Ings hits landmark goal in Brighton draw

By SFC Media time Thu 16 Jul Saints v Brighton
Photo by Matt Watson | Danny Ings
Thu 16 Jul 8.15PM
Premier League
Southampton
1
Brighton & Hove Albion
1
Ings [66']
goal
Maupay [17']
Romeu (7')
yellow card
Referee: Andre Marriner | Venue: St Mary's Stadium | Attendance: 0

Danny Ings became the first Southampton player for 17 years to hit 20 Premier League goals in a season, as his second-half equaliser secured a point against Brighton & Hove Albion at St Mary’s.

The deadly marksman latched on to Nathan Redmond’s threaded pass and kept his cool to achieve the feat last achieved by James Beattie in 2002/03.

Saints were dominant by the time of Ings’s 66th-minute leveller, rediscovering their mojo after a difficult first half in which the visitors went in front through Neal Maupay.

Ings also struck a post before strike partner Ché Adams was denied by a goal-line clearance in the same phase of play, while Jannik Vestergaard thundered a long-range drive against the crossbar.

Brighton will be happier with a point, but Ralph Hasenhüttl will take encouragement from a much-improved second-half showing.

The boss vowed to make changes and delivered on his promise, with five alterations to the Saints side that had started the last three games, having avoided defeat against both Manchester clubs and Everton along the way.

The most eye-catching piece of team news was a Premier League debut for Jake Vokins at left-back, while Pierre-Emile Højbjerg stepped into an unfamiliar right-back role on the opposite side.

Vestergaard and Will Smallbone also earned starts, as well as Monday’s last-gasp hero Michael Obafemi, fresh from his dramatic stoppage-time equaliser at Old Trafford.

The quintet dropping to the bench to take a breather were Jack Stephens, Kyle Walker-Peters, Ryan Bertrand, Stuart Armstrong and Adams.

SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - JULY 16: Jake Vokins (L) of southampton and Leandro Trossard (R) of Brighton during the Premier League match between Southampton FC and Brighton & Hove Albion at St Mary's Stadium on July 16, 2020 in Southampton, United Kingdom. Football Stadiums around Europe remain empty due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in all fixtures being played behind closed doors. (Photo by Chris Moorhouse/Southampton FC via Getty Images)
Jake Vokins made his Premier League debut as one of five changes

Højbjerg, twice a scorer against Brighton last season, threatened to continue his streak inside five minutes, cushioning Oriol Romeu’s diagonal pass on his chest and stinging the gloves of Mat Ryan as he favoured power over placement.

Saints had made the brighter start but the Seagulls carved out a chance of their own after Romeu was booked for a typically wholehearted challenge that left Solly March in some discomfort.

After working the resulting free-kick down the left, Maupay shot against the legs of Vestergaard, before snatching at the follow-up – a better chance than the first, but one he sent high into the vacant Chapel Stand.

Davy Pröpper and Glenn Murray were similarly wild in front of goal, but Brighton were beginning to showcase some of the approach play that led Hasenhüttl to dub them one of the Premier League’s best teams in possession. 

This improvement led to the visitors taking the lead in the 17th minute in painfully simple fashion, as Tariq Lamptey’s throw-in was flicked on by Murray and drilled in by strike partner Maupay, who finished smartly to reach double figures in his maiden top-flight campaign.

Goalmouth action dried up a little thereafter, but Saints enjoyed more and more of the ball and duly increased their threat as the half wore on.

Eight minutes before the interval, Redmond slipped a cute pass in behind the defence for Ings, whose driven shot across Ryan was touched on to the crossbar by the keeper and inadvertently turned into his own net by the retreating Lamptey, only for Ings to be flagged offside from his initial run.

The striker had got his eye in, but a loose first touch allowed time for the covering Lewis Dunk to block his next effort after some similar service into him, this time from Smallbone.

SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - JULY 16: Danny Ings of Southampton scores during the Premier League match between Southampton FC and Brighton & Hove Albion at St Mary's Stadium on July 16, 2020 in Southampton, United Kingdom. Football Stadiums around Europe remain empty due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in all fixtures being played behind closed doors. (Photo by Matt Watson/Southampton FC via Getty Images)
Danny Ings keeps his cool to slot home the equaliser

Hasenhüttl’s response to a first period that had not hit the heights of recent performances was to make a double substitution at the break, introducing Walker-Peters and Adams in place of Romeu and Obafemi, as Højbjerg moved into midfield.

Straightaway there was more intent about Saints. Vokins threatened to make it two goals in two games six months apart, as his skidding drive from distance flew inches wide of Ryan’s left-hand upright, having scored on his first start against Huddersfield in the FA Cup back in January.

How Brighton survived until the 66th minute remains a mystery, as Ings came closer still by striking the post with a gorgeous 20-yard curler, before the ball bounced kindly for Adams on the rebound, who was denied by Dunk’s goal-line clearance.

Then Højbjerg’s diagonal found Ings on the left side of the box, whose superb volleyed cross narrowly evaded the sliding Adams – his luck not improving even after getting off the mark with that memorable winner against Man City.

At the other end, Højbjerg was in the right place to make an important block when Leandro Trossard was teed up inside the box.

Restored to his natural position, the Dane was everywhere, even popping up in prime position to equalise, only to shoot into the side-netting as Ryan advanced.

Brighton were on the ropes and Ings finally sent them to the canvas with his own landmark goal seconds before the drinks break.

Peeling away into the inside-left channel, he was beautifully found by Redmond and the rest seemed inevitable – keeping his cool, as ever, to roll the ball inside the far post with a composed left-footed finish.

It was the very least Saints deserved, and the hosts kept coming in search of a winner. Striding out of defence with Brighton pinned back, Vestergaard tried his luck from 30 yards with a stunning strike that Ryan somehow tipped on to the crossbar, denying the defender an Adams-esque goal of a lifetime.

Yves Bissouma should have punished some hesitant defending to restore the visitors’ lead, which would have been cruel on such a dominant second-half display but acted as a timely reminder to keep the back door shut, as the substitute pulled a golden chance wide from 12 yards.

Hasenhüttl threw on Armstrong for the final quarter of an hour, as his team still sensed victory, with James Ward-Prowse and Adams both denied by crucial blocks, before Ryan was forced into one final save in stoppage time, stooping to his right to smother Højbjerg's long ranger.

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Southampton

Head to Head Stats

Brighton & Hove Albion
  • Possession (%)
    68
    comparison angle
    32
  • Shots
    21
    comparison angle
    10
  • Shots on target
    6
    comparison angle
    2
  • Corners
    8
    comparison angle
    2
  • Passes Complete
    490
    comparison angle
    171

Southampton

1
Alex McCarthy (GK)
4
Jannik Vestergaard
29
Jake Vokins
23
Pierre-Emile Højbjerg
35
Jan Bednarek
27
William Smallbone
replace Stuart Armstrong (78′)
16
James Ward-Prowse (C)
22
Nathan Redmond
14
Oriol Romeu yellow card
replace Kyle Walker-Peters (45′)
20
Michael Obafemi
replace Che Adams (45′)
9
Danny Ings goal
5
Jack Stephens
7
Shane Long
10
Che Adams
17
Stuart Armstrong
28
Angus Gunn
36
Jacob Maddox
24
Kyle Walker-Peters
21
Ryan Bertrand
38
Kevin Danso

Brighton and Hove Albion

1
Mat Ryan (GK)
15
Adam Webster
5
Lewis Dunk (C)
33
Dan Burn
20
Solly March
replace Alexis Mac Allister (76′)
2
Tariq Lamptey
replace Martín Montoya (68′)
24
Davy Pröpper
replace Yves Bissouma (68′)
6
Dale Stephens
11
Leandro Trossard
replace Pascal Groß (76′)
7
Neal Maupay goal
17
Glenn Murray
replace Aaron Mooy (59′)
44
Aaron Connolly
18
Aaron Mooy
13
Pascal Groß
22
Martín Montoya
30
Bernardo
27
David Button
4
Shane Duffy
10
Alexis Mac Allister
8
Yves Bissouma
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