REPORT: ALBION 3 FOREST 0
- Anthony Knockaert breaks the deadlock
- Glenn Murray nets a brace on his second home debut
- Chris Hughton’s men go top of the league
- David Stockdale forced off injured late on
Brighton & Hove Albion opened their league account at the Amex with a convincing 3-0 victory over Nottingham Forest.
In a night which saw the club celebrate five years of football at the stadium, it was a performance and result worthy of such an occasion, as Glenn Murray’s brace and a goal from Anthony Knockaert sealed an impressive win.
Chris Hughton reverted to the same starting 11 that faced Derby County six days ago, after making wholesale changes for the visit of Colchester United in midweek.
Forest had the game's first chance within the opening two minutes but Ben Osborn saw his shot blocked inside the box.
The visitors continued their lively start and Liam Rosenior had to be alert to clear away Oliver Burke’s ball across the box.
Lewis Dunk had Albion’s first chance of the game as he met Anthony Knockaert’s in-swinging corner, but prodded his attempt wide of the far post.
Some good link-up play involving Jiri Skalak and Murray set up a chance for Rosenior, but his angled cross-shot was saved by Stephen Henderson.
Forest still looked dangerous on the counter-attack, and Burke ran almost the length of the pitch but saw his effort blocked by Rosenior.
Philippe Montainer’s side broke forward once again through Burke and this time his shot from the right took a nick off the far post.
Albion were awarded a free-kick in a promising position after Damien Perquis fouled Tomer Hemed on the edge of the box. Knockaert stepped up to take the set-piece but it was comfortably saved by Henderson.
The Seagulls broke the deadlock in the 36th minute when Skalak set up Gaetan Bong to deliver an enticing ball into the box, and Knockaert fired home from close range.
The Amex then paid tribute to the late Gary Townsend in the 43rd minute, as a minute’s applause rang around the stadium.
Forest came within inches of restoring parity when Henri Lansbury’s curling free-kick hit the side netting.
It could have been 2-0 to the Seagulls moments later after Steve Sidwell’s glancing header was saved by Henderson from Skalak’s quickly-taken corner.
Hughton’s men could have doubled their lead five minutes after the restart when Knockaert’s corner caused panic in the Forest defence and Murray curled an effort just wide of the right-hand post.
The lead was extended in the 68th minute when Skalak’s set-piece was flicked on by Hemed and Murray slotted home.
Czech Republic international Skalak almost had another assist, after he raced past Hildeberto Pereira and hit a superb cross towards Hemed, but the Israeli international agonisingly slid his effort wide.
Lars Veldwijk wasted a golden opportunity to bring Forest back in the game, blazing his attempt over the bar from an in-swinging free-kick.
Albion made the game safe in the 82nd minute as Knockaert went on a marauding run down the left flank and played in Sam Baldock, who slotted the ball back across the box to give Murray a tap in.
The game ended on a sour note though as David Stockdale was forced off injured following a collision with Gaetan Bong and with all three substitutes used, Lewis Dunk ended the contest in goal.
Murray could have claimed a hat-trick in the closing stages, but he headed wide from Oliver Norwood’s free-kick and the score remained 3-0.
1901 CLUB LOTTERY
1ST PRIZE £1000 03413
2ND PRIZE 04592
3RD PRIZE 01526
4TH PRIZE 04451
5TH PRIZE 01700
2ND £50 1438
3RD £25 4893
1ST GOAL TIME 36TH MIN