By Tim Hodges
Portsmouth 0 Brighton & Hove Albion 1
The Albion won their third match in a row as they overcame former Premier League big shots Portsmouth at Fratton Park.
It was Pompey who had Albion pinned back in their half almost from the kick-off.
Gordon Greer and Lewis Dunk had to be at their sharpest as both David Norris and Luke Varney pressed forward and had good chances.
Albion keeper Casper Ankergren made good saves from Norris and Liam Lawrence as the half wore on.
From a Hayden Mullins pass Varney raced clear, but was denied a shot on goal by a great challenge from Dunk.
Albion had to regroup as Will Buckley was replaced by Craig Noone.
And it was Noone who had a hand in Albion’s goal, sent clear by Gary Dicker he evaded the defender and fired in a cross for Ashley Barnes, his shot was parried by Jamie Ashdown, but only as far as Craig Mackail-Smith who opened his account to put the Albion in front.
Just before half-time Lawrence forced Ankergren to make his best save yet as Pompey tried to respond immediately.
But the Seagulls held on until half time.
Early in the second half both Lawrence and Hermann Hreidarsson had chances to put Portsmouth level but failed to do so.
The Albion seemed content to soak up the pressure
Portsmouth brought on David Kitson to spice things up. He certainly did that, clattering into Ankergren, Liam Bridcutt and Dicker among others, but he was unable to connect with the ball when it mattered.
Portsmouth continued to press Albion but were running out of ideas. With seconds left, Norris floated a free kick into the penalty area, which Dunk inexplicably appeared to handle.
The referee Neil Swarbick pointed to the spot straight away.
Lawrence stepped up, as further time was added on for the penalty to be taken, and blasted the ball against the bottom of the post with and Ankergren saving Norris’s follow up.
A great win for Albion, who currently sit in second place in the Championship and as the 22nd best team in English football.
Albion: Ankergren; Calderon, Greer, Dunk, Painter; Bridcutt, Vincelot, Dicker, Buckley; Barnes, Mackail-Smith. Subs: Brezovan, Noone, Sparrow, Navarro, Cook.
Portsmouth: Ashdown; Ben Haim, Mokoena, Halford, Hreidarsson; Mullins, Ward, Norris; Lawrence, Kanu, Varney. Subs: Henderson, Williams, Rocha, Dailly, Kitson
Referee: Neil Swarbrick (Preston).
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