ZAMORA’S STILL THE MAN
Evergreen striker nets winner for table toppers
BRIGHTON striker Bobby Zamora rolled back the years to send the Segaulls soaring back to top spot and led boss Chris Hughton to declare: ‘the table doesn’t lie’.
Zamora, 34, grabbed the winner two minutes into the second half to extend Brighton’s unbeaten run to 19 games after Jon Toral had cancelled out Solly March’s opener.
Hughton said: “It's a wonderful achievement so far and I cannot say we haven't deserved it. Performances have been good and the league table doesn't lie.
“It's good to get a win because we have picked up a few draws of late.
“It was one of our most entertaining performances of the season.The only downside is we should have won more comfortably.
“We had a really good level of performance. I felt it was a little bit unjust coming in at 1-1.We got into the final third on a lot of occasions.”
Brighton came storming out of the blocks and Dale Stephens could have opened the scoring after only five minutes when he headed over from inside the penalty area after Liam Rosenior had crossed.
Forward Tomer Hemed came close to ending his nine-match goal drought in the ninth minute as his powerful low shot was kept out only by a smart save with the legs from Birmingham goalkeeper Tomasz Kuszczak.
Brighton got their reward for a vibrant opening to the match when the impressive England under-21 starlet March stroked in their opener.
Jamie Murphy played a clever through ball to release Liam Rosenior down the left and the full back picked out March with a first time floated cross.
March’s initial shot struck teammate Hemed but the midfielder calmly tucked the rebound beyond Kuszczak at his near post.
Hughton picked out the imperious March for special praise, saying: “Solly has got stronger as the season has gone one, was involved with England under-21s a few weeks ago which gave him an extra lift.
“What we want from Solly is goals and assists on top of his performances and we are getting that.”
Brighton held the lead for only four minutes before Birmingham hit back with virtually their first mean-
ingful attack of the game.
Jaqcues Maghoma saw his angled drive beaten away by Brighton goalkeeper David Stockdale and Jon Toral rose unchallenged to nod in the rebound from 12 yards.
Brighton dominated the rest of the first half but could not find a way past former Seagulls star Kuszczak.
Birmingham threatened to snatch the lead against the run of play in the closing moments of an entertaining half when Toral sent a sweetly-struck curling shot inches wide of the right hand post.
Brighton were back in front moments after the restart, with the evergreen Zamora tapping in from close range after Kuszczak had clawed March’s shot off the line.
It was Zamora’s first Brighton home goal as a starter since his first spell at the club against Watford 2004.
Manchester United loanee James Wilson looked to have marked his Brighton debut in style after coming off the bench and racing beyond the Birmingham defence to go one on one with Kuszczak but his placed shot was kept out by the post.
Toral had earlier headed over from a Demarai Gray cross and it took a wonder save from Stockdale to deny Birmingham substitute David Davis in the dying seconds.
Birmingham manager Gary Rowett said: “We got exploited in the wide areas, especially in the first half but were still in the game right to the end
“We gave it a really good go for the final half an hour but the save from Davis was as good as you will see.
“Perhaps we deserved something for our determination, character and attitude against a very good side but it just wasn’t to be.”
HAVE THAT: Brighton’s Solly March shoots at goal – and Bobby Zamora (not pictured) scored from the rebound
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