Brighton missed the chance to go top of the Championship, as they could only draw 1-1 with Ipswich at home, on a night where promotion rivals cashed in on Albion and Newcastle’s dropped points. It was a fast and furious game, end to end, and at times so fast paced that it needed a 5/10 minute relaxing period, where either team could of won.
Ipswich broke the deadlock with only nine minutes on the clock, when Luke Chambers nodded home Tom Lawrence’s free-kick and had to receive treatment afterwards following a clash with David Stockdale. Lewis Dunk had Brighton’s first chance with a left-footed strike that was comfortably saved by Bartosz Bialkowski. Lawrence then worked his way into space and played in David McGoldrick, but his subsequent effort was blocked. Anthony Knockaert made a surging run forward and cut in from the right only to see his shot saved by Bialkowski. But the Seagulls were given a lifeline in the 29th minute when Bruno was pulled down in the box by Emyr Huws and referee Roger East pointed to the spot following a consultation with the assistant referee. Tomer Hemed coolly slotted the ball into the bottom right-hand corner, as Bialkowski barely moved from his spot on the line. It could have been 2-1 to Ipswich when the ball fell to McGoldrick in the box, but Stockdale made a fine reaction save down to his right. Lawrence could also have restored the Tractor Boys’ advantage within a minute of the re-start after being played in by Grant Ward, but Stockdale denied him at the near post. Town came closer still from another Lawrence set-piece, as a shot from Chambers hit the post, before McGoldrick’s effort was deflected and clipped the bar. Solly March was allowed to drift into a central shooting position from the right flank, but his strike went wide of Bialkowski’s far post. Dale Stephens also tried his luck from distance, only to see his sliced effort hit the post behind the goal. Albion had claims for a second penalty as March appeared to have been caught by Jordan Spence in the box, but referee East waved play on. Then just moments later, Sam Baldock was teed up by Knockaert from close range but saw his shot saved by Bialkowski. Hughton freshened up his attack by bringing on Jamie Murphy for March and despite a spell of relentless Albion pressure, Ipswich had a chance to score when Huws got past Dunk in the box, but saw his shot blocked by Shane Duffy. Chuba Akpom came off the bench to replace Baldock, and he almost had an immediate impact after being played through by Sidwell, but couldn’t trouble Bialkowski with his shot. The Arsenal loanee then turned provider for Murray on the left, but his strike flashed across the face of goal. As six minutes of injury time were shown on the board, Murphy surged down the left and teed up Murray, who turned but saw his shot agonisingly hit the post. The whistle was blown not soon after, and the look on the Albion players faces told the story; they were disappointed with the result, but they will have a chance to go back to the top of the table, when they travel to Barnsley on Saturday.
Stockdale (8); Made some vital saves against McGoldrick and Lawrence, and looked relatively commanding in his area
Bruno (7); A good performance for the captain; commanding in defence and was purposeful in going forward; won the penalty too.
Duffy (7); Made some key blocks from Huws and McGoldrick, but was beaten by Chambers for their goal, while missing a chance in the second half.
Dunk (7); Had a tough night against McGoldrick and Lawrence, but thwarted their advances a majority of the time.
Pocognoli (7); Continues his good work at left back; solid defensively and starting to venture forward more to provide support.
Knockaert (6); Had a frustrating evening in all honesty; sometimes lost the ball when trying to beat a man or two, but did provide some decent set-pieces.
Stephens (7); A key figure in the middle of the park; controlled the tempo and kept busy with Huws and Ward prowling in midfield.
Sidwell (7); Somehow blocked McGoldricks point blank shot, but other than that he was just as busy as Stephens, getting through a lot of work.
March (6); There was moments of promise, but it was mostly disappointment at times with him. Might of had a penalty, but equally could of stayed on his feet to cross the ball.
Baldock (6); Full of running and energy, but not much came for him before being replaced by Akpom.
Hemed (7); Composed as usual with his penalty, but not much chance to add to his tally with little to feed on.
Murray (6); So close but yet so far when he hit the post late in the game.
Murphy (6); Made a big difference and cause Emmanuel huge problems, might have even seen him sent off had it not been for some lenient refereeing.
Akpom (6); Tried to turn the screw with bold drives and hustle.
BHAFC - ITFC ; Hemed (29pen); Chambers (9);