Brighton earn narrow win over Newcastle as Hemed strikes

A solitary goal from striker Tomer Hemed was enough to give Brighton and Hove Albion a 1-0 home win over Newcastle, the club that pipped them to the Championship title last season.

Brighton goalkeeper Mat Ryan made the first save of the afternoon on the south coast when he tipped away a Mikel Merino volley following a corner.

But Brighton quickly hit back and, after being denied when the ball was thumped clear after a goalmouth scramble, were within a whisker of opening the scoring after 12 minutes.

The chance came when Anthony Knockaert got away from his defender and found Solly March, whose cross was smacked goalwards by Pascal Gross only to ricochet away off Knockaert.

Within three minutes, March put in a dangerous low cross, which was scrambled away by goalkeeper Rob Elliot after Hemed had failed to get a touch.

Joselu dragged an effort wide following a DeAndre Yedlin cross as Newcastle, on a run of three Premier League wins in a row, attempted to break through, and then Ayoze Perez fired over under pressure inside the penalty area.

March was again in the action as he linked up with Dale Stephens and Gross, whose attempted cross was blocked, and then Newcastle’s Matt Ritchie saw a long-range free kick gathered by Ryan.

As half-time approached, a Christian Atsu cross just eluded the stretching Perez, with Brighton looking increasingly nervous when the ball was played into their penalty area.

Chris Hughton’s side, however, began the second half on the front foot and needed only six minutes to break through as they made the most of a free kick routine.

Gross crossed long to the back post, where Stephens was lurking to head down and across to Hemed, who hooked his finish high into the net.

Brighton were within a whisker of a second goal a few minutes later as Bruno’s cross ran all the way through to March, whose angled effort from the far post was kicked off the line by Newcastle keeper Rob Elliott.

Merino saw a fierce effort from outside the area deflected wide and, with 73 minutes gone, Newcastle almost got a freakish equaliser when Jonjo Shelvey’s corner curled against the post with Ryan flying across his goal.

Shelvey tried his luck with a free kick from the edge of the box as the game approached its final 10 minutes, but curled it high over the bar as Brighton held on to secure maximum points despite a couple of late scares, with Dwight Gayle having a low shot saved by Ryan in stoppage time.

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