Six things we learned from Brighton's draw at Southampton
A point gained or two dropped? Here's six things we learned from Brighton's 1-1 draw with Southampton.
Point gained on a frustrating evening
There's no doubt it ended up being a point gained for Brighton but you couldn't help but wonder what might have been.
The Seagulls started brightly and should have been ahead inside 30 seconds when Jose Izquierdo blazed over from just 15 yards.
Glenn Murray did give Albion the lead on 14 minutes but they rarely threatened a second goal and Saints keeper Alex McCarthy had few dangerous moments to deal with.
You couldn't fault the hard work and effort from Albion's players and it might turn out to be a valuable point but Southampton hadn't won for 11 league matches and were there for the taking.
Seagulls boss Chris Hughton afterwards said Southampton looked most threatening on the counter-attack and they were wary of that threat. Saints ended up levelling through Jack Stephens' clever finish on 64 minutes and clear chances were then few and far between.
Albion fans chanted 'attack, attack, attack' in the closing stages as they sensed an opportunity to get all three points but they ended up having to settle for a draw, which was still a better point for the Seagulls than it was for Southampton.
Cool as you like
Much of the talk in the lead-up to the game this week was about Leonardo Ulloa's return to Brighton.
Albion fans sang his name before kick-off, in the opening minute and on another couple of occasions before ten minutes were up.
Ulloa will be battling for a place in the starting line-up with Glenn Murray, who scored the winner at Middlesbrough in the FA Cup after what he admitted had been a hectic week.
Murray received widespread unwanted attention in national newspapers last week but he's got his head down and let his football do the talking.
When Solly March was tripped in the penalty area by Wesley Hoedt after 14 minutes, referee Mike Dean pointed to the spot. Murray - who missed from the spot in the 0-0 draw with Burnley in December - stepped up and coolly sent Alex McCarthy the wrong way.
It was his ninth goal of the season and Albion's 200th in the top flight of English football. Brighton will need more goals to come from both him and Ulloa as they bid to stay in the top flight.
Slice of luck
They say things even themselves out over the course of a season and that was almost the case just past the half-hour mark at St Mary's.
After Brighton's fortuitous winner at Middlesbrough on Saturday, when Boro defender George Friend's clearance cannoned against Glenn Murray and rebounded into the goal, Albion were almost on the receiving end of a similar incident.
Lewis Dunk passed the ball back to keeper Mathew Ryan and his attempted kick upfield crashed against Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, looped over the Seagulls stopper and came back into play off the underside of the bar.
It was a huge slice of luck for Albion but they were unable to make it count as Southampton equalised in the second half.
Albion's long search for a striker came to an end this transfer window when they signed Jurgen Locadia and Leonardo Ulloa, so Seagulls fans went to St Mary's fairly relaxed about any last-minute deals.
Locadia joined for a club record reported Â£14m fee from PSV Eindhoven halfway through the month and Ulloa returned on loan from Leicester earlier this week.
Reports earlier today suggested Albion were trying to bring in Nick Powell from Wigan. The Seagulls reportedly had two bids turned down for the former Manchester United player.
Just where the arrivals of Locadia and Ulloa leave Tomer Hemed remains to be seen as the Israeli forward was not in the squad today.
Positives and the usual negative
There were several positives for Albion to take from the game with a number of impressive individual performances.
Ezequiel Schelotto again looked comfortable at right-back and offers a threat going forward, while Lewis Dunk, Shane Duffy and Gaetan Bong were also solid at the back.
Dale Stephens and Davy Propper worked hard in the middle of the park and Solly March won the penalty from which Glenn Murray gave Albion the lead.
It was also great to see Leonardo Ulloa back in a Brighton shirt and he put himself about and held the ball up well in his time on the pitch.
The negative? Conceding from another set-piece as Jack Stephens turned home James Ward-Prowse's free kick. Albion dealt with a number of corners and free kicks throughout the game but the Saints leveller was another frustrating goal to concede.
Just one point separates Newcastle in 14th to Swansea in 19th after tonight's games.
Albion moved up a place to 15th with the point at Southampton but know they need wins to preserve their Premier League status.
The match at Saints kicked off a crucial run of four games against sides in and around them in the table.
Next is a home match with West Ham at the Amex on Saturday, before a trip to Stoke and then a home clash with Swansea. Two wins from the three games will leave Albion nicely placed heading into the last ten games of the season.
There's little to choose between sides in the bottom half, so whichever team/s can put a run together will seal their place in the top flight for another season.
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