For 83 minutes here, it seemed the defining – and perhaps lasting – image of the Premier League’s pay-per-view project would be the ball cannoning off the face of Jake Livermore and into his own goal.
The decision to demand supporters pay another £14.95 to watch top-flight football has prompted howls of fury and derision.
This latest instalment of that ‘premium product’ provided a small dose of comedy, too, thanks to Livermore’s first-half finish that was more befitting a budget bloopers DVD.
Karlan Grant smashed in an 83rd minute equaliser to bag West Brom a point at Brighton
The Baggies striker hammered home after the visitors came alive late in the second half
They went behind after Branislav Ivanovic and Jake Livermore’s mess resulted in an own-goal
But then with the clock ticking on this game – and perhaps the league’s controversial experiment – Karlan Grant found the perfect time to make his own mark.
The forward’s first Baggies goal earned a share of the spoils that Slaven Bilic’s side more than merited. By the end, they could have stolen all three points.
In the end, they still await a first win but after another difficult week – with Bilic reportedly furious with the sale of Ahmed Hegazi – some welcome relief.
For Graham Potter’s side, meanwhile, this was another day when they failed to turn superiority into a win. Those Brighton fans who joined the PPV boycott won’t feel they missed too much.
MATCH FACTS AND RATINGS
BRIGHTON (3-4-3): Ryan 6; Webster 6.5, Veltman 6, Burn 6.5; Lamptey 7, White 6.5, Bissouma 6, March 6.5 (Mac Allister 70, 6); Lallana 7 (Gross 61, 6), Trossard 6.5 (Alzate 79, 6), Maupay 6.5
Subs not used: Connolly, Welbeck, Steele, Bernardo
Goals: Livemore OG, 40
Yellow cards: Webster, Lamptey
Manager: Graham Potter 6.5
WEST BROM (4-2-3-1): Johnstone 6.5; Furlong 6, Ivanovic 6, Ajayi 6, Townsend 6; Pereira 7, Livermore 6 (Robinson 63, 7); Gallagher 6.5, Krovinovic 6.5, Diangana 6 (Edwards 63, 6); Grant 7 (Phillips 84, 6)
Subs not used: Gibbs, Bartley, Harper, Button
Goals: Grant 83
Yellow cards: None
Red cards: None
Manager: Slaven Bilic 6.5
Referee: Jonathan Moss 6
Neil Maupay was ready to pounce but didn’t need to as the West Brom players fumbled
Despite the fortune of their goal Brighton were in control in the first-half and deserved to lead
Instead it’s West Brom who head home the happier side after a second-half display that will breed encouragement around the Hawthorns.
Because if they are to make this anything but another bounce on their yoyo between the first and second tiers, then Bilic must find a more fruitful formula on the pitch.
In the first half here, there was little to suggest the answer lay just around the corner.
New boy Grant was handed a second successive start but next to no service. Instead, West Brom were quickly on the back foot. Brighton thought they had the lead on 15 minutes when Neal Maupay volleyed home Adam Lallana’s chipped cross – only to be denied by the offside flag.
The lack of chances in the first-half made for poor entertainment for the £14.95 price tag
Then, midway through the half, only the outstretched leg of Sam Johnstone kept the visitors on terms.
From a sharp Brighton counter, Leandro Trossard cut West Brom apart with a lovely through ball.
Lallana ran on to it but chose to pass, rather than shoot.
His square-ball found Maupay 12 yards out but Johstone stayed big to keep out the low effort.
Suddenly Potter’s side were playing with more precision and purpose; West Brom appeared to be teetering.
Slaven Bilic’s late substitutes seemed to make the difference as he screamed encouragement
Tariq Lamptey put in another solid display bombing down the right flank for the Seagulls
When the breakthrough did come – five minutes before the break – it was comical for all but those in yellow and green.
After Lallana’s shot was blocked, the ball broke to Tariq Lamptey, whose low cross was cleared by Branislav Ivanovic, off the face of Livermore and into his own net.
That would have done little to improve Bilic’s mood but he did at least garner a response from his side. After the break they pressed with more urgency and ambition. Soon it was Brighton’s turn to wobble at the back.
From a bouncing ball, Conor Gallagher struck a fierce effort from the edge of the box that was blocked.
Brighton had plenty of possession but failed to make the most of it and press forward enough
Grant was substituted immediately after scoring his winner, a goal that had been coming
Brighton regained their composure and seemed to be cantering towards three points when West Brom came again.
With 25 minutes to go, Costa Pereira curled just wide from outside the area before Filip Krovinovic forced the first meaningful save from Mat Ryan.
The goalkeeper was left rooted to the spot shortly after when another rasping effort from Pereira flew past his post.
Eventually, Bilic’s side got their reward. Callum Robinson’s low cross found its way to Grant, who took a touch and then, with virtually his first sniff at goal, fired into the roof of the net.