Brighton & Hove Albion 1 Cardiff City 0
By Tim Hodges from the Amex
Tomer Hemed’s 73rd minute strike sent Brighton and Hove Albion leapfrogging Newcastle and back to the top of the Football League.
Albion certainly weren’t at their best as the fog warning for the rescheduled fixture proved unfounded. The original match, scheduled for the end of last month, was called off because of poor visibility.
At times the Seagulls struggled to break down Cardiff. Solly March appeared to have a free role behind lone striker Tomer Hemed but Albion lacked fluency in the final third.
However, it was March who had Albion’s best chance of the first half though Cardiff keeper Allan McGregor was equal to it.
In fact, it was Cardiff who had the best chances of the half. First, Sean Morrison had a header expertly tipped over by David Stockdale then a few minutes later the impressive Junior Hoilett saw his snapshot pushed away by the Seagulls keeper.
Albion were much more on the ball as the second half started. The gap that had appeared between midfield and defence closed slightly.
The first chance of the second half fell to Shane Duffy from a March corner but he headed narrowly wide.
Then again from a March cross Hemed just failed to connect.
When Hemed did connect he stabbed wide, with Anthony Knockaert shaping to shoot right behind him.
Albion were all over Cardiff and finally got their reward. Oliver Norwood’s pass saw Hemed turn and fire an excellent shot through McGregor’s hands to put Albion in front.
Cardiff had a few chances as they eventually showed an attacking attitude – most notably ex-Albion winger Craig Noone’s goal-bound shot which was charged down by Duffy.
Albion go top again and are 11 points clear of Reading and Huddersfield currently in third and fourth place.
Next up, it’s Lincoln City in the FA Cup fourth round.