(Reuters) - Brighton & Hove Albion’s Glenn Murray converted a 90th-minute penalty to snatch a 2-2 draw at south-coast rivals Southampton after they fought back from two goals down in a pulsating Premier League clash on Monday.
The result left Southampton in 13th place, one spot above Brighton who also have five points from as many games after their late pressure paid dividends.
Murray, who blasted his spot-kick past goalkeeper Alex McCarthy as the Seagulls scored their first away goals of the season, acknowledged they were fortunate to avoid defeat.
“After the way we performed in the first half we got away with one,” the striker told Sky Sports. “We were very poor and were under par. The second half was a different game. We put them under pressure and got our reward at the end.”
Southampton’s Denmark midfielder Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg gave them a 35th-minute lead with a scorching shot from 30 metres after they missed two good chances in a one-sided first half.
The writing seemed to be on the wall for Brighton after Danny Ings made it 2-0 for the home side with a penalty in the 65th, having had his heels clipped by left back Gaetan Bong.
But the visitors came roaring back as Duffy gave them hope with a close-range 67th-minute header after Anthony Knockaert’s cross from the right and they nearly equalised in the 89th when McCarthy kept out a Juergen Locadia effort from five metres.
Brighton hit the outside of the post through substitute Alireza Jahanbakhsh’s clever effort and then won a corner from which James Ward-Prowse bundled Duffy over leaving Murray to score from the spot to delight the visiting fans.
“We’re disappointed with the award of the penalty,” said Southampton manager Mark Hughes. “Shane Duffy is a big lad and he’s gone down easily under an innocuous challenge. They will look for anything they can get and the referee has bought that.”
There was still time for late drama as Southampton came close to snatching a winner but visiting goalkeeper Matt Ryan kept out a fierce Ryan Bertrand free kick.
“It’s the second game we’ve come back from 2-0 down,” said relived Brighton manager Chris Hughton, referring to his side’s 2-2 home draw with Fulham on Sept. 1.
“You have to look at the character but also some of the frailties that put us in that position in the first place, credit to the lads they responded well.”
Saints goalscorer Hojbjerg was understandably frustrated.
“It’s nice to make a good goal like this but I want to win, that’s all that matters,” he said.
“We have to look forward and take the positives out of the game and learn from the less positive things. Maybe there’s a hangover from (the relegation battle) last season, a nervousness. Maybe we need to get that out of the system.”
Writing by Zoran Milosavljevic; Editing by Ken Ferris