- Albion lose 2-0 at AFC Bournemouth
- David Brooks scores twice for the hosts
- Lewis Dunk sent off in the second half
- Albion next in action on Boxing Day at home to Arsenal
Brighton & Hove Albion left the Vitality Stadium empty-handed after a frustrating 2-0 defeat against AFC Bournemouth.
Despite creating a number of opportunities in an encouraging first-half display, a David Brooks brace gave the Cherries all three points against an Albion side reduced to ten men after the break, following Lewis Dunk’s sending off.
Chris Hughton made three changes to the side that lost 2-1 to Chelsea last Sunday, with Florin Andone, Jurgen Locadia and Yves Bissouma all introduced into the side.
The hosts had a chance inside the opening three minutes when Leon Balogun brought down Junior Stanislas on the edge of the box, but the latter’s free kick sailed harmlessly over the bar.
Hughton’s men carved through the Bournemouth defence courtesy of a brilliant one-two between Pascal Gross and Bissouma, but the latter’s strike was kept out by Asmir Begovic.
But the hosts almost undid all of Albion’s positive play in the opening stages when Simon Francis sent an enticing cross towards Callum Wilson, whose glancing header went narrowly wide.
Wilson was involved in the thick of the action again after he saw his close-range strike superbly cleared off the line by a backpedalling Bernardo, before Maty Ryan made a fine save from Brooks’s follow-up strike.
The game continued in a lively fashion and Locadia was next to come close, as the Dutchman’s low-driven shot was pushed away by Begovic.
The hosts broke the deadlock with 21 minutes played through Brooks, who took a few touches on the edge of the area and sent a powerful left-footed strike past Ryan into the bottom corner.
Albion went in search of a response and broke forward at pace with some good link-up play involving March and Gross, and the latter’s ball across the area was met by Bissouma, but his effort was blocked by Locadia.
Dunk was next to come close when his glancing header was pushed away by Begovic following Gross’s enticing ball into the area.
The Cherries could’ve doubled their advantage on the stroke of half-time, as Nathan Ake lunged in to meet Francis’s cross, but saw his attempt deflected over.
After a cagey start to the second half, Bournemouth were awarded free kick on the edge of the area, which Stanislas sent just past the right post.
Andrew Surman was next to try his luck with a shot from distance that also went over the target, as Albion struggled to regain a foothold in the contest.
The task of getting back into the game became even more of an uphill struggle when Dunk was sent off for a second yellow card for a challenge on Wilson, which put the Seagulls down to ten men.
The hosts made their one-man advantage count in the 78th minute, as Brooks got his and Bournemouth’s second goal with a glancing header from Ryan Fraser’s cross to effectively put the result beyond doubt.
Albion will now look to bounce back quickly when Arsenal visit the Amex on Boxing Day, as the hectic festive schedule continues.
ALBION: Ryan; Montoya, Balogun, Dunk, Bernardo; March, Propper, Bissouma; Gross (Bong 76), Locadia (Knockaert 70), Andone (Murray 80).
SUBS NOT USED: Steele (GK) Bruno, Kayal, Stephens.