Southampton 1 Brighton and Hove Albion 1: Stephens rescues a point for struggling Saints

Southampton were grateful to Jack Stephens' second-half strike as they drew 1-1 with Brighton and Hove Albion in the Premier League.

Jack Stephens scores for Southampton   -  Getty Images

Jack Stephens' first Premier League goal was not enough to ease Southampton's relegation concerns as Mauricio Pellegrino's side could only draw 1-1 with fellow strugglers Brighton and Hove Albion. 

Stephens managed to get something on James Ward-Prowse's 64th-minute free-kick to rescue a point for the Saints – but the goal was not enough to prevent the hosts from equalling their unwanted club record of 12 Premier League games without a win.

It could have been an even more frustrating evening for Southampton after Glenn Murray put fellow strugglers Brighton into an early lead from the penalty spot at St Mary's Stadium.

Southampton went on to control proceedings but finding a way through proved difficult, Mat Ryan rarely worried in the visitors' goal.

However, some poor Brighton defending gifted Stephens the leveller and the Seagulls had to cling on for a point.

The draw does little for either team in their battle for survival, with Southampton third bottom on 23 points, while Brighton are three places and one point better off.

After a miserable run of league form that has seen Southampton fail to win since late November, the last thing Pellegrino needed was a sluggish start.

But Saints were slow out of the blocks and Jose Izquierdo blazed over inside the opening 60 seconds after Murray and Pascal Gross linked up nicely on the right.

Murray was much more precise 14 minutes later after Wesley Hoedt had clumsily tripped Solly March in the penalty area, Brighton's lone striker sending Alex McCarthy the wrong way with the resulting spot-kick.

When Southampton eventually settled into their rhythm they began to dominate possession, but Ryan's goal was rarely threatened.

On the one occasion it was, the chance came via a mistake from the Australian goalkeeper, his clearance on the half hour hitting Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg and rebounding onto the crossbar.

Pellegrino introduced more attacking threat at the break with Sofiane Boufal and new signing Guido Carrillo entering the fray, but the hosts remained toothless in the final third.

Given their problems it was apt that Stephens' equaliser came from a scruffy, deflected free-kick – the defender getting the merest of touches on Ward-Prowse's delivery.

Southampton duly laid siege on the Brighton goal but they appeared to have used up all of their luck with Stephens' goal.

The hosts' lack of quality in the final third hindered their chances of claiming all three points as Brighton – who welcomed back Leonardo Ulloa in the second half – clung on to a share of the spoils.


Key Opta stats:

- Southampton have failed to win any of their last 12 Premier League games (D7 L5) since beating Everton in November.
- Brighton have picked up just two points in their last seven away Premier League matches (W0 D2 L5).
- The Saints have lost only one of their last 28 home Premier League games against newly promoted clubs, but all three of their matches this season have ended as draws.
- Glenn Murray has equalled his best scoring season in the Premier League (seven goals), also scoring seven in 2014-15 for Crystal Palace.
- Three of Murray's seven Premier League goals this season have been scored from the penalty spot, with only Sergio Aguero and Jamie Vardy (4) scoring more penalties in the Premier League this season.
- Jack Stephens registered his first ever Premier League goal in his 30th appearance.

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