Match Report: Brighton 1-0 West Ham

Glenn Murray’s volley was the only goal that separated the two sides at the AMEX as Brighton unconvincingly beat West Ham.

The win moves Albion above the Hammers in the table, and gives them their first win since they beat Manchester United back in August. Chris Hughton will be especially delighted with his team’s effort in defence, as they kept their first clean sheet in 10 Premier League matches.

For West Ham, it ends a run of three games without a defeat, and leaves them 15th in the Premier League table with the weekend’s games yet to be played.

Brighton, who have relied heavily on their home form since their promotion to the Premier League, made a uncharacteristic start to the match at the AMEX, giving the ball away and often resorting to knocking the ball long in the early stages.

They nearly went behind in the 14th minute when a well-worked free kick routine by the Hammers led to a volley on the edge of the box by Marko Arnautovic. But fortunately for the hosts, Murray was there to block it away for a corner.

However, despite a frustrating start for the Seagulls, in the 25th minute they took the lead through a Murray volley. Beram Kayal, who today signed a new contract, dispossessed Andriy Yarmolenko on the halfway line to kick-start a counter attack. He knocked the ball off to Anthony Knoackaert before receiving it back on the left side of midfield. He settled himself before crossing perfectly to Murray. He calmly volleyed it past Lukas Fabianski and made it five goals in six for him against the Hammers.

As the first half drew to a close, it was West Ham who had the most of the possession, but the visitors found themselves behind.

Into the second half, things remained the same. The Hammers applied constant pressure to the Brighton defence and should have levelled the score just before the hour mark. Anderson’s delivery from a corner fell perfectly to the head of Hammers centre-back Fabian Balbuena, but he somehow headed wide from six yards out.

After surviving the Hammers consistent attacking pressure, Brighton began to impose themselves on the game again. With 20 minutes left on the clock, Jose Izquierdo replaced Brighton’s summer signing Alireza Jahanbakhsh and provided an instant spark, making his way past two West Ham defenders and re-igniting the Albion crowd.

Substitute Jurgen Locadia had the ball in the net in the 89th minute as it looked like Brighton had confirmed all three points, but the linesman’s flag was raised on the far side.

The visitors were to have one final opportunity as Anderson cut the ball back to Arnautovic where he looked destined to steal two points from Brighton, but the striker could only blaze his effort over the bar.

It was a nervy affair from start to finish for the hosts, but they clung on to keep their clean sheet and the three points intact.

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