James Ward-Prowse scored twice from range to haul Southampton to a 2-2 draw with Brighton, who are still without a win at home in 2022.
Graham Potter’s men edged two goals ahead courtesy of an early Danny Welbeck strike and a Mohammed Salisu own goal but Saints skipper Ward-Prowse scored his 14th Premier League free-kick and then made it 2-2 with another fantastic effort.
Brighton thought they had won it late on when Pascal Gross rocketed in a shot from 25 yards but the VAR spotted he was offside in the build-up. It was a fantastic comeback from Southampton, who had lost Tino Livramento to a knee injury just before the break which required him to be stretchered off needing oxygen.
“It looks very serious,” said Saints boss Ralph Hasenhuttl.
“He’s very down. We all know he’ll come back stronger.”
Despite beating Tottenham and Arsenal on the road, Brighton had lost four of their last five home Premier League games, all without scoring. That run of eight hours without a goal at the Amex was ended inside two minutes when Welbeck forced home from close range after some questionable defending from Salisu and goalkeeper Fraser Forster. It was Welbeck’s sixth goal against Southampton – the most he has scored in his career against the same opponent.
Brighton: Sanchez (6), Veltman (7), Dunk (7), Cucurella (6), Webster (7), Mwepu (7), Mac Allister (6), Caicedo (7), Maupay (6), Trossard (7), Welbeck (7)
Subs used: Sarmiento (6), March (6), Gross (7)
Southampton: Forster (5), Livramento (7), Salisu (4), Bednarek (5), Walker-Peters (7), Romeu (7), Ward-Prowse (9), Redmond (7), Long (7), Adams (7), Tella (6)
Subs used: Armstrong (7), Broja (6), Perraud (7)
Man of the match: James Ward-Prowse
On-loan Chelsea man Livramento struck the woodwork for the Saints in their search for an equaliser and his luck did not improve when he was stretchered off after injuring his knee.
- Graham Potter welcomed back three big players into the fold as Adam Webster, Leandro Trossard and Neal Maupay all started. Out went Tariq Lamptey, Pascal Gross and Solly March.
- Ralph Hasenhuttl rang the changes after a lacklustre performance from his boys at Burnley. He made six with Tino Livramento, Mohammed Salisu, Nathan Redmond, Shane Long, Che Adams and Nathan Tella all coming in.
Brighton doubled their advantage when a Leandro Trossard pass in search of Welbeck was turned past his own goalkeeper by Salisu.
Potter’s team have won eight of their nine games when scoring first this season so a comeback looked unlikely – but Ward-Prowse had other ideas.
The England midfielder closed the gap to David Beckham’s 18-goal free-kick record in the Premier League when sending an intelligent finish from 22 yards into the bottom corner.
Saints were buoyant and laid siege to the Brighton goal after the break. A spell of domination was capped by a majestic Ward-Prowse strike from 22 yards, set up by an Oriel Romeu backheel. It was a magical goal.
Potter looked to his bench for inspiration and his changes took the game back in Brighton’s favour with Gross making his mark. The midfielder thought he had scored a dramatic winner, but a very close offside call cut short the celebrations, leaving Albion with just one win in their last 14 home matches.
Potter pleased despite surrendering lead
Brighton boss Graham Potter said: “I thought the performance was really good in the first half. We felt we deserved more than 2-1 at half time. Credit to the boys they dug in for the entire game. We struggled a bit at the start of the second half so in the end we take a point and be proud of the performance.
“We had a really good performance at home against Norwich but didn’t score so it was good to get the early goal. The crowd responded. We deserved to be 2-0 up at the break.”
Hasenhuttl: It was an intense game
Southampton boss Ralph Hasenhuttl said: “I think we saw an intense game from both teams. It was a horrible first half to concede the early goal and the injury. We also hit the post and didn’t score from the rebound. Sometimes things go against you, but we had the feeling we wasn’t playing badly. We had some good moments but sometimes you have to force the luck. In the second half we were dominant for 30 minutes.
“Our fans pushed us forward. The team showed great character after the defeat at Burnley and we had a day less to recover. But our energy was amazing.”
Brighton face a Premier League trip to Wolverhampton Wanderers at Molineux next Saturday, with the chance to strengthen their bid for a top-half finish; kick-off 3pm.
Southampton will host Patrick Vieira’s Crystal Palace at St Mary’s Stadium; the reverse fixture produced a lively 2-2 draw at Selhurst Park in mid-December; kick-off 3pm.
May 30 – Wolves (a)
May 7 – Man Utd (h), live on Sky Sports
May 15 – Leeds (a)
May 22 – West Ham (h)
May 30 – Crystal Palace (h)
May 7 – Brentford (a)
Date TBC – Liverpool (h), live on Sky Sports
May 22 – Leicester City (a)