Glenn Murray struck a stoppage-time penalty as Brighton came from two goals down for the second consecutive game to earn a dramatic point at Southampton.
Murray’s fourth goal in five games came when referee Anthony Taylor ruled James Ward-Prowse had shoved Shane Duffy.
Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg’s 35-yard strike had given Southampton a half-time lead, before Danny Ings’ penalty made it 2-0.
But Duffy’s free header from Anthony Knockaert’s cross two minutes later set up the tense finish.
The two sides began the game level on points in the Premier League table and the opening exchanges reflected that until the home side steadily grew in authority.
It was a Saints corner that produced the first real opportunity after 20 minutes, as both Hojbjerg and Ings saw attempts blocked before defender Wesley Hoedt fired over from close-range.
Chris Hughton’s visitors struggled to create chances in the absence of the injured Pascal Gross, but emerged with greater purpose after the interval as Solly March forced Saints goalkeeper Alex McCarthy into action.
Ings’ penalty momentarily looked to have put Southampton firmly in control with 25 minutes remaining, but Duffy’s lifeline allowed the Seagulls a route back into the match before substitute Alireza Jahanbakhsh hit the post.
And Murray’s leveller – his fifth goal in six starts against Southampton – secured Hughton’s side a first away point of the season.
It also continued the Saints’ miserable home record – they have won just once in the league at St Mary’s since the end of November 2017.
Hughton’s side showed character to rescue a point from two goals down against Fulham in their previous game on 1 September.
And after a pedestrian start, the Seagulls were forced to demonstrate their resilience once again at St Mary’s.
Brighton rarely threatened in the first half and clearly missed the creative spark of Gross – a player who they have failed to win without since the start of last season.
The 34-year-old Murray, scorer of two against Fulham, was starved of opportunities until the visitors’ resurgence after falling 2-0 behind, scoring their first away goals of the season.
They caught Southampton napping almost immediately after Ings penalty and used the nervousness of the home crowd to their advantage.
Their 3-2 victory over Manchester United remains their only win from five games in the Premier League, though the spirit shown in his players to return from the edge of defeat once again will offer a certain positive to manager Hughton.
Saints left to rue dropped points
Much to the relief of manager Mark Hughes, Southampton corrected their slow Premier League start with a first victory, at Crystal Palace before the international break.
The break came at the worst time for Hughes’ side in that sense, though the task of using that positive performance to gain momentum remained for the Saints.
Hughes was seeking his first back-to-back league wins since January 2017 – when manager of Stoke City – and Hojbjerg’s emphatic opener served as a deserved marker of Saints’ first-half dominance.
Ings’ sharp movement in the area saw him bundled over by Gaetan Bong, allowing the Liverpool loanee to create breathing space for the home side after Brighton had begun to gain a foothold in the contest.
Yet, despite appearing to be in control, Saints were unable to see out the game – a trait that will frustrate manager Hughes.
After throwing away a two-goal advantage, the Saints have now dropped 26 points from leading positions in the Premier League since the start of last season.
There were plenty of positives for Hughes’ side, as Hojbjerg and Mario Lemina controlled the midfield and summer signing Jannick Vestergaard appears an increasingly astute addition at the back – but to finish with just one point will leave a rather sour taste.
Man of the match – Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg (Southampton)
‘It feels like a win’ – what they said
Brighton boss Chris Hughton: “If you are away from home, particularly against Southampton who are a good side, to be 2-0 down and come back like we did, it feels like a win.
“It was down to a bit of everything. We knew how they would play and we needed to play with more intensity. We got the reaction we wanted in the second half.
“Credit to the players. They wanted to get back in this game and they showed great attitude. We have character, we have quality but we also have a bit of naivety. We made a few mistakes.”
Southampton boss Mark Hughes: “We went into the game wanting to win – we wanted back-to-back results. It wasn’t to be. We got into a winning position and maybe didn’t have the nous to make sure we kept the margin at 2-0.
“Brighton had nothing to lose and threw people forward and got balls into our area and it’s about the percentages. You just hope you can defend those percentages.
“We’re disappointed with the award of the penalty. 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.”
Monday misery for Saints – the stats
- Southampton are winless in their past 11 Premier League games played on a Monday, losing seven of those.
- They have dropped 26 points from leading positions in the Premier League since the start of last season, the most of any side to appear in both campaigns.
- Brighton have managed just two away wins in the Premier League since the start of last season, fewer than any other side to appear in both the 2017-18 and 2018-19 campaigns.
- Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg has scored two goals in his past two Premier League games for Southampton, as many as he managed in his previous 102 appearances in Europe’s big five leagues.
- Hojbjerg’s strike for Southampton came from 34.9 yards out, the longest-range strike in the Premier League this season.
- Southampton striker Danny Ings has scored in consecutive Premier League appearances for the first time since February 2015.
- Brighton winger Anthony Knockaert has registered three assists in his past four Premier League games, after managing just one in his previous 43 games in the competition.