Brighton 1, Newcastle United 2: Late fightback stuns Albion and sends the Magpies top

Albion celebrate after Glenn Murray put them ahead from the penalty spot against Newcastle United. Picture by PW Sporting Pics
Albion celebrate after Glenn Murray put them ahead from the penalty spot against Newcastle United. Picture by PW Sporting Pics

A bizarre equaliser from Mohamed Diame and late winner from substitute Ayoze Perez helped Newcastle United leapfrog Brighton & Hove Albion at the top of the Championship tonight.

The hosts led through Glenn Murray's 14th-minute penalty and looked as though they would be heading four points clear at the top of the table until the dramatic late turnaround from the visitors.

Glenn Murray give Brighton & Hove Albion the lead from the penalty spot against Newcastle United. Picture by PW Sporting Pics

Glenn Murray give Brighton & Hove Albion the lead from the penalty spot against Newcastle United. Picture by PW Sporting Pics


The fightback started in the 81st minute in extremely lucky circumstances as Christian Atsu's wayward shot took a deflection and then came off Diame's heel and flicked up into the roof of the net.


With Albion still reeling, the hosts then pinched all three points with a minute left as Perez swept home a cross from left. It stunned a season-best crowd of 30, 230 at the Amex, but sent 3,000 of them into raptures.


Chris Hughton kept his faith in his in-form starting XI that overcame Reading on Saturday and also named an unchanged bench.


Their opponents made two changes from their 2-2 draw against Bristol City at the weekend, with Yoan Gouffran and Diame replacing striker Aleksnadar Mitrovic and Perez, as an offset front two.


With a thunderous atmosphere from the entire ground, the opening minutes saw Albion take control and on five minutes a teasing Sebastien Pocognoli crossed was crucially headed away from Glenn Murray in the box.


Just two minutes later, Karl Darlow was called in action as he got down to beat away a sweetly-struck Bruno volley that arrived at a superb height for him 25 yards out.


The chances kept coming as the crowd anticipation grew, the best coming on 13 minutes when a neatly-worked free kick between Jamie Murphy and Anthony Knockaert saw the latter chip the ball over the wall, but Sam Baldock was denied.


But from the resulting corner, Ciaran Clark was adjudged to have hauled Murray down in the box and much to the fury of the Newcastle bench, Robert Madley pointed to the spot.
Murray picked himself up and sent Darlow the wrong way to send the Amex into raptures.


The home side were then forced into an early change as Pocognoli was forced off with what looked like a re-occurrence of his groin injury and replaced by Fikayo Tomori.


The visitors' first real effort came on the 20-minute mark when Matt Ritchie's cross-come-shot clipped the top of the bar with David Stockdale routed to the spot.


As Newcastle rallied, they began to carve out chances and Ritchie was furious at team-mate Diame as he felt he impeded him when he was in a good position in the box.


Just before the half-hour mark, Yoan Gouffran tested Stockdale with a fierce low strike from outside the box, but the Albion keeper managed to just hold it.


DeAndre Yedlin then escaped with just a booking as Baldock ran across him trying to latch onto a long ball and looked to be clean through, before going down. The Newcastle right-back was clearly the last man, but Madley opted for a booking.


As tempers began to flare, United keeper Darlow pulled off a cool save four minutes before half-time as he pushed away a Murray volley which was flying into the net.


But Stockdale was to have the last say and preserve Albion's half-time lead as he fisted away Atsu's effort from ten yards which was virtually the last kick of the half.


With a minute of the first half, Darlow came and missed a free kick and Lewis Dunk's header was hooked off the line by Paul Dummet, before Darlow had to beat away a Knockaert shot after a cut-back in the box.


Stockdale almost gifted the visitors an equaliser on 55 minutes as he simply passed the ball to Gouffran on the edge of the box, but somehow recovered to block away his opponent's effort.


Knockaert continued to cause problems down the right, but he couldn't quite link up with Murray's runs as he attempted to pick out the striker in the box on numerous occasions.


Past Albion tormentor Daryl Murphy was thrown on by Benitez and he forced Stockdale into action immediately, but his firm header from a corner was a simple take.


Murphy's flicked header was then turned around the post by Stockdale on 80 minutes and from the resulting corner, Newcastle equalised in unconventional fashion.


Atsu's shot was flying wide, but took a deflection in the box and then came off Diame's heel and flicked up over Stockdale with Tomori's attempted header only putting the ball into the roof of the net.


And disaster struck on 89 minutes as Atsu broke down the left and substitute Perez side-footed home the winner from 12 yards.


Brighton: Stockdale; Bruno, Duffy, Dunk, Pocognoli (Tomori 18); Knockaert (March 87), Stephens, Sidwell, Murphy; Baldock (Kayal 81), Murray. Unused subs: Walton, Huenmeier, Hemed, Akpom.


Newcastle United: Darlow; Yedlin, Lascelles, Clark, Dummett; Ritchie, Shelvey, Colback (Murphy 74), Atsu; Diame, Gouffran (Perez 81). Unused: Elliot, Hanley, Anita, Gamez, Mitrovic.


Attendance: 30, 230.