sports

Lewis Dunk header salvages point for Brighton against Wolves


Brighton’s winless run at home stretches to 13 games but that tells a fraction of the story. They were 3-1 down to Wolves after Roman Saïss, a Dan Burn own goal and Rúben Neves’s penalty overhauled an early strike from Aaron Connolly, with question over Graham Potter’s reign beginning to loom.

The manner of their comeback, secured through a Neal Maupay spot kick and Lewis Dunk’s header, will relieve their manager as much as it frustrates Nuno Espírito Santo, whose team were uncharacteristically jittery and could ultimately have lost.

The omens had pointed towards a stalemate given Brighton’s lack of cutting edge and the difficulty Wolves have experienced in the absence of Raúl Jiménez. It was to some surprise, then, that the first half brought four goals and a pleasing general sense of urgency; Brighton laid what should have been a platform for victory but instead found themselves staring at defeat by half-time.

Connolly’s goal sparked delight among the home contingent. Their centre-back Adam Webster took it upon himself to break the line with a surge into Wolves territory and found Leandro Trossard, one of five players recalled to Potter’s starting XI, to his right. The playmaker worked space before producing a near-post delivery that was met by Connolly, who snicked the ball past the committed Rui Patrício with an outstretched boot.

It was Connolly’s first goal at the Amex since his first league start in October 2019 and the thought, in the minutes following his opener, was that player and team might banish their home woes simultaneously. That idea came to appear far-fetched within half an hour.

READ  NBA roundup: Lamb stuns Raptors again to keep Hornets alive

Wolves set about their turnaround. When João Moutinho speared a corner to Nélson Semedo on the right corner of the area, the invitation to volley goalwards was clear. Semedo fluffed his shot but the ball dribbled towards the byline; neither friend nor foe reacted, so the right-back was able to seize on his own error and chip a delicate cross for Saïss, leaning backwards but generating power and direction, to loop a supreme header across Robert Sánchez.





Romain Saïss heads the ball into the corner.



Romain Saïss heads the ball into the corner. Photograph: Mike Hewitt/Reuters

Even better followed 11 minutes before the break after Burn had sloppily conceded a corner. Pedro Neto, a menace all half, brought the half-cleared ball in from the right and fizzed a deflected shot that Sánchez saved awkwardly. The rebound struck Burn, hapless and helpless, before rolling over the line.

Brighton, who usually remain structurally sound even when all else has deserted them, now looked ragged. Burn was the embodiment of that and when he slashed at Adama Traoré in the area there was hardly a decision for Chris Kavanagh to make. Neves sent Sánchez the wrong way and Brighton were left a daunting road back.

Remarkably, they set about navigating it with aplomb. Andi Zeqiri, a towering Swiss striker, had replaced the injured Connolly for the second half and flicked on into Maupay’s path straight from kick-off. Maupay drew a foul from Moutinho and gathered himself to convert the spot kick.

The Fiver: sign up and get our daily football email.

This was a compelling game now. Conor Coady blocked a drive from Zeqiri and then Burn, failing to adjust his feet at the far post, missed a chance of redemption. Trossard saw a volley charged down on the hour before Webster, meeting Solly March’s corner, thudded a header against the bar and watched in horror as Zeqiri skied the rebound.

That looked costly for Brighton but proved a warning shot for Wolves. With 20 minutes left Trossard delivered another corner and Dunk rose high to nod firmly past Patrício.

It looked to be anyone’s game but no winner materialised and both sides could choose between relief and regret.



READ SOURCE

Leave a Reply

This website uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you accept our use of cookies.  Learn more