|Brighton and Hove Albion 1 v 1 Ipswich Town|
Tuesday, 14th February 2017 Kick-off 19:45
Brighton and Hove Albion 1-1 Ipswich Town - Full-Time
Tuesday, 14th Feb 2017 21:53
Skipper Luke Chambers put the Blues in front with a brave header but Tomer Hemed equalised from the penalty spot as Town's game against second-placed Brighton and Hove Albion at the Amex ended 1-1. Chambers headed in a Tom Lawrence freekick in the ninth minute but Hemed levelled on 29 after Emyr Huws had been adjudged to have fouled Seagulls skipper Bruno.
Myles Kenlock and Jordan Spence replaced the injured Steven Taylor and Christophe Berra as Mick McCarthy named the team which played much of Saturday’s 1-0 win at Aston Villa.
Kenlock was at left wing-back with Spence, Jonas Knudsen and captain Chambers the three-man backline, while Josh Emmanuel was the right wing-back. Bartosz Bialkowski was in goal.
In midfield, Toumani Diagouraga and Huws were joined by Grant Ward with Cole Skuse still out with an achilles injury. Up front, Tom Lawrence was again be partnered by David McGoldrick.
Brighton, who had ex-Town loanee David Stockdale in goal, were unchanged from the weekend 4-1 home win against Burton Albion.
The home side won two early freekicks with Kenlock somewhat harshly picking up the game’s first yellow card after less than a minute for fouling Solly March.
Chambers headed the first clear but Bialkowski allowed Knockaert’s second to slip through his fingers but fortunately Dale Stephens headed over from a tight angle at the far post.
Huws required treatment in the fifth minute after clashing heads with Bruno. The Wales international eventually left the pitch with blood pouring from a cut and went down the tunnel for stitches.
Town, wearing their Barcelona-style third kit, were still down to 10 men when they went in front in the eighth minute.
Lawrence was tripped not far outside the area on the left and the on-loan Leicester man whipped over a cross and skipper Chambers headed home his third goal of the season.
The celebrations were somewhat muted as the centre-half collided with Stockdale and his team-mates immediately calling for medical assistance.
After a lengthy period of treatment - with the home fans starting to boo and remonstrations from Bruno - the goalscorer returned to the pitch with the game having restarted moments earlier. Huws was still off the field.
On the quarter hour Lewis Dunk hooked straight at Bialkowski after Knockaert’s freekick from the left had reached him at the far post. Soon after, Huws returned to the action wearing a bandage and a numberless shirt.
Lawrence and McGoldrick exchanged passes in the 18th minute, Town’s top scorer feeding the Irish international, whose shot was deflected out for a corner.
Emmanuel became the second Town player to get his name in the book in the 20th minute for a foul on Hemed on the left.
The home side had had plenty of freekicks in the first quarter of the game but with the somewhat makeshift Blues backline so far managing to repel everything thrown at them, while Lawrence and McGoldrick both looked a threat when Town broke.
Albion continued to push for the equaliser and on 26 Knockaert was sent away on the right, cut in and hit a low shot which was too close to Bialkowski.
But three minutes later, they levelled from the penalty spot with Huws adjudged to have fouled Bruno as the Albion skipper got behind him on the right of the area.
The right-back made a lot of not very much - referee Roger East initially waved away Bruno’s appeal until his linesman indicated a spotkick - but Huws did appear to grab the Spaniard’s shirt. Hemed sent his penalty low to Bialkowski’s left and into the net.
After the penalty Lawrence was yellow-carded for dissent, his 10th booking of the season, which means he will miss the Leeds and Norwich matches.
It had been a feisty first half and Brighton striker Sam Baldock got his name in the book for kicking out at Knudsen as the pair chased a ball out of play. Card-happy official Roger East also booked Chambers for protesting in the same incident.
On 35 McGoldrick probably should have put the Blues back in front after Ward's cutback from the right reached him on the penalty spot but the Blues number 10’s low effort was too close to Stockdale, who blocked.
Moments later, McGoldrick got his name in the book for fouling Steve Sidwell as the Seagulls counter-attacked.
Both sides had threatening moments during six minutes of injury time added on for the injuries to Huws and Chambers but without any further score before the break.
Town had had a decent half claiming a valuable lead from the early set piece. The home side subsequently had a lot of the ball but created few clear-cut opportunities until the penalty which Bruno did as much as he could to win even if Huws had made some contact, while the Blues had also created the odd chance.
Town started the second half on the front foot with Lawrence cutting in and hitting a shot which Stockdale blocked in the opening minute.
The Blues continued their bright start to the second period and on 56 McGoldrick sent Kenlock away on the left but the 20-year-old’s pass was too strong for the breaking Huws.
Chambers got to the loose ball first and backheeled back into the danger area from where McGoldrick struck a shot which deflected off Sidwell, then the bar and over.
Brighton began to get back on top and just after the hour March brought the ball forward and hit a powerful shot not too far wide of Bialkowski’s right post. On 63 Stephens sent another strike from distance past the other post.
A minute later Brighton claimed another penalty when March cut inside Spence and went to ground. This time East waved away the protests as Bialkowski reacted angrily to what he saw as a dive.
The Seagulls were beginning to threaten more regularly and on 67 Knockaert played on Baldock on the left of the area and hit a shot across Bialkowski, which the keeper did well to stop. Knudsen was fouled as he sought to help the loose ball away.
Albion replaced Tomer with Glenn Murray on 66 and then soon after March with Jamie Murphy, then in the 74th minute the Blues switched Diagouraga for Jonathan Douglas.
After Murphy had hit a shot into Bialkowski’s arms when cutting in from the left, Shane Duffy joined the lengthy list of names in referee East’s book for a late tackle on Lawrence.
As the game moved towards its final 10 minutes the Blues found themselves under sustained pressure. On 80 Knudsen did well to block a Murphy shot from distance. Soon after, Baldock was replaced by Chuba Akpom.
The on-loan Arsenal striker immediately got into the game, breaking into the area but scuffing a shot through to Bialkowski.
Town quickly broke and had their best chance of the second half, Huws cutting in from the left leaving a defender on the floor, before hitting a low shot which Stockdale saved with a foot at his near post.
But Albion were presenting the greater threat and on 84 Akpom looked to have been sent away beyond the Town defence until Knudsen cut across him to take the ball off his feet.
The Blues switched McGoldrick and Lawrence and Kieffer Moore and Freddie Sears with a few minutes of scheduled time remaining.
As the fourth official raised his board indicating six additional minutes Brighton broke after a spell of Town pressure. Murphy got away on the left and cut the ball back to another sub Murray, who hit a shot on the turn, which struck the inside of the woodwork before being half-cleared and then smashed well over.
Duffy headed over following a freekick on the left, then Akpom scuffed a shot on the turn through to Bialkowski but the Blues - who had Huws booked for dissent in injury time taking the total to six which will see the club fined - held out for an excellent away point, completing a good few days’ work on the road.
Having started the second half well, Town inevitably found themselves under spells of pressure but the backline remained resolute and Bialkowski was at his confident best behind them, although Murray will feel he should have scored when he struck the woodwork
However, the Blues also hit the post and Huws could well have claimed all three points for Town with his opportunity which was well saved by Stockdale.
Four points from two tough away games is probably more than any Town expected and built on the home performance against Reading, which deserved more than a draw.
Lawrence's 10th yellow card of the season which will see him miss the next two games - at home to Leeds and then the East Anglian derby at Norwich - put a dampener on what was otherwise an excellent evening.
Town remain in 13th but now 11 points clear of the relegation zone, although having played a game more than Wigan and Blackburn in 22nd and 23rd.
Brighton: Stockdale, Bruno (c), Duffy, Dunk, Pocognoli, Knockaert, Sidwell, Stephens, March (Murphy 71), Baldock (Akpom 81), Hemed (Murray 67). Unused: Walton, Tomori, Kayal, Skalak.
Town: Bialkowski, Spence, Chambers (c), Knudsen, Emmanuel, Diagouraga (Douglas 71), Huws, Ward, Kenlock, Lawrence (Sears 86), McGoldrick (Moore 85). Unused: Gerken, Pitman, Digby, Bru. Referee: Roger East (Wiltshire). Att: 26,360 (Town: 643).
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