Burnley snatch injury-time draw at Albion

Tomer Hemed. Picture by Angela Brinkhurst
Tomer Hemed. Picture by Angela Brinkhurst

Albion were denied victory in their top-of-the-table Championship clash by an injury-time Burnley equaliser this afternoon.

Brighton twice led but were forced to settle for a 2-2 draw as they remain third in the table, one point behind Middlesbrough and four behind leaders Burnley.

The game got off to a lively start, with the Championship’s top-scorer Andre Gray firing a low drive straight at Albion keeper David Stockdale after 90 seconds.

The back-and-forth nature continued but neither side was able to create a clear opening until Albion went ahead on the half-hour mark. Anthony Knockaert’s corner reached Dale Stephens at the back post and he volleyed home from inside the six-yard area.

However, just like at Turf Moor in November, Gray levelled for Burnley within three minutes of the Seagulls taking a lead. David Jones’ corner was flicked on by Michael Keane and as Albion failed to clear, Gray was on hand to sweep home from a couple of yards.

Brighton responded well to the Clarets’ leveller and Stephens flashed an effort wide, before the hosts should have retaken the lead on 38 minutes. Beram Kayal’s shot was partly blocked by Joey Barton but fell kindly for Seagulls top-scorer Tomer Hemed, who was only able to flick the ball wide from just eight yards with just Burnley stopper Tom Heaton to beat.

Sam Baldock then had a fizzing strike from the edge of the penalty area pushed away by Heaton, before he limped off shortly afterwards and was replaced by James Wilson.

Albion went back ahead in the last minute of the first half. Jamie Murphy broke forward and released Knockaert, who twisted and turned Stephen Ward inside out before his strike went in via a deflection off Keane.

The Seagulls then almost added a third before the break but Hemed’s header at the back post from Kayal’s cross was kept out by a combination of the post and Heaton.

Brighton made the better start after the break and Murphy fired wide from 20 yards on 48 minutes.

Burnley midfielder Joey Barton clashed with Albion’s Kayal on a couple of occasions during the second half, before the hosts again went close to a third when Wilson picked out Knockaert, whose low shot from close range was well stopped by Heaton.

Murphy then shot straight at Heaton from a tight angle on 71 minutes, while Sam Vokes headed Ward’s cross a couple of yards wide at the other end three minutes later.

Brighton had another excellent opening 12 minutes from time when Murphy got clear down the left but pulled the ball back behind the unmarked Wilson and Knockaert’s shot from 20 yards was then blocked.

Burnley introduced former Brighton striker Ashley Barnes - for his first appearance since May - nine minutes from time, while Gaetan Bong replaced Bruno, who limped off for the Seagulls.

There was huge drama two minutes from time when Burnley should have been awarded an equaliser. Keane’s header from Jones’ corner hit Murphy and bounced behind the line but the linesman’s flag stayed down and Albion had a huge let-off.

However, two minutes into injury-time Burnley did level when Keane rose highest to meet Matthew Taylor’s corner and headed home to level the score and increase the Clarets unbeaten run to 16 games.

BRIGHTON: Stockdale; Bruno (Bong 81), Goldson, Dunk, Rosenior; Knockaert, Kayal, Stephens, Murphy; Baldock (Wilson 43), Hemed (Sidwell 85). Subs: Maenpaa, Greer, Wilson, LuaLua, Skalak.

BURNLEY: Heaton; Lowton, Keane, Mee, Ward; Boyd, Jones (Marney 72), Barton, Arfield (Taylor 66); Vokes, Gray (Barnes 81). Subs: Robinson, Kightly, Tarkowski, Darikwa.

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