Dwight McNeil’s first-minute goal gave Everton all three points at Goodison Park, ending Brentford’s 12-game unbeaten run in the process.

The winger crashed home from the edge of the box to give the home side the early lead.

Everton thought they had made it two through Demarai Gray at the end of a dominant first half but that was ruled out for handball by VAR.

After the break, Brentford laid siege to the Everton goal but found the Toffees’ defence in no mood to be breached.

The closest Thomas Frank’s side came was a Rico Henry header, saved by Jordan Pickford, and Ivan Toney’s shot which McNeil hacked off the line.

There was almost an incredible late intervention from David Raya, however his injury-time header from eight yards skipped wide of the post and with it went the Bees’ unbeaten run which stretched back to October.

Damsgaard starts second successive game; Janelt for Wissa the Bees’ only change

Frank made one change from Monday’s derby victory over Fulham with Vitaly Janelt replacing Yoane Wissa.

Mikkel Damsgaard moved from the centre of midfield to the wing.

Sean Dyche kept faith with the XI that drew 2-2 with Nottingham Forest last weekend.

Vitalii Mykolenko, fit enough to return to the bench following a virus, was the only change to Everton’s matchday squad.

Brentford: Raya; Hickey (Wissa 74), Pinnock, Mee, Henry (Ghoddos 87); Norgaard (Onyeka 74), Janelt, Jensen (Schade 62); Mbeumo, Damsgaard (Dasilva 62), Toney

Subs not used: Cox, Jansson, Ajer, Baptiste

Everton: Pickford; Coleman, Keane, Tarkowski, Godfrey; Iwobi (Mykolenko 90+1), Onana (Davies 80), Doucoure (Booked 71), Gueye, McNeil; Gray (Maupay 86)

Subs not used: Begovic, Holgate, Mina, Coady, Garner, Simms

Attendance: 39,036

McNeil strike gives Everton an early lead

It was a blistering start from the home side who took the lead after just 35 seconds.

Ben Mee wasn’t able to get enough purchase on his clearing header as a long ball held up in the wind down the right touchline, Alex Iwobi worked it inside for Abdoulaye Doucoure who, in turn, found McNeil coming in from the left to lash across David Raya and home from 15 yards.

With the crowd well behind them, Everton hassled and harried Brentford all over the pitch, not allowing the Bees any time in possession.

Brentford, to their credit, dug in and weathered the early storm, though not without a couple of scares.

Michael Keane beat Raya to a driven free-kick from deep but nodded well off target before Amadou Onana passed up a huge opening to make it 2-0 on 20 minutes. Iwobi flashed in a cross from the right which Raya palmed straight into the midfielder’s path but, off balance slightly, he sent his shot wide of an open goal from eight yards.

That let-off seemed to stir Frank’s side into action. From Mee’s ball down the line, Henry switched play to Bryan Mbeumo on the right who cut in and shot from 25 yards, with Pickford gathering the wet ball at the second attempt.

Toney had been well marshalled by Keane and former Bee James Tarkowski during the opening quarter. However, after 25 minutes he showed all his qualities to hold off Keane and get on the end of Christian Norgaard’s cross only to flick it wide.

Keane made a perfectly timed interception as Janelt looked set to meet Henry’s cross on the volley before Pickford beat away a long-range Toney effort.

As half-time approached, the home side got back in control of the game. Raya had to make a pair of close-range saves with his legs, one at his near post from Demarai Gray and then to deny Iwobi from the resulting corner, while Ethan Pinnock got his body in the way of a long-range McNeil effort.

The hosts thought that they had been rewarded with a second goal just before the break when Pinnock’s clearance bounced in off Gray, but he was adjudged by VAR to have handled the ball into the net.

There was still time in the half for Damsgaard to divert Gray’s free-kick over the bar and for Raya to make a routine from Keane’s looping header.

Brentford the better of the two sides after the break, but Everton’s backline stands firm

There were no changes for either side at the break, Brentford coming out far the faster upon the restart.

Henry had a great chance to level, powering in at the back post to meet Mbeumo’s dinked cross, but Pickford scrambled across his line and made the block.

Seamus Coleman also got a crucial head on a cross with Janelt unmarked behind him waiting to pounce.

As the half went on, Everton dropped deeper, inviting wave upon wave of Brentford pressure.

Gray was a willing runner up front, but he was becoming isolated. The Toffees’ frontman did test Raya with a low shot on the hour but that was almost all Everton offered in an attacking sense after the break.

Frank shuffled his pack, introducing Kevin Schade, Yoane Wissa and Josh Dasilva, and switching to three at the back.

That allowed Henry, in particular, license to get forward. And it was from his teasing cross that Schade nodded wide at the back post.

Toney saw a free-kick deflected over after he’d been fouled on the edge of the D; from the resulting corner goal-scorer McNeil was in the right place at the other end to clear off the line from the Bees’ top scorer.

For all Brentford’s possession and territory, Dyche’s Everton stood firm. Keane and Tarkowski dealt with everything that came into the box, with Onana, Doucoure, and Idrissa Gana Gueye mopping up in front of them.

Mbeumo, Schade and Dasilva were all crowded out after bursting runs into the box as Brentford threw everything at the Toffees.

In a rare Everton foray forward, Gana Gueye fired straight at Raya from 25 yards before the Brentford stopper almost became the most unlikely goalscoring hero.

Three minutes into five minutes of stoppage-time, Raya ventured forward for an in-swinging corner which he met, unmarked, eight yards out. However, the ball skimmed off his head and bounced wide, with it going the Bees unblemished post-World Cup record.

Frank: It was a game of two halves

Thomas Frank was 'very pleased' with his side's second-half display, and stated that they were unlucky to lose at Goodison Park.

Hickey: We need to keep our heads up

With Southampton up next on Wednesday night, Aaron Hickey called for Brentford’s players to show their resilience at St Mary’s.