Brighton and Hove Albion 1 Newcastle United 0
Tomer Hemed acrobatically scored his second goal of the season as a resoulute Albion beat last season’s tormentors Newcastle in a quite brilliant Amex encounter.
The Geordies almost went in front in the first couple of minutes as Mikel Merino saw his shot from the edge of the area palmed away by Maty Ryan.
Solly March, Pascal Gross, the overlapping runs of Bruno and of course Anthony Knockaert were causing Newcastle real problems.
Tomer Hemed got his head on an effort well claimed by Rob Elliot, then Pascal Gross hit a goalbound shot into the ground, with Elliot beaten. It hit Knockaert in the six-yard box and bounced wide.
Knockaert then got uncharacteristically booked for a waist high pull back on Christian Atsu.
Dale Stephens had an immense first half, spraying balls around and getting his head or foot on most Newcastle attacks that came his way.
But Albion had to be careful as first Joselu lost Markus Suttner but pulled his shot wide. Then Chancel Mbemba’s run went unnoticed but his effort went over.
Hemed and March had another chance each as Albion continued to press Newcastle. The final act of the half saw Elliot deny Hemed again.
Just after half time, Albion’s fifth Premier League goal of the season was a sweet one. A Gross free kick was accurate enough to find Stephens who placed a header downwards and Hemed swivelled and fired Albion into the lead as his shot went high into the net.
Albion almost had a second as March cut in from the left and saw his drive from an acute angle saved on the line with Elliot’s foot.
Albion looked like they were going to try to sit on the lead. Merino saw another effort headed clear by Shane Duffy.
After a fairly quiet first half Duffy and Lewis Dunk regrouped and were an almost impenetrable force for the remainder of the game.
Newcastle introduced Jonjo Shelvey. He sat deep and appeared to be the Newcastle engine room for the remaining 20 minutes.
Maty Ryan made some routine but confidence-boosting saves – one from Shelvey. The Toon midfielder also hit the outside of Albion’s near post direct from a corner.
Newcastle penned Albion back for long periods of the closing minutes. Bruno led by example and threw himself at everything including one brilliant clearing diving header.
As the clocked ticked down so the Albion fans got louder and more passionate. It’s a long time since an Albion crowd have got behind their team quite like that.
But it helped as the Seagulls held on for a crucial win.
The next league games for Albion are Arsenal away followed by Everton at home after the international break.
Just say that to yourself a couple of times.