By Tim Hodges from the Amex
Brighton & Hove Albion 1 Watford 1
The Albion drew with high-flying Watford in controversial circumstances at the Amex.
Already 1-0 in front, Watford appeared to score a second goal immediately after half time. Fernando Forestieri’s shot was tapped over the line by Albion captain Gordon Greer.
Greer hoofed the ball clear when it was at least 6in behind the goal line but referee Keith Hill waved play on.
Watford had gone in front after four minutes. Sean Murray, running at the Albion defence, unleashed a decent shot which hit Albion full back Stephen Ward on the back on the head and deflected past Tomasz Kuszczak in the Albion goal.
Albion had a great chance to level when Will Buckley crossed in for Ashley Barnes but Manuel Almunia produced a fine save to tip the ball around the post and crossbar.
Next for Albion, and again from good work by Buckley, Craig Conway headed a glorious chance wide.
Forestieri up front for Watford raced on to a loose ball but Kuszczak was alert on his line. However, the Watford forward caught the Albion keeper full on the ankle and got a yellow card when many thought it should have been red.
Before the end of the half Barnes and Buckley both had good chances to equalise for Albion but the Seagulls went in a goal behind at the interval.
Less than a minute into the second half it was Forestieri who angled the ball past Kuszczak and as Greer attempted to trap the ball it ran over his foot and into the goal. But this was not spotted by the referee or his assistants.
With ten minutes of the second half gone, a Conway corner fell to Matthew Upson. His header hit Greer and the rebound fell perfectly to Andrew Crofts who fired Albion level.
Albion stepped up the tempo after this but could not fashion a clear-cut chance.
It was only when Leroy Lita came on for his Amex debut that the Seagulls caused Watford any further problems.
Lita chased down everything and looked to be forming a good understanding with Barnes.
But Albion’s best chance to take all three points came from Crofts after Lita controlled a Buckley cross. The debutant diverted the ball to Crofts, who picked his spot but found Almunia equal to it.
Before the end Forestieri was again on centre stage as his looping header bounced back off the inside of the post.
The draw was little use to either team. Perhaps the happiest person was that Coral’s punter who stood to win a million pounds if Watford won or drew.
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