Match Report – Brighton & Hove Albion 0-1 Southampton

Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg’s second-half winner saw Southampton claim an important victory away at Brighton & Hove Albion. The win moves the Saints five points ahead of Cardiff, who play Chelsea on Sunday.

Brighton improved after a poor first-half but were unable to find an equalising goal, and remain in the battle to avoid the drop.

Both sides would have seen this encounter as a prime opportunity to gain a crucial three points in the bid to secure Premier League survival, but despite this, Chris Hughton’s side were their usual cautious selves as the visitors controlled possession in the early stages.

Ralph Hasenhuttl deployed his team in a narrow 4-4-2 system, which allowed Danny Ings and Nathan Redmond in particular to utilise their pace in pockets of space around the Brighton defence. It was Redmond who produced the game’s first real effort at goal – cutting inside Martin Montoya before firing a strike straight at Mathew Ryan.  

Albion struggled to gain a foothold as they found themselves plagued by sloppy and misplaced passes. Yves Bissouma has sparked his Brighton career into life since the turn of the year and was it was the midfielder who tried to drag his team into the match with driving and direct runs from midfield – most of which culminated with a shot dragged wide from distance.

As the half drew to a close it took a couple of crucial blocks from Bernardo to deny Southampton from opening the scoring – the latter of which coming after Stuart Armstrong found himself free on the edge of the penalty area.

There seemed to be little increase in tempo from the Seagulls after the break, and on 53 minutes it was their opponents who broke the deadlock. Bissouma was dispossessed which allowed for the Saints’ danger-man Redmond to charge forward. The Englishman slipped in Hojbjerg who dinked the ball over Ryan into the far corner.

Going behind was perhaps what Brighton needed to inject some urgency into their performance, and on the hour mark Anthony Knockaert looked to repeat his wonder-strike against Crystal Palace but curled it just past the post.

The hosts had only scored more than one goal once in their last 12 outings at the Amex, and they would need to improve that record if they were to produce a turnaround. Solly March, one of the heroes from the FA Cup triumph over Millwall, was introduced to proceedings and suddenly Albion were on top and pushing hard for an equaliser.

An equaliser which was agonisingly close as Montoya of all people cut inside and with his weaker foot thundered a shot against the crossbar. Minutes later and Bernardo volleyed against the side-netting. A leveller seemed a matter of when, not if.

But time ticked on and still the goal wouldn’t come. Substitute Jurgen Locadia went close, but his shot on the turn was comfortable for Angus Gunn. The Seagulls huffed and puffed but the visitors endured and saw out a nervy finish to secure the win.

Leave a Comment