Brighton & Hove Albion 0 Watford 0: Superb Foster denies Seagulls in goalless draw

Brighton's Dutch midfielder Davy Propper on the ball in this afternoon's home game against Watford. All pictures by PW Sporting Photography.
Brighton's Dutch midfielder Davy Propper on the ball in this afternoon's home game against Watford. All pictures by PW Sporting Photography.

Brighton & Hove Albion halted their Premier League losing run with a 0-0 home draw with Watford this afternoon but they are now without a league win in five as the Seagulls continue their hunt for a first league victory of 2019.

Seagulls boss Chris Hughton was set to name the same starting XI that lost 4-2 away to Fulham on Tuesday evening but Dale Stephens pulled-out after injuring himself during the warm-up and was replaced by Yves Bissouma. Alireza Jahanbakhsh returned to the squad after his stint at the Asian Cup with Iran, replacing Viktor Gyokeres on the bench.

Lewis Dunk's hooked ball back into the box was cleared but only as far as Pascal Gross but the German skewed his shot wide.

Lewis Dunk's hooked ball back into the box was cleared but only as far as Pascal Gross but the German skewed his shot wide.

Javi Gracia made one change to the Hornets side that fell to a late 2-1 away defeat to Tottenham Hotspur on Wednesday night. Ken Sema replaced Roberto Pereyra in midfield after the Argentinian was ruled out due to a calf injury.

The Premier League likes to pride itself on being the best football league in the world with the biggest stars facing off in exciting, end-to-end games of attacking football.

Games like Liverpool's nail-biting 4-3 home win over Newcastle United in 1996 and Manchester City's last-gasp 3-2 victory at home to Queens Park Rangers to win their first title in 2012 are examples of the swashbuckling, white-knuckle ride that is the Premier League over the years.

This afternoon's fixture between Brighton & Hove Albion and Watford will last in the collective memory as long as Steve Brookstein's music career.

Jurgen Locadia's header from a Gross cross forced Ben Foster into a great one-handed save.

Jurgen Locadia's header from a Gross cross forced Ben Foster into a great one-handed save.

The first 20 minutes was a dire affair with both sides being guilty of being ponderous in attack and sloppy with the ball. A scrappy, error-laden opening saw numerous half-chances for the home and away teams.

Hornets skipper Troy Deeney headed wide from a deep Daryl Janmaat cross, while Bissouma fired over after being found by Glenn Murray on the edge of the box.

The best chance, although it was by no means clear-cut, came on 23 minutes. Lewis Dunk hooked ball across goal was cleared by the Watford defence as far as Pascal Gross but the German fired wide.

Albion won themselves a free-kick on 28 minutes after Murray was brought down on the right flank. Gross' whipped ball into the area met the head of Dunk but his header failed to hit the target.

Yves Bissouma and Solly March keep their eye on Watford wideman Gerard Deulofeu.

Yves Bissouma and Solly March keep their eye on Watford wideman Gerard Deulofeu.

Ten minutes before half-time Brighton had another half-chance as a Gross free-kick again caught out the Hornets defence. The German's set-piece found Davy Propper at the back-post but the Dutchman's volley flew over the bar.

The Seagulls supporters finally had something to get them out of their seats on 40 minutes. Gross' curling cross from the right found the head of Jurgen Locadia and Watford 'keeper Ben Foster had to produce a fine one-handed save to keep the Dutch forward out.

The chance garnered a corner, which Brighton decided to play short. The cross failed to beat the first Watford man, crashing into the leg of a Hornets player, typifying a wretched first-half display from both teams.

The start of the second-half saw Albion start with great intensity but, again, they couldn't create any clear-cut opportunities. Eight minutes after the restart Solly March drove at the Hornets defence and he almost found Murray but Janmaat got there just in the nick of time to hack the ball clear and prevent an easy finish for the Seagulls top goalscorer.

Two minutes later Watford's Tom Cleverley did just enough to put off Gaetan Bong as the Cameroonian defender blasted over from 20-yards out.

The Hornets had their first decent opportunities of the game within three minutes of each other. Will Hughes' shot, after a knock-down from Deeney, was well kept out by Seagulls 'keeper Mathew Ryan on 56 minutes before Janmaat's lofted ball into the area found Sema but the Swede headed wide of the post.

On 69 minutes another Gross free-kick from out wide found Murray but the target-man got his header all wrong and skewed his attempt over the bar.

Ten minutes before full-time Albion had two chances in quick succession that demanded a couple of great saves from Watford's Foster. A cross into the box from Gross found Locadia and Foster once more pulled off a tremendous, acrobatic, one-handed save to tip the ball over the bar and keep the scores level.

The resulting corner was cleared but the ball found its way back to Dunk who played the ball back in for Shane Duffy who let fly with a spectacular overhead kick that saw Foster deny the Irishman with his feet.

Four minutes before time the Seagulls cleared to deny sub Andre Gray after a goalmouth scramble before substitute Florin Andone found himself one-on-one with Foster but the former-England 'keeper pulled off yet another great save to deny Brighton.

On 87 minutes Hughes hit the side-netting after being teed-up by Etienne Capoue and then Andone fired over the bar on 90 minutes after the ball was cushioned down to him by Gross.

With virtually the last kick of the game Bissouma fizzed a shot wide, but referee Simon Hooper blew his full-time whistle to end proceedings in a dismal affair.

Brighton & Hove Albion: Ryan, Montoya, Duffy, Dunk, Bong, Propper, Bissouma, Gross, March, Murray (Andone 72), Locadia. Unused: Button, Balogun, Kayal, Burn, Knockaert, Jahanbaksh.

Watford: Foster, Janmaat, Cathcart, Mariappa, Holebas, Hughes, Cleverley, Capoue, Sema (Quina 81), Deeney, Deulofeu (Gray 70). Unused: Gomes, Britos, Masina, Chalobah, Penaranda.

Referee: Simon Hooper

Attendance: 30,414