Brighton got back to winning ways, as the disposed of a resilient Rotherham side to keep the gap back to 3rd to 6 points, after rivals Huddersfield beat Aston Villa at home 1-0. In a game where Brighton needed the 3 points, they put in one of their better away performances of the season, to return to the South Coast with all 3 points.
After a cagey start where Albion dominated possession, it was Rotherham who had the first chance when David Stockdale made a low save to keep out Joe Mattock’s effort. Jiri Skalak was then bundled down on the edge of the area by Semi Ajai, but Anthony Knockaert sent the subsequent free-kick well over the target. Dale Stephens took advantage of a loose ball on the edge of the box, but saw his shot go straight towards Lewis Price. The Millers had a golden opportunity to the break the deadlock when Tom Adeyemi was played through on goal but Stockdale made a crucial stop with his feet. The game began to open up; Skalak was found in space down at the other end, but his rash first-time strike went over the bar. The Czech turned provider from a corner, this time for Uwe Huenemeier, whose header drifted just over the target. Skalak continued his lively start to the game with another corner towards Lewis Dunk, whose header was cleared off the line. Rotherham had another chance to gain the advantage, but Stockdale palmed away a hooked effort from Jerry Yates. Dunk and Skalak linked up well from a free-kick and the former’s drag-back from the byline was narrowly missed by Tomer Hemed. Anthony Forde took advantage of a weak defensive clearance from Stockdale, but he thankfully fired over the bar from a tight angle. Albion broke forward again through Hemed and he flicked the ball on for strike partner Sam Baldock, who was denied by Price from close range. The Seagulls were keen to make a quick start after half-time and Hemed’s shot from distance skimmed the roof of the net following some good link-up play with Skalak. Knockaert was next to try his luck moments later, but was denied by Price at his near post. However, the Frenchman got the goal that Albion deserved for their efforts; Baldock and Beram Kayal were both thwarted inside the box before he fired home past Price with 49 minutes on the clock. After weathering a spell of Rotherham pressure, the Seagulls came forward again through Hemed, who teed up Skalak on the left, but the winger’s strike was blocked by Sam Vaulks. Albion pressed forward in search of a second and potentially decisive goal, as Knockaert linked up well with Hemed, and the latter’s shot deflected inches wide. Skalak was allowed to cut inside from the left and shot just over the target from distance. The crucial second goal did come courtesy of substitute March, who worked his way in off the right-hand side and fired home beyond the outstretched Price, who got a touch on the ball but couldn’t keep it out. Baldock and substitute Richie Towell both could’ve added extra gloss to the scoreline in the closing stages, but neither were able to find the target and the result was 2-0.
Stockdale (7); Three decent first half saves, but a very quiet second half.
Bruno (7); Had a couple of nice runs forward, but it was all about keeping a clean sheet for him and the team.
Hunemeier (7); An excellent return to the team, very busy first half, but a more standard one in the second. Should keep his place over new arrival Vegard Forren.
Dunk (7); Had a header cleared off the line, but hard graft in the second half to preserve the clean sheet.
Rosenior (7); Doing a decent job at left-back; first half was challenging, second more comfortable.
Knockaert (8); Not much space allowed out wide, but took up great central positions and scored the opening goal from a such occasion.
Stephens (7); Controlled the tempo in the second half, as Brighton took control of the game following the first goal.
Kayal (7); Good battle with Frecklington in the centre, and lots of ground covered.
Skalak (7); Lively game from the winger, his first in 6 games; couple of decent chances not taken though.
Baldock (7); Missed 2 great chances, but gave the Rotherham backline an absolute headache with his runs in behind.
Hemed (7); Held the ball up well and linked up with Baldock well; couple of half-chances before being replaced by Murray.
March (7); Fortunate to see his shot go in, but they all count and it wrapped up a fine away performance for the Seagulls.
Murray (6); Got on for the final stages, ads Brighton seeked out a second goal.
Towell (N/A); Late run-out for the Irishman, and could of had a goal late on.
RUFC - BHAFC ; Knockaert (48), March (78);
Att; 8,366 ( 1,006 Brighton)