REPORT: ALBION 1 ASTON VILLA 1
- Nathan Baker gives Villa the lead
- Glenn Murray scores an equaliser right on half-time
- Brighton concede their first goal in five games
- The Seagulls extend their unbeaten league run to 11 games
Brighton & Hove Albion played out a keenly-contested 1-1 draw with Aston Villa under the Friday night lights at the Amex.
Both goals came in an otherwise scrappy first half, as Nathan Baker gave the visitors the lead in the 20th minute, before Glenn Murray equalised right on half-time with a terrific strike.
The result leaves the Seagulls in second place, two points behind league leaders Newcastle United, who face Leeds United at Elland Road on Sunday.
The visitors took the lead when Baker rose highest in the box to meet Jordan Amavi’s free-kick, and saw his header beat the outstretched David Stockdale, who got a hand to the ball but couldn’t keep it out.
Jiri Skalak then delivered a dangerous set-piece into the box, but Pierluigi Gollini claimed the ball with Shane Duffy ready to head the ball goalwards.
Bruno beat the Villa offside trap to play a cross into Steve Sidwell on the edge of the box, but his header didn’t trouble Gollini.
Anthony Knockaert picked out Murray on the far left with a terrific cross, but the striker's first-time volley went wide.
Albert Adomah pressed forward for Villa and saw his shot from just outside the box go narrowly wide.
Parity to the scoreline was restored when Sam Baldock ended a lovely free-flowing move and laid the ball on a plate for Murray, who fired an unstoppable low strike beyond Gollini with 45 minutes on the clock.
The Seagulls created the first chance after the re-start when Skalak found Sidwell in space on the edge of the box with a low corner, but the midfielder fired his shot over the bar.
The Baldock-Murray combination almost reaped dividends again when Albion’s number nine found the Bournemouth loanee inside the box, but his header fell onto the roof of the net.
Villa substitute Jordan Ayew attempted to regain the lead for Steve Bruce’s side with a shot from just outside the box that was deflected behind.
The visitors looked lively on the break and Stockdale was forced into a one-handed stop to keep out Adomah’s low effort.
Hughton freshened up his attack in the 70th minute, as Baldock received a good reception from the Amex crowd as he was replaced by Jamie Murphy.
Jack Grealish came close to scoring a second goal for the Villans, but saw his curling shot go wide.
Jonathan Kodjia came closer still from the subsequent corner when his header clipped off the crossbar.
Grealish tried his luck from distance again and saw his shot take a deflection before going past Stockdale’s left-hand post.
Knockaert was replaced by Oliver Norwood with ten minutes remaining, as Hughton switched to an attacking 4-3-3 formation.
Kodjia proved to be a real handful in the closing stages of the game and rose higher than both Lewis Dunk and Duffy inside the box, before his header was kept out thanks to a combination of the bar and Stockdale.
Murphy came close for the Seagulls in a frenetic end to the match, when the winger's low drive was tipped away at the last moment by Gollini, as the points were shared.
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