Brighton & Hove Albion 3 Wolverhampton Wanderers 3
Albion fought back to draw with Wolves after initially leading at the Amex but shipping three dreadful goals before half time then winning the second half two nil.
It was a vital point in the fight against relegation but at times Albion looked woeful and devoid of all confidence – and if Dan Burn never sees Adama Traore again, it will be too soon.
It all looked to be going well for the Seagulls as they soaked up early Wolves pressure – Leandro Trossard even slipped as he clipped in a cross as Aaron Connolly nipped into the six-yard box to snap an effort past Rui Patricio and put Albion in front.
But the Seagulls never looked confident of fending off Wolves – Albion defenders look crestfallen every time they concede a corner and rightly so. Each time a corner comes over, you feel the opposition will score.
Graham Potter must favour zonal marking. If he doesn’t, then Albion’s problems are worse than we all fear. With space in the box, Wolves essentially get a second bite at the cherry if the initial delivery is under par.
As the Seagulls failed to clear their lines, Romain Saiss reacted quickest as Nelson Semedo hooked the ball back from the goal line and Saiss pulled Wolves level with a looping header.
Not long after, Dan Burn tried to cushion a header back to Albion keeper Robert Sanchez. The ball dropped out of play and, from the resulting corner, the ball found Semedo who whipped a cross back which Sanchez flapped at rather. The ball hit Burn and rolled almost apologetically into the net to put Wolves 2-1 ahead.
Albion stuttered and tried to find their rhythm again. But just before half time Traore ran at Burn and Albion’s big centre back chopped him down. Ruben Neves dispatched the penalty to give the visitors a seemingly unassailable 3-1 lead.
Probably the surprise of the year so far was that Albion were awarded a penalty around 12 seconds into the second half after Joao Mouthino tripped Maupay. The second biggest surprise of the year, so far, was that Neal Maupay scored it to reduce the arrears.
The Seagulls had their tails up now. At the break, Andi Zeqiri had replaced Connolly and Davy Propper was on for the booked Yves Bissouma.
Albion were creating chances. Adam Webster saw a header come back off the bar from a corner, with Zeqiri sending the rebound sky high from six yards. When Wolves attacked, Traore was still giving Burn a torrid time.
Albion got back in it from a corner as captain Lewis Dunk planted an unstoppable header home from a Trossard corner. Still no one can really fathom why two Seagulls go across for a corner. If it’s to distract the opposition, it’s not really working.
Before the end Sanchez launched a route one ball for Trossard who finished well but was adjudged to have fouled Rayan Ait-Nouri as he challenged for the ball. There was no VAR intervention but it looked a clear and obvious error by referee Andy Madley.
Albion had a succession of corners before the end which yielded little – but can think themselves fortunate that young substitute Owen Otasowie missed a fabulous chance with seconds left as he headed Traore’s cross over from a few yards out.
Albion’s next Premier League match is away at Manchester City on Wednesday 13 January.
Before that, some respite as the Seagulls under 23s, in all probability, travel to Wales to face Newport in the FA 3rd round. All blue shirts, a team struggling at the bottom of the top flight … 38 years on. Knowing Potter’s luck at the moment there is probably someone called Smith on the books.
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