- Pascal Gross nets his fourth of the season
- Connor Goldson makes Premier League debut
- Albion pick up first home win since September
- Seagulls sit 12th in the Premier League
Brighton & Hove Albion recorded a vital 1-0 home win over Watford on Saturday afternoon at the Amex Stadium.
A second-half strike from Pascal Gross on 63 minutes - his fourth goal of the campaign - was the difference in a game that the hosts dominated on the south coast.
Chris Hughton made three changes to the side that drew 0-0 with Burnley seven days earlier at the Amex. Gaeten Bong, Glenn Murray and Shane Duffy dropped out of the side – the latter through suspension.
Connor Goldson made his first Premier League start of the season, and Markus Suttner and Tomer Hemed also came into the starting 11.
The first chance of the game came four minutes into the contest, when Propper found Hemed in behind, and after the striker took it round Christian Kabasele, his dragged effort went across the goalmouth and almost found Anthony Knockaert at the far post.
The Frenchman weaved his way to the byline in the immediate aftermath of the chance, but his cutback couldn’t find a blue-and-white shirt as the visitors hacked the ball clear.
The hosts continued to press as Gross shot over the bar, before Bruno got all the way into the area and Propper volleyed over on the bounce after the Spaniard’s cross into the area.
Solly March then delivered a great cross that was just out of reach of Hemed in the middle, and Roberto Pereyra volleyed wide from Cleverley’s corner as Watford fashioned their first chance of the afternoon.
The Seagulls went even closer to going ahead on the half-hour mark, as Dale Stephens swung in a fantastic corner from the left-hand side that was met by the head of Goldson at the far post.
The defender headed the ball down towards goal but Heurelho Gomes palmed away the centre-back’s effort and the scores remained level.
Knockaert then countered well and cut inside before firing straight at Gomes, before there was a late talking point in the half.
Hemed found himself through on goal and felt as though he was bundled over by Kabasele – the referee waved away home protests and that was the last of a half where Albion had held much of the ascendency.
Three minutes after the restart Hemed went close once more. A stylish exchange with Propper on the near touchline set the striker away, and when Knockaert squared him back the ball after a quick counter, he fired over the bar.
Goldson headed Gross’ corner from the left wide and Richarlison stung the palms of Maty Ryan at the other end as the game continued with a greater openness than in the first half.
But three minutes after the hour mark Albion got the breakthrough that their dominance had deserved.
Stephens did well to win possession in the centre of the field and find the run of Hemed, who then laid it into the feet of Gross.
The German midfielder took two touches to steady himself before cutting in onto his right foot and firing a low shot past Gomes to net his fourth of the season.
The midfielder soon delivered another superb delivery from a corner, this time it was met by the head of Lewis Dunk who headed agonisingly wide as some fans thought his header was about to hit the back of the net and double the side’s advantage.
Hemed turned sharply in the area and was the next to see an effort fly narrowly wide, before the visitors then made three changes inside seven minutes as the game approached it’s final stages.
The goalscorer was then withdrawn for Beram Kayal, and Knockaert fired into the side netting following a pass from Hemed as the clock ticked nearer to the final whistle. The Israeli forward was substituted for Murray with four minutes remaining as the replacement made his 200th appearance for the club.
Jose Izquierdo then replaced March as the fourth official indicated three minutes of added time, and Albion secured a deserved victory in their first game of four over nine days in this busy festive period with Chelsea at Stamford Bridge up next on Boxing Day.
Albion line-up: Ryan, Bruno ©, Goldson, Dunk, Suttner, Knockaert, Stephens, Propper, March (Izquierdo 90), Gross (Kayal 82), Hemed (Murray 86).
Subs not used: Krul, Huenemeier, Schelotto, Baldock.
Watford line-up: Gomes ©, Janmaat, Prodl, Kabasele, Holebas, Cleverley, Watson (Capoue 73), Carrillo, Pereyra (Sinclair 70), Richarlison, Gray (Okaka 77).
Subs not used: Bachman, Mariappa, Wague, Folivi.
1901 CLUB LOTTERY
1ST PRIZE £1000 111425
2ND PRIZE 110730
3RD PRIZE 112351
4TH PRIZE 111150
5TH PRIZE 108920
ALBION HAT TRICK
1ST £600 2585
2ND £50 3729
3RD £25 4912
1ST GOAL TIME 64TH MIN