interval.

Soon March was firing into the bottom corner before Gueye’s awful attempt at sending the ball back to Pickford allowed Gross to chip over the stranded England No1.

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Demarai Gray slotted an injury time penalty but that was never going to lift the blues around the place – or give Lampard much hope of keeping his job.

Barring a couple of miracles, of course.

Solly March puts Brighton 3-0 ahead

Solly March puts Brighton 3-0 aheadCredit: Getty

Solly March celebrates his goal

Solly March celebrates his goalCredit: Reuters

Pascal Gross makes it 4-0

Pascal Gross makes it 4-0Credit: Reuters

Demarai Gray pulls one back from the spot

Demarai Gray pulls one back from the spotCredit: Getty

Everton boss Frank Lampard looks on in defeat

Everton boss Frank Lampard looks on in defeatCredit: PA


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