REPORT: ALBION 3 BIRMINGHAM 1
- Albion move to the top of the Sky Bet Championship
- Glenn Murray, Tomer Hemed and Uwe Huenemeier on target
- Che Adams scores a late consolation for Birmingham
- The Seagulls move 10 points clear of third-place Reading
Brighton & Hove Albion moved to the top of the Sky Bet Championship following a 3-1 victory over Birmingham City in a free-flowing match at the Amex.
Goals from Glenn Murray, Tomer Hemed and Uwe Huenemeier gave Albion a commanding 3-0 lead, but Che Adams scored late on to make the scoreline more respectable for Gianfranco Zola’s side.
Chris Hughton made four changes to the side that beat Blackburn, which included the return of club captain Bruno from injury.
Hughton emphasised the need for an early goal in his pre-match press conference, and they got just that with barely a minute played thanks to Murray.
Some superb link-up play involving Anthony Knockaert and Bruno laid the ball on a plate for Albion’s leading marksman, whose first-time finish beat Tomasz Kuszczak for his 20th goal of the season.
Blues came within inches of levelling the scores just five minutes later, but captain Craig Gardner’s free-kick cannoned off the crossbar with David Stockdale rooted to his line.
Gardner then tested Albion with another set-piece, but Stockdale made a save down low to his right-hand side.
The visitors were undeterred by the early setback, as two shots by Clayton Donaldson were blocked by Lewis Dunk and Huenemeier.
The Seagulls were dealt a blow with half an hour gone, however, as Dunk was forced off due to a sickness bug and was replaced at centre-back by Fikayo Tomori.
Albion worked an opening shortly after the re-start when Solly March whipped in a perfectly-weighted cross towards Hemed, whose header was blocked. Knockaert then saw his follow-up strike blocked.
Albion doubled their advantage when Murray headed Bruno’s cross towards the far post and Hemed was on hand to nod the ball home with 48 minutes on the clock.
The lead was made more emphatic just five minutes later thanks to Huenemeier’s first Albion goal - his volley taking a deflection off Donaldson to beat Kuszczak in the Birmingham goal.
The German could have doubled his tally soon after with a glancing header from the corner that just beat the far post.
But just as Albion were heading for yet another clean sheet, Adams grabbed a consolation when his close-range shot deflected past Stockdale in the 85th minute to end a swift counter-attack for the visitors.
Blues substitute Maikel Kieftenbeld also tried his luck from distance in the closing stages, but Stockdale made a comfortable save and the game finished 3-1 to the Seagulls.
1901 CLUB LOTTERY
1ST PRIZE £1000 55203
2ND PRIZE 54768
3RD PRIZE 56417
4TH PRIZE 57499
5TH PRIZE 53751
ALBION HAT TRICK
1ST £500 1726
2ND £50 4758
3RD £25 3400
1ST GOAL TIME 2 MINS