Neal Maupay strikes as Brighton adapt to claim vital Premier League point at Sheffield United

Brighton and Hove Albion changed their style and tactics to secure a well-deserved and valuable Premier League point at Sheffield United.

Saturday, 22nd February 2020, 6:20 pm
Updated Saturday, 22nd February 2020, 9:00 pm
Neal Maupay celebrates his equaliser against Sheffield United with Brighton captain Lewis Dunk

Graham Potter's Brighton have been known for their possession-based and attractive style of play this season but against Sheffield United they were physical, they were determined and defensively resilient - qualities they have not always displayed this season.

Neal Maupay's excellent headed equaliser - his eighth of the season - cancelled out a fine opener from Enda Stevens. The draw in wet and windy conditions was a good result for Brighton as relegation rivals Bournemouth and Aston Villa were both beaten.

Albion are 15th in the table on 28 points - four above the drop zone.

Brighton head coach Graham Potter and his skipper Lewis Dunk were pleased with a hard-earned point

It finished 1-1 despite a dominant second half showing from the hosts, with Brighton goalkeeper Maty Ryan making a superb point blank save at the end to deny Oliver McBurnie.

The draw keeps the Blades in sixth place although they moved level on points with fifth-placed Spurs, both of whom are now four points adrift of Chelsea in the final Champions League spot.

However, fifth place might be enough to qualify for Europe's biggest club competition if Manchester City's two-year European ban for breaching Financial Fair Play is upheld by the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

The point edged Brighton further away from the bottom three but Graham Potter's side remain without a Premier League win in seven matches.

It was a well-contested and hard fought draw at Bramall Lane

Billy Sharp dragged an early volley wide as the Blades, with John Fleck and Stevens combining well down the left, started brightly.

Brighton weathered the early storm but just as it looked like they had settled and found a rhythm, they fell behind.

Fleck took a short corner and former Brighton midfielder Oliver Norwood curled a teasing cross into the penalty area, where it was flicked clear by Dan Burn. But only as far as Stevens at the far post and he took a touch to steady himself before drilling a left-foot shot into the top corner.

It is debatable whether seeing his team's lead last just four minutes or the manner of Brighton's equaliser would frustrate Wilder more.

Neal Maupay celebrates his eighth of the season

Aaron Mooy pumped a long ball into the box from a free-kick near the half-way line, Adam Webster won the header and knocked the ball back into the danger area where Maupay stooped to head home from close range.

Lewis Dunk could have put Brighton ahead early in the second half but, when a loose ball dropped to him following a corner, the big defender blazed his effort over the crossbar from seven yards out.

The Blades came alive again as the hour mark approached. McBurnie's poke goalwards was bravely smothered by Ryan after Jack O'Connell's knockdown from a corner caused panic in the Brighton six-yard box.

Shortly afterwards, following a slick passing move from Wilder's team, Fleck - who prior to kick-off signed a new contract until 2023 - flashed an effort narrowly wide from 20 yards.

Brighton were being penned back in their own half for lengthy periods as the hosts applied pressure, both methodically probing and bombarding the penalty area with crosses at times. However, captain Dunk marshalled a well-organised and stoic back line.

And when Brighton's defence were caught out late on, Ryan produced a fine save to keep out McBurnie's close-range effort, before George Baldock and Fleck were somehow denied in the ensuing goalmouth scramble.

ALBION: Ryan; Schelotto (Trossard 75), Dunk, Webster, Duffy, Burn; Bissouma, Propper, Mooy; Maupay (Bernardo 90+3), Murray (Connolly 74).

SUBS NOT USED: Button (GK), Gross, March, Jahanbakhsh.

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