Maty Ryan makes Garth Crooks' team of the week after Southampton showstopper

Brighton goalkeeper Maty Ryan played a vital role last Thursday at Southampton as Albion all but secured their Premier League status with a 1-1 draw.

By Paul Hazlewood: Maty Ryan pulls off his save of the season to deny Southampton's Jannik Vestergaard.
By Paul Hazlewood: Maty Ryan pulls off his save of the season to deny Southampton's Jannik Vestergaard.

Albion went 1-0 up in the first half thanks to Neal Maupay's 10th goal of the season but the Saints improved in the second period and drew level through lethal striker Danny Ings.

Brighton were then under severe pressure and were grateful to Ryan's sensational save when he turned Jannik Vestergaard's 25-yard strike against the crossbar.

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"This lad has been outstanding between the sticks for two seasons and he's had to be in order to keep Brighton in the Premier League," said Crooks writing in his team of the week column. "In their recent fight for survival against Southampton he made one of the best fingertip saves I have seen all season. Jannik Vestergaard hit the ball from all of 30 yards and it went like a rocket, picking up speed all the way.

"How Ryan got his hand to the ball I don't know but he managed to push the ball on to the crossbar. Brighton have clawed their way out of the relegation zone and into relative safety. Their brand of football might be more attractive but the anxiety is still the same.

"Did you know? The Australian made four saves and attempted 32 passes, a figure only two players could better (Dale Stephens 34, Dan Burn 33)."

Crooks' XI: Goalkeeper - Mat Ryan (Brighton); Defenders - Rob Holding (Arsenal), Harry Maguire (Man Utd), Jonny Evans (Leicester); Midfield - Jack Grealish (Aston Villa), Bruno Fernandes (Man Utd), David Silva (Man City), Son Heung-min (Spurs)

The performance from the Aussie goalkeeper was even more impressive as prior to Southampton he conceded five against City and Ryan admitted he slipped below his usual standards.

“I could have done better in the second half with a couple of things [against Manchester City],” said Ryan.

“It’s been hurting this week off the back of that performance, but you’ve got to take those lessons and use it for motivation for the next game and that’s what I tried to do.”

“I wasn’t happy that I spilled a cross late on (Southampton), but I made a couple of good interventions so I am pleased that I could help the team.

“Ultimately that’s what I am trying to do – to contribute to the team and the success, to create some memories in doing so and helping us to get that point in the end.”

Ryan added, “With how the second half went we were probably lucky to hold on with the chances they had. In the first half we created some decent half chances as well as the goal. But we failed to hit the target again and force [Southampton goalkeeper] Alex McCarthy into a save or ask him a real question.