0-1, min. 14, Murray (PK). 1-1, min. 64, Stephens.
Southampton 1-1 Brighton & Hove Albion: Relegation rivals share the spoils at St. Mary's

Southampton 1-1 Brighton & Hove Albion: Relegation rivals share the spoils at St. Mary's

Glenn Murray fired the visitors into the lead before Jack Stephens rescued the Saints with less than a half hour to play.

John Lupo

Brighton & Hove Albion squandered a second-half lead against fellow strugglers Southampton in a 1-1 draw at St. Mary's.

Glenn Murray scored from the penalty spot to give the Seagulls the lead after 14 minutes only to see Jack Stephens equalize in the 64th minute.

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Brighton have the better of play in the first half

It was almost a quickfire lead for the visitors 30 seconds into the match as Jose Izquierdo fired in a shot after some fine build-up play from Murray and Pascal Gross, but his effort went well over the bar.

The first chance for the Saints came in the 13th minute as James Ward-Prowse sent in a corner only to see Oriol Romeu sky his shot over the Brighton goal.

A minute later, the Seagulls were in front.

Wesley Hoedt left his leg in as Solly March picked up the ball just inside the box from Izquierdo and attempted to turn. As March went to ground, referee Mike Dean left no doubt and pointed for a penalty. Murray converted from the penalty spot to give the visitors the edge.

Southampton continued growing into the game with Ward-Prowse the main creator. They were nearly level in the 32nd minute as Pierre-Emile Højbjerg closed down Seagulls keeper Mat Ryan as the Brighton goalkeeper attempted to kick away a back pass.

Ryan was very nonchalant about the clearance and ended up kicking the ball straight into Hojbjerg's back, the ball rebounded off the upright and back into the box. Shane Long's follow-up was nowhere close as the Saints squandered a golden chance to level proceedings.

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Stephens rescues point for Saints

Southampton made a double change at the break, bringing on January signing Guido Carrillo for Dušan Tadić and Sofiane Boufal for Romeu. Ward-Prowse continued to excel from corners, but again the efforts on goal were misfiring with Stephens again off the mark.

The match was level on the back of a spectacular equalizer when Ward-Prowse delivered a low free-kick from the left and into the crowded box, Stephens pulling out an incredible 180 flick to send it into the bottom right of the goal.

Neither side was able to find a winner despite going close before Dean called time on proceedings. 

Brighton reaction

Seagulls manager Chris Hughton was happy with the away goal, but was left to rue the Stephens equalizer, saying: "I'm pleased with that one. We posed a threat, just probably lacked that little bit of guile and quality in the final third. I am certainly encouraged away from home. I know Southampton have had a difficult time, but it's still a very difficult place to come."

Hughton added: "I was disappointed with the goal we conceded. I thought it was a very soft goal, particularly for a team that I thought defended resolutely right through the 90 minutes.

"They have good players and can pose a real threat. I thought we coped with it very well. That being the case it was a soft goal to concede and probably the most disappointing thing of the evening."

Southampton reaction

The Saints have now gone 12 games without a win in the top flight, their longest stretch in over 20 years with manager Mauricio Pellegrino stating to Sky Sports after the game: "I don't remember many chances for them but we didn't play quick enough.

"We tried to break their defenders and they were really compact and played much deeper [than us].

"For us, we didn't play quick enough. But we scored this goal and we were a little bit lucky also. It was a really tight game."