REPORT: Brighton 2 Bournemouth 2

Callum Wilson’s scrappy equaliser squandered Brighton & Hove Albion’s chance to start 2018 with a home victory over Bournemouth, in what was an end-to-end game at the Amex.

Both sides headed into the game knowing a victory would give a two-game buffer from the relegation zone.

If scoring more goals at home was Albion’s New Year resolution, they began 2018 with intent. Jose Izquierdo manufactured space on the left and his misplaced shot fell to an unmarked Anthony Knockaert on the backpost, who finished tidily on the half volley from an acute angle for his second league goal of the season.

Izquierdo almost doubled the home side’s lead three minutes later, typically cutting inside onto his right foot and striking powerfully from 30 yards, the ball just evading Asmir Begovic’s outstretched arm and the post.

The home side were playing some of their best football this season, but that wasn’t without some openings at the back. In the 31st minute, Jordon Ibe surged past Dale Stephens into the final third and unleashed a powerful effort, which Mathew Ryan decisively palmed away.

Two minutes later, with Brighton still penned in from that Ibe shot, Bournemouth converted from a corner. Ibe whipped in an inviting ball off his right peg, and former Brighton centre-back Steve Cook rose highest to steer it accurately into the far corner.

Izquierdo had another bite at the Cherries in the 43rd minute, when neat interplay from Glenn Murray and Knockaert played in the Colombian one-on-one with Begovic, but his poke at goal was straight into the keeper, the ball ricocheting out off Izquierdo for a goal kick.

Albion started the second half as brightly as they did the first. Izquierdo intercepted the ball on the halfway line, allowing Gross broke forward. The German unleashed Izquierdo once more, who squared the ball to Glenn Murray to slot home past two Bournemouth defenders on the goal line.

In keeping with the theme of the game, Izquierdo missed another golden opportunity in the 68th minute. The Colombian ran 100 yards from a Bournemouth corner and, just as he was about to pull the trigger against Begovic, took his heaviest touch of the foray and struck it into the Serbian’s chest.

Another theme of the game was Bournemouth bouncing back quickly, and they nearly got reward for their reactive endeavor in the 72nd minute, when Ibe struck the ball awkwardly through several bodies, hitting the post and coming off Ryan’s back for a corner.

Their threat was realised in the 78th minute, when Callum Wilson obliviously steered home one of the scrappiest goals all season. Despite Albion’s desperation, they couldn’t clear their lines from a corner – each clearance bouncing off a Bournemouth body back into the danger zone. On the third instance, the ball hit Callum Wilson and trickled into the corner to level the match.

Leave a Comment