64 min Wolves are going to switch to a back three: Max Kilman replaces Vitinha.
61 min Trossard almost equalises! White’s floated cross was headed back by Veltman towards Trossard, who took it down on the chest and hit a volley that was kicked away by Coady.
59 min Neves screws a half volley well wide from the edge of the D.
58 min Burn is booked for pulling back Traore. The poor chap is having a beast.
57 min Traore beats Burn on the right and hammers a cross towards the near post, where Vitinha flicks the ball neatly behind his front leg on the volley. The shot hits Dunk and loops up in the air for Sanchez to claim.
54 min: Chance for Brighton! Burn’s cross is put behind for a corner by Neves, Brighton’s first of the game. March’s outswinger is hooked away at the far post. The ball is given back to March, whose cross from the left beats almost everyone in the middle and reaches Burn at the far post. His first touch is too heavy, though, and that allows Moutinho to make a vital tackle.
52 min Fabio Silva has a shot blocked by Webster after a lovely chop inside, and then Semedo goes over in the area under challenge from Burn. No penalty. Brighton break and Zeqiri has a shot blocked at the other end. It’s a cracking game, this.
50 min It’s been a fine start to the second half by Brighton, who have had almost all of the ball since Maupay’s penalty. I forgot to say during the first half – so sue me – that they switched to a back four, with Burn moving to left back and March to the right of midfield. They’re basically playing a 4-4-2 now.
47 min “Good evening, Rob, and best wishes for 2021 from Bulgaria,” says Vladimir. “If the new normal means Wolves scoring goals (plural!) in the first half (what?), then I am all for it. In an actual reality this translates to me that the new year is bound to be more bonkers than the previous.”
I must admit, I didn’t expect five goals in this game, never mind the 17 we’re going to get by the final whistle.
GOAL! Brighton 2-3 Wolves (Maupay 46 pen)
Maupay cracks the penalty straight down the middle. Game on!
PENALTY TO BRIGHTON! Moutinho dangles a leg in the area, allowing Maupay to go over. A penalty to Brighton after 15 seconds of the second half.
46 min Peep peep! Brighton begin the second half, having made a double change: Davy Propper and Andi Zeqiri replace Bissouma and the injured Connolly. And…
Half time: Brighton 1-3 Wolves
Peep peep! An excellent half for Wolves, who came from behind to lead 3-1 at the Amex Stadium. Brighton haven’t played badly, again, but they’re losing, again.
45+4 min Aaron Connolly is injured again. He’s walked straight down the tunnel, looking pretty dejected. No substitute has come on yet, as it’s so close to half-time, but I’ll be surprised if we see him in the second half.
45+1 min RAUL WHO?!?!?!??!?!?!?!
45 min Four minutes of added time.
GOAL! Brighton 1-3 Wolves (Neves 44 pen)
Ruben Neves cracks the penalty into the right-hand corner; Sanchez went the wrong way. Wolves have scored three goals – in the first half.
PENALTY TO WOLVES! Dan Burn, who is having a miserable night, takes the marauding Traore out near the byline. It was a desperate challenge and a clear penalty.
40 min There’s a break in play while Pedro Neto receives treatment. He has a nose bleed after wearing a pig’s bladder in the face.
Neto cut inside from the right and hit a shot that took a deflection off the stretching March. It spun awkwardly towards Sanchez, who punched it off Burn and back into the net. Burn had no chance of getting out of the way; Sanchez should probably have done better with the angle of his punch.
GOAL! Brighton 1-2 Wolves (Burn own goal 34)
Well that escalated quickly.
34 min The corner is headed away by
33 min Traore storms infield and plays a good pass out to Neto on the left. He twists inside Webster and lofts a cross that is headed behind for a corner by Burn. He was trying to head it back to Sanchez but couldn’t soften his noggin sufficiently.
32 min Maupay flicks the ball neatly behind his standing leg to Connolly, whose return pass is imprecise. Both teams have played some nice football at times.
28 min Neves booms a curling shot a few yards wide. It was a nicely worked free-kick – everyone expected a cross and instead Moutinho angled a sharp pass into Neves – but he set the shot too far outside the far post.
25 min Webster moves forward again and chips a flat cross into the area, where Connolly produces a sizzling overhead kick that sadly goes straight at Rui Patricio. That came right off the sweet spot.
22 min March’s shot from the edge of the area hits Saiss and rebounds to safety. Wolves break and Bissouma is booked for a foul on Ait-Nouri.
21 min “Gorgeous photo, that, of Verona’s kit,” says Charles Antaki. “Brighton once had an appalling striped-shirt-and-shorts combo, and the internet reveals it in its full glory. I now remember Des Lynam (BHA fan) when describing the kits in a game, ending lugubriously with ‘and Brighton are in ….. the other kit’.”
When you sad, ‘Brighton once had an appalling…’, I assumed you meant the Chewits wrapper of 1991. If only all Chewits wrappers were worth £350.
GOAL! Brighton 1-1 Wolves (Saiss 19)
They avoided Adam Webster and scored! Moutinho drove the corner flat and hard beyond the far post to find the unmarked Semedo just inside the area. He made a mess of an attempted volley but retrieved the loose ball and stood up a nice cross to Saiss, who ran away from goal to meet the ball and looped a header back across Sanchez from 10 yards. He is such a threat at corners and that was another really good finish.
18 min Neves flicks the ball up, 25 yards from goal, and hits a volley that is deflected over the bar for another Wolves corner. They might as well just walk over and place it on Adam Webster’s head.
16 min … and Webster heads it away. Of course he does.
16 min Ait-Nouri’s low cross is put behind by Lewis Dunk. Moutinho strolls over to take the corner…
15 min Webster, who has had a storming start to the game, makes a good tackle on Pedro Neto just outside the area.
New year, new Brighton. Webster ran into space from the halfway line and found Trossard on the right wing. He twisted one way and then the other before curling a cross towards the near post, where Connolly got in front of the diving Rui Patricio to poke a volley into the net. That was a smartly taken goal.
GOAL! Brighton 1-0 Wolves (Connolly 13)
Brighton take the lead out of nothing!
10 min This is a very young Wolves front four – Traore, at 24, is comfortably the oldest – which probably explains their inconsistency from game to game and even within games. Individually they look very promising, Traore and Pedro Neto in particular.
9 min Neto’s second corner begets a third. Moutinho takes this one, and Webster heads away once again.
8 min Wolves win a corner on the right. Pedro Neto cracks it hard towards the near post, where Webster heads away. Semedo picks up the loose ball, plays a one-two and curls a good cross towards Saiss; Webster again gets in front of him to head behind for another corner.
4 min Wolves have made a lively start. Neto bets two players on the halfway line and runs into the space he created. He gets to the edge of the area, goes past Dunk on the outside and drives wide of the near post from a tight angle.
3 min Joao Moutinho has an early pop from 25 yards. Robert Sanchez makes a comfortable save.
1 min Peep peep! Wolves, in their Portugal kit, kick off from right to left. Brighton are in blue and white.
Brighton (3-4-3) Sanchez; Webster, Dunk, Burn; Veltman, White, Bissouma, March; Trossard, Connolly, Maupay.
Substitutes: Steele, Bernardo, Mac Allister, Gross, Lallana, Propper, Molumby, Jahanbakhsh, Zeqiri.
Wolverhampton Wanderers (4-2-3-1) Rui Patricio; Semedo, Coady, Saiss, Ait-Nouri; Neves, Moutinho; Traore, Vitinha, Pedro Neto; Fabio Silva.
Substitutes: Ruddy, Sondergaard, Hoever, Kilman, Richards, Perry, Otasowie, Cundle, Corbeanu.
Referee Andy Madley.
New year, new you, right? Yeah. Brighton and Wolves have similarly good intentions after a troubling end to 2020. Wolves’ resolution is to score more goals; Brighton’s is to win a lot more games, especially at home, primarily by scoring more goals). Wolves were struggling even before Raul Jimenez’s injury, and have scored only six in seven games since he fractured his skill at the Emirates.
Brighton won only one league game at home in 2020 and couldn’t even see off ten-man Sheffield United before Christmas. As a result they are in a relegation battle: two points above Fulham in 18th but already six points off Newcastle in 15th having played a game more. It’s hard to reconcile that with the progressive, classy football they have played under Graham Potter, but style will count for nothing if they don’t start winning games in 2021.
Kick off 5.30pm.