Albion sunk by first-half strike

Rajiv van La Parra. Picture by Angela Brinkhurst
Rajiv van La Parra. Picture by Angela Brinkhurst

Albion’s winless run increased to five games after they suffered a second successive home defeat, 1-0 at home to Ipswich this evening.

The Seagulls remain fourth in the Championship and Ipswich stay sixth but are now just four points behind Brighton.

Both sides hit the bar, before Ipswich took the lead on 32 minutes. Albion defender Lewis Dunk’s slip let in Daryl Murphy and he fired home off the far post.

Seagulls sub Bobby Zamora hit the bar in the second half but the visitors survived late pressure to hold on for all three points and equal a club record from 1976 with a fifth successive away league win.

After naming the same starting line-up for six successive games, Ipswich made two changes to their starting line-up with Ryan Fraser and Kevin Bru coming in for Brett Pitman and Ainsley Maitland-Niles.

The Seagulls were without six players who started the 3-2 win away to Ipswich in August, with Gaetan Bong, Liam Rosenior, Sam Baldock, Uwe Hunemeier, Kazenga LuaLua and captain Gordon Greer all ruled out through injury. Solly March was also in the Albion squad that day and has since been ruled out for the rest of the season with a knee injury.

Brighton made two changes to the team that started the 0-0 draw at Brentford on Boxing Day, with Connor Goldson replacing the injured Greer in central defence for his full debut and Andrew Crofts coming in for James Wilson, who went off ill at half-time against Brentford.

After a quiet opening, Albion midfielder Beram Kayal fizzed a shot just wide from 25 yards after 12 minutes.

Ipswich then went close twice in quick succession three minutes later. Kevin Bru’s dipping volley from 22 yards smashed against the bar, before Cole Skuse’s deflected effort from 25 yards was pushed round the post by Albion keeper David Stockdale.

The visitors continued to threaten and Daryl Murphy went down theatrically under a Lewis Dunk challenge in the penalty area, with referee Stuart Attwell waving away any spot-kick appeals.

Albion winger Rajiv van La Parra, in the last game of his loan spell from Wolves, then cut in from the left and his low drive was well held by Ipswich keeper Dean Gerken on 23 minutes.

Brighton went even closer to taking the lead on 29 minutes. Tomer Hemed did superbly down the right and his low cross was brilliantly flicked goalwards by Dale Stephens, Gerken pushed the shot on to the bar and Jamie Murphy was then adjudged offside when he knocked home the rebound.

The Seagulls gifted Ipswich the lead on 32 minutes when Dunk’s slip let in Daryl Murphy and he fired home off the far post, with the ball already over the line before it hit Albion defender Goldson and nestled in the net.

The Tractor Boys then almost doubled their lead when Ryan Fraser got in down the left and his low cross was poked against a post by Bru on 38 minutes. Albion went straight down the other end and Jamie Murphy got clean through but Gerken was quick off his line to thwart Brighton’s winger.

Albion made a lively start to the second half and Stephens had a poked effort from the edge of the penalty area comfortably saved by Gerken 90 seconds after the break.

Ipswich almost went 2-0 ahead on 55 minutes when Fraser’s cross-shot was poked goalwards from six yards by Jonathan Douglas but Stockdale was down quickly to block.

At the other end, Hemed was just unable to get over a Jamie Murphy corner and headed over from seven yards on the hour.

The Seagulls made a double change on 65 minutes, with Bobby Zamora and Manchester United loanee James Wilson replacing Hemed and Kayal.

Albion winger van La Parrafired a low shot wide of the near post on 71 minutes, before Ipswich went straight down the other end and Fraser’s powerful strike stung the hands of Stockdale.

Brighton went agonisingly close to levelling on 75 minutes when Zamora half-volleyed Bruno’s right-wing cross against the bar. Fellow sub Elvis Manu then curled a shot wide after a driving run on 83 minutes as the visitors held on for all three points.

BRIGHTON: Stockdale, Bruno, Dunk, Stephens, Kayal (Wilson 65), Crofts, Hemed (Zamora 65), Calderon, Murphy (Manu 77), Goldson, van La Parra. Subs: Maenpaa, Forster-Caskey, Ince, Chicksen.

IPSWICH: Gerken, Knudsen, Chambers, Smith, Berra, Skuse, Murphy (Varney 88), Fraser (Pitman 77), Bru (Hyam 53), Sears, Douglas. Subs: Bilalkowski, Oar, Tabb, Malarczyk.

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