Wolves 0-0 Brighton: Seagulls stand firm to earn vital away point in bid for Premier League safety
Report and highlights as Chris Hughton's side frustrate dominant hosts to earn invaluable point in relegation battle
Last Updated: 21/04/19 6:49am
Relegation-threatened Brighton ended a four-match losing run to secure a vital point in their quest for Premier League survival, holding Wolves to a 0-0 draw at Molineux.
Wolves dominated from start to finish, with Diogo Jota hitting the woodwork twice, but the hosts were unable to break the deadlock as they lost ground on Watford in the race for a potential Europa League place.
Rui Patricio was largely untroubled throughout the contest, with substitute Beram Kayal's speculative drive the closest the visitors came to scoring.
Wolves: Patricio (6), Doherty (6), Jonny (6), Bennett (6), Coady (7), Boly (6), Moutinho (7), Neves (7), Gibbs-White (6), Jota (7), Jimenez (6)
Subs: Vinagre (7), Dendoncker (6), Traore (n/a).
Brighton: Ryan (8), Bruno (7), Bong (7), Duffy (8), Dunk (8), Stephens (6), Propper (6), March (6), Gross (6), Izquierdo (5), Murray (5)
Subs: Kayal (6), Bernardo (6).
Man of the match: Shane Duffy
Chris Hughton's side have now failed to score in 570 minutes, but they produced a spirited display following two straight home defeats to move three points clear of the relegation zone ahead of Cardiff's home game with Liverpool on Sunday, live on Sky Sports.
How Brighton's defensive rock returned
Wolves, who remain ninth, enjoyed 66 per cent possession during a one-sided first half, but they failed to have a single shot on target as the Seagulls defended resolutely with Shane Duffy and Lewis Dunk on hand to thwart the numerous crosses from Joao Moutinho.
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For the Portuguese, it must have felt like picking a lock at the Bank of England, but his compatriot Jota was very nearly the beneficiary of a slice of fortune after Ruben Neves' shot deflected into his path on the stroke of half-time, his looped shot clipped the top of the crossbar.
Jota had also been involved in the only other two incidents of note in the opening 45 minutes as Pascal Gross produced a last-ditch challenge inside the box that referee Craig Pawson deemed to be a legal challenge, and it was Jota whose shot from just inside the box was dragged a yard wide of the post after 33 minutes following nice work by Morgan Gibbs-White.
It took until the 54th minute for Patricio to come close to an involvement as Kayal's 30-yard drive whistled inches over the bar - but that was as good as it got for Brighton as they continued to invite pressure onto their goal.
Nuno made two changes to his Wolves side following the 3-1 defeat at Southampton as Morgan Gibbs-White and Ryan Bennett replaced Romain Saiss and Leander Dendoncker.
For Brighton, Jose Izquierdo and Gaetan Bong returned to the starting line-up as Alireza Jahanbakhsh and Bernardo dropped to the bench.
Moutinho's corner just after the hour-mark saw the ball land kindly for Jota, but his shot was smothered by Ryan, although the Australian goalkeeper should have been given no chance with 17 minutes remaining when Duffy's slip allowed Jota the chance to meet Raul Jimenez's cross, but his header struck the post before Leander Dendoncker's rebound was brilliantly saved.
The Belgian was well-placed to meet Willy Boly's knock-down from Moutinho's deep corner with two minutes of normal time remaining but his header was gratefully gathered by Ryan as Brighton completed a fine defensive display to earn a deserved point.
Nuno Espirito Santo: "The performance was good and we had a lot of chances. I saw one team that really wanted to go. We didn't allow anything to Brighton at all but in the end the ball didn't go in.
"We had lots of chances but it's difficult to find the spaces and it requires patience against a side who crowded out the box. The fans supported us throughout and I was proud of our performance.
"I respect each manager has his own ideas and today I have to congratulate Brighton because they were well organised and achieved what they wanted to by not conceding. It was up to us to break them."
Chris Hughton: "When we asked the players for a response, we certainly got that with what they were prepared to give and how hard they were prepared to work.
"It's hard coming here as they've got so many good footballers. You know if you open up too much, they can hurt you. We could've been better with our link play, the times that we broke.
"But we knew it would be difficult and we knew if we could keep a clean sheet we gave ourselves a chance."
Matt Le Tissier told Soccer Saturday: "It was quite clear early on what Brighton's intentions were today - and at the end of the season, he'll probably be applauded for it.
"I think it's a huge point as it takes them just out of the distance of Cardiff because the goal difference is so big between them. It means Cardiff have to take points in at least two of their remaining games.
"They're pinning all their hopes on getting three points at home to Newcastle. Wolves weren't that impressive, they had a lot of possession without doing too much damage with the ball.
"You felt like they could've taken advantage by throwing a few more men forward, but they didn't have a single attempt on target the whole game.
"They were pretty solid and Mat Ryan didn't really make too many saves where you felt he had to exert himself."
Man of the match - Shane Duffy
This was an off-colour performance from Wolves that left Nuno scratching his head, but on the flip side, Brighton's defiant display was spearheaded by Duffy, whose 12 clearances helped his side earn a first clean sheet in eight outings.
With games against Tottenham, Newcastle, Arsenal and Manchester City to come, it was imperative that Brighton took something away from the Midlands, and Duffy's handling of Jimenez played a vital role in helping them over the line.
Wolves had 47 shots against Brighton this season without scoring in both matches; the most shots against a single opponent without finding the net since Tottenham vs West Ham in 2010-11 (51) - and Duffy played a central part to the second of those two clean sheets.
It was his block on Jota's goalbound shot in the second half that kept the scores level, and after nightmare displays at the Amex against Bournemouth and Cardiff, this was a real show of character from Brighton's defence as a whole.
- Brighton have lost just one of their last 10 league games against Wolves (W4 D5 L1), unbeaten in their last four (W3 D1 L0).
- Six of the last eight league games between Wolves and Brighton at Molineux have ended in a draw.
- Brighton have failed to score in each of their last five Premier League games, their worst run in the league since January 2016 (five successive games).
- Brighton have kept just their second clean sheet on the road in the Premier League this season, with their other shutout coming against Newcastle in October.
- No side has failed to have a shot on target in more Premier League games this season than Brighton (3 - versus Liverpool, Watford and Wolves).
Wolves host Arsenal in the Premier League on Wednesday at Molineux, while Brighton travel to face Tottenham on Tuesday, with both games kicking off at 7.45pm.