Brighton keep relegation door ajar with shock defeat to doomed Sheff Utd

Steve Pearson

Brighton squandered the chance to move 10 points away from relegation after succumbing to a shock defeat to Sheffield United.

With Sheffield Utd’s fate already sealed, the focus was on Brighton to move another step towards safety. Neal Maupay came close to doing just that after a driving run from Danny Welbeck split the Blades’ defence, though Aaron Ramsdale stood up tall to deny the Frenchman.

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Despite their situation, the hosts showed fight and took a surprise lead in the 19th minute.

Adam Webster surrendered possession on the half-way line. A cross was only partially cleared before an unfortunate ricochet off Joel Veltman presented David McGoldrick with a glorious opening to which he did not disappoint.

The goalscorer was in the thick of the action moments later when receiving a yellow card for a high boot on Webster.

The pressure of expectation seemed to be getting the better of the Seagulls who looked uncharacteristically shaky at the back. Gone was the typical calmness and composure fans are accustomed to seeing in Graham Potter’s side.

Matters at the other end weren’t faring much better. Neat interplay between Maupay and Yves Bissouma send the midfielder through, but a last-ditch sliding tackle averted danger at the last moment.

With Potter’s words perhaps ringing in their ears, Brighton started the second half much brighter.

Jakub Moder fed Adam Lallana whose low strike was too central to truly trouble Ramsdale.

The stopper was again called into action moments later, this time to deny the increasingly dangerous Maupay after a neat flick from Welbeck crafted a shooting chance.

Moder thought he’d levelled the scores after sloppy defending allowed the full-back to hook home from a corner. Replays would ultimately show the Polish star was offside in the build-up as VAR cut short the celebrations.

Everything good Brighton produced involved Maupay. The striker took up a great position inside the six-yard box, but scooped a cut-back over the bar that admittedly, was slightly behind him.

It was all Brighton in the latter stages knowing defeat here would hand an unlikely boost to relegation rivals Fulham. But try as they might, the breakthrough simply would not come.

Alireza Jahanbakhsh and Jose Izquierdo saw action from the bench as Potter shuffled his deck. With 10 minutes remaining, Brighton were still in arrears.

Brighton laid siege to the Blades’ goal as time wore down but couldn’t restore parity after succumbing to an unlikely 1-0 defeat.