'Stunned and sore' Graham Potter outdone by a Roy Hodgson defensive master class

Brighton head coach looked in a state of shock as substitute Christian Benteke thumped home a dramatic late volley as Crystal Palace snatched a smash and grab 2-1 victory at rivals Brighton.

Monday, 22nd February 2021, 11:37 pm
Updated Monday, 22nd February 2021, 11:42 pm
Roy Hodgson's Crystal Palace left with all three points after a defensive but ruthless display at the Amex Stadium

The Belgium striker lashed in Andros Townsend’s cross in the fifth minute of added time to return Palace to winning ways following successive defeats which had led to growing supporter unrest.

Brighton dominated proceedings at the Amex Stadium and levelled through Joel Veltman - his first goal for brighton - after the Eagles led at half-time courtesy of a superb, back-heeled finished from French forward Jean-Philippe Mateta.

Palace showed little ambition for much of the match and once again struggled to create in the absence of injured talisman Wilfried Zaha, with the two superb goals their only attempts on target.

The late drama sparked jubilation on the Palace bench, while leaving frustrated Brighton – who had 25 shots to their opponents’ three – to lick their wounds.

"It is difficult," said a visibly shocked Potter as he struggled to find the right words to explain how Brighton lost the match dominated.

"A very sore one, we did everything but get the points and that's the most important thing so we are very disappointed.

"They were in our box I think twice and scored two, that is the beauty of football but it doesn't feel so beautiful at the moment. It feels painful.

"It was a one-sided game in terms of pressure but they scored two, so that's life.

"I didn't think we did so much wrong in the first half, the goal is from one action at our half and you have to respond, which we did, pushed and pushed and thought we were going to win the game - players are distraught but it is part of life and football and we have to deal with it because we have a game at the weekend.

"In terms of chances created, what we looked like in the game, I was happy with the performance, we need to do a little bit more and I have to keep working on that.

"We have been on an unbeaten run, we have to respond now, it's not going to go your way all the time, you have to respond. That's the job."

Defeat for the hosts halts their club-record Premier League unbeaten run at six games, while scuppering their hopes of leapfrogging their fiercest foes for the first time this season.

Graham Potter’s men remain just four points clear of the bottom three after failing to capitalise on their superiority.

Yet Eagles manager Roy Hodgson will be more than satisfied with a result which moves his side 10 points above the relegation zone.

Hodgson, who is out of contract in the summer, urged supporters to be “careful” what they wished for in the build-up to the game after a banner questioning the club’s vision was briefly displayed outside their training ground.

Once again without star man Zaha, who has scored seven career goals against the Seagulls, the former England manager made five changes following the dismal 3-0 home defeat to Burnley, including handing a second start to Mateta and dropping Benteke to the bench.

"It's always great to score in the last minute," said Hodgson. "Especially when we had to soak up a lot of pressure.

"The defending was very good, they threw their bodies on the line. We worked hard to make certain they didn't get many sights at goal.

"We didn't create as many chances we'd like. The two we created from crosses were goals.

"It was important tonight because we haven't been pleased with our defending recently. We thought we were falling short of our high standards.

"Tonight from the very start we showed we'd make it hard for them to score. The bodies were there, headers were there, blocks were there. We took maximum advantage from the counter attack.

"Until there are prizes for corners and touches in the box, it's very important we keep in mind that results are borne out by goals you score and goals you don't concede.

"I get no satisfaction when we lose and we have more corners or touches in their box.

"Brighton are a form team. I'm sure they'd say they didn't get the result they deserved."