Masonic dodge – Ref turns down clear Albion penalty as Seagulls draw 2-2 with Stoke
Brighton & Hove Albion 2 Stoke City 2
Albion were held by a resolute Stoke City who had only two players under 6ft tall on the pitch at any one time.
But it was referee Lee Mason who made a giant spectacle of himself, turning down a clear Albion penalty in the first half.
The Seagulls found an outlet in Jose Izquierdo early on as the Columbian glided past the Stoke full back Erik Pieters on more than one occasion.
Dale Stephens tried his luck from fully 25 yards, his effort only a foot or so wide of Lee Grant’s right-hand post.
As Izquierdo continued to torment the Stoke defence his inviting cross was missed with a complete air shot by Glenn Murray
The Albion were definitely on top as Anthony Knockaert was adjudged offside as he tried to latch on to a Pascal Gross through ball.
Then a move started by Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting was finished by him, Xherdan Shaqiri eventually lofting a ball forward and the tall striker was grateful for a kind ricochet from Lewis Dunk as he slid the ball past an on-rushing Maty Ryan to put Stoke in front.
It was against the run of play and Albion should have had a chance to equalise ten minutes later.
As Knockaert worked Murray into the penalty area, the 34-year-old striker bore down on goal. Stoke skipper Ryan Shawcross took little of the ball and plenty of Murray but Albion’s appeals were waved away by the ref.
To add insult to injury, Murray was cautioned for hand ball. It appeared that even the assistant had indicated that Albion should have a penalty but Mason had no interest in consulting him. Mason originally pointed for a corner!
As the players and crowd became more frustrated with Mason’s decision making, Davy Propper weaved through the Stoke defence and found Gross, who rifled the ball home to draw Albion level.
As half time approached a lack of concentration as the Seagulls defended a corner allowed Stoke to go back in front. Joe Allen swung in the corner and Kurt Zouma stooped low to head past Ryan with most of the Albion defence still preoccupied with Choupo-Moting.
Albion were dominant early on after the break and for large parts of the second half. Stephens, who had been instrumental in Albion’s attacking play in the first period, was the Seagulls’ workhorse again.
Stoke threatened to get a third but a combination of Dunk , Ryan and Shane Duffy snuffed out Allen and Shaqiri.
Ryan then made a super save from Ramadan Sobhi making himself big as the ball hit his chest and Albion cleared to safety.
As Albion began to get the upper hand again possession-wise, Gross and Stephens combined to create a chance for Murray. He played a superb pass for Izquierdo who at the second attempt pulled Albion level. The Columbian’s celebrations were a little muted but the North Stand was delighted.
Albion were in the ascendancy again. Solly March replaced Izquierdo and Knockaert made way for Ezequiel Schelotto.
Peter Crouch came on for Stoke to give Albion more concern and defensive pressure at set-pieces.
Neither side had another clear-cut chance to score although Schelotto impressed over on the right and managed to beat the full back with ease in one-on-one situations.
Albion had a flurry of corners late on and Gross had another chance as did Gaetan Bong whose misplaced pass nearly got through to Grant.
All in all a good result for Albion who stay ninth and are unbeaten in five Premier League games – attributes they will take to Old Trafford to take on Manchester United on Saturday (25 November).
LIKE WHAT WE DO? HELP US TO DO MORE OF IT BY DONATING HERE.
And don't forget to sign up to our email newsletter, bringing you the week's biggest stories every Thursday.