- Dale Stephens gives Albion the lead
- Bakary Sako scores the equaliser for Crystal Palace
- Glenn Murray comes off the bench to score the winner
- The Seagulls will play Middlesbrough at the Riverside in round four
Brighton & Hove Albion progressed to the Emirates FA Cup fourth round after a 2-1 victory over Crystal Palace at the Amex.
Dale Stephens gave Albion a 25th-minute lead before Bakary Sako equalised in the second half, but Glenn Murray came off the bench to grab the headlines against his former club when he scored a late winner.
Chris Hughton rang the changes for the third round tie, as eight players came into the line-up following the 2-2 draw with AFC Bournemouth on New Year’s Day.
Albion were dealt an early blow when Izzy Brown was forced off injured and replaced by Sam Baldock in the fifth minute with Baldock making his first appearance of the season.
Hughton’s men worked their first opening when Beram Kayal found Gaetan Bong out on the left and the Cameroon defender whipped in an enticing delivery towards Solly March, whose downward header was tipped over by Wayne Hennessey.
Palace also had to make an early enforced change when Jeffrey Schlupp came off injured and was replaced by Pape Souare.
The visitors created their first meaningful opportunities of the game when Tim Krul was forced into a low save at his near post to deny Sako before Andros Townsend’s curling strike was superbly blocked by Kayal.
Kayal’s Israeli compatriot Tomer Hemed had the next chance for the Seagulls when he met Solly March’s corner with a bullet header that was straight at Hennessey.
The deadlock was broken with 25 minutes on the clock thanks to Stephens, who latched onto Ezequiel Schelotto’s pass and saw his close-range strike squirm past Hennessy.
The visitors nearly restored parity in an innocuous fashion when Sako broke through down the right, and Uwe Huenemeier diverted the former’s cross-shot just past the post.
March came close to doubling Albion’s lead with the deftest of touches from Ezequiel Schelotto’s pass, but Hennessey was on hand to make a save at his near post.
The winger was involved in the thick of the action again shortly after the re-start when he was picked out by Bong from the left, but the former couldn’t keep his shot on target.
Hemed was next to come close from inside the box when his shot was deflected wide, before Huenemeier headed the subsequent corner over the bar.
Hughton’s men were left to rue their missed chances when Palace drew level on 69 minutes through Sako, whose fierce right-footed strike from distance clipped in off the post and beat Tim Krul.
The Malian international almost found the net again moments later after getting the better of Connor Goldson, but his shot hit the side netting.
Albion broke forward straight down the other end and Baldock saw his shot come back off the post after a sweeping move, before March picked out Kayal inside the box and the latter sent his effort over the bar.
Hemed had another chance to restore Albion’s advantage when substitute Davy Propper’s shot deflected into his path, but his effort on the turn was easily saved by Hennessey.
It proved to be Hemed’s last act before being replaced by Glenn Murray, but it was Baldock who had Albion’s next chance. Albion’s number nine was brilliantly played through on goal by Kayal, but the Seagulls frontman agonisingly blazed his strike over the bar.
Just as the game looked to be heading towards a replay, Murray got the second decisive goal when the ball took a clip off his knee from Huenemeier’s header across the box to seal Albion’s place in round four.
The Seagulls will now face a trip to the Riverside in round four of the competition in three weeks’ time.
ALBION: Krul; Schelotto, Huenemeier, Goldson, Bong; March, Stephens (Propper 61), Kayal, Izquierdo; Brown (Baldock 6); Hemed (Murray 81).
SUBS NOT USED: Maenpaa (GK), Dunk, Rosenior, Skalak.
1ST PRIZE £1000 115825
2ND PRIZE 115986
3RD PRIZE 114368
4TH PRIZE 112082
5TH PRIZE 116395
ALBION HAT TRICK
1ST £250 2222
2ND £50 3554
3RD £25 3043
1ST GOAL TIME 25 MINS