MURRAY’S MAGIC TERRORISES TYKES
BRIGHTON manager Chris Hughton saluted striker Glenn Murray after the veteran struck twice to send surprise high-fliers Barnsley crashing to an away defeat.
Murray took his goal tally since returning to the Seagulls on loan from Bournemouth to five.
And in turn it fired last season’s play-off semi-finalists to a third straight league win.
Hughton said: “Before this Glenn had scored three goals in our first three games but I thought that was his best all-round performance; not just the goals but his hold-up play as well.
“He had a frustrating time last season and sometimes it can take a while to get back to the level you know you can play at.
“We scored two good goals. The only disappointment is we could have made the game more comfortable because we had some good chances.
“The first goal was a classic counter-attack goal. I wanted us to build on that and we made it harder work than we should have.”
Murray came close to giving Brighton the lead after only two minutes when he raced onto Beram Kayal’s clever through ball only to be denied by a smart save from the outstretched Adam Davies.
Davies was almost left red-faced two minutes later when his clearance hit Tomer Hemed before the ball looped back into the arms of a relieved Tykes goalkeeper.
Brighton edged in front on 12 minutes when Murray finished neatly from Kayal’s pull back after Anthony Knockaert’s driving right-wing run.
Murray could have been celebrating a first half hat-trick after passing up two good chances to extend Brighton’s lead.
First the former Crystal Palace marksman side-footed wide after left-back Gaetan Bong cleverly drew Davies off his line before chipping in a cross. Then Murray charged down another unconvincing Davies clearance only to see the ball trickle past with the goal gaping.
Barnsley striker Sam Winnall should have made Murray pay for those misses ten minutes before half-time after being picked out at the far post by Adam Hammill’s teasing cross, but headed wide.
It needed a flying save from Davies in the 42nd minute to stop Conor Hourihane heading into his own net in a botched attempt to clear Knockaert’s inviting cross.
Brighton were forced into a change at half-time when the injured Kayal was replaced by Northern Ireland midfielder Oliver Norwood.
But the absence of Kayal did not knock the Seagulls off their stride as Murray rose to head a Jiri Skalak free-kick beyond the helpless Davies just three minutes after the restart.
Murray looked hungry for more goals and his 53rd-minute volley from another Skalak centre called the overworked Davies into action.
It took until 15 minutes from time for Brighton goalkeeper David Stockdale to be seriously tested, beating away Josh Scowen’s powerful strike.
Tykes boss Paul Heckingbottom said: “We are disappointed. We started the game poorly and took a long time to get going. We don’t pass the ball as well as usual.
“Brighton played well and deserved the win but we didn’t give ourselves a chance.
“It is the first time this season as a collective the performance was below par.
“Once they got in front it was a different game.”
DOUBLE TROUBLE: Brighton striker Glenn Murray scores and, inset, is mobbed by his team-mates