Brew­ers pay for last or­ders

The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP - By Tim Ever­shed

BRIGHTON boss Chris Hughton ad­mit­ted his team had been in a bat­tle af­ter they were made to wait un­til the 88th minute to win a game they dom­i­nated from start to fin­ish.

The vis­i­tors rained in 19 shots to­wards Jon McLaugh­lin’s goal but it looked as if they would have to set­tle for a point un­til Tomer Hemed con­verted a late penalty.

“We know from last sea­son that there aren’t any easy games in the Cham­pi­onship. There isn’t one of our play­ers that came here think­ing it would be an easy game. We knew how tough it would be and some­times vic­to­ries like this mean a lit­tle bit more,” said Hughton.

“We had to fight for it. Credit to them they came in with a few in­juries but they fought hard as Nigel Clough’s teams al­ways do.

“Late in the game I thought it wasn’t go­ing to be our day but we found that lit­tle some­thing ex­tra. We weren’t clin­i­cal enough with the chances we cre­ated although we did work their keeper and he showed re­ally good hands.”

This was the first ever league meet­ing be­tween the two Al­bions and it was the Seag­ulls from the south coast who made the brighter start.

The vis­i­tors quickly made them­selves at home with their quick pass­ing game pos­ing ques­tions for Bur­ton’s three­man de­fence.

A quick­fire break in the ninth minute put An­thony Knockaert away down the right on a run that was ended with an un­suc­cess­ful ap­peal for a penalty af­ter he tum­bled over Tom Flana­gan’s out­stretched leg.

Hemed was lead­ing the line well and he pounced on a loose ball 20 yards out, chest­ing it down be­fore fir­ing a pow­er­ful shot that McLaugh­lin had to deal with.

The Is­rael in­ter­na­tional al­most pun­ished the home side’s de­fen­sive mix-up five min­utes later. As Bur­ton de­fend­ers left the ball for each other Hemed picked it up and slid it just wide of the post.

The best chance of the half came at the other end as Aus­tralian mid­fielder Jack­son Irvine found space eight yards from goal and his snap shot was beaten be­hind for a cor­ner.

How­ever, it was Brighton who fin­ished the half the stronger with Dale Stephens and Jamie Mur­phy both work­ing McLaugh­lin.

And the vis­i­tors picked up where they left off fash­ion­ing a num­ber of chances af­ter the in­ter­val.

Cen­tre-half Lewis Dunk rat­tled the home cross­bar with a header from Jiri Skalak’s cor­ner be­fore John Bray­ford was forced into a vi­tal last-ditch tackle to stop Knockaert.

Bur­ton’s re­solve was un­done by Lee Wil­liamson’s tackle on Skalak with Hemed step­ping up to send McLaugh­lin the wrong way.

Bur­ton boss Nigel Clough said: “I’m un­be­liev­ably sad be­cause that is the third time this sea­son that a late goal has cost us. We had a few chances but we have given the ball away on the half­way line and you can’t af­ford to do that.

“We have to learn, and quickly. If you get carved open you hold your hands up but when you con­trib­ute to your own down­fall it is hard to take.

“I can’t stress enough what an in­cred­i­ble ef­fort it was to keep them out for as long as we did. Brighton are the sort of side that will put four or five past peo­ple.”

PIC­TURES: Richard Parkes

LATE SHOW: Brighton’s Is­real in­ter­na­tional Tomer Hemed sends Jon McLaugh­lin the wrong way from the spot and, inset, cel­e­brates with his pals


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