Southampton 1-1 Brighton: Jack Stephens denies visitors victory
By James Kilpatrick
Last Updated: 31/01/18 11:54pm
Jack Stephens' flicked goal cancelled out Glenn Murray's penalty as Southampton and Brighton played out a 1-1 draw which extends their winless runs.
The result means Southampton are now without victory in their last 12 league matches, while Brighton have not won any of their last six in the Premier League.
Despite all of Southampton's time on the ball, they were unable to find a way past Brighton's resolute defence as both sides left with a hard-fought point.
The hosts move up a relegation place into 18th, while Brighton go up a single position into 15th.
Stephen Davis and Shane Long came in for Manolo Gabbiadini and Mario Lemina. Alex McCarthy retained his place in goal ahead of Fraser Forster.
For Brighton, Gaetan Bong, Jose Izquierdo and Glenn Murray came in for Connor Goldson, Markus Suttner and Tomer Hemed
Brighton got off to a fast start and deservedly took the lead in the 14th minute, when Solly March was tripped up in the box by Wesley Hoedt and Murray sent Alex McCarthy the wrong way from the penalty spot.
The home side grew into the half and came very close to scoring just after the half-hour mark through Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg. Brighton's Mathew Ryan was caught dawdling on the ball, with his lazy clearance blocked by the German midfielder before clattering off the crossbar.
Southampton: McCarthy (7), Soares (6), Stephens (7), Hoedt (6), Bertrand (6), Hojbjerg (7), Romeu (6), Davis (6), Ward-Prowse (6), Tadic (6), Long (5)
Subs: Carrillo (7), Boufal (7), Gabbiadini (6)
Brighton: Ryan (7), Bong (6), Dunk (6), Schelotto (6), Duffy (6), Propper (6), Stephens (6), March (7), Gross (5), Izquierdo (7), Murray (6)
Subs: Kayal (N/A), Ulloa (6)
Man of the match: Sofiane Boufal
Southampton continued to try and fashion out a clear shot on goal but found it difficult. Cedric's sliced effort was easily collected by Ryan before Ezequiel Schelotto did well on the stroke of half-time to block out James Ward-Prowse's look on goal.
Mauricio Pellegrino introduced forwards Guido Carrillo and Sofiane Boufal and both had a positive influence on the match, with Boufal winning the free-kick which resulted in Southampton's equaliser in the 64th minute. Ward-Prowse's low free-kick deflected off Jose Izquierdo and into the path of Stephens, who turned the ball in to score his second goal in as many games.
Southampton continued to push for goal, with Carrillo unleashing a shot from range that went narrowly over the bar and Hojbjerg having an attempt from distance that Ryan did well to clutch to his chest.
Southampton have failed to win any of their last 12 Premier League games (D7 L5) since beating Everton in November.
Brighton have picked up just two points in their last seven away Premier League matches (W0 D2 L5).
The Saints have lost only one of their last 28 home Premier League games against newly promoted clubs, but all three of their matches this season have ended as draws.
Glenn Murray has equalled his best scoring season in the Premier League (seven goals), also scoring seven in 2014-15 for Crystal Palace.
Three of Murray's seven Premier League goals this season have been scored from the penalty spot, with only Sergio Aguero and Jamie Vardy (4) scoring more penalties in the Premier League this season.
Jack Stephens registered his first ever Premier League goal in his 30th appearance.
Man of the Match - Sofiane Boufal
Boufal came off the bench after half-time and made an immediate impact on the game. His dangerous runs caused Schelotto problems down the left flank and drew plenty of fouls, including the one which resulted in Southampton's equaliser.
His end product is still questionable, but he added the necessary attacking impetus Southampton needed after a first-half where their movement was laborious.
Mauricio Pellegrino: "After the goal we controlled the game totally. I don't remember many chances of them but we didn't play quick enough.
"We tried to break their defenders and they were really compact, deeper. For us, we didn't play quick enough. But we scored this goal and we were a little bit lucky also. It was a really tight game."
Chris Hughton: "We were well worthy of the point we got. When you play away, and with the players they've got, you'd expect them to have good possession and to threaten but I think we restricted to them to one half chance or so.
"We were resilient at what we did and had one very good opportunity and we took it once we got into that final third so overall I'm reasonably happy."
Southampton travel to face Alan Pardew's West Brom on Saturday at 3pm. Brighton, meanwhile, take on West Ham at home at the same time.