With West Ham looking to qualify for Europe and Albion arithmetically safe from relegation, it would hardly have been surprising if the reports of Saturday evening's 1-1 draw at The Amex in the Sunday papers had concentrated exclusively on the Hammers and barely given Graham Potter's men a mention.
But there was plenty of appreciation of the way a depleted Brighton side had refused to step aside and usher the visitors on their way into the Europa Conference.
Tom Barclay of The Sun on Sunday wrote that, for the Londoners, “this clash was supposed to be ripe for three points, with Brighton meant to be on the beach after securing safety. Yet it proved not to be the case, as Albion proved a tough nut to crack and [West Ham manager David] Moyes happy to have left the Amex with a point.
“West Ham had never beaten Brighton in their seven previous attempts in the Premier League. You wondered if it was on their minds as another chance went begging shortly after the break with Soucek heading over.
“Alireza Jahanbakhsh was causing the Hammers problems at the other end. Ali J, as some fans call the Iranian, failed to beat Lukasz Fabianski from a tight angle on two occasions, but on the third he fired past the Pole but just the wrong side of the far post.”
Hector Nunns joined in the praise in the Sunday Mirror, “It has been both an exhilarating and frustrating season for the Seagulls,” he wrote.
“Time and again Potter's men have played opponents off the park, but profligate finishing as the side continually squandered chances when on top has cost them dear in the table.
“The quality of the football, though, has kept fans happy, and Brighton will go again next season looking for the mid-table finish that eluded them this year.
“It may help that goal if the south coast club can hang on to the £40million-rated Yves Bissouma and young centre-back Ben White, likely to attract serious interest this summer.
Brighton's Mali international midfielder Bissouma, reportedly a target for both Liverpool and Arsenal, escaped a booking and even the award of a foul for a sturdy tackle on Lingard. However he did receive a yellow card shortly after for another challenge on the same player.”
Ian Hawkey added in the Sunday Times that “there was no cause for great desperation from Brighton. They have been safe from relegation since Monday but would prefer not to finish the season as the lowest-ranked survivor. They were not easing up. They kept their shape and worked hard as West ham upped the menace towards half-time but still barely drew Robert Sanchez into action until the Brighton goalkeeper patted away a fierce Tomas Soucek drive.”
In the Sunday Telegraph, Jim White wrote that “for Brighton, the opportunity stands to collect more points than in any of their previous seasons in the Premier League. It meant both sides here had plenty to play for. And the scrap was there from the start.
“It was relentless one-way traffic. But there is a reason Brighton have maintained a clean sheet in six of their past nine Premier League games at the Amex. And his name is Yves Bissouma. Constantly vigilant, he offered real protection to his back four. And when necessary, he would apply a touch of spite. As when he was rightly booked by Andre Marriner for nibbling at Lingard’s heels as he threatened to conjure up yet another attack. It was his eighth yellow card of the season. You suspect he believes every one is worth it.
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“Brighton had clearly been chivvied in the interval by Graham Potter and came out firing. Alireza Jahanbakhsh forced a save from Lukasz Fabianski, an exchange which will have excited Scrabble fans everywhere. Then the Brighton man went even closer, chasing down a long pass from Webster and drawing the keeper. He reached the ball first and pulled a shot back across the goal. It just missed the far post.”
Riath Al-Samarrai took up the story in The Mail on Sunday, pointing out that Ali J’s efforts were “warnings again that even with little to gain Brighton had enough of a pulse to cause problems.
“Moyes brought on Benrahma in a push for a little extra sparkle. Benrahama quickly put a perfect cross on to Soucek’s head and it was the moment West Ham needed, but like so many others, the shot missed the target. A huge waste, and the precursor to the gut punch when Percy Tau delivered a through ball and Welbeck went through to hit the finish.
“That had Moyes in a spin, but with three minutes to play Benrahma found the corner with a beauty from the edge of the area. It was his first Premier League goal and it might yet hold some wider importance.”
That was not the end of the action, as Ed Aarons wrote in The Observer: “Had VAR adjudged Adam Webster to have handled Jesse Lingard’s cross in the dying moments then it could have been even better for West Ham, although that would have been an injustice to a Brighton team that is steadily improving under Graham Potter.
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“It is now eight points from their last four matches at home that has helped secure their top-flight status for an unprecedented fifth season in a row, with the carrot of potentially finishing above rivals Crystal Palace for the first time since they were promoted in 2017 still on offer thanks to a vastly improved performance in the second half.”