DALE STRIKE

The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP - By Conor Armstrong

CHRIS HUGHTON praised his side’s re­sponse to fall­ing be­hind. Brighton were left to rue missed chances af­ter drop­ping points on home turf for the first time this sea­son.

Joe Ma­son gave the visi­tors the lead af­ter five min­utes when he tapped in Scott Malone’s low cen­tre, only for Dale Stephens to bring the hosts level be­fore the break when he volleyed past Cardiff stop­per Si­mon Moore – much to Hughton’s de­light.

“It’s not been us this sea­son to go be­hind. Gen­er­ally we’ve been strong and taken the lead. So, to re­spond the way we did showed vol­umes for the group of playesr we’ve got,” Hughton said.

“We had a lot of chances and got into a lot of re­ally good ar­eas. The only neg­a­tive for me would be that when you get into those sort of ar­eas as con­sis­tently as we did, you’ve got to be fin­ish­ing and win­ning games.

“In Cardiff, we played a very good team. No team is go­ing to lay down and make life com­fort­able for you, so I don’t think we could’ve asked any more than to be in the po­si­tion that we are.”

The Seag­ulls were with­out Kazenga LuaLua and Jamie Mur­phy due to in­jury and sus­pen­sion re­spec­tively, but still man­aged to re­peat­edly threaten a Cardiff City side who strug­gled to cre­ate chances.

How­ever, on the one oc­ca­sion that the Bluebirds did break into the Brighton penalty area dur­ing the first half, they found the net.

Af­ter ap­peals from Lewis Dunk for a cor­ner af­ter a push by Matthew Con­nolly, the visi­tors broke clear when Peter Whit­ting­ham spot­ted the run of Malone. The left-back ad­vanced be­fore putting a dan­ger­ous low ball across the face of goal to en­able Ma­son to turn the ball in and score.

Hughton’s men, who came into the game with a nine-game un­beaten start to the sea­son roared back test­ing Moore with a se­ries of shots.

Dunk nod­ded down for Sam Bal­dock, who saw a volley turned away, be­fore Dale Stephens also at­tempted a volley, with his 20-yard ef­fort held by Moore.

The Bluebirds stop­per would’ve been able to pro­duce a high­lights reel on the ba­sis of the first half alone, as he then de­nied Bal­dock af­ter some im­pres­sive con­trol from the Al­bion front-man plucked the

PIC­TURE: Ac­tion Im­ages

HAPPY DAYS: Dale Stephens (left) cel­e­brates scor­ing Brighton’s lev­eller with Liam Rose­nior

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