Ghana international Jordan Ayew was among the goals as Crystal Palace were forced to settle for a 1-1 draw against arch-rivals Brighton & Hove Albion in a Premier League fixture at at Selhurst Park on Thursday.
The Black Star’s first-half header was cancelled out by Danny Welbeck’s for Brighton – a fifth successive 1-1 draw between the teams at the same venue. Palace’s first real chance arrived after 18 minutes from a raking pass from left-back Igor Julio, which drifted across the box for Simon Adingra to touch and hit. Palace home debutant Dean Henderson did well to beat the strike away, before Carlos Baleba – under pressure from Hughes – skewed the rebound wide.
It was one-way traffic as half-time approached and – as the clock ticked into injury time – Palace were finally able to profit from their dominance. The goal owed much to the perseverance of Richards, who came close to nicking the ball off Verbruggen on the Brighton goal-line – but instead forced the ‘keeper to play the ball straight to Olise.
The winger did well to exchange passes with Hughes and curl in a delightful, dipping cross which Ayew – inside the six-yard box – stooped to head home with South London’s glee. Under increasing pressure, Palace were having to choose their moments to break forwards – but only a fine last-ditch challenge from Van Hecke prevented late substitute Ebere Eze from sliding in a second for the hosts after cute approach play from Olise and Mateta.
Then, with eight minutes left, the sucker punch: an in-swinging cross from Gross was flicked goalwards by substitute Danny Welbeck and looped slowly, highly – and agonisingly – into the top corner of the net.