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Brighton’s character and spirit delights boss Graham Potter

Brighton manager Graham Potter hailed his side’s character after a late own goal by Watford’s Adrian Mariappa ensured the points were shared in a 1-1 draw at the Amex Stadium.

Abdoulaye Doucoure, who scored an own goal when the sides met on the opening day of the season, capitalised on a loose ball before driving the ball expertly past Mathew Ryan.

Just as the Hornets looked to be heading for a crucial victory, an Alireza Jahanbakhsh cross was turned into the roof of his own net by Mariappa to level the tie with just over 10 minutes remaining.

On his side’s ability to dig in after going a goal down, Potter said: “That’s really important, that’s why I’m really proud of them today because when you go behind, especially at home, and in the importance of the game, things get edgy and nervy and that’s understandable.

“But that makes it even more challenging for us because we’re the ones who have to try and find the answers, and create something and score.

“(I’m) delighted with the character of the players and the spirit that they showed and even though we’re disappointed with two points in the last two games, there’s a lot to be really, really happy with.”

He added: “When you go behind in the scoreline you’ve got to find the answers, you’ve got to take the challenge.

The environment is challenging and then you’ve got to break down a team that defends well, that has got bodies deep and also offers a counter-attack threat so I thought we did it really well.

“In the end I think we deserved the goal and whilst we’re disappointed with one point, we take it and we move forward.”

Watford manager Nigel Pearson defended Mariappa after the late own goal, which meant his side have taken and surrendered the lead in three successive Premier League matches.

“It’s unfortunate,” Pearson said. “We worked exceptionally hard today and balls like that are very difficult to deal with.

“It would have been nice to be talking about a hard-earned three points, but it’s a hard-earned one point.

“It’s a ball that flashes into the box and as a defender you have to try and deal with it, if he misses it they probably don’t get onto the end of it, but with situations like that and the timing of it, it doesn’t give you an awful lot of reaction time so it’s unfortunate.”