Brighton 2, Stoke City 2: Albion twice come from behind to share the spoils and extend unbeaten run
Brighton & Hove Albion extended their Premier League unbeaten run to five matches as they played out an entertaining 2-2 draw with Stoke City at the Amex tonight.
The Seagulls twice came from behind to claim a point in an end-to-end clash under the lights on the south coast in what produced their third consecutive home draw.
Stoke led midway through the first half as Maxim Choupo-Moting showed a smart touch from a long ball to coolly finish and while Glenn Murray was then controversially denied what looked like a stonewall penalty, they leveled soon after through Pascal Gross before the break.
With second left to play in the first half, poor marking from a corner allowed the Potters to retake the lead as Kurt Zouma headed home. The home side, however, hit back in the second half and Jose Izqueirdo's goal, finished at the second attempt, pulled them level on the hour mark which led to the two sides sharing the spoils.
After what seemed an age from Albion's last outing at Swansea due to the international break and then this weekend's fixture being the Monday night game, the Seagulls got back to action with an unchanged squad from the 1-0 win in Wales.
The home side started well and had the first chance as a quickly-taken free kick by Davy Propper found Jose Izquierdo, who had taken up a smart position after winning the foul, and his first-time ball found Glenn Murray, but the striker couldn't sort his feet quickly enough.
Back at the other end, a Stoke corner from a deflected Mame Diouf shot was blocked away and the recycled ball found Ryan Shawcross at the back post, but his header - under pressure - was off target.
On nine minutes, a half cleared ball was chested down by Dale Stephens and his volley from 35 yards whistled wide of the left-hand post with Potters keeper Lee Grant, in for the injured England stopper Jack Butland, rooted to the spot.
Two minutes later and a Stoke corner found Shawcross at the far post and his header forced Mathew Ryan into tipping the ball over the bar, Lewis Dunk then produced a trademark block to keep Xherdan Shaqiri's shot out soon after.
On 17 minutes, Izquierdo came closest to opening the scoring as he sprung the offside trap, broke down the left, but his attempt at curling into the far corner bounced inches wide of the post.
It was the visitors that led on 28 minutes as a long ball over the top from Shaqiri saw Choupo-Moting time his run to stay on side, brilliantly take control of the ball and show smart feet in the box under pressure from Dunk to side-foot home.
Albion were left fuming five minutes before the break as Shawcross clearly slid in and fouled Murray in the box, but referee Lee Mason and his officials somehow decided it was not a penalty and after initially giving a corner, instead gave a free kick against Murray for handball.
That meant for a hostile atmosphere from the home fans and it was made worse moments after when a frustrated Murray flew in on Kevin Wimmer and was booked.
But it was smiles again a minute before the break as Albion were level from a superb run by Propper which allowed him to cross for Gross, whose shot took a slight deflection to beat Grant.
But Stoke weren't done there and the smiles soon faded as they retook the lead just a minute later as Albion were found wanting at the back from a corner and Zouma's header came off Bruno's back as it went in.
Albion had Ryan to thank that Stoke were not further ahead soon after the break as Ramadan Sobhi played a neat one-two in the box and, after continuing his run to arrow down on goal, Ryan was out to block at his feet.
Albion hauled themselves level on the hour mark as Murray flicked he ball through for Izquierdo and, after his initial cross was blocked, he then fired home from a tight angle at the second attempt.
With just over 20 minutes remaining, Stoke almost went ahead for a third time as Shaqiri picked up the ball, set himself and drilled a shot just wide of the far post from 20 yards.
Albion brought Solly March off the bench on 73 minutes at the same time as Peter Crouch also came on making his 143 Premier League appearances as a substitute - a new record, overtaking Shola Ameobi.
The home side also brought on Ezequiel Schelotto and Izzy Brown in the closing stages, but apart from some late pressure from corners, failed to really test Grant in their search for a winner.
Albion: Ryan, Bruno, Bong, Dunk, Duffy, Stephens, Knockaert (Schelotto 84), Gross (Brown 84), Propper, Murray, Izquierdo (March 73). Unused subs: Krul, Hemed, Goldson, Suttner.
Stoke: Grant; Zouma, Shawcross, Wimmer; Diouf, Fletcher, Allen, Pieters; Shaqiri (Crouch 73), Ramadan; Choupo-Moting. Unused subs: Haugaard; Berahino, Jese, Afellay, Martins Indi, Adam.
Referee: Lee Mason.