Brighton 3 – 3 Brentford. Alexis Mac Allister scored a last-minute penalty as Brighton fought back three times against Brentford to earn a point in a breathless Premier League encounter at Amex Stadium.
Thomas Frank’s Brentford side took the lead twice in a frantic first half but were pegged back, before Ethan Pinnock scored what looked to be the winner four minutes after the break.
But Brighton were awarded a 90th-minute spot-kick after Aaron Hickey blocked Deniz Undav’s goalbound shot with his arm.
Referee Michael Oliver was asked to view the incident on the pitchside screen and pointed to the spot, with Mac Allister nervelessly converting from 12 yards.
Brighton had looked sharp in the early stages but it was the visitors who struck first when Pontus Jansson, making his first start since 1 October, got across the front post to power in a header from Mathias Jensen’s cross in the 10th minute.
The equaliser 11 minutes later was as simple as it was effective, Kaoru Mitoma racing on to goalkeeper Jason Steele’s long ball over the top for Brighton and calmly lifting it over the onrushing David Raya.
The Bees were back in front within 90 seconds as Bryan Mbeumo flicked the ball to Ivan Toney and the England striker lashed in his 17th league goal of the campaign.
Roberto de Zerbi’s Seagulls equalised on 28 minutes as Solly March lifted a cross to the back post where Danny Welbeck nodded in from close range.
After an exciting but frenetic first 45 minutes, the second half began in much the same way as Brentford went in front for the third time when Pinnock arrived unmarked at the far post to stab in Mbeumo’s free-kick.
Brighton poured forward in search of a third equaliser with Lewis Dunk heading over their best opportunity before the goal finally came via the spot.
The home side felt they should have had another penalty in stoppage time when March’s cross struck the arm of Hickey but this time the video assistant referee did not intervene and the teams were left to settle for a point apiece.
Brighton had to be patient in the second half and, while they were eventually rewarded with a last-gasp equaliser, they will be frustrated not to have taken all three points.
They caused problems for the Brentford defence from the first whistle with Mitoma – either with the ball at his feet or running in behind – a constant threat.
The Japanese attacker scored his 10th goal of the season to draw Brighton level at 1-1, but his strike was sandwiched between two slack pieces of Seagulls defending.
Jansson was able to get free far too easily to head home Brentford’s opener and losing one header midway inside their own half, from their own throw-in, was all it took for the Bees to open them up for the second.
Brighton drew level again before the break, but De Zerbi must have warned his side to cut out the defensive lapses during his half-time team talk. However, less than four minutes into the second half, Pinnock was able to stroll in to finish without challenge from another Brentford set piece.
Perhaps it goes to show how impressive Brighton have been this season that, even after a late leveller against another team battling to qualify for Europe, there will still be disappointment.
Going forward they remain as exciting as ever and a Champions League place is still within reach, but they will need to eradicate sloppy defending to achieve that dream.
On the balance of play, Brighton were well worth at least a point but having come so close to victory, Brentford will also feel disappointed.
The visitors had to ride their luck, especially in the first half, in the face of relentless waves of Brighton attack.
But while the hosts will rue their missed chances, Brentford were clinical in front of goal.
They were content to let the Seagulls have the bulk of possession but were quick to pounce on any loose touches or stray passes and spring into attack on the counter.
In the second half, they defended their lead well for long spells and even after conceding the equaliser, they looked as likely as Brighton to snatch a winner in injury time.
A draw lifts the Bees up to seventh and with 10 games remaining they remain firmly in the fight to qualify for European football next season.
source – BBC