Brighton held to frustrating home draw

Tomer Hemed celebrates equalising from the penalty spot. Picture by Phil Westlake (PW Sporting Photography)
Tomer Hemed celebrates equalising from the penalty spot. Picture by Phil Westlake (PW Sporting Photography)

Albion were held to a frustrating 1-1 draw at home to Ipswich this evening as they missed the chance to go back to the top of the Championship.

With Newcastle held to a 2-2 draw at Norwich, the Seagulls would have gone back to the summit with a win but they were below their best for long periods and had to settle for a point.

Anthony Knockaert is watched by Ipswich midfielder Toumani Diagouraga. Picture by Phil Westlake (PW Sporting Photography)

Anthony Knockaert is watched by Ipswich midfielder Toumani Diagouraga. Picture by Phil Westlake (PW Sporting Photography)

Ipswich went ahead after just eight minutes through Luke Chambers but Brighton equalised through Tomer Hemed's 29th-minute penalty. Both sides had chances to win it and Albion almost snatched all three points in injury-time but Glenn Murray fired against a post from close range.

Albion boss Chris Hughton named an unchanged starting line-up from the 4-1 win against Burton Albion on Saturday, while Ipswich made two changes from their 1-0 victory at Aston Villa which ended a four-game winless run.

Albion midfielder Dale Stephens headed over from a tight angle after Ipswich keeper Bartosz Bialkowski fumbled a Anthony Knockaert free kick, before the visitors went ahead on eight minutes.

While down to ten men as Emyr Huws was off the pitch receiving stitches to a head injury, Chambers bravely dived to head home Tom Lawrence's free kick - clashing with Albion keeper David Stockdale and then requiring lengthy treatment.

Lewis Dunk had a snap-shot saved by Bialkowski as Brighton looked for an immediate response but they struggled to hit top gear throughout much of the opening half.

Knockaert had a low drive saved by Bialkowski, before Albion equalised on 29 minutes. Bruno's shirt was pulled by Huws and a penalty was signalled by the assistant referee, after Roger East had waved play on.

Hemed made no mistake from the spot as he scored for the fifth successive league match.

Ipswich almost went back ahead five minutes later as Grant Ward pulled the ball back for David McGoldrick, whose low strike from ten yards was brilliant kept out by Stockdale as the sides went in level at the break.

Lawrence was denied by the legs of Stockdale moments into the second half and the visitors continued to look the more threatening.

Albion had a let-off on 56 minutes when Chambers turned the ball against a post from pointblank range and McGoldrick's follow-up was headed over by Steve Sidwell.

Solly March and Stephens flashed efforts wide as Albion began to look more dangerous as the hour mark approached.

Brighton had loud penalty appeals waved away when March went down under a Jordan Spence challenge, before Sam Baldock's curling effort was pushed to safety by Bialkowski shortly afterwards.

With Albion pressing for a winner, Ipswich countered and Huws' goalbound effort was superbly blocked by Shane Duffy on 82 minutes.

Brighton went agonisingly close to grabbing the win in injury-time but Murray's turn and shot from Jamie Murphy's cross came back off a post, before Duffy headed over and Chuba Akpom scuffed a shot straight at Bialkowski deep in stoppage time.

BRIGHTON: Stockdale; Bruno, Duffy, Dunk, Pocognoli; Knockaert, Stephens, Sidwell, March (Murphy 71); Hemed (Murray 67), Baldock (Akpom 81). Subs: Walton, Kayal, Skalak, Tomori.

IPSWICH: Bialkowski; Knudsen, Chambers, McGoldrick (Moore 85), Spence, Ward, Lawrence (Sears 85), Emmanuel, Kenlock, Diagouraga (Douglas 74), Huws. Subs: Gerken, Pitman, Digby, Bru.

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