It was a case of ‘don’t choke’ on Monday night, after Brighton’s promotion rivals all picking up points to put pressure on the Seagulls, as they faced a out-of-form Leeds. Well they held their nerve well, and came away with a huge 3 points, plus an extra 4 goals on to the goal difference, which looks a lot better than what it had been just a few weeks ago. Although Brighton had basically won the game within the opening 38 minutes, they still had to work hard for their win, with Leeds trying to wrestle their way back into the game, but unfortunalty for them and their loyal away support, they couldn’t take any chances which fell their way, which won’t do them any good going forward into what is seemly becoming more of a relegation battle.
The game started lively with both teams looking to get a early grip on the game, and Leeds were first to do that with some quick passing which lead to the first decision of the evening; after a good pass from Alex Mowatt to Souleymane Doukara, Lewis Dunk seemed to block his path off after the striker touched the ball past him, but the referee gave nothing and waved away the appeals. The referee did give a penalty however 10 minutes later when Liam Rosenior was fouled in the box by Scott Wotton, after the defender did well to run down the left and cut into the box. Tomer Hemed stepped up for the spot kick, and cheekily chipped the ball down the middle, much to the dispair of keeper Marco Silvestri who was close to getting a leg to it. Beram Kayal went closest next, after a lay-off free-kick from Dale Stephens but it was well saved by Silvestri as he tipped it round the post. Sol Bamba gave away the ball to Sam Baldock in the Leeds half cheaply, and after playing a one-two with Stephens, Baldock’s attempted square to Hemed was deflected in past Silvestri by Liam Cooper to make it 2-0. Jamie Murphy has a wonderful chance to make it 3, had he composed himself better when put through by Hemed, but his effort was too central and was comfortably saved. Hemed did make it 3 just moments later, after a terrible clearance from Bamba allowed him to run onto the ball and take it into the box, before blazing the ball underneath Silvestri for his 2nd of the game and 11th of the season. Dunk got in on the goal scoring act when he headed in his first of the season, after a well-taken Stephens corner went deep into the box. Half-time couldn’t of sounded better for a Leeds side who were absolutely atrocious defensively. Leeds first real chance came from a Mowatt free-kick, which was deflected over by the wall, but had David Stockdale scrambling. Mowatt had another chance to gain some pride, but he shot high and wide when put through by Toumani Diagouraga. Charlie Taylor had a long-range shot not much later, but it was comfortably saved by Stockdale. Lewie Coyle weaved his way through the Albion defence and his half-volley was just wide of Stockdale’s post. Jiri Skalak had the best chance of the game, when he beat the offside trap and ran onto Bruno’s exceptional through ball, but he decided to round the keeper while 1-on-1 instead of placing the ball, which allowed Bamba to cover and get a tackle in before he could get his shot away. The final whistle went, and although it turned out to be a relatively easy win for the Seagulls, they were still made to work for the win during a much better Leeds performance in the 2nd half.
Stockdale (7); Not troubled too much by any of the Leeds free-kicks and was on hand to save well from Leeds’s couple of shots on target.
Bruno (7); Not too much for him to do defensively or offensively, but did well when he was needed for either part of the game.
Goldson (7); Had a hard task keeping tabs on Doukara, but managed well.
Dunk (8); Maybe should of been penalised for the penalty appeal, but took his goal well, and was defensively sound in the second half to quell any chance of a Leeds fight back.
Rosenior (7); Won the penalty, and had a good couple of other runs which produced chances; defensively was good as always.
Knockaert (7); Lively as always, but couldn’t get much going; switched wings a couple of times to freshen things up.
Kayal (7); Rock-solid again and a tidy game; nice passing and was on hand to support the defence when needed.
Stephens (7); Semi-assist for the own goal after his attempted square to Hemed, but overall it was a solid performance in the midfield which was largely controlled by Leeds.
Murphy (7); Little quiet at times, but when he was given the chance to go for a run, he wasn’t afraid to take on the defence.
Baldock (7); Hard-working as usual, should of been rewarded with a goal, but nothing really fell his way; good supporting of Hemed however.
Hemed (9); Another outstanding performance from the Israeli; cheeky penalty was too close for comfort, but his 2nd was well-taken which left Silvestri hopeless.
Wilson (6); On for Baldock; good runs in behind, but the solid Bamba was alert to sniff out the danger.
Skalak (5); On for Hemed; glorious chance to open his Albion account, but couldn’t take it.
Sidwell (5); On for the last few minutes for Kayal.
Brighton - Leeds; Hemed (18pen, 28), Cooper (22 og), Dunk (38)