REPORT: BURTON 0 ALBION 1
- Tomer Hemed’s penalty secures a first away league victory of the season
- Albion move up to sixth in the Sky Bet Championship
- Chris Hughton named an unchanged squad of 18 from Tuesday's win over Huddersfield Town
- The Seagulls secure a sixth clean sheet this season
Brighton & Hove Albion claimed their first away league victory of the season with a hard-fought 1-0 win over Burton Albion at the Pirelli Stadium.
Tomer Hemed’s 88th-minute penalty was enough to secure all three points over the newly-promoted Brewers, whose stout defending almost earned them a share of the spoils.
Manager Chris Hughton named an unchanged squad of 18 from Tuesday night’s victory over Huddersfield Town.
Albion made a bright start to the game, having the majority of possession but without testing Burton goalkeeper Jon McLaughlin.
The Seagulls did have a shout for a penalty when Anthony Knockaert went down under the challenge of Tom Flanagan, but the referee waved away the Frenchman’s appeals.
McLaughlin was then tested for the first time in the game, making a strong save to keep out Hemed’s half-volley on the edge of the area.
Albion worked another opening when Knockaert’s searching corner found Lewis Dunk at the far post, but the defender couldn't find the target.
Hemed tried his luck from distance with another strike, but his tame effort didn’t trouble McLaughlin and trickled wide of the target.
Jiri Skalak’s corner then created havoc inside the area, but neither Dale Stephens nor Bruno could divert their headers goalwards.
Despite Brighton’s dominance, it was Burton who arguably came closest to breaking the deadlock in the opening 30 minutes, as David Stockdale pulled off a superb stop to keep out Jackson Irvine’s strike.
Irvine turned provider for Jamie Ward just moments later, but his long-range shot sailed over the bar.
Knockaert ended a free-flowing move by showing some brilliant skill to tee himself up with a volley, but McLaughlin gathered the subsequent shot.
Down at the other end, Will Miller worked his way into a shooting position and Stockdale made a low save to his left-hand side.
Stephens unleashed a fierce drive from distance, but McLaughlin just about managed to collect the stinging drive.
Jamie Murphy was next to test the Brewers’ shot stopper following a driving run towards the box and McLaughlin made a low save to his right-hand side.
Hughton’s men started the second half brightly, as Knockaert’s driven corner saw Stephens take a touch before Skalak fired an attempt wide.
McLaughlin then had to be alert keep out Murphy’s angled shot, before Dunk came within inches of giving Albion the lead when his header smacked the crossbar.
Knockaert made a surging run forward and slipped in Hemed to his left, but the Israeli frontman fired wide.
Brighton continued to create chances, and through another set-piece, as Shane Duffy headed over from Knockaert’s corner.
The Seagulls continued to push forward against a resolute defence, and Hughton chose to freshen up his attack by bringing on Glenn Murray for Murphy.
But the hosts did make a rare foray forward through Matty Palmer, but his shot from distance sailed harmlessly over the target.
Duffy had a chance of his own from distance, but failed to trouble McLaughlin in the Burton goal with time ticking away.
Just as the game looked to be heading for a frustrating stalemate, Skalak was sent tumbling inside the box and the referee pointed to the spot.
Hemed gave Albion the lead their dominance deserved by coolly dispatching the subsequent spot-kick and sending McLaughlin the wrong way.
Stephens could have made it 2-0 deep into stoppage time following some good work by Knockaert, but McLaughlin saved the midfielder’s effort and the score remained 1-0.