Crystal Palace 1-1 Brighton & Hove Albion
With more than 70 minutes played in this Premier League contest – the M23 derby and a rivalry that few outside their respective camps know about – Brighton could feel rightly aggrieved to be behind.
After all, they had enjoyed 65 percent possession and 14 shots compared to Crystal Palace’s solitary effort which, you guessed it, had found the net.
Brighton had been here before, of course.
Only three weeks ago, they somehow lost at home to Manchester United in a contest in which they had hit the woodwork a record-breaking five times.
Now they were behind against their rivals in a long-held grudge match to a penalty which, arguably, should not have been awarded.
Granted, the Seagulls had only mustered two efforts of their own on target but they seemed far likelier to create Premier League highlights and were asking all the questions despite trailing.
As BBC Sport summariser Alex Howell remarked, the game ‘felt like an attack vs defence drill in training’.
Yet to their credit, Brighton are a side full of character and showed their resoluteness again under manager Graham Potter – just in the nick of time.
Highlights of the game
With the clock ticking, the SBOTOP Premier League betting odds favoured Palace and they looked set to secure back-to-back league wins over the Seagulls for the first time since September 2011.
Then Joel Ward gifted possession to Aaron Connolly who shifted the ball to his right where fellow substitute Alexis Mac Allister fired a shot that deflected beyond Vicente Guaita.
It was no more than Brighton deserved.
The visitors were then reduced to 10 men in stoppage time as Lewis Dunk was dismissed for a late lunge into Gary Cahill during a scramble in the box.
The Brighton defender knew he had to go and left the fray after checking on Cahill but his team managed to hold out through 10 minutes of injury time to claim a point.
In truth, both sides needed maximum points.
After winning their opening two league games, Palace had since suffered two defeats by an aggregate score of 6-1.
And the omens weren’t in their favour as the Eagles had failed to win any of their six league fixtures on a Sunday last season (drawn three, lost three).
Since the start of last season, they had also have failed to score a first-half goal in an unrivaled 30 league matches.
That was put right inside 19 minutes and there was no surprise about the identity of the home scorer.
The award of a penalty seemed harsh when Tariq Lamptey was adjudged to have brought down Michy Batshuayi – even replays showed there was little contact on the Palace striker.
Yet Wilfried Zaha was not concerning himself with any controversy as he coolly sent Mat Ryan the wrong way from the spot.
It was to prove Palace’s only shot on target all game as Brighton, who had lost three of their opening four league matches this season, took control.
Only a brilliant last-ditch intervention from Cahill denied Neal Maupay an equaliser before the in-form marksman saw an effort blocked by Joel Ward.
Michy Batshuayi did see a powerful shot narrowly ruled out for offside but that was all Palace mustered in attack and they could have few complaints at being pegged back.
Brighton, who announced pre-match the signing of former Manchester United and Arsenal forward Danny Welbeck, have a point but also the bragging rights on their side of the M23.
Zaha has scored more goals against Brighton in all competitions than he has versus any other opponent (seven).
Cheikhou Kouyate has become only the second Senegalese player to reach 200 Premier League appearances. El Hadji Diouf was the first.
Brighton have only lost one of their last nine away matches (won three, drawn six).
Players from the Ivory Coast have scored 25 of their 28 Premier League penalties to date, boasting the highest conversion rate of any nationality from the spot in the competition’s history (minimum five taken), with only Didier Drogba, Aruna Dindane and Wilfried Bony missing from 12 yards.
Maupay has scored four goals in his last four league matches, as many as in his previous 22 fixtures.
Maupay has contributed to six goals in his last six league appearances, scoring four and setting up two.
Brighton have kept just one clean sheet in their past 18 league games in London.
Palace have won just two of their 11 top-flight matches against Brighton (drawn four, lost five).
The Premier League continues next weekend as Palace travel to the Thames to take on newly-promoted Fulham before another away day, at Wolves, on October 30.
Brighton entertain West Brom a week tomorrow (October 26) and then go to Spurs on November 1.
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