Brewers pay for last orders
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.”
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