REPORT: ALBION 1 BLACKBURN 1
Brighton & Hove Albion were held to a 1-1 draw with in-form Blackburn Rovers at the Amex.
It was a tale of two halves as the Seagulls took the lead through Aston Villa loanee Gary Gardner before Rudy Gestede drew Rovers level with a powerful, if fortuitous, header just after the interval.
After a fine home debut against Wigan on Tuesday night, Christian Walton kept his place in the Albion goal and made an excellent back-pedaling save after just seven minutes, taking the ball off the arriving Tom Cairney’s head who was poised to score.
Albion then began to find their feet and controlled possession with Elliott Bennett finding Sam Baldock -however Rovers keeper Jason Steele was alert to the danger.
Five minutes later the dangerous Ben Marshall tried his luck with a curling free-kick that flew just wide of Walton’s post.
Jake Forster-Caskey then had a chance to put Albion in front but he couldn’t rise high enough to turn Baldock’s cross goalwards.
Albion eventually broke the deadlock on 42 minutes through Gardner’s second goal in as many games - the midfielder finishing low on the turn from Forster-Caskey’s corner.
Five minutes into the second half Gestede drew Rovers level with a looping header, which bounced down off the underside of the bar and appeared to hit Walton's back before crossing the line.
Just after the hour mark Rovers captain Grant Hanley had the chance to put his side in front but he headed just wide from Gestede’s flick-on.
Rovers piled the pressure on in search of a winner but Albion stood strong and then launched a few attacks of their own.
In the 74th minute Bennett delivered a low free-kick into the path of Baldock but the striker couldn’t quite get the vital touch and Steele collected.
Four minutes later Baldock fed Kazenga LuaLua on the wing, who went on a trademark run only to see his shot blocked by the Rovers defence.
In the 83rd minute Bennett delivered another free-kick and Gordon Greer rose highest only to head over the bar.
With three minutes remaining Joe Bennett turned inside and unleashed a long-range effort but Steele was down well to secure a point for his side.
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1st Goal 42 min