EPL

Brighton held to frustrating goalless draw by Wolves

By Sports Desk January 22, 2024

Brighton failed to score at home for the first time in 23 matches as they were held to a frustrating goalless draw by Wolves at the Amex Stadium.

Albion dominated possession in a tetchy Premier League contest but lacked a cutting edge in attack.

Wanderers captain Maximilian Kilman hit the frame of his own goal early in the second half, while Pedro Neto, Matheus Cunha and Mario Lemina went close for the counter-attacking visitors.

A largely forgettable encounter was at least memorable for Seagulls midfielder James Milner, whose 633rd Premier League appearance lifted him clear of Ryan Giggs on the competition’s all-time list, behind only record holder Gareth Barry.

Brighton climb to seventh, above Manchester United on goal difference, courtesy of the stalemate, while Wolves move level on points with 10th-placed Newcastle.

Albion won this fixture 6-0 last season – their biggest Premier League victory and Wolves’ heaviest loss.

Danny Welbeck was one of three players to score twice that day and he threatened to inflict to more misery on Wanderers during a bright beginning for the hosts.

After forcing a corner with a deflected shot off Matt Doherty, the former England forward climbed high to flick on Pervis Estupinan’s 11th-minute delivery, only for Facundo Buonanotte’s back-post diving header to be hacked off the line by Tommy Doyle.

Wolves were just about managing to contain the lively hosts and almost snatched a 22nd-minute lead.

Portugal forward Neto, making his first start since October in the absence of 10-goal top scorer Hwang Hee-chan, was afforded time and space on the edge of the Seagulls’ 18-yard box but his curling effort flew narrowly wide of the left post.

Wolves boss Gary O’Neil was left frustrated on the half-hour mark when Brighton midfielder Billy Gilmour escaped punishment after cynically halting Cunha’s off-the-ball run as Neto broke down the left.

Tempers then threatened to boil over on the touchline during a flashpoint sparked by a clash between Gilmour and Wolves defender Craig Dawson, which led to the visitors’ goalkeeping coach Neil Cutler being booked by referee Craig Pawson.

The fractious ending to a tight opening period persisted with Cunha receiving a yellow card for a challenge on Gilmour and then confronting the officials following the half-time whistle.

Brazil forward Cunha almost channelled his sense of injustice into the opening goal within seconds of the restart but his initial effort was repelled by Seagulls goalkeeper Jason Steele before he poked over the rebound.

Wolves skipper Kilman then diverted the ball on to the base of his own right post as he slid in to intercept Jack Hinshelwood’s cross before Neto was denied by Steele as the end-to-end action continued.

In-form Wolves were seeking to register four successive top-flight wins for the first time since January 1972 and looked the more likely to break the deadlock in the closing stages.

Neto flashed across goal before the onrushing Steele was fortunate to escape being rounded by Cunha and then kept out a powerful drive from Lemina.

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