Wolves 1 (Batth 88)
Brighton & Hove Albion 1 (Bent 10)
Danny Batth salvaged a point for Wolves shortly before the end of a tense affair with Brighton at Molineux.
Struggling near the bottom of the Championship table, Brighton looked the better team in the opening stages and took the lead through veteran striker Darren Bent.
Reduced to ten men following the dismissal of defender Bruno Saltor early in the second period, the visitors then had to produce a backs to the wall job to keep out their hosts and it looked as if they were going to succeed until Batth struck in the 88th minute.
Kenny Jackett named an unchanged starting eleven for the visit of the south coast side.
Wolves kicked-off attacking the North Bank end but it was a good five minutes before there was a dangerous moment which came in the shape of a free-kick 25-yards out after Batth had fouled Joao Teixeira.
Danny Holla’s free-kick hit the wall and went behind for a corner that was also taken by Hollis with Richard Strearman heading out to Bakary Sako who completed the clearance.
Bent opened the scoring in the tenth minute with a diving header that gave Carl Ikeme little hope of saving following a well delivered cross from Inigo Calderon.
Jake Forster-Caskey’s low centre was cut out by Ikeme as Brighton continued to press and Dominic Iorfa was spoken to by the referee for an over-zealous challenge on Teixeira.
Sako hit a free-kick straight into the arms of David Stockdale in the Seagulls goal, after James Henry had been fouled to the right of the area.
Dave Edwards was well wide with a header after Kortney Hause planted a ball into the middle, and Sako’s control deserved a better outcome after he had beaten two men and took the ball to the by-line only for his pull back to be cleared.
Hause was booked for a challenge on Calderon before, in the 40th minute, Sako met a cross from Henry on the volley forcing a reflex save from Stockdale.
With a little luck the Mali winger could have had a hat-trick in the minutes leading up to the break. He drifted past three men in a run into the box before hitting a shot that cannoned back off the outside of the post.
Then he tested Stockdale with a low shot from the edge of the box that had the keeper at full stretch before, in stoppage time, he saw a ferocious shot bounce clear off Greg Halford after Danny Graham had helped on a deep cross from Henry.
Half-Time: Wolves 0 Brighton 1
There was a double change for Wolves at the start of the new half with Jack Price and Nouha Dicko replacing Henry and Graham respectively.
Five minutes into the half there was a moment of high drama when Wolves were initially awarded a penalty after Stockdale appeared to have felled Dicko who had intercepted a back pass.
The referee immediately pointed to the spot and was surrounded by protesting Brighton players. Eventually they persuaded him to consult his linesman who had moved into position on the by-line for the spot kick.
After the two officials had consulted the referee then changed his decision and booked the exasperated Dicko for diving.
Ikeme had to paw away a 25-yard effort from March before the visitors were reduced to ten men in the 58th minute after Bruno Saltor’s aggressive lunge had left Kevin McDonald in a heap and invoked an immediate red card.
A Sako free-kick bounced off the wall to Rajiv van La Parra whose angled shot was saved by Stockdale, before Forster-Caskey was yellow carded for a tackle on Iorfa.
Edwards wasn’t far away with a header after a cross from McDonald and, after a Sako shot had been parried by Stockdale, Dicko chased down the loose ball but fired wide under challenge from a Brighton defender.
With 15 minutes remaining, Wolves made a final change with Leon Clarke going on in place of Edwards.
Stockdale, at the expense of a corner, made a good save from Dicko who had been set up by the impressive Price. From van La Parra’s flag-kick, the ball dropped for Hause but he lifted his shot from 12-yards over the bar.
Just as time seemed to have run out for Wanderers, Batth came to the rescue as he forced the ball home after a driven corner from Sako.
Wolves piled forward in the hope of grabbing a winner and Batth almost did it again after Sako had lifted a free-kick into the area but this time the defender was wide.
The near seven minutes of stoppage time was played almost exclusively in the Brighton half with Stockdale tipping over a Sako centre, and then there was a tremendous scramble that was eventually cleared.
In the end though, the Brighton defence held out and the spoils were shared.
Wolves: Ikeme, Iorfa, Hause, Edwards (Clarke 76), Batth (capt), Stearman, Henry (Price 45), van La Parra, McDonald, Graham (Dicko 45), Sako.
Unused subs: Kuszczak, Evans, Rowe, Ebanks-Landell.
Bookings: Hause (38 – foul), Dicko (51 – simulation), McDonald (78 – foul).
Seagulls: Stockdale, Saltor, Calderon (capt), Dunk, Bennett, Halford, Forster-Caskey, Teixeira (Ince 74), Holla, Bent (Colunga 85), March (Gardner 61).
Unused subs: Walton, McCourt, Hughes, Chicksen.
Bookings: Forster-Caskey (64 – foul), Gardner (75 – kicking ball away after conceding free-kick), Holla (90 – foul), Halford (90+5 – foul).
Sending-Off: Saltor (58 – dangerous tackle).
Referee: D. Bond.