REPORT: BIRMINGHAM 1 ALBION 2
- Kyle Lafferty broke the deadlock for Birmingham
- Goals from Connor Goldson and Lewis Dunk earn Albion the victory
- The Seagulls remain third in the Championship table
- Brighton extend their unbeaten run to eight games
Brighton & Hove Albion returned to winning ways with a hard-fought 2-1 win against play-off chasing Birmingham City at St Andrew's.
Goals from Connor Goldson and Lewis Dunk cancelled out Kyle Lafferty’s opener to keep the Seagulls third in the table and only a point adrift of Middlesbrough in second place.
Chris Hughton made three changes to the side that drew with Burnley at the weekend, as Steve Sidwell, Jiri Skalak and Kazenga LuaLua replaced Anthony Knockaert, Jamie Murphy and the injured Sam Baldock.
LuaLua had Albion’s first opening of the game when he was played out wide on the left but his subsequent shot was comfortably saved by Tomasz Kuszczak.
An Albion corner created havoc inside the Blues defence as Bruno’s header across goal was only half cleared, and Skalak fired the loose ball just wide of the left post.
But it was Birmingham who broke the deadlock in the 16th minute after Jacques Maghoma's shot went across the face of goal and Lafferty slotted home from close range.
Clayton Donaldson made a surging run towards the penalty area, but his strike from distance sailed harmlessly over the bar.
Skalak then drifted a set-piece towards Dale Stephens at the far post, but his header was collected by Kuszczak.
Birmingham came close to a second after a swift break forward but Jon Toral flashed an attempt wide of the left post.
The Seagulls were level just before the half-hour mark when a Skalak free-kick was headed home by Goldson for his first goal for the club.
There could have been a carbon copy of Albion’s equaliser moments later following another dangerous delivery from Skalak, but Goldson headed over the bar.
The Czech Republic international got his second assist of the game when he set up Dunk, who headed home from a corner to put the Seagulls in front just three minutes after the restart.
It could have got even better for Albion when Bruno delivered a superb ball into the box and an audacious overhead kick from Tomer Hemed forced a fine save from Kuszczak.
Skalak was involved in the thick of the action again, after his cross was headed wide by Dunk, before an effort of his own was almost turned in by Blues defender Jonathan Spector.
The hosts still carried a threat though and Donaldson headed the ball down for Toral, who blazed a shot over the crossbar.
Substitute Murphy could have added a third for Albion in the closing stages when he was allowed to drift inside the box, but his shot was deflected behind for a corner.
There was very late drama when Kuszczak went up for a Birmingham corner and James Wilson broke on the resulting counter-attack, but his shot was intercepted by Paul Caddis.