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Report: Blues 1 Brighton 1

The first-half strike from Kieftenbeld would have been worthy of deciding any game, the Dutchman unleashing an unstoppable half-volley 10 minutes before the break.

BCFC

Maikel Kieftenbeld’s 30-yard thunderbolt looked to have inflicted defeat on Premier League Brighton until the visitors levelled in second-half stoppage-time through Yves Bissouma.

Garry Monk’s team played some good football against their top-flight opponents and could have scored more goals than the one they did.

The first-half strike from Kieftenbeld would have been worthy of deciding any game, the Dutchman unleashing an unstoppable half-volley 10 minutes before the break.

But just seconds before the end of the game, Brighton won a free-kick that Bissouma smashed into the net to earn Chris Hughton’s side a 1-1 draw.  

Blues had the first sight of goal on six minutes when Jota pounced on a loose clearance and, with the Brighton keeper Matt Ryan slightly out of his goal, the Spaniard attempted to curl the ball over him but got too much purchase on his effort.

Jacques Maghoma found himself some space on the left side of the Brighton box and flashed in a low shot with Ryan taking no chances and tipping the ball around his far post.

Monk’s team were passing the ball around with a refreshing amount of confidence and a great team move concluded with Jota’s clipped cross to the far post which looked to be floating perfectly towards the head of Lukas Jutkiewicz, but the bustling forward got in a tangle with the tracking defender and ended up crashed into the post himself.  

Pascal Gross, Brighton’s Player of the Season in 2017/18, had the visitors’ first effort towards goal when a free-kick was tapped into his path, but his 30-yard drive was always veering over.

An impressive first half-hour from Blues gained its just reward as the hosts went in front with a goal worthy of the entrance fee alone.

It owed a lot to the persistence of Che Adams who twisted and turned on the right wing and eventually created the space for a cross that Jutkiewicz challenged for and then hooked in a shot that was blocked.

The danger looked to have gone for Brighton as the ball looped away and bounced 30 yards out, but lurking there was Kieftenbeld, a player not renowned for his shooting expertise. However, the Dutchman let fly with a fantastic half-volley with the outside of his boot, sending the ball searing into the top corner. Ryan in the Brighton goal didn’t stand a chance.      

The Premier League visitors responded and had an opportunity to level things up before the break, but Davy Propper made a right hash of his shot when the ball bounced to him only a few yards out.

Trueman was called into serious action for the first time early in the second-half when he sensed the danger as the ball came to the feet of Gross and the young keeper did well to come out and smother the effort.

Moments later Blues had a good chance to double their lead when Viv Solomon-Otabor, on at half-time for Jota, teed up Che Adams and the striker curled his shot beyond the onrushing Ryan, but also past the right post.

Trueman’s confidence got another boost as he was equal to Dale Stephen’s long-range effort, parrying the ball away well to his left.  

The 22-year-old keeper pulled off an even better save just after the hour, an instinctive point-blank stop when Lewis Dunk looked certain to head the Seagulls level.

Blues had their first effort on goal in the second-half on 73 minutes when Kieftenbeld threaded the ball through to Jutkiewicz and the striker got a shot away early from just outside the area, Ryan forced to parry away.

The action quickly switched to the other end with Trueman turning aside a fierce Glenn Murray effort from the right side of the area.

Brighton defender Shane Duffy came to his side’s rescue on 80 minutes when his blocking header prevented Adams’ close-range effort from finding the net.   

The visitors claimed a share of the spoils in stoppage-time, when second-half substitute Bissouma crashed home a free-kick into the top corner from just outside the area.

Blues were denied a victory but still looked in fine fettle ready for when things start for real next weekend at home to Norwich City at the St. Andrew’s Trillion Trophy Stadium.

Blues: Trueman; Colin, Morrison (Roberts 76), Dean, Pedersen; Jota (Solomon-Otabor h/t), Gardner (Ndoye 71), Kieftenbeld, Maghoma (Lubala 71); Jutkiewicz (Dacres-Cogley 83), Adams.
Substitutes (not used): Harding, Lakin, Weaver

Goal: Kieftenbeld (31)

Brighton: Ryan; Bruno, Duffy, Dunk (Balogun 76), Bernardo; Knoackaert, Stephens, Propper, March; Gross (Bissouma 71); Murray (Hemed 76).
Substitutes (not used): White, Gyokeres, Suttner, Button.

Goal: Bissouma (90+1)

Attendance: 3,434 (137 away)

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