Moore Than Just A Club

Stunning Seagulls Late Show Sees Off Tiresome Hammers

A pair of second-half strikes from Chris Hughton’s Brighton & Hove Albion saw them claim a pivotal Premier League victory against David Moyes’ West Ham United at the American Express Community Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

The Seagulls led early on through Glenn Murray, he has now scored the club’s last four goals in all Competitions, though they were pegged back on the half-hour mark by Javier Hernandez.

But, the hosts kept on knocking at their door and just reward arrived in the second period, two efforts out of the very top draw from Jose Izquierdo, his second against the Claret & Blue Army of the campaign and Pascal Gross wrapped things up.

The highly three points in the complexion of the battle for Top-Flight survival for Brighton was enough to move them up two places to 13th in the table, level on points with West Ham, who stayed in 12th place despite their defeat.

From the start on the South Coast, Seagulls Boss Hughton decided on just one alteration to his starting Xl that draw 1-1 away at Southampton last Wednesday evening.

Frenchman Anthony Knockaert replaced local boy Solly March, up-front the duo of Glenn Murray and Pascal Gross were sure to prove a handful, while former Iron Sam Baldock had to settle for a place on the bench as his team looked to do the double over the Irons.

Meanwhile, Irons Manager Moyes named a completely unchanged team to the one that also drew 1-1 on their last outing, a Premier League visit of Crystal Palace to the London Stadium on Tuesday night.

Inter Milan loanee Joao Mario started his first PL away match, with Skipper Mark Noble and Senegal man Cheikhou Kouyate set to command the midfield area, Deadline Day signing from Preston North End, striker Jordan Hugill was among the seven substitutes amid an injury crisis.

Right from the get-go at the Amex Stadium, the home side enjoyed the better of the play and after what was a fiery first five minutes with Referee Roger East having to diffuse a few situations, Hughton’s men seized the advantage.

It was the first real piece of goalmouth action of the affair, Knockaert broke away with Aaron Cresswell hauling him down, East decided to play an advantage and to what effect.

Gross picked up the ball slipped Murray in behind a sleeping away defence, he remained calm to slide the ball under Adrian San-Miguel and secure the perfect start on just eight minutes.

The surprise early lead could have so easily been double in the minutes that followed against the backdrop of an ecstatic home support, Ezequiel Schelotto picking out Murray in the box, his audacious effort flying comfortably over the crossbar.

Knockaert always looked a threat for the team who had only netted six in their previous ten before the match and he almost won a penalty for his side a short while later, turning Gaetan Bong’s cross onto Angelo Ogbonna’s arm, distance the factor that denied him.

This came in the aftermath of West Ham’s best attacking play of the affair so far, Cresswell bringing a long ball down neatly and picking out the head of Sam Byram with a precise delivery.

With the goal bearing down, having lost his marker, the wing-back failed to find the back of the net, though Chicharito was about to make him forget about it on 30 minutes.

Picking up the ball comfortably outside of the area, the Mexican laid it off to Noble, the Skipper finding Mario to react quickly and flick it back into Chicharito’s path.

“The Little Pea” danced his way to the right of the box and dug out a shot into the far right-hand top corner, giving Mat Ryan next to no chance, it would lay the foundations for a game of stunning goals.

Hughton’s men threatened to restore their lead almost instantly and very nearly did so, both Noble and Angelo Ogbonna missing a cross from the left to allow Knockaert to pick it up, twisting and turning to fire wide, disappointingly for him.

There would be chances for both sides before the break, Knockaert blazing over from a good position for the hosts and Byram heading wide having been picked out by Cresswell again.

But, they had to settle for being level at half-time and there is a little doubt that Hughton would have been the more frustrated of the two Managers at this point, that frustration wouldn’t last for very long though.

The Seagulls looked the more likely early in the second, despite some Hammers pressure, and it was all building up to a pure moment of magic from Izquierdo, who had already netted once against the Claret & Blue Army this season in spectacular circumstances.

Picking up the leftovers of a non-successful cross just outside the left of the penalty area, the Columbian cut in, assessed his options and unleashed a hell of a strike.

The ball never looked to be missing Adrian’s far top corner, evading his hapless dive and sending the Falmer Stadium faithful into delirium, and leaving the players and staff to gaze on in astonishment.

The strike ultimately turned the tide of the affair in Brighton’s favour and Gross, who had assisted his team’s first, was soon running the show in the final third.

Having already gone close twice between the second and third, he was the man to put any suggestion of a comeback to bed and gift wrap the three points for Hughton’s men.

Davy Propper picked him out on the break, the German turning to goal excellently and pulling a powerful effort back across and into the back of the net, way too much pace and precision for any goalkeeper.

Not even the introductions of the returning Michail Antonio and new man Hugill could galvanise Moyes’ boys into looking remotely like they were going to pull anything back on an afternoon to forget in a hurry for them.

The triumph was Hughton’s side’s first victory of any description since defeating rivals Palace in the FA Cup early in the month, while it was the away side’s first loss in the League since two days before Christmas, losing an undefeated run of six matches.

Next up for the hosts will be another crucial clash when it comes to their bid for Premier League survival, heading to the Midlands to face off with Stoke City at the Bet365 Stadium next Saturday afternoon.

Whereas, the East Londoners are also in action at 3 PM on that day, looking to put the loss behind them when they welcome table rivals Watford to the London Stadium.

Hammer of the Match: Javier Hernandez