Bournemouth came from behind twice to edge three points clear of the Premier League relegation zone by drawing with Brighton at the Amex.
Callum Wilson netted the Cherries’ second equaliser 11 minutes from time, instinctively stabbing home after a goalmouth scramble.
Anthony Knockaert had broken the deadlock with his second goal of the season, expertly converting Jose Izquierdo’s unselfish pass, but Steve Cook’s header levelled matters before half-time.
Glenn Murray re-established Brighton’s lead by smashing home from Izquierdo’s pass after a lovely ball from Pascal Gross.
Both sides missed chances – Jordon Ibe hitting the post for Bournemouth and Marc Pugh forcing a save from Mat Ryan, while Izquierdo was denied by Asmir Begovic.
But Wilson’s goal ensured Bournemouth moved up a place into 13th, one spot below their hosts, who have won only twice at home since September.
- Relive the 2-2 draw
Brighton lacking goals but showing promise
Brighton have won just once since 4 November, but they could take plenty of encouragement from their performance against Bournemouth.
They were on top in the early stages and deserved to go in front through Knockaert, who scored the Premier League’s first goal of 2018.
Izquierdo went close more than once, and Murray also had opportunities, but Gross was the standout player – enjoying the free role he was given by Chris Hughton and playing a key part in both goals.
For all their creativity, Brighton have struggled to score goals this season.
Only two teams have scored fewer top-flight goals than them in 2017-18, and this was just the fourth time this campaign that they have netted more than once in a game.
They could have had three against Bournemouth had Izquierdo squared to Davy Propper when through on goal in the second half.
But, despite being held to a draw, there were plenty of signs they can up their rate of goalscoring this year.
Persistence pays off for Bournemouth
Bournemouth have struggled to string together runs of good results this season, and went eight league games without a win before their 2-1 victory over Everton on 30 December.
Defeat at the Amex would have been their fifth in seven games, but Wilson’s goal makes things look more positive – they have taken five points from a possible nine.
And the strength of character manager Eddie Howe has often spoken of was in evidence here.
Knockaert’s early goal looked to have rattled them, and Brighton could easily have added to their lead inside the first 20 minutes, when Murray and Izquierdo were denied.
But Bournemouth rallied and began to make chances of their own before Cook’s timely equaliser.
Ibe would have given them the lead had he found the net rather than the post, and they even pushed for a winner after Wilson’s late leveller.
But they finished with a much-needed point, with matches against Arsenal and Chelsea to come later in the month.
What the managers say
Brighton manager Chris Hughton: “It’s hugely disappointing. We spoke about areas we need to address, opportunities to score more goals and be creative.
“We had by far the better of the clear-cut chances. To come in at 2-2, having led twice, it feels like two points lost. What should have been 3-1 becomes 2-2.
“This is a game we deserved to win, but haven’t lost – we need to take that mentality into the next few games.
“We will try to do some business, but it’s not a great market in January.”
Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe: “It’s frustrating for us that we gave them goals at the start of both halves but the lads showed great fighting spirit to come back.
“The timing and the manner we conceded was disappointing. We had to work so hard, and it’s been a feature of our recent games.
“It’s good to see us scoring again, but we needed to defend better to win.”
New records for Brighton – the best of the stats
- Brighton scored as many goals against Bournemouth as they did in their previous nine Premier League games.
- Bournemouth have now scored 50 away goals in the Premier League.
- Wilson has scored 16 Premier League goals without providing an assist – the most a player has scored in the competition without assisting.
- Murray has six Premier League goals this season, just one off his best tally in a single top-flight campaign (seven goals in 2014-15).
- Only Scott Dann (nine) has scored more Premier League goals than Cook (eight) of all central defenders in the competition since August 2015.
- Brighton’s opener was their quickest Premier League goal (four minutes 32 seconds) and just their sixth in the first half of a match in the competition this season.
- Izquierdo became the first Brighton player to register two assists in a single Premier League game.
Man of the match – Pascal Gross (Brighton)
Both teams turn their attention to the FA Cup for third-round weekend. Bournemouth host Wigan (15:00 GMT) on Saturday, before Brighton welcome Crystal Palace on Monday (19:45).