Patrick Gleeson reports on the Seagulls’ low-key game at Bristol.
Albion have maintained their place in a play-off spot this evening after their 0-0 draw with Bristol City, but only because of results elsewhere.
Gus Poyet’s men failed to register a single shot at goal during the mundane tie at Ashton Gate, but can be thankful that Huddersfield scored two late goals at home to Middlesbrough to prevent the Reds from leapfrogging Albion into sixth.
The result means the Robins stay at the foot of the table, but are now unbeaten in their last five home games.
The game started slowly with neither side taking complete control, but it was the hosts who settled the quickest. Cole Skuse had two shots deflected by Liam Bridcutt and Adam El-Abd respectively, before Paul Anderson fired a tame shot at Tomasz Kuszczak from the edge of the area.
Brendan Moloney then tried his luck with a fizzing shot, but the Albion defence again stood strong before Kuszczak parried a Liam Kelly volley. The Polish goalkeeper did collect the ball at the second attempt but he was bundled into the net by former Sunderland striker Jon Stead.
Anderson then found himself with a clear path towards goal, but a sensational challenge from Matthew Upson denied the midfelder.
On the stroke of half time, though, Albion were dealt a massive blow. Craig Mackail-Smith, who had replaced Saturday’s hat-trick hero Leonardo Ulloa in the starting line up, was forced off with an achilles injury. It has since been revealed that the club’s top scorer will miss the remainder of the season as a result.
The second half was just as lacklustre as the first for the away side and it wasn’t long before City were testing the Albion backline once more. Moloney had a strike deflected for a corner before Marvin Elliott’s shot flew harmlessly wide.
Anderson also had a late effort to try and penetrate the sturdy Seagulls defence, but he failed to hit the ball cleanly and the ball skewed wide of the post.
Sean O’Driscoll will be frustrated that his side missed out on the chance to claim all three points, whereas Gus Poyet will be going back to the drawing board to conjure something up ahead of the club’s trip to in-form Bolton on Saturday.