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Foster stings Seagulls and earns a point for Hornets

Albion are yet to enjoy a league victory in 2019.

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Ben Foster earned Watford a point (Mike Egerton/PA)

Ben Foster earned Watford a point (Mike Egerton/PA)

Ben Foster earned Watford a point (Mike Egerton/PA)

Watford goalkeeper Ben Foster produced an inspired performance as Brighton’s winless run stretched to five Premier League games with a 0-0 draw at the Amex Stadium.

Former England international Foster twice kept out headers from Jurgen Locadia and also saved from Shane Duffy and Florin Andone to earn his side a point.

Javi Gracia’s battling mid-table visitors gave the travelling fans little to cheer at the other end of the field but the draw was enough to push them above Everton into eighth position.

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Brighton and Hove Albion’s Florin Andone (left) is denied by Watford goalkeeper Ben Foster (Gareth Fuller/PA)

Brighton and Hove Albion’s Florin Andone (left) is denied by Watford goalkeeper Ben Foster (Gareth Fuller/PA)

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Brighton and Hove Albion’s Florin Andone (left) is denied by Watford goalkeeper Ben Foster (Gareth Fuller/PA)

Albion, meanwhile, endured a frustrating afternoon with a result which extends their difficult start to 2019 and does little for their quest for top-flight survival.

The Seagulls, who have yet to enjoy a league victory since the turn of the year, suffered a second-half collapse at struggling Fulham on Tuesday to slip to a third successive Premier League defeat.

Albion boss Chris Hughton initially kept faith with the starting XI which came unstuck at Craven Cottage, before midfielder Dale Stephens suffered an injury in the warm-up and was replaced by Yves Bissouma.

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Brighton’s Dale Stephens suffered an injury in the warm-up (Mark Kerton/PA)

Brighton’s Dale Stephens suffered an injury in the warm-up (Mark Kerton/PA)

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Brighton’s Dale Stephens suffered an injury in the warm-up (Mark Kerton/PA)

Seagulls forward Locadia produced the only attempt on target of a dour first half.

The chance took 41 minutes to arrive, with Foster clawing the Dutchman’s close-range header behind for a corner following Pascal Gross’ searching right-wing cross.

Albion had earlier had penalty appeals waved away by referee Simon Hooper when defender Duffy went down in the box having felt contact from Hornets centre-back Craig Cathcart.

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Simon Hooper was unimpressed by penalty appeals when Shane Duffy went down in the box (Dave Howarth/PA)

Simon Hooper was unimpressed by penalty appeals when Shane Duffy went down in the box (Dave Howarth/PA)

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Simon Hooper was unimpressed by penalty appeals when Shane Duffy went down in the box (Dave Howarth/PA)

The visitors offered little in attack in the opening 45 minutes and a Troy Deeney header which was directed well wide was all they could muster.

Roberto Pereyra, who scored both goals when Watford beat Albion 2-0 on the opening day of the season, was ruled out of the contest with a calf problem, meaning Ken Sema came into the team narrowly beaten at Tottenham on Wednesday.

Sweden winger Sema headed over the top from Daryl Janmaat’s centre just before the hour mark after Hornets midfielder Will Hughes had earlier forced a routine save out of Brighton keeper Mat Ryan.

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Brighton’s Solly March tussles with Watford’s Ken Sema (Gareth Fuller/PA)

Brighton’s Solly March tussles with Watford’s Ken Sema (Gareth Fuller/PA)

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Brighton’s Solly March tussles with Watford’s Ken Sema (Gareth Fuller/PA)

Brighton’s veteran striker Glenn Murray took his Premier League to tally to 10 for the season with both goals in the midweek defeat to the Cottagers.

The 35-year-old was searching for his 100th league goal for the club but, after heading over from a Gross free-kick, he was replaced by Romania forward Andone.

A crowd of 30,414 were in attendance and the majority were almost celebrating a winner 10 minutes from time.

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Brighton’s Jurgen Locadia was denied a winner by Ben Foster (Gareth Fuller/PA)

Brighton’s Jurgen Locadia was denied a winner by Ben Foster (Gareth Fuller/PA)

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Brighton’s Jurgen Locadia was denied a winner by Ben Foster (Gareth Fuller/PA)

Gross’ inviting inswinging cross from the left was met by a flicked header from Locadia but Foster somehow leapt to turn it behind.

Foster followed up that save moments later by unconventionally keeping out an acrobatic attempt by Seagulls centre-back Duffy with his feet.

Watford substitute Andre Gray was then denied by dogged defending from Lewis Dunk, before Foster smothered an effort from the onrushing Andone and Bissouma was narrowly off target in the dying moments.

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