Albion’s unbeaten start to the season came to an abrupt end as the pre-season bookie’s favourites Newcastle United made it three straight Championship wins for the north-east giants.
United captain Jamaal Lascelles gave the Magpies an early lead as he quite brilliantly turned in Matt Ritchie’s curling free kick to send St James’ Park into raptures. Yoan Gouffran then saw his thunderous effort from over 25-yards smash the crossbar.
Albion themselves struck the woodwork as Anthony Knockaert saw his snapshot clip the bar on its way over. The Frenchmen would have probably felt he should have buried a chance of that difficulty.
Any chance of an Albion recovery were severely hampered as Seagulls striker Sam Baldock’s two yellows either side of half-time meant the Brighton would have to play the majority of the second half with just ten men.
Former Liverpool midfielder and England International Jonjo Shelvey then wrapped things up for ‘The Toon’ as he saw his magnificent free-kick curl into the top corner in what proved to be a relatively comfortable win for the Geordies.
Newcastle who had started the season with successive defeats to Fulham and leaders Huddersfield have now recorded victories over Reading, Bristol City and Brighton which has seen them leapfrog Albion into fourth place going into the international break.
It was a busy afternoon for David Stockdale in the Albion goal as the Newcastle frontline continued to test the former Fulham stopper.
There had been hope for the Seagulls as they rallied following Lascelles early strike with Glenn Murray having a goal bound volley blocked by the United goalscorer just moments before Knockaert struck the Newcastle bar.
The bright start to the second half was fully jeopardised by Baldock’s rash challenge on home keeper Matz Sels which saw him dismissed less than ten minutes into the second half. After this the result never really looked in doubt.
The Seagulls did continue to fight but to not much avail, notably last season’s star performer Beram Kayal forcing a fine save from the Magpies stopper late in the game.
This proved to be Newcastle’s first victory over Brighton since 1990.
Brighton manager Chris Hughton:
“I thought it (the sending-off) was harsh. If you watch the second challenge, the keeper kicks Sam. He is not that sort of player.
“Newcastle were very efficient but it feels like a missed opportunity. They scored from two set pieces and although they hit the bar, we had the better chances.
“We are disappointed because we felt we had a good chance today and we didn’t pose as much of a threat as we should have.”
Albion return to action on Saturday 10th September at home to Brentford.
What did you think of Saturday’s performance? Does Hughton need to strengthen?