Emiliano Martinez made more saves than he has in any Premier League match to deny Brighton victory, as Aston Villa held on to draw 0-0 at the Amex Stadium.
Martinez produced a flying fingertip stop to keep out Dan Burn’s first-half header, but saved his best work for after the break to frustrate a familiarly profligate Brighton side.
Deflected efforts from Alexis Mac Allister and Joel Veltman had the Argentinian at his very best before he also kept out substitute Danny Welbeck’s close-range effort late on as he made nine saves in total.
Villa offered little in attack, with Ross Barkley’s tame effort from distance their only shot on target in an out-of-sorts performance, which still lifts them above Tottenham into eighth, while Brighton move 11 points clear of the bottom three and past Burnley, into 15th position.
With goals still a premium despite their recent upturn in form, Brighton boss Graham Potter would have been encouraged to see the conviction with which his side started, with Mac Allister heading wide a lovely cross from Veltman.
Intention was never lacking from the hosts, but attacking quality was still at a premium. Despite registering 12 shots before the break, only Burn’s header from a corner forced Martinez into any real difficulty.
“Brighton don’t finish teams off. What happens, they’ll get hurt second half, with a bit of quality from Aston Villa,” Sky Sports’ Micah Richards said at half-time.
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In the first period, Brighton had restricted their hosts to a solitary shot. Within a minute, Villa fired a warning that they may have re-emerged a different side with Barkley firing straight at Robert Sanchez from 20 yards, but it never manifested into anything more.