Albion hit back to beat Fulham

Albion winger Jamie Murphy in action against Fulham this afternoon. Picture by Phil Westlake (PW Sporting Photography)
Albion winger Jamie Murphy in action against Fulham this afternoon. Picture by Phil Westlake (PW Sporting Photography)

Brighton & Hove Albion closed the gap on Championship leaders Newcastle to two points as they fought back to beat Fulham 2-1 at the Amex this afternoon.

The visitors took the lead through Kevin McDonald after 17 minutes but Brighton levelled through Sam Baldock's excellent volley seven minutes into the second half.

Glenn Murray volleyed Albion into the lead from Baldock's cross 11 minutes from time as the Seagulls increased their unbeaten run to 12 games and moved to within two points of leaders Newcastle, who lost 1-0 at home to Blackburn.

Fulham enjoyed a lot of the ball in the early exchanges but Albion had the first opportunity when Jamie Murphy cut in from the left after seven minutes but his daisycutter was comfortable for David Button.

The visiting keeper then pushed over a stinging shot from Murray five minutes later after a quick Murphy-led break by the hosts.

Fulham went ahead on 17 minutes as McDonald's back post header from Stefan Johansen's corner beat Albion keeper David Stockdale, who was on his knees after tripping as the cross came in. The goal was awarded by the assistant referee as the ball clearly crossed the line before Steve Sidwell could hook clear.

The visitors then threatened to double their lead twice in quick succession. Stockdale dived high to his right to keep out Floyd Ayite's goalbound 25-yard strike on 25 minutes, before Fulham broke quickly and Shane Duffy did well to block Sone Aluko's low drive.

The Cottagers cut through Brighton's defence again on 32 minutes but Stockdale was on hand to push away Scott Malone's shot across goal as Fulham took a one-goal lead into half-time.

Albion levelled with a superb Baldock volley seven minutes into the second half. Anthony Knockaert's free kick was headed back across goal by Dale Stephens and then only half-cleared to Baldock, who clinically volleyed home from the edge of the penalty area for his sixth goal of the season.

Tempers flared just before the hour when Steve Sidwell caught Fulham's Tomas Kalas woth a flailing arm and was booked for the foul. The visitors' Chris Martin was booked for his reaction, before Stephens was also yellow-carded for a foul shortly afterwards.

The visitors' Johansen was then perhaps lucky no further action was taken when he clashed with Baldock on the touchline, as both players just recevied a talking-to from referee Keith Stroud.

Ayite stung the palms of Stockdale on 68 minutes, before Brighton went agonisingly close to taking the lead on 74 minutes. Gaetan Bong's cross fell for Baldock six yards out but his shot took a deflection and went back into Button's arms after striking a post.

Albion did go ahead just five minutes later, though. Murphy led a break forward, before Bong and Baldock did well down the left, with the latter's cross volleyed home by Murray as Fulham appealed for offside.

Fulham made a triple substitution with five minutes to go but Brighton held on to register their 11th league win of the season.

BRIGHTON: Stockdale; Bruno, Duffy, Dunk, Bong; Knockaert (Skalak 72), Stephens, Sidwell, Murphy; Murray, Baldock (Norwood 84). Subs: Maenpaa, Hemed, Pocognoli, Goldson, March.

FULHAM: Button; Malone, Odoi (Fredericks 85), McDonald, Cairney, Ayite (Kebano 85), Johansen, Sigurdsson, Aluko (Piazon 84), Martin, Kalas. Subs: Bettinelli, Smith, Ream, Sessegnon.

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