Brighton 0-0 Norwich: Winless runs continue for both sides as Norwich look doomed


It was a passage of play to illustrate why both of these sides had lost their last six league games, and to highlight the helpless desperation of their recent form.

As a relatively easy-to-defend cross came in, Norwich’s Sam Byram’s arm came up to slap it clear as if he was swatting away a fly. Penalty. All their defensive graft undone by one lapse in concentration?

Then Neal Maupay stepped up, goalless in two months, to sky the penalty into the away end. Clearly the Frenchman has been watching his compatriot’s Six Nations stars over the international break. How’s your luck?

Norwich continue to look doomed as they are seven points adrift of Everton in at the foot 

Brighton dominated but were wasteful and, while Norwich defended resolutely, they quite literally did nothing in an attacking sense until the 80th minute.

So a goalless draw and a point apiece does not really help either team. Each game seems season-defining for Norwich but there goes another chance to start a charge to safety.

A sea of green and yellow Norwich fans were in good voice on the south coast but that horribly misjudged penalty was all they had to cheer about.

Byram – perhaps with the sun in his eyes – gave the kick away and was lucky not to be punished further. He can thank his fans and goalkeeper Tim Krul for that, given their best efforts to distract Maupay.

Maupay missed from the spot after Sam Byram was adjudged to have handled the ball

Maupay missed from the spot after Sam Byram was adjudged to have handled the ball

Krul, often cited as a penalty specialist, launched into a fair dose of trash talking to put Maupay off, as the fans behind the goal joined in the circus.

Maupay has been sat one goal away from Brighton’s all-time record goals in the Premier League – tied with Glenn Murray’s 26 – and will have to wait longer after this torrid penalty.

Their Canaries players were toothless with the ball. They played like a team consigned to relegation and any signs of fight shown in Dean Smith’s first months at the club are long gone.

Indeed, it took until first-half stoppage time for Robert Sanchez to touch the ball with his hands, a nice welcome back to a bitterly cold Brighton for the keeper who had enjoyed an international break in sunny Spain.

The result did not help either side as Norwich look down and Brighton continue to struggle

The result did not help either side as Norwich look down and Brighton continue to struggle

Neal Maupay's struggles in front of goal continued as he is now goalless in two months

Neal Maupay’s struggles in front of goal continued as he is now goalless in two months

Smith persisted with his two-man strike force, but both Teemu Pukki and Milot Rashica spent the match looking lost up front, as Brighton dominated the ball.

Aside from their penalty miss, though, they were limited to just half-chances in the first half, with Alexis Mac Allister and Leandro Trossard playing a number of nice passes with no reward.

They stepped it up in the second half. Krul made a fantastic save at point-blank range to deny Joel Veltman’s header, and Dimitris Giannoulis had to clear another shot off the line.

By now it was an onslaught and Lewis Dunk also should have scored with a close-range header, while Danny Welbeck made some good runs in behind to no avail.

Brighton's old problems in front of goal have returned having not won in seven games

Brighton’s old problems in front of goal have returned having not won in seven games 

At the other end, it wasn’t until the 80th minute that Norwich ventured forward with some intent. Pukki drove at Brighton and chipped the ball to an unmarked Rashica at the back post, who rushed his shot and, like Maupay, sent it high into the stands.

Graham Potter sent on Jakub Moder to add some legs in midfield but the Polishman lasted all of five minutes before pulling his hamstring and being replaced.

It summed up Brighton’s afternoon. They continued to bang on the door but a season-best performance from their former keeper Krul held firm.

BRIGHTON (3-4-1-2): Sanchez 6; Dunk 6.5, Veltman 6.5, Cucurella 7; Lamptey 7, Gross 6, Mac Allister 6, March 6 (Moder 83 (Sarmiento 88)); Trossard 6.5; Maupay 6 (Mwepu 78), Welbeck 6.

Subs not used: Steele, Bissouma, Lallana, Alzate, Duffy, Offiah.

Booked: Lamptey.

Manager: Graham Potter 5.

NORWICH (4-1-2-1-2): Krul 8.5; Byram 5, Hanley 7, Gibson 7, Giannoulis 6; Normann 6; Lees-Melou 6 (Rowe 60, 6), Gilmour 6.5; McLean 6 (Dowell 90+2); Rashica 5 (Tzolis 80), Pukki 6.5.

Subs not used: Gunn, Zimmermann, Sorensen, Tomkinson, Kamara, Springett.

Booked: McLean.

Manager: Dean Smith 6.5.

Referee: Simon Hooper 7.

Attendance: 31,245.



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