By Tim Hodges from the Amex
Brighton & Hove Albion 2 Charlton Athletic 2
Lewis Dunk’s first ever league goals gave Albion a share of the points at the Amex this afternoon (Saturday 30 August).
The only Brighton-born player in the Albion team twice headed the Seagulls level on 67 and 93 minutes.
The Seagulls fell behind after just four minutes, as Igor Vetokele struck a low shot from just outside the penalty area, beating David Stockdale in the Albion goal.
Many in the crowd thought Stockdale should have done better as he was well positioned and had a clear sight of the shot.
Albion almost replied immediately. Joao Teixeria found himself one on one with Charlton goalkeeper Stephen Henderson after being picked out by Bruno Saltor but Henderson managed to divert the ball around the post.
Danny Holla was controlling the midfield and Bruno was Albion’s main attacking orchestrator. However, many of his crosses eluded Craig Mackail-Smith and Adrain Colunga.
Despite the scoreline Stockdale hardly touched the ball since picking it out of the net.
Before half time Colunga had a great chance to restore parity from a scuffed effort by Andrew Crofts but Colunga scooped the ball over the bar from the edge of the six-yard box.
Albion went in at half time 1-0 down and with few clear-cut chances created.
New Aston Villa loanee Gary Gardner replaced Crofts at the start of the second half as Colunga pushed up further to support Craig Mackail-Smith in attack.
Teixeira was seeing plenty of the ball but although he can beat a defender or two, he always appears to try and beat one too many.
The Liverpool loanee did try to thread the ball through to Colunga on a few occasions but the Addicks held firm and looked strong at the back.
Only after Kazenga LuaLua replaced Mackail-Smith did the Seagulls look like creating a chance that might lead to a goal.
When it came it was from an unlikely source. Gordon Greer and Lewis Dunk almost routinely come up for corners when the Albion are behind. And from Holla’s delivery, Dunk powered in his first ever league goal to put Albion level.
The Seagulls tried to build on this but again could not create a chance from open play.
Then from an Albion throw-in parallel to their own penalty area, a mix up between Teixeira and Dunk allowed Charlton substitute Simon Church to feed Vetokele. He held his nerve to steer the ball past the on-rushing Stockdale from close range to put Charlton back in front.
Charlton tried to close the game and Albion out and Church was unlucky to receive a card for simulation when it appeared he got a nudge from Greer inside the penalty area.
As many Albion fans in the 26,000 plus crowd headed for the exits, Holla floated in a corner which Albion keeper Stockdale also rushed forward for. LuaLua chipped the ball back in and Dunk guided a header that slammed against the underside of the bar and into the net to put Albion level with seconds left.
The first round of Euro 2016 qualifiers gives Albion a week off next weekend but the Seagulls visit Brentford on Saturday 13 September for their next Championship battle.
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