Crystal Palace 1-1 Brighton: Welbeck header rescues late point for Seagulls against Hodgson’s Eagles

Crystal Palace’s final game before Christmas was a clash with fierce rivals Brighton & Hove Albion on Thursday evening, and both sides came into this on the back of contrasting results last time out. A 95th minute penalty from Michael Olise rescued a point for Roy Hodgson’s struggling side at a stuttering Manchester City on Saturday, while Roberto de Zerbi’s Seagulls came away from Arsenal empty-handed after a 2-0 defeat at the Emirates Stadium the following day.

CRY: Henderson; Clyne, Andersen, Guehi, Mitchell; Richards, Lerma, Hughes; Olise, Ayew, Mateta

BHA: Verbruggen; Hinshelwood, van Hecke, Dunk, Igor; Baleba, Gilmour; Adingra, Mitoma, Gross; Pedro

A quiet start to this latest chapter of the rivalry between the Eagles and the Seagulls was eventually brought to life by Lewis Dunk’s incisive pass through the Palace backline which Pascal Gross away. The ball was eventually worked back to the German before he dragged his shot well wide of the far post, leaving Palace goalkeeper Dean Henderson untroubled.

Palace grew into the game following a dominant start from the visitors, with Michael Olise’s wonderful pass out to the left hand side finding Jordan Ayew, who whipped the ball in towards Jean-Philippe Mateta, but Bart Verbruggen came out of his goal quickly to collect the ball.

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Another chance fell the way of the Eagles, with Jefferson Lerma’s pinpoint ball forward finding Olise down the right hand side, but the French U21 international’s ball into the box was cleared swiftly by Jan Paul van Hecke.

Down the other end, Roberto de Zerbi’s side created the best chance of the game so far, with Igor Julio’s defence-splitting ball forward finding Simon Adingra on the right hand side. The winger then smashed the ball across goal, which did force Dean Henderson making a comfortable save before Carlos Baleba fired just wide on the rebound.

Simon Adingra was then dispossessed of the ball in his own half, as Jordan Ayew made a brief run forward before laying the ball off to Mateta, but the Frenchman’s long-range shot was collected comfortably by Bart Verbruggen in the Brighton goal. Pascal Gross then saw his long-range effort palmed away by Dean Henderson minutes after.

Right on the stroke of half-time, however, Brighton were made to pay for playing the ball out from the back. Bart Verbruggen’s half-hearted clearance was headed on by Michael Olise into the path of Will Hughes. Hughes then played the ball back to Olise, who curled in a delicious cross towards Jordan Ayew at the far post, and the Ghanian made no mistake as he headed home past Verbruggen. 

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Palace started the second half as they had ended the first: on top, and some composed build-up play saw the ball end up at the feet of Michael Olise, but the young winger’s shot was saved well by Verbruggen.

Up the other end, a wonderful free kick in from half-time substitute Facundo Buonanotte saw Lewis Dunk rise up highest to win the header, but the England international somehow watched his effort drift just wide of the top corner. Kaoru Mitoma’s low effort was then saved comfortably by Dean Henderson moments after, with Billy Gilmour also forcing a save out of the Palace goalkeeper.

Brighton had been threatening throughout the second half, and they got the equaliser that their dominance had deserved. Danny Welbeck, who came on at half-time for Simon Adingra, got up highest to receive a wonderful ball in from the right by Pascal Gross. The Englishman met that cross with his head, and the effort looped over Dean Henderson in the Palace goal for what proved a deserved leveller.

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Both sides return to Premier League action next week, where Crystal Palace travel across London to take on Chelsea on Wednesday, and Brighton host Tottenham Hotspur the following evening – both kick off at 7:30pm.