Hodgson not interested in stats as Palace stun Brighton

Publish: 7:56 PM, February 23, 2021 | Update: 7:56:PM, February 23, 2021

BRIGHTON, United Kingdom, – Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson defended his side’s style after snatching a 2-1 derby win at Brighton on Monday thanks to Christian Benteke’s stunning 95th-minute volley.

The Eagles had just two touches in the Brighton box, but scored with both whereas the Seagulls saw 25 shots and nearly 75 percent possession count for little. “We get so hung up on statistics these days. The game is decided by goals. Goals are a question of how well you take your chances and defend theirs,” said Hodgson.

“Until there are prizes for corners and touches in the box, it’s very important we keep in mind that results are borne out by goals you score and goals you don’t concede. I get no satisfaction when we lose and we have more corners or touches in their box.”

Brighton are still looking over their shoulders at the bottom three after a night that summed up so much of the season for Graham Potter’s men.

“That’s the nature of the league, how punishing it is, we have done a lot but clearly not enough,” said Potter.

“The boys were doing everything to score, it felt like it was always in their penalty box never mind their half.”

Palace were without the talismanic presence of Wilfried Zaha due to injury, but Jean-Philippe Mateta made an impact on just his second start since joining on loan from Mainz.

Jordan Ayew’s cross from the right allowed the Frenchman to back-heel home on the turn and claim his first Palace goal on 28 minutes.

The visitors were then pinned back as Brighton dominated, but Neal Maupay, Adam Lallana and Leandro Trossard all wasted chances. When the hosts did equalise 10 minutes into the second period it was thanks to right wing-back Joel Veltman’s first goal for the club.

Pascal Gross’ low shot was blocked by Palace defender Tyrick Mitchell as he battled inside the box with substitute Danny Welbeck and fell kindly for the Dutch defender to sweep home left-footed.

Palace then clung on for a point until completely against the run of play they snatched all three deep into stoppage time. Andros Townsend’s cross beyond the far post did not seem to pose any danger until Benteke connected flush on the volley to send the ball into the far corner. Victory takes Palace 10 points clear of the relegation zone, while Brighton remain just four clear of in-form Fulham.