Report: Albion 1 Derby 2Derby County came from behind to claim their first win at the Amex.
Oscar Garcia’s first home league game in charge started excellently, as Leonardo Ulloa headed the Seagulls ahead, but a brace from Chris Martin, either side of half-time, condemned Albion to their third defeat in a week.
Despite missing the likes of Andrea Orlandi and Liam Bridcutt, Garcia’s men started brightly and found the breakthrough with their first meaningful attempt.
Inigo Calderon, who was initially suspended for the fixture until his red card against Newport County was rescinded, providing a pin-point cross for Ulloa to guide home.
Albion had found the lead within 20 minutes for the third game in a row, although Paul Coutts tried to level the contest with a looping header that failed to beat Tomasz Kuszczak.
However, for the second league game in a row, Albion’s lead lasted less than ten minutes. After a handful of ricochets in the box the ball finally landed for Martin to stab home.
The Rams clearly gained confidence from their equaliser and had the Seagulls on the back foot, but it was up the other end of the field where controversy erupted.
David Lopez’s powerful free-kick appeared to strike the elevated arms of players in the Derby wall but despite the roar of protest from the home crowd and the Brighton bench, referee Andy D’Urso waved play-on.
Kuszczak, under pressure, lost grip of a catch just before the break but Albion scrambled to clear as the sides went in level.
The parity didn’t last long as Martin became the second visiting player in succession to grab a brace at the Amex, diverting Kieron Freeman’s low cross into the bottom corner.
A David free-kick caused some confusion in the Rams box before Ulloa stung the palms of Lee Grant as Albion searched for an equaliser.
Ulloa was proving to be the most potent threat to County, and once again he had the beating of Grant but unfortunately not the post; the Argentinean’s exquisite header hitting the inside of the woodwork and rolling to safety.
Rohan Ince flashed an ambitious volley wide before Kemy Agustien saw his own long range effort tipped over. Calderon was next to try his luck as Albion cranked up the pressure but the Spaniard was denied by Richard Keogh’s brave block.
Yet another Ulloa header almost brought about the Seagulls’ second, however this time the front man could not get his effort on target.
In fact it was the visitors who nearly grabbed a late goal as substitute Jamie Ward ran through but dragged his effort wide. Matthew Upson then flicked an injury-time header wide but it was Clough and his men who left with the points.