Brighton & Hove Albion 0 Wolverhampton Wanderers 1
Albion lost at home to Wolves after Wolverhampton-born Conner Goldson sliced the ball past David Stockdale while trying to deal with a Jordan Graham cross to score a calamitous own goal.
Albion started with Bobby Zamora up front with the apparently unwell James Wilson.
Neither team had any real clear-cut chances until Wilson was bundled off the ball as he shot.
Albion couldn’t get the ball to Zamora and their best chance fell to Wilson who, full on the volley, forced Carl Ikeme to tip his 25-yard effort over.
Then, as Wolves pressed, Goldson with time and plenty of space almost inexplicably turned Graham’s low cross past Stockdale.
Albion threw everything at Wolves in the second half and it was notably Stockdale’s quick thinking and accurate distribution that created some of their best chances.
The keeper kept drilling the ball to Jamie Murphy or Tomer Hemed, who replaced Andrew Crofts, who had showed signs of his old ability.
Elvis Manu replaced Zamora but again flattered to deceive. He found some good positions but, when receiving the ball, he kept failing to beat his man or get a decent a shot in. The Dutchman appears too static and lacking in imagination.
Bruno Saltor rattled the bar from fully 35 yards with Ikeme beaten as Albion threw everything forward.
Lewis Dunk became an auxiliary forward to support the largly ineffectual Hemed. But Wolves got men behind the ball and coped well with the relentless pressure.
Albion’s best chance of the match came at the death. Goldson, striding forward, perhaps desperate to make amends, floated in a brilliant cross for Dunk, whose header – six yards out – was brilliantly turned over by Ikeme.
The transfer window is now open. Chris Hughton and his staff must climb through and get some fresh faces in, especially those who know where the goal is.
Otherwise a season that offered so much could yield sovery little.
Albion take a rest next week (Saturday 9 January) from the league and go to Hull in the FA Cup third round.