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Evan Ferguson out with slight knock as Brighton held by Brentford

Evan Ferguson was an absentee as Brighton were held to a goalless draw at Brentford.

The teenage Republic of Ireland striker, who has not found the net since late November after a strong start to the season which yielded six goals, was ruled out of the fixture at the Gtech Community Stadium due to a slight knock, although another 19-year-old in the shape of Mark O'Mahony was included in the Seagulls' matchday squad.

On the pitch, the match proved to be a drab stalemate in west London. It meant Brighton, who finished sixth last season, failed to take advantage of West Ham, Newcastle and Wolves all dropping points a day earlier in the race for European places.

Brentford, meanwhile, edged another point clear of the relegation zone - they are now six above 18th-placed Luton.

The Bees almost opened the scoring early on after a sweeping move from one end of the pitch to the other.

The ball came from Ireland defender Nathan Collins, via Ivan Toney and Mathias Jensen, to Keane Lewis-Potter whose near-post cross was put narrowly wide by Yoane Wissa.

Toney's first sight of goal came after half an hour after he was played into the area by Wissa. The England striker turned inside Jan Paul van Hecke 12 yards out but lost his footing slightly and Bart Verbruggen saved his scuffed shot.

For Brighton, top scorer Joao Pedro, back after two months out injured, drew a save from Bees keeper Mark Flekken and Van Hecke's shot was deflected over.

Facundo Buonanotte then fired across goal and wide, Adam Lallana was also off target and Flekken saved from Simon Adingra.

Referee Andrew Madley was sent to take a look at the pitchside monitor by the VAR for a potential penalty for a foul by Wissa on Lewis Dunk in first-half stoppage time but he stuck with

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