REPORT: ALBION 0 MIDDLESBROUGH 3
- Albion’s unbeaten league run ends after 22 games
- Kike, Albert Adomah and Christian Stuani earn Middlesbrough victory
- Connor Goldson comes on to make his Albion debut
- Boro moved three points clear at the top of the Championship
Brighton & Hove Albion’s 22-match unbeaten league run came to an end after a 3-0 defeat to promotion rivals Middlesbrough at the Amex.
Goals from Kike, Albert Adomah and Christian Stuani earned Boro the three points and saw the Teessiders move three points clear of Albion at the top of the Championship table.
Chris Hughton made one enforced change to the starting line-up, with Uwe Huenemeier coming in to replace the suspended Lewis Dunk.
The visitors took the lead inside the first four minutes when Adomah’s perfectly-weighted ball into the box found Kike at the near post, and his header flew past David Stockdale.
Albion had a chance to level the scores when Inigo Calderon’s in-swinging ball into the area was met by James Wilson, but his deflected acrobatic attempt was saved by Dimitrios Konstantopoulos.
Wilson had another opportunity to equalise after being played through on goal by Jamie Murphy, but he shot wide with a close-range strike.
Dale Stephens tried his luck from distance with a left-footed volley that went narrowly past the right-hand post.
The visitors doubled their lead in fortuitous fashion in the 43rd minute when Daniel Ayala’s header took two deflections off Calderon and Adomah en route to the net, with the goal credited to the latter.
The second half began with chances for both teams; Boro keeper Konstantopoulos making a low save to deny Murphy, while at the other end, Stockdale made a fine stop to push away Stuani’s strike.
The Seagulls had two chances in quick succession to gain a foothold in the game; Tomer Hemed was played though on goal but dragged his angled strike wide, then Murphy forced Konstantopoulos into another fine save from Calderon’s superb pass.
But Albion were dealt a blow when Huenemeier was forced off injured after challenging for the ball with Stewart Downing and was replaced by Connor Goldson, making his first-team debut.
It got worse for Hughton’s men just past the hour mark, as the visitors got a third goal courtesy of Stuani - the Uruguayan international reacting quickest to Kike’s shot to divert a header beyond Stockdale.
Bobby Zamora was brought on to add fresh impetus to Albion’s attack and his goalbound header was cleared by Daniel Ayala following Bruno’s ball in from the right-hand side.
The visitors almost added extra gloss to the scoreline in the closing stages when Stuani forced another save from Stockdale.
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