Brighton & Hove Albion 1 Crystal Palace 1
Albion grabbed an equaliser with four minutes of the match left as Neal Maupay fired a shot that hit Place defender Joachim Andersen and bounced off the backside of Jack Butland as it trickled over the line.
Albion had 19 shots to Palace’s three and dominated possession for the majority of the match.
The Seagulls’ first big chance fell to Leondro Trossard – as Joel Ward missed his header from a Marc Cucurella through ball, Trossard appeared to take the ball on too far, allowing Butland to spread himself and make a crucial save.
Although Albion dominated possession, Palace had their moments but didn’t trouble Robert Sanchez in the Albion goal.
The match sprang to life in the final eight minutes of the first half. As Alexis Mac Allister swung in a corner, so Palace’s Will Hughes grappled with Joel Veltman. Literally no one noticed until the VAR check flashed up on the big screens.
Referee Rob Jones came across to check the VAR screen and duly awarded Albion a penalty.
While Pascal Gross waited to dispatch the spot kick, Butland argued with the referee, and patrolled his six-yard box. Then a red smoke bomb was thrown from the Palace end. Gross took two steps and fired a weak effort that Butland saved easily.
From the resulting corner Butland lost the flight of the ball as Alexis Mac Allister prodded it forward, Maupay helped it home as Butland flapped.
Referee Jones gave the goal but VAR official Stuart Attwell suggested he check the screen again and it was chalked off.
Palace put Albion under pressure early in the second half but it was Mac Allister who was putting his stamp on the match, breaking up play and spraying a wide range of passes accurately around the pitch.
Albion created a scrappy chance as Trossard’s wayward shot was kept in by Veltman, whose cross was flicked against the crossbar by Jakub Moder.
Will Hughes was lucky to escape with a yellow card as he clattered into Mac Allister.
Moder had another chance but again Butland made a good save from close range.
Not long after, Palace’s Joel Ward stormed forward and his pass was just kept in by Jeffrey Shclupp, who turned the ball to Conor Gallagher and he stabbed it past Sanchez to put Palace in front.
Within minutes, Danny Welbeck and Solly March had replaced the ineffectual Gross and the hardworking Veltman.
Tariq Lamptey, who had earlier replaced the injured Adam Lallana, was beginning to find space to maraud down the right – Welbeck was the target now but was well marshalled by Tyrick Mitchell and Marc Guehi.
Albion’s fortuitous equaliser came about after good work from Cucurella down the left – Maupay took on and went past Ward and fired in what was intended to be cross. It hit Andersen’s outstretched leg, then Butland’s backside and almost limped into the net for 1-1.
The Seagulls had one more gilt-edged chance as Lamptey crossed for Welbeck, who swivelled in mid-air and directed his header just over the bar.
Albion dominated almost the whole of the match. Palace had one very effective shot and one goal scenario.
Dan Burn and Adam Webster were untroubled defensively but Albion couldn’t push on and get the win.
But they are eighth in the Premier League and next take on Chelsea at the Amex on Tuesday (18 January) at 8pm.
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