REPORT: BRISTOL CITY 0 ALBION 2
- The squad pay a moving tribute to Anthony Knockaert
- Steve Sidwell and Jamie Murphy on target for Brighton
- Albion extend their unbeaten league run to ten games
- Solly March comes on to make his first appearance in almost 11 months
Brighton & Hove Albion extended their unbeaten run to ten games with a 2-0 victory over Bristol City at Ashton Gate.
Steve Sidwell’s fantastic strike and a goal from Jamie Murphy was enough to consolidate Albion’s position in second place and open up a five-point gap between themselves and Huddersfield Town.
Chris Hughton made one change to the side that beat Norwich City seven days ago, as Jamie Murphy replaced Anthony Knockaert, whose father passed away earlier this week.
The Robins created the first chance of the game when Tammy Abraham teed up Lee Tomlin on the angle, but his low strike went wide of David Stockdale’s right post.
But Albion broke the deadlock in truly stunning fashion in the 13th minute, as Sidwell’s long-range strike from just past the halfway line lobbed the scrambling City goalkeeper Richard O’Donnell.
The midfielder and the whole Albion team came together for an emotional celebration, as Knockaert’s shirt was lifted aloft to pay tribute to the absent winger.
Murphy doubled the lead with 21 minutes on the clock, as he cut inside onto his right foot and saw his deflected strike beat O’Donnell.
There was a nervy moment for the Seagulls defence when Scott Golbourne headed a free-kick back across the face of goal before Glenn Murray cleared behind for a corner.
Murphy then beat Mark Little for pace down the left-hand side and found Jiri Skalak, whose strike was deflected behind.
Brighton started the second half brightly and Murray teed up Skalak for their first chance after the restart, but the Czech winger fired wide with Sam Baldock running into the box.
Baldock and Murphy linked up brilliantly to almost produce a third Albion goal, but the latter’s strike just missed the far post.
Murray latched onto a through ball before linking up with Baldock, who set up Skalak on the left, but McDonnell tipped away his cross-shot.
Albion’s number nine was replaced by Oliver Norwood with 74 minutes on the clock, and the midfielder could have had an assist to his name, but his pass was a fraction too short for Skalak to reach on the run.
The Norwood-Skalak combination was in action again when the Northern Ireland international found the winger with a deft pass over the Robins defence, but the linesman’s flag was raised.
Murphy made a superb run down the left-hand side to find Norwood, who in turn passed to Tomer Hemed, but the Israeli’s angled shot went wide.
The hosts had a penalty appeal turned down as Aaron Wilbraham went down after a tussle with Shane Duffy, but the referee waved play on.
Jamie Patterson attempted to bring City back into the game in speculative fashion, but his volley failed to test Stockdale.
City’s in-form striker Tammy Abraham had been kept relatively quiet for most of the game, but he was played through on goal in the closing stages, before being denied thanks to a combination of defending from Lewis Dunk and Duffy.
Solly March then came on deep into stoppage time to make his first appearance in almost 11 months, to cap off a good night’s work in the south west.