The point snatched by Albion in such exhilaration fashion at Brentford camouflaged a trait which threatens to make securing a top two spot more difficult.

Those that travel often much further north on a regular basis to watch in large and loud numbers know deep down that results have, for some time now, been better than performances.

The Seagulls are still second, behind Newcastle, in the away-only table as well as the overall Championship standings.

They have won as many times on the road as Reading and Leeds - two of the teams chasing them - and once more than Huddersfield.

It will not stay that way as the pressure mounts during the run-in if the recent trend continues.


Albion have not been convincing away from the Amex since October and November, when they won at Sheffield Wednesday and Steve Sidwell launched another comfortable victory from 50 yards at Bristol City (below).

The Argus: In eight away matches in all competitions since then, they got more than they deserved in two of the three victories - at Birmingham and Fulham.

Tomer Hemed's last-gasp equaliser at Griffin Park on Sunday rescued Chris Hughton's side from a fourth straight away defeat.

Albion have not endured a sequence as bad as that since immediately before the Great Escape from relegation back to League Two under Russell Slade eight years ago.

This incongruity between a team so well-placed to go up and yet struggling so noticeably away from the home comforts the Amex provides is a concern.

Eight wins, five draws and four defeats from the 17 fixtures that remain would take them to 90 points, more than enough for promotion.

The Seagulls have nine games left at home, including the next two against Burton and Ipswich.

Away victories are valuable in a division which is so competitive from top to bottom. Albion need to chisel out at least a couple more to reduce dependency on their formidable record at the Amex, where they have won five in a row and taken 22 of the last 24 points available.

For this to happen the mindset needs to shift. They have been too much on the back foot to begin with and too often behind as a consequence.

Chris Hughton's cause will be helped once key players return. The banned Lewis Dunk and injured Dale Stephens were unavailable at Brentford, Sam Baldock travelled but was not involved after four matches out with calf trouble.

Dunk will help restore some authority against Burton to a defence suddenly leaking goals at an alarming rate, although his propensity to damage the team with reckless suspensions (below) shows no sign of changing.

The Argus: Command and energy has been lacking in central midfield without Stephens, even more so while Beram Kayal plays catch-up following his long spell on the sidelines.

Baldock's ability to stretch defences with his mobility and running in behind has also been missed.

Anthony Knockaert dominates the right-wing role with good reason. The Frenchman again demonstrated his capacity to influence matches without playing well with the crosses for both Shane Duffy's and Hemed's equalisers at Brentford.

And then there is Solly March, who deserves to be given a run on the opposite flank after changing the game from the bench on Sunday, just as he did at Birmingham before Christmas.

While David Stockdale kept Albion in the game with his penalty save at 2-0 down, it was March's sweet strike to halve the arrears which sparked the impetus to rescue a result.

Jiri Skalak, a shadow of the player who made an encouraging impact last season since returning from the Euros with the Czech Republic in the summer, was fortunate to be recalled to the starting line-up and rightly replaced by Hughton at half-time.

Baldock and March, gradually returning to the form he displayed before a year out with knee damage, will inject more pace into the team, which is especially helpful away from home on the counter-attack.

The warning signs have been evident for a while for Albion on their travels. The heat will really be on at the Amex in the final third of the season if they do not raise their game.