Murray penalty woe as Brighton’s winless run continues
Glenn Murray squandered a first-half penalty as Brighton’s winless run stretched to seven games with a goalless draw against high-flying Burnley.
Albion dominated for long spells at the Amex Stadium but their search for a first Premier League victory since the start of November goes on after Murray blazed his 36th-minute spot-kick high over the crossbar.
Anthony Knockaert had earlier rattled the woodwork for the Seagulls, while Sean Dyche’s Clarets could have won it late on through Chris Wood as they missed a chance to move to fourth in the table.
It was the first top-flight meeting between the two clubs and Brighton boss Chris Hughton made four changes following the midweek defeat to Tottenham at Wembley in a bid to end his side’s recent slump.
Murray was one of the men recalled and he headed an early opportunity straight at Clarets goalkeeper Nick Pope after being picked out by Bruno’s right-wing centre.
Johann Berg Gudmundsson’s low shot then forced a rare first-half save out of Mathew Ryan in the 21st minute before the hosts almost edged ahead moments later.
Frenchman Knockaert connected well with Pascal Gross’ delivery from the right, only to see his powerful effort rebound off the right post with diving Clarets keeper Pope beaten.
Albion, unbeaten in their previous six league matches against Burnley, continued to push forward and defender Lewis Dunk was unlucky with a header which was nodded off the line by Phil Bardsley following Gross’ left-wing corner.
Dyche appeared to be agitated with numerous decisions going against his team, while the home crowd regularly vented their frustration at perceived time wasting from the visitors.
Dyche had reason to be concerned 10 minutes before the break when the Seagulls were given a golden opportunity to grab the goal their dominance deserved with the award of a penalty for James Tarkowski’s clumsy challenge on Murray.
Brighton’s five-goal top-scorer, who had been going away from goal when he was upended by the Burnley defender, stepped up to take the spot-kick but wastefully powered his effort over Pope’s crossbar.
The hosts were thrashed 5-1 by Liverpool in their last home game and there was a danger they would be made to pay for their first-half profligacy.
Burnley striker Wood, who spent the 2010/11 season on loan with the Seagulls, had an early sight of goal in the second half but Ryan comfortably saved his relatively tame attempt.
Wood did have the ball in the net on the hour mark, finishing from close range after Ryan had twice denied Scott Arfield, only to see the effort ruled out by an offside flag.
Given their recent high standards, it was a below-par display from the Clarets, although they should have secured all three points 17 minutes from time.
Substitute Ashley Barnes, who had just been booked for barging Ryan into the back of the net, slipped through Wood but the New Zealand international’s dinked attempt was well blocked by the Brighton keeper to ensure a fourth successive draw between the sides.