Sub Hemed fly­ing with Seag­ulls

The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP - By Harry Wilmin

TOMER Hemed’s quick­fire dou­ble from the bench kept Brighton in the au­to­matic pro­mo­tion hunt and left as­sis­tant man­ager Colin Calder­wood prais­ing both striker and boss.

Hemed’s brace ei­ther side of the hour mark was fol­lowed by a flurry of se­cond-half ac­tiv­ity, as Antony Kay pulled one back be­fore the Dons’ Kyle McFadzean was shown a straight red for el­bow­ing Hemed in the face sec­onds later.

It could have ended all square only for Carl Baker to scuff a woe­ful penalty wide as his side dropped into the rel­e­ga­tion spots at the other end of the ta­ble thanks to Rother­ham’s win at Ip­swich.

Chris Hughton’s Seag­ulls leapfrogged Mid­dles­brough back into se­cond and Calder­wood had noth­ing but praise for goalscorer and man­ager.

“For­tu­nately for us Hemed has come on and had a ter­rific im­pact on the game, and that’s partly down to some good team man­age­ment by the man­ager,” he said.

“His goal tally for us speaks for it­self, it’s in­creas­ing and that’s good for us be­cause it be­comes a good fo­cal point for goals.

“But we don’t think it was a free­kick that leads up to MK’s goal, that’s a bit of a com­plaint from our point of view.

“And of course we are go­ing to ar­gue about the de­ci­sion for the penalty kick too, be­cause none of the boys think it was a penalty – it’s ac­tu­ally hit one of our lads in the face.”

Hughton in­tro­duced Hemed as a 52nd-minute sub­sti­tute in place of for­mer Dons academy player Sam Bal­dock, af­ter a poor first-half dis­play from his at­tack­ers.

And it took the Is­rael in­ter­na­tional just ten min­utes to bag him­self two goals.

The 28-year-old won his side a penalty af­ter he was brought down by a clumsy Dar­ren Pot­ter chal­lenge on 56 min­utes, be­fore step­ping up him­self to smash the Seag­ulls in front.

He then bagged his 15th goal of the sea­son af­ter Jiri Skalak’s invit­ing cross to the back post was met with a bul­let header by the for­mer Mal­lorca star.

But the Dons gave them­selves hope of a fight back in­side the 70th minute as Josh Mur­phy whipped in a fizzing cross from the left-hand side, which found Kay in the box who headed home.

But the hosts shot them­selves in the foot just sec­onds af­ter scor­ing when McFadzean lost his cool and el­bowed Hemed in front of the ref­eree and Christo­pher Ka­vanagh had to show him red.

Yet they were awarded a life­line penalty in the 90th minute for a hand­ball among a crowded Brighton penalty area.

But sub­sti­tite Baker, play­ing his first game for the Dons since Jan­uary 2 af­ter be­ing side­lined through in­jury, fluffed his lines as the ball bob­bled well wide.

“First and fore­most I want to say thank you to my play­ers, be­cause I thought we were the bet­ter team,” said Dons boss Karl Robin­son.

“They hit us on the counter at­tack a lot, we pushed them all the way and I thought we were very good – our en­ergy and de­sire against one of the best teams in the divi­sion was there for all to see.

“They’ve won the lot­tery here, but we’ve got to get out of the po­si­tion we’re in, it’s as sim­ple as that.

“Ev­ery­body at the foot­ball club has got to fight to get out of this and if they want to still be in this league next year then that’s what we’re go­ing to have to do.”

PIC­TURES: Ac­tion Im­ages

THAT’S THE SPOT: Tomer Hemed con­verts the penalty he won to put Brighton in con­trol against MK Dons

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