By Tim Hodges from The Amex
Brighton & Hove Albion 2 Preston North End 2
Albion literally threw away two points, after coming back from a goal down, to lead against Preston going into to stoppage time.
Giant substitute Simon Makienok headed the Lilleywhites level with just a minute of stoppage time remaining.
The Seagulls had tried to almost carry the win over the line. By attempting to close the game down. But finding there was too long left, after they themselves got their second and seemingly decisive goal.
The Albion appeared to be a little static defensively throughout the match. Preston, especially the impressive Jordan Hugill, able to get behind the back four and cause Albion problems.
And it was the former Middlesbrough striker who put Preston in front.
Bruno mis-controlled a loose ball and stabbed a pass back to David Stockdale.
The Albion keeper, although taken by surprise did manage to chest the ball forward. But it fell straight into the path of Hugill Who slotted home into an empty net.
Albion didn’t really rally. In the first half.
Anthony Knockaert had an almost half hearted free kick sail over the bar.
Glenn Murray fired into the side netting and Geatan Bong failed to get a decent cross in the box.
Preston keeper Chris Maxwell although appearing at little on the short side, was throwing himself around the area.
He managed to thwart a few decent looking opportunities that Jamie Murphy and Knockaert crossed into the box.
One in particular, saw Shane Duffy take the ball off the head of Murray and the on rushing Bruno.
Preston where still a threat. The combination of Daniel Johnson and Hugill was still a concern going into half time.
Whether Chris Hughton gave encouragement or some other kind of team talk at half time, is irrelevant. As Albion came out full of energy as the rain swept second half started.
Jamie Murphy especially was fired up and the Seagulls were putting more players in the penalty area.
Steve Sidwell and Oliver Norwood looked like they were really settling into their new roles. Recently vacated by Beram Kayal and Dale Stephens.
It was Norwoods pass that set Bruno scurrying down the line, he crossed in for Baldock, who took his time and picked a spot in the corner of the goal, that Maxwell couldnt get to.
Albion were level and had their tails up.
Knockaert looked like he was bundled over by Alex Baptiste in the penalty area. But infamous Albion related referee Craig Pawson said no!
Pawson was in charge at the Amex for double sending off against Burnley in 2011 and the Palace win in March 2013.
Then almost out of the blue, Murphy picked out Murray, who turned inside the defender and fired home at Maxwells near post.
Albion were in front. But it was almost like they had scored too early.
Lewis Dunk, who was rumoured to be injured pre match. Was beginning to get the better of Hugill.
But Preston weren’t done as Grayson furiously waved them forward.
Baldock was replaced by Dale Stephens as Hughton looked to consolidate with a loose 4-5-1.
Stephens had a chance to put the match bed. But his effort from distance was always rising.
What looked like a mis placed pass allowed Welch to get some treatment, but Albion fans, players and coaching were insensed when Preston failed to conceded possession from the re-start.
Albion were trying hard to see it out. Bong, Murray and Knockaert all trying to counter attack.
But as the clock ticked through injury time and almost out of nothing, Baptiste punted a ball forward and there was Makienok to head past Stockdale .The Albion keeper was either caught flat-footed or he was unsighted, as he and a vast majority of the 27606 in the stadium, watched the ball drop tamely into the net . Many believing or hoping, at first, that the ref had interrupted play. As it appeared the Seagulls defence had stopped playing.
With seconds left Albion did get the ball in the net again . As Murphy raced clear he got a cross in from the by-line. But Bruno was adjudged to have put Maxwell in the goal first. And the effort was disallowed.
Albion next face Wolves at the Amex on Tuesday (18th October)