The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP - By Alex Crook

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.”

PIC­TURES: ProS­ports

DOU­BLE TROU­BLE: Brighton striker Glenn Mur­ray scores and, in­set, is mobbed by his team-mates

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