MURRAY IS STILL MAIN MAN
Striker’s 19th of season boosts Brighton title tilt
BRIGHTON & Hove Albion are now nine points clear of third-placed Huddersfield but manager Chris Hughton refused to get carried away by his side’s win over relegation strugglers Blackburn Rovers.
Glenn Murray slotted home his 19th goal of the season on 67 minutes to keep them firmly in the automatic promotion places, a point behind table-toppers Newcastle.
Rovers remain third from bottom and just one point behind Bristol City and this was Tony Mowbray’s first defeat as their manager.
Blackburn pressed for an equaliser late on, and caused problems for the home side, but the Seagulls held on for the 24th win of the season.
But with seven games left Hughton doesn’t think promotion is a done deal just yet.
“We have seven more opportunities and each of them are individual games and you can’t look too far,” he said.
“Clean sheets will always give you the best chance of getting wins and the more of them we get the better chance we’ve got.
“It’s important in a very scrappy game that we get over the line and we did in this game.”
Murray was singled out for praise after his side’s crucial win.
“When you’ve got someone like Glenn there’s always a chance,” said Hughton. “Even in a game where there aren’t many opportunities, you’d like to think he’s going to get one.”
The hosts started the better, creating plenty of chances but failing to find the back of the net. Defender Uwe Huenemeier had three chances in just two minutes, the best of them when he was unmarked in the box from a corner but could only steer his header wide.
It was the away side who were next to go close, after good play on the left from Danny Guthrie whose cross found Lucas Joao, but his half-volley sailed high over the bar.
Hughton’s side continued to press with attack after attack, but the Lancashire side stood strong, keeping the promotion contenders at bay.
Neither side looked like scoring in the second half, but
Brighton still pressed for the opener, bringing on Solly March and Tomer Hemed.
And finally it all paid off as a great cross from Liam Rosenior was knocked down by Anthony Knockaert to Murray, who slotted home for his 19th goal of another impressive season at this level for the frontman.
With just four minutes of normal time to play Albion could have doubled their lead, but Murray couldn’t get good connection on March’s cross. Mowbray’s side did press for an equaliser in the dying moments and it was from a corner when they nearly sneaked a late equaliser.
Substitute Connor Mahoney’s goalward effort was scuffed away by the Seagulls defence who camped themselves in their own half and saw the game out.
Blackburn boss Mowbray believed his side deserved more in the game.
“We came and made life difficult for them. It looked like a 0-0 most of the game,” he said. “The odd goal was going to nick it and it could have been us, but it turned out to be them.”
The manner in which his Rovers side conceded the winner caused some inevitable frustration for Mowbray.
“One lapse of concentration from us defensively where we didn’t track the run has cost us,” he added.
“I felt generally it was a pretty tight game. It was looking like 0-0 most of the way.”
With Reading away in the next game, Rovers will look to regroup to find a result which would get them out of the bottom three.
MURRAY’S MINT: Matchwinner Glenn Murray gets a hug from Beram Kayal
THAT’LL DO NICELY: Glenn Murray scores the only goal