Brighton 1-1 Cardiff: Seagulls stay top after draw
Last Updated: 03/10/15 9:20pm
Brighton extended their unbeaten start to the season to 10 matches but their 100 per cent home record was ended by a 1-1 draw against Cardiff.
Joe Mason gave the Bluebirds an early lead before Dale Stephens replied for the Seagulls shortly before the interval.
Brighton were the better side in the second half but could not force victory before a crowd of 26,399.
The Seagulls, seeking a fourth win in five home games, suffered an early shock when striker Mason put Cardiff ahead after only five minutes.
Full-back Scott Malone got free down the left and his accurate low cross was converted from three yards out by Mason for his fifth goal of the season.
That was the first time that Brighton had gone a goal down in a league game this season, but Albion replied almost immediately when a header by defender Lewis Dunk set up Sam Baldock but his goal-bound shot was parried by keeper Simon Moore.
Solly March, who was recalled to the left wing by Albion boss Chris Hughton with Kazenga LuaLua injured and Jamie Murphy suspended, then forced Moore to claim the ball smartly from a deep cross.
Stephens, with two goals from his previous two games, had a 20-yard shot kept out by Moore before the City keeper produced a double save to deny efforts by Baldock and Liam Rosenior.
Moore again came to his side's rescue by diving to cut out a dangerous low cross into the six-yard box by Beram Kayal.
Cardiff again came under pressure when good work by March set up Baldock but his shot on the turn was blocked inside the area.
An equaliser looked on the cards and it eventually arrived seven minutes before the interval through Stephens, who superbly shot home first time from 15 yards following a cross by Kayal.
That was a deserved equaliser for the hosts and they began the second half in positive mood, with Rosenior having a shot blocked before Moore swooped to hold a rasping low drive from Israel international midfielder Kayal.
Cardiff manager Russell Slade made his first change when Anthony Pilkington gave way to former Brighton winger Craig Noone nine minutes after the break, and Albion keeper David Stockdale later rose to hold a header from skipper Sean Morrison.
Moore kept City on terms by saving a low goal-bound shot from March as Brighton continued to get on top.
Brighton came close to taking the lead when a low cross by March set up Rosenior but his effort on goal was blocked by Matthew Connolly.
Dunk then saved the Seagulls at the other end by clearing off the line from substitute Sammy Ameobi.
Albion might have clinched victory in stoppage time but skipper Gordon Greer failed to convert a March cross at the far post.
"There is a touch of disappointment as we could have more points than we have. But I can't ask for more. If we'd know that after 10 games we would have been unbeaten and top of the division, we would have been incredibly delighted. We've drawn our last three games and points have slipped away; we should have won two of them."
"Brighton are a very good and very strong side and they deserve to be top. Last season I'm not sure if we would have eked out a result. We were not near our best and Brighton were very fluent, but we still hung in there so in a sense that is encouraging."