HUGHTON’S SEAGULLS SOAR
WHEN Chris Hughton steered Newcastle to the Championship title, he did so with a side expected to stroll clear.
Hughton’s Brighton are much-less fancied, but they are performing like favourites – as proven once more against Hull City.
Tomer Hemed’s early goal was enough to defeat the Tigers, who sat second at kick-off, and lift the Seagulls four points clear at the top.
Hughton, however, refuses to alter his modest pre-season target. He said: “We won’t change what we said at the start of the season where we said that we’d like to see ourselves at least challenging to go up, pushing for the top six. That is still the same.
“Of course you want to anticipate that you’ll be better than last season, because we finished in 20th place, but I couldn’t have envisaged a start like this and I don’t think you can.
“Three of the games we’ve had could have gone either way. At the moment the margins are going our way. We’re still only in September and we have 40 league games to go. At some stage we will have difficult times. My job will always be to temper down expectations.
“We’re lucky we haven’t had any injuries, which gives us a good squad and a lot of bodies to pick from. At the moment we certainly have a better bench than this time last season.We wanted to get to this stage, where we have options.”
Brighton made a rapid start, blitzing Hull’s left. Midfielder Sam Clucas lined up at left-back for the Tigers with the ostensible left-midfielder Mohamed Diame playing very narrow, leaving token drifts wide by Abel Hernandez and Chuba Akpom as Clucas’ only protection.
This was akin to Steve Bruce asking Clucas to put his mouth over the end of a hosepipe and drink all its outpourings. Eventually, against Liam Rosenior and naturally-attacking Bruno, Clucas was not going to be able to swallow any more.
It took just five minutes for this moment to arrive. Dale Stephens drove through the channel between Clucas and Michael Dawson and powered a forceful shot goalwards. Allan McGregor pushed his effort back into the danger area, from where Sam Baldock miscued an attempted shot, only for Hemed to
WINNER: Tomer Hemed celebrates the game’s only goal