Brighton and Hove Albion failed to make Miguel Britos pay for his moment of madness as they were held to a 0-0 draw at 10-man Watford.
Britos was given his marching orders by referee Graham Scott for an ugly, flying tackle on Anthony Knockaert in the 24th minute at Vicarage Road.
The defender’s indiscretion left Marco Silva’s men playing a man down for over an hour and Brighton, who had already hit the post through Knockaert, struck the woodwork for a second time shortly before the break.
Watford – who did not have a shot on target – were under the cosh for much of the second half and Tomer Hemed went close to making the breakthrough, but for all their pressure Brighton failed to find the crucial goal.
Chris Hughton’s men consequently had to settle for a first Premier League point, although their wait for a top-flight goal this season continues, while Watford have five points from their opening three games.
Watford started in the ascendancy and Lewis Dunk had to hack Nathaniel Chalobah’s header clear, before Andre Gray produced an air shot from Nordin Amrabat’s searching ball across the face of goal.
Having withstood the early pressure, Brighton grew into the half and Knockaert saw a bending left-foot shot from the right of the area come back agonisingly off the far post.
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Brighton then had a decent claim for a penalty when Davy Propper’s deflected effort appeared to strike a sheepish-looking Sebastian Prodl on the arm, but nothing was given.
Watford’s afternoon took a turn for the worse in the 24th minute. Knockaert had been giving Britos the run-around and the Uruguayan was shown a straight red for an awful, high lunge on the tricky winger.
Buoyed by the extra man, Brighton saw Dunk nod a close-range header wide and were again unlucky when Solly March’s cross from the left was diverted against his own post by a sliding Christian Kabasele when under pressure from Hemed.
Watford were forced into a tactical reshuffle shortly after half-time when Craig Cathcart, who had replaced Amrabat following Britos’ red, limped off to be replaced by new signing Andre Carillo.
Brighton cranked up the pressure and Hemed hooked an effort from Shane Duffy’s knockback wide, before there was a moment of confusion when referee Scott only awarded the visitors an indirect free-kick for Abdoulaye Doucoure’s high boot on Knockaert in the area – although replays suggested the Watford man made minimal, if any, contact anyway.
The lively Knockaert continued to pose a threat and his 25-yard daisy cutter drew a smart low stop from Heurelho Gomes.
Jose Izquierdo, the club-record signing making his first Brighton appearance off the bench, dangerously cut in from the left to unleash a right-foot shot past the post, but Watford defended resolutely to ensure the game remained goalless.
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