Chris Hughton’s Brighton came back from a two goal deficit to earn a 2-2 draw with a forgiving Fulham side who will regret not having taken charge of the second half.
Even with new signings, there were doubts over Fulham’s Premier League credentials at the beginning of the season; yet the Cottagers have looked fairly comfortable thus far, although they were fortunate to leave the Amex with a point.
The first half was dominated by the Seagulls, and they looked more likely to score with efforts by Solly March and Lewis Dunk troubling the Fulham defence early on. Murray’s involvement in attack was evident as well with the striker winning a penalty in the 24th minute.
The penalty, taken by Pascal Groß, was rather weak, and Bettinelli’s save was enough to keep the game level. Brighton were made to rue their missed chances shortly after with Seri setting up Schurrle for the opening goal.
Brighton’s failure to take control of the match encouraged Fulham to begin the second half looking for their second goal which came quickly from the in-form Aleksandr Mitrovic. Yet, Brighton responded promptly with Knockaert and Murray combining for the goal that would start Brighton’s comeback.
Mitrovic, who seemed to have sealed Fulham’s win, conceded a penalty late in the second half after a careless handball, and Murray made no mistake from the penalty spot delivering the equaliser Brighton deserved.
Although Brighton will feel they should have won the match, they missed plenty of opportunities and can only blame themselves for not collecting all three points. Likewise, Fulham let a hard fought lead slip late in the game, and Mitrovic will be understandably frustrated with himself for letting his team down so late in the second half.
Glenn Murray: Brighton’s saviour
Glenn Murray is probably not the first name that comes to mind when someone mentions Brighton. After all, plenty of fans recall all of Pascal Groß’s terrific performances from last season, yet it seems as though Groß is struggling to recover that same form. Murray, however, has been quietly consistent despite not receiving too much praise or recognition.
Indeed, were it not for Murray, the Seagulls may not have beat Manchester United two weeks ago, and they would have definitely lost to Fulham today. Despite some fans wondering why Hughton starts Murray over Locadia or why Murray even starts at all, the veteran striker continues to exceed expectations.
Although Murray is an unlikely saviour, he is a saviour nonetheless. Brighton will likely continue relying on him for goals, and they should as the “old man” doesn’t look like he’ll be slowing down anytime soon.
Aleksandr Mitrovic: A lethal liability
Mitrovic cost Fulham this game, but he was the also the one that scored Fulham’s second goal. He cancelled himself out which summarises the brilliance of the Serbian striker.
Mitrovic is a physical striker, and his physicality and bravado can prove a liability at times, as it did today. However, he is worth all the trouble as his contribution to Fulham’s attack in goals and assists is invaluable. Indeed, it’s difficult to understand why Newcastle sold such an effective striker.
Newcastle’s loss, however, has been Fulham’s gain with Mitrovic scoring three goals in his last two games. He may be ruthless and careless at times, but that is something Fulham will have deal with; and with his current form, it seems a fair deal.
Brighton: Relegation is always around the corner
Brighton should have easily won today’s match. It was at home, and they created plenty of chances. Yet, chances created are not goals as they found out today against Fulham.
Surely, Hughton must be a tad frustrated with his side after they failed to finish chances last week at Anfield and this week at home. It would be brilliant if Brighton could afford such suspenseful, cutthroat performances every week, but the Seagull’s must remember that they cannot afford such luxuries with relegation only a couple of bad games away.
Luckily Brighton is capable of turning their fortunes around as they possess players with the ability to win matches such as the one today against Fulham. Yet these players must begin to show the same ambition and desire they showed last season if they are to win these matches. The Seagulls will have to begin taking the few opportunities they are afforded or else they may end the season wondering where it all went wrong.
Man of the Match: Glenn Murray
He won Brighton’s first penalty and converted their second, without Murray, Brighton would have suffered a humiliating loss at home. The Englishman was at the heart of all of Brighton’s attacking moves, and steadily worked away at Fulham’s defense throughout the match.