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Brighton 1 Wolves 1 - Report and pictures

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Wolves cut the gap to the play-off zone to three points in a deserved draw at struggling Brighton.



Defeat for sixth-placed Brentford at home to Cardiff meant Kenny Jackett's side are now a win away from the top six with nine games left, albeit with an inferior goal difference.

Bruno Saltor put the Seagulls ahead in the 70th minute after Craig Mackail-Smith had an effort disallowed for offside on 59.

But Rajiv van La Parra will claim the 74th-minute equaliser after his right-wing cross was fumbled into his own net by keeper David Stockdale.

Mackail-Smith sent a free header straight at Tomasz Kuszczak in the second minute, but Wolves could have taken the lead twice on nine minutes when Benik Afobe was foiled by Stockdale then Bakary Sako's follow-up was cleared off the line by Gordon Greer.

Stockdale denied Wolves at the death when he saved a Sako drive at full length.

Wolves boss Kenny Jackett named an unchanged line-up from the side that drew 2-2 against Watford last week.

Lee Evans was recalled to the bench in place of Michael Jacobs, who has joined Blackpool on loan for the rest of the season.

Rajiv van La Parra of Wolverhampton Wanderers celebrates after scoring a goal to make it 1-1.

Brighton: Stockdale, Saltor, Greer (capt), Dunk, Stephens, Mackail-Smith (O'Grady 75), Calderon, Teixeira (Ledesna 86), Holla (LuaLua 77), Kayal, Bennett.

Unused subs: Walton, Hughes, Best, Halford.

Bookings: Dunk (10 – handling), Greer (42 – foul).

Wolves: Kuszczak, Doherty, Hause, Henry (Dicko 62), Batth (capt), Stearman, van La Parra, McDonald, Afobe, Price, Sako.

Unused subs: McCarey, Golbourne, Edwards, Evans, Doyle, Ebanks-Landell.

Booking: Doherty (87 – foul).

Referee: T. Kettle. [/breakout]

But there was no place in the squad again for Dominic Iorfa.

Brighton made six changes to the team beaten 2-1 at Reading on Tuesday night.

One of those was the axeing of former Wolves utility man Greg Halford, who was replaced by Bruno Saltor.

Former Seagulls keeper Kuszczak was warmly applauded when his name was announced before kick-off.

Brighton dominated possession in the early stages but Wolves came back into the game in the final 15 minutes before half-time.

The Seagulls wasted a glorious chance in the second minute when Mackail-Smith headed straight at Kuszczak from Beram Kayal's cross from six yards out.

The home side continued to boss the game territorially, but Wolves were presented with two chances to snatch the lead in the ninth minute.

Lewis Dunk slipped and then tugged Van La Parra's shirt and Afobe was onto the ball in a flash.

But the striker's shot was smothered by Stockdale, who raced off his line.

The loose ball ran to Sako, whose low goalbound drive was hacked off the line by Greer.

Dunk was booked for his troubles when he could have been sent off.

A mix-up between Sako and Danny Batth presented Mackail-Smith with a second opportunity on 16.

But the long-haired former Peterborough striker could only roll the ball wide from a clear sight of goal.

Afobe found himself with a sniff of goal in the 27th minute and forced the first serious save of the game with an angled left-foot effort that had Stockdale scrambling to his left to scoop the ball away.

This signalled Wolves coming much more into the game and Kevin McDonald curled just wide from the edge of the box on 39.

A minute later and against the run of play, Kayal had a low effort blocked by Batth in a crowded box.

Greer became the second player to be booked in the 42nd minute when he held Afobe moments after advantage was allowed when he appeared to drag down James Henry.

Wolves had the first sight of goal of the second period in the 46th minute when Sako burst forward from the middle of the park but could only screw his shot well wide.

But this half was a much more open affair, with the play becoming stretched, a higher tempo and more urgency.

Van La Parra appeared to get away with a trip on Joe Bennett just inside the Wolves penalty area on 58.

And they had another escape a minute later when Mackail-Smith had an effort ruled out for offside after Kuszczak parried Joao Teixeira's angled drive.

This was a purple patch for Brighton and Teixeira had another good sight of goal on 63 after Bruno's cut back but could only flash a rising drive well over.

Wolves brought on Nouha Dicko for Henry in the 64th minute in an attempt to stretch the game even more.

But it was Brighton who took the lead when Bruno let fly with an angled drive from just inside the box after Inigo Calderon's shot hit Mackail-Smith and bounced out wide to the full-back.

It had actually been Wolves on the break with a quickly-taken free kick from Sako to Doherty but the ball ran on and was gobbled up by Kayal.

The lead lasted just four minutes however as Wolves equalised in bizarre circumstances.

Van La Parra burst down the right and for once produced an early cross which was palmed into the net at the near post by Stockdale.

It looked like an own goal but the Dutchman will no doubt be looking to claim his second goal for Wolves.

Wolves ended the game on a high as Dicko cut the ball back for Sako to unleash a blistering shot that was palmed wide.

Then Batth had two shots blocked from successive corners.

But in the end a draw was a fair result as Wolves still look to make big inroads to the play-off zone with nine games left.

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