After a successful festive period, Brighton & Hove Albion started 2017 with a tough game against Fulham at Craven Cottage, but another battling performance extended their unbeaten run to 16 games.
Similar to Fulham’s visit to the Amex in November, the Seagulls came back from a goal down to claim all three points with a 2-1 victory. Lucas Piazon gave the Cottagers the lead after the break, but it could have been worse for the Seagulls, had David Stockdale not saved Stefan Johansen’s first-half penalty.
But quick-fire goals from Tomer Hemed (pen) and Lewis Dunk reversed the scoreline, which sparked jubilant scenes behind the goal, as Albion’s supporters celebrated another dramatic victory on the road.
Albion comfortably progressed to the Emirates FA Cup fourth round with a 2-0 home win over MK Dons, which also saw the return of Beram Kayal, who chipped in with a goal and an assist, as Hemed rounded off the scoring in the second half.
Albion’s 16-game unbeaten run in the league came to an end with a disappointing 2-0 defeat against Preston North End at Deepdale, but the Seagulls bounced back at the first time of asking, and it was another exhilarating contest that saw them get back on track.
Anthony Knockaert scored the opener against Sheffield Wednesday at the Amex, but Lewis Dunk’s unfortunate own goal on the stroke of half-time sent the teams in level at the break. Things took a turn for the worse when Glenn Murray saw red for a handball inside the box, which gave Fernando Forestieri the chance to convert from the penalty spot.
But just like he did against Fulham, Stockdale produced another penalty save, but this time at the double, as he pushed away Forestieri’s follow-up effort and saved the Seagulls from going behind. Albion were boosted by Stockdale’s penalty heroics and Knockaert finished at the back post from Sebastien Pocognoli’s precise cross to record a memorable Amex victory.
Albion’s re-arranged fixture with Cardiff City followed, and it was Hemed who produced the goods in the second half, as he turned his marker and lashed the ball home to give the Seagulls a narrow 1-0 victory.
The club’s Emirates FA Cup adventure was cut short by eventual National League champions Lincoln City in the fourth round, as they cancelled out Richie Towell’s opening goal to win 3-1 at Sincil Bank.
The Seagulls ended the month with two new additions, as Chelsea defender Fikayo Tomori and Arsenal striker Chuba Akpom joined on loan until the end of season, but perhaps more important was the permanent signing of top goalscorer Murray.