Brighton and Hove Albion 1 Nottingham Forest 0
Kazenga LuaLua, who gave his No 25 shirt away to returning hero Bobby Zamora on Tuesday, got his just reward, as his angled drive settled the match in the 50th minute.
Albion dominated first-half possession at the Amex.
But it was Forest who almost struck first. Henri Lansbury fired a free-kick against the foot of the post, with David Stockdale stranded.
Not long afterwards Beram Kayal slammed a shot against the post for Albion.
Albion took the match Forest. LuaLua hugged the touchline then played in Sam Baldock who skewed a shot wide when well placed.
Dexter Blackstock forced Stockdale to push an effort away that appeared to be going wide.
Then right on half time Solly March lofted a cross in for Tomer Hemed who got a close-range header on target, only to see it clawed away brilliantly by the Forest keeper Dorus De Vries.
LuaLua’s goal was well taken. Naturally two-footed, he managed to pick his spot in the bottom corner.
He celebrated with his customary somersault.
Forest offered little and looked leg-weary.
Even Stockdale’s obligatory clanger late on went unpunished. He stood flat-footed as Blackstock fired in a cross that Lansbury and David Vaughan failed to connect to. Towards the end Liam Rosenior made his Albion debut and Chris O’Grady came on and held the ball up well.
Albion scored their first opening day victory since that match against Doncaster in 2011 and for 24 hours at least are top of the Championship.
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