Brighton & Hove Albion 1 Aston Villa 1
By Tim Hodges from the Amex
The first league meeting between the clubs for over 34 years ended as it did in 1983, as a draw.
Villa are a much trickier proposition under Steve Bruce than they appeared under Roberto Di Matteo.
The former European champions are much faster, more tenacious and quick witted than it appears they were earlier in the season.
Gabby Agbonlahor and Jonathan Kodjia caused Albion problems and it was the latter’s free kick that was headed past a seemingly wrongfooted David Stockdale by Nathan Baker to put Villa into the lead.
Albion tried to respond through Bruno Saltor and Anthony Knockaert and Glenn Murray’s first-time but oh-so-wayward volley.
Agbonlahor had a chance to increase Villa’s lead but Albion equalised when Steve Sidwell threaded a ball through to Murray who blasted it home past Pierluigi Gollini.
The second half was fairly evenly matched with Albion having the early possession but not creating any chances in contrast to Villa who had more possession late on, forcing Stockdale to make a couple of good saves, including one at point-blank range as he touched Kodjia’s header on to the bar.
With Sidwell, Bruno and, in particular, Dale Stephens looking below par, Albion looked to hold on.
But right at the end Albion substitute Jamie Murphy found space to shoot from the edge of the area, only to see his effort parried away by Gollini.