Brighton level on points at sum­mit

The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP - By Alex Smith

BRIGHTON made it 17 games un­beaten to set a club record with a tasty win against MK Dons, but Chris Hughton ad­mits the run has to con­tinue if the Seag­ulls want to soar into the Pre­mier League.

Wing duo Solly March and Jamie Mur­phy set up yet an­other match with­out a loss for the south coast­ers with fine strikes – al­though Nicky Maynard gave them a worry.

Brighton kept the pres­sure on Hull by stay­ing level on points with the lead­ers – but Hughton knows he has a tough fix­ture with Burn­ley wait­ing af­ter the in­ter­na­tional break.

He said: “It is a won­der­ful achieve­ment for the club, play­ers and staff.You only have to look at the Cham­pi­onship and see what a tough task it is to go that far un­de­feated.

“We are all very proud of it and no-one can say we haven’t de­served it.

“We don’t just want to ex­tend the run next time but beat one of the best teams in the divi­sion.

“We are all very proud of it but we know the next game against Burn­ley is some­thing dif­fer­ent and try­ing to win.

“We don’t want to just pro­long the record but beat one of the bet­ter teams in the divi­sion. We need to stay in the area of the ta­ble we want to be.”

The 100th game at the AMEX opened up with one of the best goals the beau­ti­ful young sta­dium would have seen.

March sweetly smashed a loose ball on the edge of the area into the top cor­ner to wish the four-and-half-year-old sta­dium a happy cen­tury. March’s tail was up, and three min­utes later he left Dean Lew­ing­ton watch­ing the grass but his shot ended up high in the stand.

A Brighton at­tack down the left, led by Liam Rose­nior and Mur­phy, fi­nally reached Tomer Hemed, who headed wide as the hosts dom­i­nated.

Mur­phy net­ted his sec­ond in a week as the Dons defence fell asleep to al­low the Seag­ulls to stroke the ball around be­fore the winger tapped in Sam Bal­dock’s mishit shot.

March al­most grabbed a sec­ond but shot straight at David Martin, be­fore Hemed ac­ro­bat­i­cally flicked over from un­der the bar as Brighton couldn’t ex­tend their ad­van­tage. Then out of noth­ing, Maynard turned Lewis Dunk 20 yards from goal and thumped a low shot past David Stock­dale.

At the other end, Hemed rat­tled the post with a rasp­ing strike on the turn, af­ter en­ter­pris­ing build-up from March, and the Is­raeli failed to put a header on tar­get mo­ments later.

Dons were de­nied what seemed a clear penalty de­ci­sion when Samir Car­ruthers was taken out in the box by Dunk – Karl Robin­son fu­ri­ous on the touch­line when a cor­ner was awarded in­stead.

And Robin­son was still apoplec­tic with the de­ci­sion af­ter the match as his side dropped to within a point of the rel­e­ga­tion zone.

He said: “That ref­er­ee­ing de­ci­sion was ter­ri­ble, his de­ci­sion was ter­ri­ble, the as­sis­tant referee’s de­ci­sion was ter­ri­ble.

“If we lose foot­ball matches my job is on the line or play­ers’ ca­reers are in jeop­ardy. How can they get that wrong? Not one per­son but two peo­ple.

“The referee should have a long look at that and the Pro­fes­sional Game Match Of­fi­cials Lim­ited need to look at what his role should be next week.

“I’ll prob­a­bly get done for it but I am sick to death of man­agers get­ting ques­tioned for what we say af­ter­wards.”

PICS: Ac­tion Images

MUR­PHY’S MOBBED: Jamie Mur­phy nets Brighton’s sec­ond and cel­e­brates, in­set

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