Albion draw opener away to Derby
Albion drew their opening game of the Championship season 0-0 away to Derby County this afternoon.
New Derby manager Nigel Pearson saw his side start brightly with David Stockdale saving from Tom Ince but Brighton controlled the second half and Glenn Murray squandered a great chance to win the game in the 71st minute.
Darren Bent almost stole it in the final minute of stoppage time but the game ended in a draw, just like the two meetings between the teams last season.
Pearson had to make two late changes with Chris Baird coming in at left-back for Craig Forsyth, whose partner had gone into labour, and Bradley Johnson replacing the injured Andreas Weimann on the left of midfield.
Bent was selected ahead of Chris Martin and the former England striker had a chance in the second minute when he turned a Cyrus Christie cross over at full stretch from eight yards.
Christie opened Brighton up again a minute later and set up Ince 10 yards out but Stockdale made a great block. The goalkeeper parried another Ince shot in the 12th minute.
Brighton soon responded when Anthony Knockaert ran at the defence and played in Murray, but his cut-back hit Scott Carson and went behind for a corner.
There was more panic in the Derby defence in the 31st minute when a Jiri Skalak free-kick was sliced behind by Jason Shackell and four minutes later Murray miskicked in front of goal from Liam Rosenior’s low cross.
Brighton had come back into the game strongly and they nearly caught Derby cold 12 seconds after the restart when Tomer Hemed’s shot from the edge of the box was turned over by Carson.
The keeper was beaten in the 57th minute by Murray’s header when Gaetan Bong crossed from the left after a quickly taken free-kick, but the ball landed on the roof of the net.
Brighton were controlling the game and it was no surprise when Pearson made a change, replacing Johnson with Will Hughes, but the visitors went close twice in the space of two minutes.
First Hemed’s shot from the right was cleared off the line by Christie and in the 71st minute, Sidwell chipped over the defence to Murray, who was denied by Carson.
Derby had created little in the second half but in the 89th minute, Jeff Hendrick robbed Knockaert and Hughes drove in a deflected shot from 20 yards which Stockdale did well to claw away before Bent almost headed in a Christie cross seconds before the final whistle.
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