sport

Howe sees positives in draw

Manager Eddie Howe believes that Bournemouth's hard-fought 1-1 draw with play-off chasing Brighton was evidence of how much the club have progressed under him.

Stephen Ward headed a last-minute leveller for the Seagulls to deny Howe's men victory at the Amex Stadium and keep the hosts in touch with the play-off hunting pack.

The Cherries, who took a first-half lead when striker Lewis Grabban converted a spot-kick, were denied a club-record third consecutive away league win in the Sky Bet Championship - but Howe remained upbeat about his team's progress.

"Our initial reaction is one of disappointment because we led for so long," Howe said.

"We performed well and we were hardly under pressure until the equaliser at the end.

"But you did fear something would happen. They scored and then had a couple of chances after that where we could have been beaten, so we have to look at the bigger picture.

"To be disappointed with a point here is a marker of how far we've come since I've been here. I told the players that and I know we are developing and improving all the time."

Howe admitted Bournemouth were fortunate to be awarded an early penalty, which was coolly converted in the 14th minute by Grabban.

Inigo Calderon appeared to win possession after a last-ditch challenge on Marc Pugh, and Howe added: "It was a difficult one for the referee. Initially, I felt that it was a foul from where I was standing. But it looks as though it was an honest mistake.

"I would feel hard done by if that was given against us, but he's refereed us before and is a top official."

Brighton boss Oscar Garcia insisted the first-half penalty decision changed the game and that his Seagulls players deserved to win the match.

"Our performance was good and I am happy because when you hit the post three times and have 10 chances to score you can't be angry or sad," he said.

"Everybody saw what happened with the penalty decision. We had to manage the game differently after that. But it is normal for the referee to mistakes.

"They tried to play higher in the first half, and in the second they sat back which made it harder for us. We deserved to win."

Garcia revealed no discussions have taken place with midfielder Liam Bridcutt about his future, with Sunderland plotting a move to land the 24-year-old midfielder.

He added: "He is a Brighton player and we want to keep our best players. There have been no discussions with him.

"I am a positive person and my thoughts are only about the match. I always thought we would score and that we would get the goal."