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Wolves 0 Brighton and Hove Albion 0: Hughton´s men stop rot with stalemate

20 April 2019 17:57

Relegation-threatened Brighton and Hove Albion battled to a potentially pivotal point as they held Wolves to a 0-0 draw at Molineux.

Albion's back-to-back home losses to Bournemouth and fellow strugglers Cardiff City over the past week left them in a perilous position.

Chris Hughton's men turned in a backs-to-the-wall performance on Saturday and are now without a goal in six matches, but they did avert a sixth consecutive defeat in all competitions, with Diogo Jota coming closest to a breakthrough for ninth-place Wolves when he headed against the post in the 73rd minute.

Brighton started nervously and suffered an early blow when influential midfielder Davy Propper sustained an apparent hamstring injury.

Jota engineered space amid a packed Brighton rearguard to pull a strike narrowly beyond the left post in the 33rd minute before the Portuguese forward miscued a volley against the top of the crossbar in first-half stoppage time.

A mix-up between Willy Boly and Rui Patricio early in the second half almost saw the Wolves defender put through his own goal, and Propper's replacement Beram Kayal whistled a 25-yard strike just over as Albion began to show more ambition.

Wolves were struggling for their earlier fluency as the hour passed and Ryan Bennett's attempt from Joao Moutinho's corner was deflected behind.

Raul Jimenez fizzed a shot over on the half-volley before team-mate Morgan Gibbs-White inadvertently prevented him from converting a 71st-minute cross.

Jimenez turned provider for Jota to glance against the post and Brighton goalkeeper Ryan did brilliantly to deny substitute Leander Dendoncker on the rebound.

A wayward free header wasted by Boly suggested Brighton's near-permanent focus on defence was taking a toll, but they held on as Ryan again thwarted Dendoncker at close quarters.

What does it mean? Potentially priceless point for the Seagulls

Following recent results, it was imperative Brighton stopped the rot. Hughton's men now have a three-point cushion between themselves and third-bottom Cardiff, who face a tall task against title-chasing Liverpool on Sunday and already have a worse goal difference than the Seagulls. Albion proved the sort of opponents Wolves have not relished this season and their sapping FA Cup semi-final defeat to Watford appears to be having a lingering effect.

Strong Bong drags team-mates along

A diet of interceptions, blocks, tackles and headers made up a large chunk of Brighton's afternoon, as they appeared to almost be operating with a back six at times. Left-back Gaetan Bong stood out with a warrior-like performance, never far from harm's way as he won 100 per cent of his aerial duels.

Moutinho's radar unusually askew

Few players in the Premier League would relish the chance to ping repeated deliveries into an opposition penalty area more than the cultured Mourinho. But the Portugal international could not unlock Brighton and completed only six of 16 crosses.

Key Opta Facts

- Brighton have lost just one of their last 10 league games against Wolves (W4 D5 L1) and are unbeaten in their last four (W3 D1 L0).
- Six of the last eight league games between Wolves and Brighton at Molineux have ended in a draw.
- Brighton have kept just their second clean sheet on the road in the Premier League this season, with their other shutout coming against Newcastle United in October.
- No side have failed to have a shot on target in more Premier League games this season than Brighton (three – versus Liverpool, Watford and Wolves).
- Wolves had 47 shots against Brighton this season without scoring in both matches; the most shots against a single opponent without finding the net since Tottenham versus West Ham in 2010-11 (51).

What's next?

Wolves host Arsenal on Wednesday, hoping to embellish an impressive return against the Premier League's top six, while Brighton's devilishly tough run-in takes them to Tottenham 24 hours earlier.

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