Saints held after letting two-goal lead slip

By SFC Media time Mon 17 Sep Saints v Brighton
Photo by Chris Moorhouse | Shane Long
Mon 17 Sep 8PM
Premier League
Southampton
2
Brighton & Hove Albion
2
Højbjerg [35'] Ings [65']
goal
Duffy [67'] Murray [90']
Soares (56') McCarthy (86')
yellow card
Stephens (77') Knockaert (90+1') Locadia (90+2')
Referee: Anthony Taylor | Venue: St Mary's Stadium | Attendance: 28,811

Glenn Murray’s stoppage-time penalty denied Southampton back-to-back wins in the Premier League for the first time in 17 months.

Pierre-Emile Højbjerg and Danny Ings were both on target for Saints, just as they were at Crystal Palace a fortnight ago, as the Dane’s crisp long-range shot in the first half was followed up by Ings’s cool penalty in the second.

But Shane Duffy’s header immediately halved the deficit, and Saints could not hold on as Murray had the final say with a penalty of his own.

Mark Hughes named an unchanged team following Saints’ first Premier League victory of the season at Selhurst Park last time out before the international break.

Ings and Shane Long, Hughes’s preferred strike pairing, were both fit to start having been carrying minor knocks in the days leading up to the game.

Supporters inside St Mary’s were treated to a spectacular light show just before the teams emerged from the tunnel, as the floodlights danced to upbeat music, and flames and fireworks shot into the night sky.

By the time the action got under way, St Mary’s still carried a smoky haze, while both sets of fans were doing their bit to create a unique atmosphere under the lights.

All it needed was a fast start, which Saints provided when Nathan Redmond burst to the byeline and crossed to the far post where Cédric was lurking with a header too close to Mat Ryan in the Brighton goal.

Otherwise the spectacle was not quite living up to the build-up. Solly March escaped down the left and intelligently picked out Anthony Knockaert, whose low shot was blocked by Højbjerg, before Saints spurned a dead-ball opportunity as Mohamed Elyounoussi overhit a free-kick from a decent crossing position.

SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 17: Pierre-Emile H¿jbjerg (right) of Southampton FC  scores during the Premier League match between Southampton FC and Brighton & Hove Albion at St Mary's Stadium on September 17, 2018 in Southampton, United Kingdom. (Photo by James Bridle - Southampton FC/Southampton FC via Getty Images)
SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 17: Pierre-Emile Højbjerg (right) of Southampton FC  scores during the Premier League match between Southampton FC and Brighton & Hove Albion at St Mary's Stadium on September 17, 2018 in Southampton, United Kingdom. (Photo by James Bridle - Southampton FC/Southampton FC via Getty Images)
Højbjerg's brilliant 30-yard shot finds the bottom corner to put Saints in front

But the hosts carried a far greater threat from their next set-piece. After Ings’s snapshot was deflected behind for a corner, Elyounoussi floated a deep delivery to the far post, where Højbjerg sneaked around the back to nod the ball into the danger zone.

There he found Ings, this time denied by Knockaert on the goal line, before Wesley Hoedt blazed over on the rebound. Brighton were living dangerously.

Suddenly, Saints were dominant. Redmond crossed from the left for Elyounoussi, who should have hit the target from eight yards but nodded wide, before Ryan Bertrand steamed forward on the overlap and drilled in a low ball that required urgent intervention from the visiting backline.

The goal had been coming, but still felt completely out of the blue when it arrived ten minutes before the interval.

There seemed no danger when Elyounoussi’s cross was headed out to Højbjerg, 30 yards from goal, but the Dane took a touch and let fly with a strike so clean and accurate that Ryan was helpless to prevent it nestling just inside the post down to his right.

Having gone 46 Premier League appearances without scoring, Højbjerg had two in two.

The only frustration for Hughes at the break would have been the precarious nature of Saints’ lead.

SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 17: Southampton FC players (middle) celebrate after Pierre-Emile H¿jbjerg scores during the Premier League match between Southampton FC and Brighton & Hove Albion at St Mary's Stadium on September 17, 2018 in Southampton, United Kingdom. (Photo by James Bridle - Southampton FC/Southampton FC via Getty Images)
SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 17: Southampton FC players (middle) celebrate after Pierre-Emile Højbjerg scores during the Premier League match between Southampton FC and Brighton & Hove Albion at St Mary's Stadium on September 17, 2018 in Southampton, United Kingdom. (Photo by James Bridle - Southampton FC/Southampton FC via Getty Images)
Saints' half-time lead was deserved after controlling the first 45 minutes

Predictably, Brighton looked sharper at the start of the second half, having been way off the pace in the first.

Straightaway March’s cross was picked up by Martin Montoya on the far side of the penalty area, who sent the ball back into the box for the unmarked Davy Propper to head wide.

That was the first warning. Knockaert soon fired the second, but perhaps would have been better served feeding March to his left rather than shooting from 20 yards, albeit his effort was well struck and needed a smart save from Alex McCarthy. 

Saints needed to show some attacking threat of their own, having lost impetus in the game. 

Long raced on to a ball over the top, but his touch was heavy in his attempt to round the stranded Ryan.

When Ings’s clever footwork drew a foul in the box, the Southampton-born debutant had the chance to open his St Mary’s account in front of his watching friends and family.

Confident as you like, he outfoxed Ryan to casually roll the ball into the bottom corner. Saints, seemingly, were home and hosed.

SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 17: Danny ings (middle) of Southampton FC scores from the penalty spot and celebrates with team matesf2 (left) Mohamed Elyounoussi (right) during the Premier League match between Southampton FC and Brighton & Hove Albion at St Mary's Stadium on September 17, 2018 in Southampton, United Kingdom. (Photo by James Bridle - Southampton FC/Southampton FC via Getty Images)
Ings celebrates his third goal in four starts for his hometown club

Instead the game was hanging in the balance again within two minutes of the restart, as Brighton won a free-kick wide on the right, whipped in by Knockaert and headed in by Duffy.

Albion had a quarter of the game to go in which to salvage an unlikely point. 

Hughes called upon fresh legs to see the job through, introducing James Ward-Prowse and Manolo Gabbiadini for Elyounoussi and Long.

The Italian had a sight of goal of sorts, though he may have been squinting as he chanced his arm from just inside the Brighton half after Ryan’s scuffed clearance landed at his feet.

But there were scares at the other end even before Murray struck from the spot, as substitute Alireza Jahanbakhsh went close from a Knockaert cross before McCarthy pulled off a miraculous save from Jurgen Locadia's downward header.

As the clock ticked into the 90th minute, Duffy was brought down by Ward-Prowse and referee Anthony Taylor broke Saints hearts by pointing to the spot.

Up stepped Murray who made no mistake, shooting straight down the middle as McCarthy dived in vain to his left.

Still there was time for one last chance, as Bertrand saw a sweet free-kick pushed aside by Ryan, before Brighton celebrated a draw that must have felt like a victory.

Southampton

Head to Head Stats

Brighton & Hove Albion
  • Possession (%)
    51
    comparison angle
    49
  • Shots
    14
    comparison angle
    12
  • Shots on target
    5
    comparison angle
    4
  • Corners
    1
    comparison angle
    4
  • Passes Complete
    369
    comparison angle
    337

Southampton

1
Alex McCarthy (GK) icon-yellow-card
4
Jannik Vestergaard
6
Wesley Hoedt
2
Cédric Soares icon-yellow-card
21
Ryan Bertrand (C)
22
Nathan Redmond
23
Pierre-Emile Højbjerg icon-goal
11
Mohamed Elyounoussi
replace James Ward-Prowse (76′)
18
Mario Lemina
7
Shane Long
replace Manolo Gabbiadini (76′)
9
Danny Ings icon-goal
replace Steven Davis (84′)
20
Manolo Gabbiadini
28
Angus Gunn
33
Matt Targett
16
James Ward-Prowse
10
Charlie Austin
8
Steven Davis
3
Maya Yoshida

Brighton and Hove Albion

1
Mat Ryan (GK)
4
Shane Duffy icon-goal
5
Lewis Dunk (C)
3
Gaëtan Bong
22
Martín Montoya
20
Solly March
replace Alireza Jahanbakhsh (71′)
8
Yves Bissouma
replace Jürgen Locadia (76′) icon-yellow-card
6
Dale Stephens icon-yellow-card
24
Davy Pröpper
11
Anthony Knockaert icon-yellow-card
17
Glenn Murray icon-goal
16
Alireza Jahanbakhsh
30
Bernardo
14
Leon Balogun
9
Jürgen Locadia
7
Beram Kayal
27
David Button
2
Bruno
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