REPORT: BURNLEY 1 ALBION 1
- Albion extend their club record unbeaten run to 18 matches
- Bobby Zamora broke the deadlock after 58 seconds
- Andre Gray levelled the scores with a penalty in the fourth minute
- The Seagulls remain second in the Championship table
Brighton & Hove Albion extended their club record unbeaten run to 18 league games with a hard-earned and richly-deserved point at promotion-chasing Burnley.
Two goals inside the opening three minutes made for a thrilling opening to the match and although Albion could not sustain the break-neck momentum, they put in a steadfast and professional performance to earn a share of the spoils.
It can be difficult to wake the crowd from its slumber in these Sunday lunchtime affairs but the start to this game was anything but low key.
Indeed, the two goals, including a controversial refereeing decision for good measure, had both sets of fans on their feet and it was the travelling Albion faithful who were up first.
Just 58 seconds were on the clock when Bobby Zamora was on hand to tuck the ball home, after Tomer Hemed’s close-range effort had come back off the underside of the bar.
Yet before Albion had time to settle, Burnley were back on level terms when Lewis Dunk was penalised for pulling Michael Keane's shirt at a corner.
Television replays showed both players were holding, the standard fare at corners, but referee Simon Hooper had no hesitation in pointing to the spot and Andre Gray duly converted.
The decision failed to affect Albion’s game and they pressed Burnley well throughout the half, while enjoying good spells of possession.
The hosts were restricted to just two clear-cut opportunities; the first brought a fine one-handed reaction save from David Stockdale in the 20th minute to deny Rouwen Hennings, then shortly before half-time, George Boyd played in Gray but Gordon Greer made an excellent recovery to block the shot.
Albion’s joy had come mainly from the right flank; the opening goal came as a result of a Solly March run, while Zamora tested keeper Tom Heaton with two headers, both coming from deep balls into the box from Bruno.
Burnley started the second half showing more intent but with Beram Kayal and Dale Stephens working industriously in front of the back four, Albion stood strong.
Looking dangerous on the break, Chris Hughton’s side created their next opening on 62 minutes when Zamora broke down the left, but March failed to connect with the striker’s unselfish cross into the box. It would be Zamora’s last contribution as he was replaced soon afterwards by Jake Forster-Caskey.
Scott Arfield came close with a rasping effort from the edge of the box but Albion continued to show the resilience that has become a hallmark of their season to date.
The one moment they did drop their guard almost proved costly. Gray sent a low ball into the box and the onrushing Arfield was unmarked, but he drilled his effort wide when it looked easier to score.
Elvis Manu replaced Tomer Hemed for a late cameo and although Chris Long stabbed wide during injury-time, Albion held on.
Hughton had said this was his side’s toughest examination of the season to date. He would have been pleased with the result.