Brighton beat MK Dons to set new club record

Dale Stephens. Picture by Angela Brinkhurst
Dale Stephens. Picture by Angela Brinkhurst

Brighton set a new club record of 17 league matches unbeaten when they won 2-1 at home to MK Dons this afternoon.

Albion led 2-1 at half-time with goals from Solly March and Jamie Murphy inside the opening 19 minutes, before Nicky Maynard got the visitors back into the game just four minutes later.

Despite a few nervy moments in the second half, Brighton held on for all three points to move up to second in the Championship, after Burnley were held to a 0-0 draw at Wolves. Hull are top of the league, ahead of the Seagulls on goal difference.

Albion took the lead after just five minutes when Murphy’s outswinging corner was only half-cleared and March crashed home an unstoppable 20-yard strike which gave MK Dons keeper David Martin no chance.

Sam Baldock then fired well wide moments later and March shot over after cutting in from the right on eight minutes as Brighton looked to build on their early momentum.

There was a comical moment on 14 minutes when Albion defender Uwe Huenemeier’s slip would have let in Maynard but the MK Dons striker also slipped over on the wet surface and the chance went begging.

Just a minute later, Brighton should have doubled their lead but Tomer Hemed, without a goal in seven games going into the game, headed Murphy’s left-wing cross wide from just six yards.

Albion did double their lead on 19 minutes when Bruno found Sam Baldock whose pass took a slight deflection before falling to Murphy and he drilled low into the bottom corner from 15 yards.

March then burst forward and his low shot from 18 yards was comfortable for Martin as Brighton were well on top.

Out of the blue, MK Dons got back into the game on 23 minutes when Maynard fired home his first goal for the club with a low skidding 25-yarder.

The visitors’ Daniel Powell then shot a couple of yards wide from outside the penalty area after skipping past Beram Kayal on 29 minutes as the visitors enjoyed a good spell of pressure.

However, Brighton almost restored their two-goal lead within a minute as March’s low cross caused problems for the away defence but Hemed was unable to flick the ball home from inside the six-yard box.

Hemed went close for the hosts again on 36 minutes when he latched on to Kayal’s pass and ran at the MK Dons defence, before his low left-footed strike was saved by Martin diving low to his left.

Brighton had another opportunity on 41 minutes when Hemed held the ball up, before laying it back to March, who sent a shot flying just over from 15 yards.

The Seagulls then went even closer a minute before the break when Hemed fired March’s low centre against the inside of a post, before Murphy delivered the ball back into the danger zone and Hemed headed wide at the far post.

MK Dons’ Carl Baker fizzed an effort into the fans behind the South Stand four minutes into the second half, before Baldock dragged a shot across goal at the other end two minutes later.

Baldock limped off shortly afterwards and with Bobby Zamora awaiting to replace him on the touchline, the visitors had a penalty appeal waved away when Lewis Dunk challenged Samir Carruthers, with the MK Dons bench vocal in their appeals for a spot-kick.

In a strong period for the visitors, Albion keeper David Stockdale saved with his feet to keep out Carruthers’ well-struck shot at his near post on 62 minutes after ex-Albion loanee Dean Bowditch had laid the ball back.

Murphy had an opening for the Seagulls two minutes later but appeared in two minds whether to cross or shoot and in the end his low effort was a comfortable save for Martin.

March then had a cross-shot pushed over by Martin on 67 minutes, before Liam Rosenior blazed wildly high and wide from Zamora’s lay-off three minutes later.

Kayal then had a shot blocked after Zamora had done well down the right on 82 minutes.

Maynard threatened an equaliser on 88 minutes when he burst past a couple of challenges, before his shot was blocked by the sliding Liam Rosenior in a nervy finish for Seagulls fans.

In the first of five minutes of injury-time, March pulled the ball back for substitute Elvis Manu, who blazed well over from the edge of the area.

Bruno headed clear when MK Dons had a free kick in a dangerous area, before Manu then had another opportunity in the final minute of added time when Albion broke quickly but he shot wide from six yards.

That did not matter, though, as Albion returned to winning ways after three successive draws.

BRIGHTON: Stockdale; Bruno, Huenemeir, Dunk, Rosenior; Murphy (Manu 83), Stephens, Kayal, March; Baldock (Zamora 56), Hemed (Crofts 71). Subs: Maenpaa, Calderon, Goldson, Ince.

MK DONS: Martin; Lewington, McFadzean, Kay, Baker (Church 78), Potter, Spence, Carruthers (Murphy 71), Powell (Bowditch 45), Maynard, Poyet. Subs: Cropper, Hodson, Gallagher, Hall.

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