Brighton remain unbeaten but lose top spot

Sam Baldock. Picture by Angela Brinkhurst
Sam Baldock. Picture by Angela Brinkhurst

Brighton preserved their unbeaten start to the Championship season but lost top spot as they drew 0-0 at Sheffield Wednesday in a game of few chances on Tuesday evening.

The Seagulls have never won a match at Hillsborough in 16 attempts, but they will not have been too upset to not halt their drought, taking a point off an in-form Owls side who stretched their run without a defeat to 11 matches.

Both sides made two changes, with Sam Hutchinson and Lucas Joao coming in for Wednesday, while Solly March and Inigo Calderon, starting his first league game since April, returned to the Brighton side.

Wednesday chanced their arm first after eight minutes with a terrific cross-field pass from Barry Bannan met, rather ambitiously, on the volley by Ross Wallace 20 yards out, but his effort skidded wide of David Stockdale’s right-hand post.

Wallace then teed up Jack Hunt with a lovely lobbed ball over the Brighton defence, but the right-back’s powerful effort was touched behind by Stockdale.

Brighton were content to sit back and knock the ball around and it took them 20 minutes to produce their first effort on goal when Beram Kayal flashed a shot well wide.

Fernando Forestieri’s tame shot came at the end of a free-flowing move involving him, Wallace and Kieran Lee.

Hunt then had to be alert to clear a dangerous Calderon cross from inside his six-yard box as Albion upped the tempo as half-time approached.

Brighton started the second half brightly and after they failed to take advantage of a Hunt mistake on the edge of his own box, Kayal then let fly from 25 yards with the ball whistling just over Keiren Westwood’s bar.

Lee had the ball taken off his toe by Lewis Dunk 10 yards out as he was about to pull the trigger and then 10 minutes into the second half, the ineffective Joao was replaced by Atdhe Nuhiu as Owls boss Carlos Carvalhal attempted to inject some life into his attacking unit.

Wallace may well have then fired an effort just wide, but it was the Seagulls who began to look more lively and after Daniel Pudil was penalised for handball just outside his own box, March’s free-kick then caused a mad scramble in the Owls area and centre-back Uwe Hunemeier stabbed a shot inches wide.

Albion went even closer after 73 minutes when Sam Baldock’s fierce drive was well parried by Westwood, with March’s follow-up blocked.

Nuhiu played in Pudil with five minutes left on the clock, but the Czech full-back’s low effort skimmed just wide, before Nuhui himself then had a shot deflected into the side netting as the Owls pressed for a late winner to no avail.

Albion boss Chris Hughton said: “I think that was a fair result, I don’t think either team deserved to win or lose it. We look to win every game, but in the form Wednesday are in, and with the options they have got, we will take a point.”

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