EPL

Brentford and Brighton battle to goalless draw

By Sports Desk April 03, 2024

Brighton could not turn a lucrative week off the pitch into a profitable one on it after they were held to a goalless draw at Brentford.

The Seagulls announced on Tuesday an eye-watering annual profit of £122.8million, a record for an English club, following the most successful season in their history.

Chairman Tony Bloom celebrated by taking his place among the away fans for the match he probably wants to win more than any other, even over arch-rivals Crystal Palace.

Bloom refuses to go into the directors’ box at the Gtech Stadium as he and Bees owner Matthew Benham had an almighty fall-out over their business interests some 20 years ago.

Unfortunately that simmering feud was not matched by the on-pitch hostilities in a drab stalemate in west London.

It meant Brighton, who finished sixth last season, failed to take advantage of West Ham, Newcastle and Wolves all dropping points a day earlier in the race for European places.

Brentford, meanwhile, edged another point clear of the relegation zone – they are now six above 18th-placed Luton.

The Bees almost opened the scoring early on after a sweeping move from one end of the pitch to the other.

The ball came from Nathan Collins, via Ivan Toney and Mathias Jensen, to Keane Lewis-Potter whose near-post cross was put narrowly wide by Yoane Wissa.

Toney’s first sight of goal came after half an hour after he was played into the area by Wissa.

The England striker turned inside Jan Paul van Hecke 12 yards out but lost his footing slightly and Bart Verbruggen saved his scuffed shot.

For Brighton, top scorer Joao Pedro, back after two months out injured, drew a save from Bees keeper Mark Flekken and Van Hecke’s shot was deflected over.

Facundo Buonanotte then fired across goal and wide, Adam Lallana was also off target and Flekken saved from Simon Adingra.

Referee Andrew Madley was sent to take a look at the pitchside monitor by the VAR for a potential penalty for a foul by Wissa on Lewis Dunk in first-half stoppage time but he stuck with his decision and ruled in favour of the Bees forward.

At the start of the second half Pedro’s cross found overlapping Brighton full-back Joel Veltman but his shot was always rising as it sailed into the stands.

Toney, without a goal in his previous six matches, took aim with a free-kick from 25 yards but sent it high over the crossbar.

Substitute Danny Welbeck had two chances in stoppage time to win it for Brighton but he headed a corner wide and then fizzed a low drive the wrong side of the far post as a distinctly low-key encounter ended goalless.

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