Brighton & Hove Albion 3 Crystal Palace 1
By Tim Hodges from the Amex
Albion had one of the most memorable nights in a generation as they played with 10 men for over and hour and managed to overcome full strength arch rivals, Crystal Palace, by two clear goals.
Chris Hughton brought in Martin Montoya at full back and Glenn Murray was preferred to Florin Andone, who dropped back to the bench.
Albion started brightly forcing two early corners. Palace were penned back for long periods, but do find an outlet in Wilfred Zaha who looked like he might be a handful for Montoya.
Albion’s first breakthrough was when Jose Izquierdo was bundled over by James Tomkins in the area.
Glenn Murray stepped up to fire the resulting penalty high into the net, but didn’t celebrate as he scored against his old club.
Albion now had their tails up Montoya, linking well with Solly March , Murray for himself behind the defence again and was barged over by Luka Milivojevic , but this time referee Kevin Friend pointed for a corner.
Shane Duffy not only lost his head but put it into Patrick Van Aanholt’s face right in front of the referee. Friend had no choice but to send Duffy off with a straight red card
Hughton quickly replaced Pascal Gross with Leon Balogun.
Eventually the corner was taken and Balogun with his first touch on the half volley fired Albion into a two goal lead.
Palace shell shocked, but with one man extra pressed Albion, Milivojevic found himself in a great position, but saw his shot cleared off the line by Bernardo.
Palace pressed Albion and tried to make the extra man tell, but weren’t as good at it,as Albion were at Huddersfield on Saturday.
Davy Propper saw an effort cleared from underneath the crossbar, but Palace were not troubling Maty Ryan.
With seconds left of the first half Florin Andone, who had replaced Murray, won the ball near the half way line ran at Aaron Wam-Bissaka and Tomkins ,outpaced them both, cut in from the byline and with the two defenders still in close attendance, picked his spot and from chasing a complete lost cause, fired into the bottom corner to put Albion 3-0 up at half time.
With Balogun’s effort this was the first time in Premier League history that two substitutes had scored for the same club in the first half.
Palace tried to rattle Albion after the restart but with Yves Bissouma and Andone as wiling runners , couldn’t break down the resolute Seagulls defence.
Solly March saw a shot deflected over as Albion were finding gaps to exploit.
Palace eventually got a goal back after Balogun upended Saha in the penalty area and Milivojevic placed the penalty past Ryan for 3-1.
The visitors however, despite lots of possession didn’t trouble Albion again , aside from a few routine interceptions by Ryan.
There was huge emotion and some relief at the final whistle from Albion players and fans alike.
Lewis Dunk gesticulating his delight to the North Stand.
Albion go 10th in the Premier League and will face an out of form Burley at Turf Moor next Saturday 8 December.