Brighton and Hove Albion 1 Newcastle United 0
- Andre Marriner
A solitary second half strike from Tomer Hemed gave Brighton & Hove Albion a 1-0 victory over Newcastle United on Sunday.
Hemed turned home from close range just five minutes after half time, leaving Rafa Benítez’s men to rue their missed opportunities in the first half as the Magpies’ three-game winning streak came to an end at the Amex Stadium.
The first effort of the afternoon, with just under two minutes on the clock, almost brought the first goal. Matt Ritchie floated a corner out to the edge of the box, where Mikel Merino was waiting to volley it. Under pressure, the Dortmund loanee got a good enough connection on it to force Mat Ryan into a sharp save down low to his right.
But Brighton, buoyed by a record crowd, looked a threat going forward. Hemed headed over a Solly March cross, while Pascal Gross saw his goalbound shot strike Anthony Knockaert and fly wide.
After Rob Elliot tipped away a dangerous March cross, Joselu squandered the best chance of the half at the other end as he turned in the box when Ayoze Perez’s cross found its way into his path. The former Stoke man’s left footed shot, though, went past the post.
And on the half hour, left back Chancel Mbemba found himself in the Brighton area, and almost earned an assist. A couple of brilliantly-executed stepovers took the defender past his man, but Perez fired over from the resulting pass.
Despite Newcastle’s strong end to the first half, the Seagulls came out of the traps quickly in the second, and seized the advantage barely five minutes after the restart. Gross’ free kick to the far post found Dale Stephens, who nodded it back into the heart of the Magpies’ box, where Hemed was waiting to hook the ball past Elliot and break the deadlock.
Elliot then had to be at his best to stop Brighton adding a second, as Bruno’s low cross from the right found March at the back post, who looked certain to score. Republic of Ireland stopper Elliot, though, somehow got across to keep the shot out, and Newcastle cleared.
Benítez’s men responded, with Merino’s deflected shot flashing just past the upright, but in truth, the visitors struggled to find the attacking fluidity they’d shown at stages of the first half. Jonjo Shelvey and Dwight Gayle were summoned from the bench in the final quarter, and the former went close almost immediately, whipping in an inswinging corner from the left which struck the base of Ryan’s post.
Shelvey went close with a free kick and also had a penalty appeal dismissed in the closing stages, while Gayle saw his low strike held by Ryan.
But despite United’s late rally, the Seagulls held on to record their first league win over Newcastle since 1992.