- Jonny Evans heads Baggies into an early lead
- Craig Dawson doubles the advantage
- Sam Baldock makes Premier League debut
- Albion rally in the second half but hosts claim victory
Brighton & Hove Albion fell to a 2-0 defeat against West Bromwich Albion at the Hawthorns and slip to 15th in the Premier League table.
Headed goals in either half from Jonny Evans and Craig Dawson were enough to give the hosts their first win for 20 league matches on a disappointing afternoon for the Seagulls.
Chris Hughton made eight changes to the side that defeated Crystal Palace in The Emirates FA Cup on Monday evening.
Gaetan Bong, Dale Stephens and Jose Izquierdo all retained their places in the starting eleven, but the boss rang the changes across the rest of the side as the Seagulls returned to Premier League action.
The first chance of the contest went to the visitors as Izquierdo was found by Pascal Gross on the left-hand side of the penalty area - but he curled a shot wide of Ben Foster’s left-hand post.
West Brom took the lead just three minutes into the contest. Matt Phillips delivered a corner from the right-hand side, and as the set-piece was flicked on by Jay Rodriguez at the near post, Evans headed home unmarked.
Phillips delivered another set-piece soon after that Dawson headed wide as the home side continued in the ascendency.
Anthony Knockaert’s first involvement of the afternoon was to cross to the back post looking for Glenn Murray, but the striker was beaten to the ball by Foster who claimed well.
A neat exchange between Stephens and Murray ended in Davy Propper’s shot deflecting up into the air, while Izquierdo was then crowded out and penalised after working himself some space in the penalty area.
Murray volleyed over from an Albion break as Hughton’s men looked to have established a foothold in the contest, while Lewis Dunk’s effort was also blocked by Dawson following a Knockaert free-kick.
Propper then whipped in an inviting ball which just missed the outstretched leg of Murray as he made a diagonal run across the box, while Maty Ryan was off his line sharply to deny Dawson at the other end, as the game opened up.
A neat combination between Murray and Gross then saw the latter fire over before referee Martin Atkinson brought the half to a close.
Solly March replaced Izquierdo at the interval, and the first opportunity of the second period came seven minutes in when Bruno let fly from distance to force Foster into a save.
But it was the hosts who doubled their advantage from another set-piece as Dawson met a corner from the left and headed down into the ground before the ball looped up into the roof of the net.
March and Gross then saw crosses cleared in quick succession, before Sam Baldock came on in place of the latter with 25 minutes remaining as the Seagulls made their second switch.
Baldock was involved immediately as he got in behind the home defence and found Murray; the forward then squared for Knockaert but the midfielder blazed over the bar from inside the area.
March weaved his way inside and saw another ball into the area hacked clear before Shane Duffy's header back across goal couldn't find a visiting player.
Propper made way for Beram Kayal in Albion's final change but the hosts saw out the closing stages of the contest to claim victory.
Albion line-up: Ryan; Bruno ©, Duffy, Dunk, Bong; Knockaert, Stephens, Propper (Kayal 76), Izquierdo (March 45), Gross (Baldock 65), Murray.
Subs not used: Krul, Goldson, Schelotto, Hemed.
West Brom line-up: Foster, Gibbs, Evans © (McAuley 83), Dawson (Nyom 81), Hegazi, Brunt, Barry, Krychowiak, Phillips, Rodriguez (Livermore 79), Rondon.
Subs not used: Myhill, Robson-Kanu, Yacob, McClean.