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Match Reports

Report: Brighton 1 Rovers 0

Seagulls edge close match on south coast

1 April 2017

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Rovers suffered their first defeat in eight outings as they slipped to a narrow 1-0 loss on the south coast.

Glenn Murray's second half strike proved to be the difference to inflict a first loss for boss Tony Mowbray.

Brighton started brightly with Jason Steele having to keep out efforts from Lewis Dunk and Uwe Huenemeir, but Rovers grew into the match with Lucas Joao volleying over, whilst Marvin Emnes and Jason Lowe both saw shots deflect wide.

The second half was a similarly tight affair but on 67 minutes Anthony Knockaert headed a Liam Rosenior centre into the path of Murray and the striker poked home.

The visitors pressed for a way back as Derrick Williams glanced wide and Connor Mahoney saw a volley deflect behind, but the Seagulls held strong to edge closer to promotion, whilst leaving Rovers still in the bottom three.

Tony Mowbray kept faith with the same squad that had drawn with Preston before the international break for the trip to the south coast.

But against the promotion-chasing Seagulls his Rovers outfit struggled in the opening period as the home side put them under a spell of pressure.

Anthony Knockaert was lively early on. Only an important block from Jason Lowe prevented the Frenchman from getting his shot away, before a Lewis Dunk free-kick was straight into the arms of Jason Steele.

Dunk's central defensive partner Uwe Huenemeier then combined with Knockaert to poke goalwards, Charlie Mulgrew back to clear behind.

Steele denied Dunk at his near post from the resulting corner, before Huenemeier headed over from another set-piece.

On 17 Rovers escaped once more when Steele failed to hold Knockaert's corner, Lenihan in the right place at the right time to clear.

But as the half wore on Rovers started to grow into the game with their best period of play almost resulting in a goal on 28 minutes.

Derrick Williams advanced to the edge of the box before finding Danny Guthrie, he in turn fed Lowe who returned the ball to the full back. Williams picked out Lucas Joao at the back post who controlled on his chest before lashing just over the bar.

Free-kick's and corners from Mulgrew were causing consternation in the Brighton defence. One such in-swinger was missed by David Stockdale, the ball rebounding to Marvin Emnes but his effort was deflected behind.

Then as the half closed in Elliott Bennett got the better of Liam Rosenior on the left, the ball was threaded along the edge of the box from Emnes to Conway before Lowe let fly but again a home body got in the way to divert it away to ensure it would be goalless at the break.

Rovers started the second half seeing plenty of the ball, frustrating their hosts, and that prompted a double change for Chris Hughton's side as Tomer Hemed and Solly March replaced Akpom and Skalak.

But just as thoughts of Rovers collecting more points on their travels were starting to gather, the Seagulls struck in the 67th minute.

Quick play saw the ball shifted out to the right to Rosenior and as his cross found Knockaert he headed into the path of Murray who took a touch before poking home from close-range. The experienced frontman looked suspiciously offside, but the officials allowed the goal to stand.

Brighton threatened again through Murray moments later as he worked the ball inside the box, but Steele was alert to the danger to save low down.

Mowbray responded with three changes in quick succession as Sam Gallagher, Liam Feeney and then Connor Mahoney were introduced. Joao, Emnes and Conway the men to make way.

And they could have been level on 74 when another Mulgrew set-piece caused danger. The Scot's free-kick skimming off the head of Williams but agonisingly wide of goal.

The game looked to be slipping away from Rovers as it became a stop-start affair, the referee's whistle heard far too often.

But as the clock ticked into the final minutes Brighton were nervously trying to see the game out as Rovers camped in and around the opposition box.

However the closest they would come to getting back on level terms was an 87th minute volley from Mahoney, the substitute seeing his effort on the angle deflect just past the post.

The team have no time to dwell on the defeat, they're back on the road this Tuesday night when they face Reading.

BRIGHTON: Stockdale, Huenemeier, Dunk (c), Stephens, Kayal, Skalak (sub March 58 mins), Knockaert (sub Murphy 83 mins), Pocognoli, Murray, Rosenior, Akpom (sub Hemed 58 mins).

Subs not used: Maenpaa (GK), Sidwell, Norwood, Tomori.

Goals: Murray 67 mins.

Booked: Murray 88 mins.

ROVERS: Steele, Nyambe, Lenihan, Mulgrew, Williams, Bennett, Lowe (c), Guthrie, Conway (sub Mahoney 73 mins), Emnes (sub Feeney 71 mins), Joao (sub Gallagher 71 mins).

Subs not used: Raya (GK), Hoban, Akpan, Brown.

Goals: None.

Booked: Gallagher 81 mins.

Attendance: 30,216 (including 689 Rovers fans)

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