By Tim Hodges from the Amex
Brighton & Hove Albion 1 Blackburn Rovers 0
Albion beat Blackburn by a single goal scored by Kazenga LuaLua after 35 minutes and now go second in the Championship.
Before the goal Albion were a little under the cosh, with David Stockdale making good stops from Fode Koita and then a fantastic one-handed save from Nathan Delfouneso. Stockdale also denied former Albion loanee Craig Conway.
New Seagulls winger Jamie Murphy was getting into space behind the Rovers defence and cut well finding Sam Baldock. But by the time Baldock went to pull the trigger he had been crowded out by the Blackburn defence.
Tommy Spurr’s long throw caused Albion some problems. Similar to Greg Halford’s huge hoisted efforts last season for Albion, Spurr was able to get the ball almost on the penalty spot from 30 or 40 yards away.
Albion scored after clever play from Dale Stephens and Sam Baldock. The ball fell to LuaLua who slammed it home from the edge of the area. He celebrated with what looked like a triple somersault.
Uwe Hünemeier, on his Amex debut, looked assured in defence alongside Gordon Greer, although he looked a little less than sure-footed early on as Conway ran at him.
The sweltering heat was relentless throughout the match and this slowed the pace a little.
However, LuaLua whipped in a cross early in the second half which Hemed met with a firm header only to see it tipped wide brilliantly by David Raya, the second such denial Hemed has suffered in successive home matches.
Albion then had a dominant spell, Raya saving an audacious flick from Hemed and a snap shot from Dale Stephens.
Rovers offered little but did pump the ball forward on the touchline instruction of Gary Bowyer but Stockdale and the defence were equal to it.
Solly March and Chris O’Grady were introduced before the end and combined well but the final cross from March eluded O’Grady.
Stockdale cemented his nomination for man of the match with a great block when one on one with Delfouneso late on.
But it was Albion who held on for all three points.
After the match Channel 5 commentator Dave Beckett told Brighton and Hove News that he thought the Albion did well but were perhaps a little fortunate. He also thought a couple of players may have looked tired towards the end but this was understandable given the heat.
He went on to add that he liked what he’d seen of Albion’s strikers so far but getting another one in could make them into a really good Championship side.
Albion next take on Walsall in the Captial One League Cup at the Bescott Stadium next Tuesday (25 August).
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