Match Analysis: Brighton & Hove Albion 1-1 Watford

Match Analysis: Brighton 1-1 Watford
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Sports Mole ponders a controversial night in the Championship as Brighton & Hove Albion hang onto a point against Watford.

Monday night's match in the Championship between Brighton & Hove Albion and Watford finished one apiece after a goal either side of half time from Sean Murray and Andrew Crofts.

Murray put Watford ahead after just three minutes when his long-range effort deflected off the head of Stephen Ward and past Tomasz Kuszczak.

Brighton had the best chances in the remainder of the opening 45 but were unable to draw level.

Moments into the second half there was huge controversy as Fernando Forestieri's shot appeared to creep over the line before Gordon Greer was able to clear. However, referee Keith Hill looked to his assistant and no goal was given.

Brighton equalised soon after when Crofts turned home after some uncertainty in the Watford area from a corner.

Forestieri hit the post with the best chance of the closing stages as the match finished even.

Here, Sports Mole picks the bones out of a controversial encounter on the South Coast.

Match statistics:

Brighton:
Shots 11
On target 4
Possession 50%
Corners 7
Fouls 10

Watford:
Shots 13
On target 6
Possession 50%
Corners 7
Fouls 13

Was the result fair?

Hard to say. Watford went ahead in fortuitous circumstances and between that goal and the Forestieri controversy it was Brighton who created the best chances. The Seagulls made their dominance pay with the equaliser but after that it was Watford who looked more likely to nick the winner.

Brighton's performance

The Seagulls started on the front foot but were hit by a sucker-punch when Murray's speculative effort luckily flew into the corner. Their response was good and Will Buckley caused plenty of problems down the right, delivering for the likes of Ashley Barnes who just couldn't beat Manuel Almunia. Seeing the returning Troy Deeney in the Watford lineup may have uneased the Brighton defence but they dealt with his threat well as Forestieri caused more problems. In the end, a point for a side in a stale patch of form is a good result against a playoff contender like Watford.

Watford's performance

There's no doubt that Gianfranco Zola will feel outraged that he hasn't left with the points tonight. However, Brighton were on top for large parts of the game and could well have stole the points themselves. As mentioned, Deeney was quiet up front while in midfield Lewis McGugan, as he so often is, was always a threat going forward with his lethal long-range shooting. Like opposite number Oscar Garcia, after a couple of days Zola will see this as a good point against what is a good Brighton side.

Sports Mole's man of the match

Will Buckley: The Brighton right-sider was constant pest for Watford's left wing-back Daniel Pudil and centre-back Lloyd Doyley. His dribbling and crossing was first-class all night and he was unlucky not to have a goal or assist.

Biggest gaffe

Forestieri may have had a clear goal not given, but he showed a bad side to his game when he clearly took a dive in the area when he could have stayed on his feet and got a shot away. Referee Hill didn't point to the spot but also failed to book the Italian for simulation.

Referee performance

Hill and his assistants will be blasted by Watford for failing to award the goal. Almost all of the replays show that the ball was over apart from the one, most important, birds-eye angle, which suggests that the part of the ball not touching the ground was hanging over the edge of the line. Basically, an almost impossible decision for the naked eye but one that could have been made by goal-line technology if we had it in the Championship. Hill could have also sent off Bruno Saltor for a second yellow card when he brought down Pudil right on the edge of the box. If the Brighton right-back hadn't been cautioned already, it would have probably been an instant yellow.

What next?

Brighton: Garcia will look to end the run of games without a win when Brighton travel to Doncaster on Saturday.

Watford: The Hornets, meanwhile, welcome second-placed Leicester City.

Sean Murray celebrates his goal for Watford during the Sky Bet Championship match between Brighton & Hove Albion and Watford at The Amex Stadium on October 28, 2013
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