Evan Ferguson of Brighton (file pic). Alamy Stock Photo

Evan Ferguson returns in Brighton draw

The teenage striker had a spell on the sidelines following a poor challenge from Liverpool’s Fabinho.

IRELAND INTERNATIONAL Evan Ferguson made his comeback from injury, but could not inspire Brighton to a win today.

The teenage striker had a spell on the sidelines following a poor challenge from Liverpool’s Fabinho, but was fit enough for a place on the bench this afternoon.

He subsequently was introduced in the 57th minute, but could not find the winner as the Seagulls drew 1-1 with Crystal Palace.

James Tomkins took advantage of a mistake by Brighton goalkeeper Robert Sanchez to earn the draw at Selhurst Park.

Sanchez was unable to hold a Michael Olise free-kick and Tomkins pounced to nod home to level in the 69th minute.

Brighton had taken the lead six minutes earlier when Solly March connected with Pervis Estupinan’s cross at the far post on an afternoon largely dominated by the visitors.

The Seagulls also had a first-half goal disallowed by VAR.

Estupinan thought he had broken the deadlock when he curled into the top corner after 32 minutes but was ruled out due to an offside in the build-up.

This was the first encounter between the rivals this season after their September contest was called off due to train strikes and the home faithful were in full voice from the outset, hoping their side could pick up their first win of 2023.

Despite the sense of occasion, the first 10 minutes were largely quiet on the pitch.

Palace goalkeeper Vicente Guaita was the first to be tested as Alexis Mac Allister collected March’s through ball before sending a left-footed effort at the Spaniard, who spilled the initial save.

Guaita blocked another effort from the Argentina international before Palace enjoyed a first real spell in attack which did not last long as they were dispossessed by Kaoru Mitoma, whose subsequent speculative attempt from the corner of the six-yard box was blocked by Guaita.

Adam Webster had a chance to put his side ahead but nodded March’s cross wide before Brighton thought they had finally broken the deadlock when Pascal Gross flicked a pass to Estupinan, who curled into the top-right corner.

But VAR determined the visitors were offside in the build-up, much to the relief of the hosts, who had an opportunity when Olise fed Jean-Philippe Mateta in the area but he was denied by Webster’s perfectly-timed sliding challenge.

It was a quick reaction from Webster that prevented the Eagles from taking the lead after Mateta pounced on Moises Caicedo’s mistake.

Brighton enjoyed over 70% possession in the first half but still had nothing to show for it when they emerged back out of the tunnel and March fired into the side-netting.

Guaita stooped to collect Deniz Undav’s rolling effort before Will Hughes was forced off and replaced by January signing Sambi Lokonga in the 56th minute.

The visitors finally broke the deadlock after 63 minutes when Estupinan floated in a cross from the left and a charging March was able to beat Tyrick Mitchell at the far post and send the ball into the top corner.

Palace responded six minutes later when Olise delivered a free-kick into the six-yard box.

It looked to be a simple enough claim for Sanchez but he could not get a grip on the ball and Tomkins took full advantage as he nodded in the equaliser.

The hosts survived to pick up a point but only after Mac Allister, in a good position in front of goal, sent a header inches wide of the left post and was then denied again by Guaita.

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