REPORT: DERBY 3 ALBION 0
Brighton & Hove Albion were beaten by league leaders Derby County at the iPro Stadium following a brace from Chris Martin and a strike from Johnny Russell inside the opening 20 minutes.
Steve McClaren’s Rams were rampant from the off and after just ten minutes Martin, so often a thorn in Albion’s side, continued his fine goalscoring record against the Seagulls as he cut inside from the right and found the bottom corner.
Just six minutes later Albion’s problems doubled as Russell broke the offside trap and his deflected shot found its way past David Stockdale.
Sami Hyypia’s men thought they had carved a way back into the game as Darren Bent headed home, only to be flagged for offside, but there was no problem with Martin’s header, as the forward climbed highest to make it 3-0.
Rohan Ince replaced Joao Teixeira as Hyypia re-organised his troops, and Albion twice threatened soon after through Bent and then from a Bruno volley that was dragged wide.
Albion continued to improve with both Joe and Elliot Bennett coming close, before Solly March cut inside from the right only to see his strike deflected over the bar.
The Seagulls did show a marked improvement after the break, but the Rams still carried a threat going forward.
Craig Bryson had the first meaningful chance ten minutes after the restart, but his strike was parried away by Stockdale allowing the Albion defence to clear the danger.
Simon Dawkins then got the better of Bruno down the left-hand side and fizzed a ball towards Bryson, but the latter’s shot was blocked.
Stockdale had to be alert to deny Jeff Hendrick’s shot from distance, before the busy Bryson saw his effort go wide of the near post.
The Rams continued to put Albion's defence under significant pressure, when Martin forced another save from Stockdale with a side-footed strike.
Russell was a constant threat down the right-hand side and saw his angled drive go just wide of the target.
The hosts had the majority of the possession in a largely uneventful final 20 minutes, but substitute Jordan Ibe could have added extra gloss to the scoreline in the closing stages with a strike from distance that Stockdale palmed away.