REPORT: BLACKBURN 2 ALBION 3
- Albion move back to the top of the Sky Bet Championship table
- Shane Duffy, Dale Stephens and Glenn Murray on target for Brighton
- Sam Gallagher scores a brace for Blackburn
- Gordon Greer sent off for Rovers
Brighton & Hove Albion moved to the top of the Sky Bet Championship table with a hard-fought 3-2 win over ten-man Blackburn Rovers at Ewood Park.
It was a tale of two centre-halves facing their former clubs on the night with very different fortunes, as Shane Duffy opened the scoring against Rovers, while former Seagulls skipper Gordon Greer was sent off in the second half.
Dale Stephens got Brighton’s second on the night before Sam Gallagher pulled one back for Rovers, but Glenn Murray came off the bench to add a third, prior to Gallagher netting his second deep into injury time.
Chris Hughton made two changes to the side that beat Leeds United on Friday night, as Jiri Skalak and Tomer Hemed came in for Jamie Murphy and Murray.
Sam Baldock could have opened the scoring after he latched onto a ball over the top of the Rovers defence, but goalkeeper Jason Steele was equal to his shot with a fine save.
Albion worked another opening when Hemed teed up Baldock inside the box, but the Brighton number nine saw his drive take a deflection before going wide.
However, the Seagulls did open the scoring thanks to Duffy, who found the net with a downward header from Oliver’s Norwood’s corner with 17 minutes on the clock.
David Stockdale then made a superb right-handed save to keep Albion in front after he tipped Graham’s angled strike behind for a corner.
Ben Marshall could have equalised when his shot from distance skimmed off the wet surface and was initially spilled by Stockdale, but he recovered to prevent the ball from crossing the line.
Brighton had the first chance after the re-start when Baldock teed up Skalak on the edge of the area, but his low strike was met with a low save from Steele.
Marshall pulled the trigger from distance in attempt to bring Rovers level, but saw his effort go wide of Stockdale’s right-hand post.
It was the Seagulls who struck next through Stephens, who latched onto a loose ball inside the box from Norwood’s original free-kick and fired home beyond Steele with 61 minutes played.
The two-goal advantage didn’t last long though, as Gallagher netted five minutes later after his first two attempts were blocked.
There was drama in the game as Greer was shown a second yellow card in the 72nd minute for bringing substitute Murray down from behind.
The points were effectively sealed in the 79th minute when Steele parried Lewis Dunk’s shot into the path of Murray, who nonchalantly chipped his shot over the keeper for his first away goal this season.
Murray had a chance to get his second with a glancing header that went wide, before Skalak connected with Anthony Knockaert’s brilliant cross, only to fire into the side netting.
Rovers had the last word when Gallagher completed his brace with a brilliant finish but it was Albion who collected all three points.