Ace Hemed has a spot of bother

The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP - By Michael Beard­more

TOMER Hemed has en­joyed a fairy­tale start to life in English football with Brighton – but was the vil­lain of the piece as the ta­ble-top­pers were held by ten-man Wolves.

Hemed had hit five goals in seven games since ar­riv­ing from Span­ish side Alme­ria but his tame first-half penalty was saved by Wan­der­ers keeper Emil­iano Martinez in this stale­mate’s key mo­ment.

In­jury was added to in­sult when the Is­raeli went off at half-time with a slight ham­string tweak.

And, with­out him, Brighton lacked the nous to break down un­wa­ver­ing Wolves, de­spite an early sec­ond-half red card for Wan­der­ers midfielder Conor Coady.

Seag­ulls boss Chris Hughton said: “It feels like two points dropped although I cer­tainly could not fault the com­mit­ment of my play­ers, as they had a real go.

“It’s dif­fi­cult to be too disap- pointed but we did have a re­ally good op­por­tu­nity with the two in­ci­dents – the missed penalty and the red card.

“It changes the game if we score the penalty as they have got to come out. Even when they went down to ten men, if they are 1-0 be­hind they have to be a bit more ex­pan­sive.

“Tomer just felt his ham­string very slightly.We could have left him on to see how it went but with what we have in the squad, we don’t need to take that chance.

“I would have felt worse if we had left him on and he ended up hav­ing an in­jury that keeps him out for a few weeks.”

Brighton re­main top of the ta­ble and un­beaten but could have been five points clear, not three, had Hemed taken his chance af­ter Jamie Mur­phy was clum­sily felled by Scott Gol­bourne on 23 min­utes.

How­ever, his tele­graphed penalty was an­tic­i­pated by Ar­se­nal loa­nee Martinez who not only par­ried Hemed’s ini­tial ef­fort but got up quickly to block the fol­low-up too.

Hemed at least made up for his miss at the other end, clear­ing Adam Le Fon­dre’s close-range strike off the line af­ter Kort­ney Hause out­jumped the Seag­ulls de­fence from James Henry’s free-kick.

It would prove Wolves’ only real clear chance as, three min­utes into the sec­ond half the com­plex­ion of the game changed as Coady saw red for a lunge on Liam Rose­nior.

Brighton, though, were un­able to make the nu­mer­i­cal ad­van­tage count, with Dale Stephens com­ing clos­est late on, his glanc­ing header float­ing just wide.

That apart, Martinez came for a host of crosses to take the pres­sure of his de­fence and made rou­tine stops from Kazenga LuaLua, Rose­nior and sub­sti­tute Elvis Manu.

And Wolves boss Kenny Jack­ett was full of praise for his keeper and young back four – who have an av­er­age age of just 22 – as they kept a first clean sheet of the sea­son.

Jack­ett said: “We had to work hard for it, es­pe­cially in the dy­ing min­utes, but our young cen­tre-half pair­ing stood very firm and showed a lot of prom­ise I felt.

“A lot of con­fi­dence can be gained from that clean sheet. It was a great dou­ble save from Martinez from the penalty and a key mo­ment in the game.”

Jack­ett, who con­firmed he is set to give a trial to ex-New­cas­tle striker Shola Ameobi with Nouha Dicko out in­jured for the sea­son, may also ap­peal Coady’s red card.

He added: “It is in­con­clu­sive on the video so I need to see it from a sec­ond an­gle. Although the player went down, there was no real re­ac­tion from the other play­ers to it.”

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