REPORT: ALBION 1 FULHAM 2
Brighton & Hove Albion were defeated 2-1 by Fulham in an entertaining game at the Amex.
Darren Bent fired Albion ahead on his debut early in the second half but the visitors turned the game around with goals from Hugo Rodallega and Lasse Vigen Christensen.
In a lively start, Albion created a string of early corners delivered by Adrian Colunga; one of which found its way through to Gary Gardner but the midfielder's shot was blocked.
Shaun Hutchinson almost gave Fulham the lead from a Bryan Ruiz corner, but Albion cleared their lines following a goalmouth scramble.
Bent had the Seagulls' best chance of the half when he headed Joe Bennett’s cross goalwards, however the new arrival was denied by Marcus Bettinelli in the Fulham goal.
From the resulting corner, Lewis Dunk - Albion's captain for the day - just failed to connect with Colunga’s in-swinging ball.
As the game ebbed and flowed, Brighton keeper David Stockdale, playing against his former club, was alert off his line to end to Ruiz’s dangerous goalbound run.
Aston Villa loanee Bent had another chance to fire the Seagulls ahead three minutes before the break, but Bettinelli won the duel to keep the scores level.
Two minutes after the re-start, Ross McCormack got the better of Dunk on the wing and fed Rodallega, but the forward fired just wide from eight yards out.
In the 51st minute Bent - who spent a season on loan at Fulham last season from Villa - made it a dream start to his time on the south coast when he finished low from Colunga’s through ball.
Unfortunately, the lead didn't last long; ten minutes later Rodallega fired Fulham level with an excellent finish from Christensen’s cross.
He almost doubled his tally soon after but couldn’t quite convert McCormack’s deep cross from a tight angle.
Fulham carried the momentum and put Albion’s defence under pressure before netting the all-important winner in the 77th minute.
It had more than a degree of fortune about it too; Ruiz ran from deep and unleashed a low strike, which was deflected past a stranded Stockdale by Christensen.
The Seagulls rallied late on but as the frustration grew, Colunga was dismissed for a second yellow card to cap a disappointing afternoon for Albion.
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Goal time 52min