REPORT: BIRMINGHAM 1 ALBION 2
- Albion secure a dramatic victory in the final seconds of the game
- Anthony Knockaert cancels out Lukas Jutkiewicz’s opener
- Glenn Murray heads the winning goal deep into stoppage time
- The Seagulls maintain an eight-point gap over third-placed Reading
Brighton & Hove Albion striker Glenn Murray scored a dramatic stoppage-time header to secure a memorable 2-1 victory over Birmingham City at St Andrew’s.
The Seagulls had fallen behind to a looping Lukas Jutkiewicz header shortly after the break but got back on level terms through Anthony Knockaert’s fine volley before Murray's late intervention secured all three points.
Chris Hughton made three changes to the starting line-up that won 3-2 against Blackburn Rovers, with Murray, Steve Sidwell and Gaetan Bong all returning to the side.
Albion survived a scare inside the opening minute, as Jutkiewicz delivered a low cross which found Maikel Kieftenbeld at the back post, but the midfielder’s fierce effort cannoned back off the upright.
Knockaert then set off on a mazy run past two defenders and into the penalty area, however the winger’s left-footed strike was easily gathered low down by ex-Albion goalkeeper Tomasz Kuszczak.
Referee Andrew Madley waved away two penalty shouts from the Seagulls, as Shane Duffy and Lewis Dunk both hit the ground following altercations with Michael Morrison and Ryan Shotton respectively.
Sidwell fired over from 30 yards after Bong’s cross from the left wing was cleared, before Duffy blocked a powerful drive from Jonathan Grounds that looked to be heading goalwards.
Knockaert delivered a teasing cross into the penalty area which Michael Morrison headed away, but the defender’s clearance rebounded off Shotton and fortunately landed in the thankful arms of Kuszczak.
David Cotterill tried his luck with a free kick from 25 yards, but David Stockdale was equal to his effort, before Knockaert’s ambitious attempt sailed wide of the target at the other end.
Jutkiewicz worked space for himself on the edge of Albion’s penalty area and fired towards goal, but Dunk intercepted with a superb block to deny the striker.
The hosts took the lead in the 52nd minute as David Davis hung up a cross to the back post for Jutkiewicz, who rose above Duffy to head beyond Stockdale.
Hughton introduced Solly March and Oliver Norwood just after the hour mark, replacing Sidwell and Jiri Skalak, as the Seagulls looked to freshen things up in midfield.
Both teams struggled to create a clear-cut opportunity in the aftermath of Jutkiewicz’s opening goal, with Norwood shooting wide of the target from long range.
Stockdale was then called into action, saving well to his left-hand side from Jutkiewicz’s powerful shot on the turn, before the striker headed over the crossbar from the resulting corner.
Albion then started to dominate as they searched for an equaliser and got back on level terms in the 82nd minute when Knockaert volleyed home first time, following a brilliant run and cross from March down the left wing.
Duffy then came agonisingly close to putting Albion in front when Kuszczak misjudged a cross, but the defender’s looping header was cleared off the line.
The game looked like heading for a draw but with seconds remaining, deep into stoppage time, top scorer Murray glanced a header past Kuszczak from Knockaert’s corner to seal victory.