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Match Reports

Brighton & HA v Millwall

18 December 2012

Full-time score from the Amex Stadium

A dramatic last-gasp penalty by David Lopez denied Millwall a first-ever win at the Amex Stadium as Brighton clawed back a two-goal deficit to secure a share of the spoils.
Kenny Jackett's men were left wondering what might have been after a brace from Chris Wood - his second yet another Goal of the Season contender - put The Lions in control with less than an hour gone.
But a fine strike by Kazenga LuaLua on 61 minutes gave the home side all the encouragement they needed and their sustained late pressure finally paid off with Lopez's textbook spot-kick after Liam Feeney was harshly penalised for a foul on Craig Mackail-Smith.
At the final whistle it felt more like a defeat than a draw for a Millwall side that looked to be heading for three points, but in the end had to settle for just the one.
"I thought it was an excellent performance by ourselves," said Jackett.
"We played very well and gave them problems, particularly early on in the game. We surprised Brighton, but the pressure was always going to come and it was a 50-50 penalty decision right at the end."
It had all started so promisingly for the visitors and in the opening minute Liam Trotter, playing up front in the absence of Andy Keogh who pulled out having originally been named in the starting line-up, sent a free header from James Henry's delivery straight into the hands of keeper Tomasz Kuszczak.
However there was to be no mistake on 25 minutes when former Brighton loanee Wood was perfectly placed to sidefoot the ball home following a sublime cross from left-back Shane Lowry.
At this stage Millwall looked comfortable in possession as Brighton struggled to make any real headway going forward, although Dean Hammond did rattle the upright with a header from Lopez's free-kick.
Seagulls manager Gus Poyet didn't even wait until half-time before bringing on LuaLua for the ineffective Lewis Dunk in a bid to add some impetus up front.
Although the stocky, powerful winger injected some energy into the Seagulls attack, there was nothing to really test David Forde in the Millwall goal as the first-half drew to a close.
In fact Millwall could have added a second goal on the stroke of half-time, but Trotter headed wide from another Henry delivery.
Brighton came out showing greater urgency after the break and The Lions breathed a collective sigh of relief when Lopez sweetly struck free-kick smacked the woodwork on 56 minutes.
A moment later Millwall had forged further ahead with a splendid dipping 25-yard strike from Wood that gave the keeper no chance.
But no sooner had The Lions given themselves a two-goal cushion than Brighton had halved it, with LuaLua afforded too much time and space before unleashing a stinging drive that flew past Forde and into the bottom corner.
That glimmer of hope proved vital and as the half wore on, Millwall's resistence began to wear as Brighton bombed forward in increasing numbers.
Albion thought they had levelled with 13 minutes remaining when it looked as though El-Abd's header might have crept over the line, but referee Keith Stroud awarded a corner instead.
But there was no doubt in the official's mind two minutes from time, when he pointed to the penalty spot after Mackail-Smith went to ground somewhat easily and Lopez smashed home to level the score.

Brighton & Hove Albion: Kuszczak, El-Abd, Dunk (LuaLua, 39mins), Greer, Bridge; Bridcutt (Hoskins, 76mins), Hammond, Crofts (Barnes, 66mins), Lopez, Buckley, Mackail-Smith. Subs not used: Brezovan, Dobbie, Harley, March.  
Booking: El-Abd (41mins) 
Scorers: LuaLua (61mins), Lopez (88mins pen) 
 
Millwall: Forde, A.Smith, Shittu, Beevers, Lowry, Henry, Wright, J.Smith, C.Taylor (Feeney, 51mins), Trotter, Wood (Henderson, 89mins). Subs not used: M.Taylor, Malone, Osborne, N'Guessan, Batt. 
Bookings: Beevers (31mins), Henry (68mins), Lowry (74mins), A.Smith (79mins) 
Scorer: Wood (25, 57mins)
 
Ref: K.Stroud 
Att: 24,733 (1,378)

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