TOWN 1 BRIGHTON 1
Having conceded a goal without touching the ball inside 18 seconds, a much improved second-half display and Jacob Butterfield goal on his 50th appearance for the Club earned Town a point against league leaders Brighton – but it could have been more.
Chris Powell made one change to his team for its second home game in the space of four days, with Harry Bunn replacing Sean Scannell, who had failed to shake off a hamstring injury. James Vaughan and Joe Lolley were also included on the bench for the first time this season.
The game was barely 18 seconds old when Tomer Hemed picked up the ball on the right wing straight from the kick off; he beat two Town defenders and cut the ball back for Beram Kayal who finished past Joe Murphy in the Town goal to give the visitors an early one goal lead.
Hemed was at it again in the sixth minute as he found himself with time and space to turn on the edge of the area but he hit his deflected shot narrowly wide of the mark.
Town had struggled to get into the game in the first quarter of an hour but managed to muster a chance in the 16th minute as Ishmael Miller brought the ball down on his chest on the edge of the area after a perfectly weighted pass from Jacob Butterfield but was unable to hit the target.
Nahki Wells had another opportunity in the 20th minute as a lovely touch from Harry Bunn set him into space but his shot from 20 yards lacked power to cause David Stockdale in the Brighton goal any problems.
The next opportunity for Town came in the 39th minute as Town earned a free kick after Brighton defender Geatan Bong brought Nahki Wells down as he broke through on goal. Jacob Butterfield stepped up but put his free kick wide from 25 yards.
Town came out for the second half invigorated and on the front foot and this showed in the 54th minute as Jonathon Hogg played a measured through ball through the heart of the Brighton defence which found Ishmael Miller, whose shot was parried away for a corner.
The resulting corner, taken by Butterfield, was swung in and soon ended up back at the midfielder’s feet who brought the ball inside, moved the ball onto his left foot and smashed the ball home from a tight angle to give Town a much deserved equalizer.
After a spell of dominance from Town, Brighton’s next opportunity came in the 61st minute as Kazenga LuaLua cut inside on the left wing and flashed his shot narrowly wide of Joe Murphy’s near hand post.
Town rallied again and in the 68th minute an overlapping run from Tommy Smith produced a cross across the face of goal towards Miller but the Brighton defender got to the ball before the big centre forward could finish.
Shortly after in the 70th minute another chance emerged as Wells hit a powerful shot across the face of goal, producing a good save from the Brighton goalkeeper.
As the final few minutes approached, both teams looked for that crucial winner and a looping header from the edge of the area by Chris O’Grady nearly found its way in but just went over the crossbar.
In the end neither team managed to produce that winning strike and so both teams left the John Smith’s Stadium with a point apiece. This was the 5th consecutive draw between the two sides with Jacob Butterfield also scoring in the corresponding fixture last season.
Town’s team (4-4-2):
Joe Murphy; Jason Davidson, Joel Lynch, Mark Hudson (c), Tommy Smith; Harry Bunn, Jacob Butterfield, Dean Whitehead, Jonathan Hogg; Ishmael Miller (James Vaughan, 79), Nahki Wells
Lloyd Allinson, Martin Cranie, Murray Wallace, Joe Lolley, Kyle Dempsey, Adam Hammill