Six things we learned from Brighton's win against Newcastle

Dale Stephens heads the ball on during the first half. Picture by Phil Westlake (PW Sporting Photography)
Dale Stephens heads the ball on during the first half. Picture by Phil Westlake (PW Sporting Photography)

Tomer Hemed got the only goal as Brighton beat Newcastle 1-0 at the Amex this afternoon. Here's six things we learned from the game.

Sweet revenge

Tomer Hemed heads over in the first half. Picture by Phil Westlake (PW Sporting Photography)

Tomer Hemed heads over in the first half. Picture by Phil Westlake (PW Sporting Photography)

Albion boss Chris Hughton said in the build-up to the game the Seagulls were not looking for revenge after being pipped to the Championship title by Newcastle last season.

However, the win must have been sweet for Brighton. Not just because they got one over on a Newcastle side who got the double over them last season but mainly as it gave the Seagulls a huge three points.

With tough games coming up against Arsenal and Everton either side of the international break, it was crucial for Brighton to get something from the match.

Albion now have seven points from their opening six Premier League games and Chris Hughton feels that can be regarded as a decent start for a newly promoted side.

The victory also moved them up to 13th in the table, just two points behind both Newcastle and Huddersfield who came up with them last season. All three clubs have settled into life in the Premier League pretty nicely so far.

Unsung hero

Tomer Hemed has almost been an unsung hero for the Seagulls this season.

He was again Brighton's only recognised striker in the squad as Glenn Murray and Sam Baldock were both ruled out through injury.

Baldock is yet to play this season owing to a calf injury, while Murray has been struggling with an ankle injury since the 2-0 defeat at Leicester in August.

It's the second Premier League game that Hemed has been the Seagulls' only out-and-out striker in the squad, the other being the 0-0 draw at Watford.

He scored the third goal in the 3-1 victory at home to West Brom earlier this month and got the only goal this afternoon. He has never let Albion down when he has played but almost left the club in the summer transfer window.

If Albion had bought a striker, he may well have gone but he struck his 33rd goal for the club in his 96th match this afternoon. He will be a key player from now until January, when the Seagulls will no doubt look to add to their attacking options.

There was a late incident where Hemed caught DeAndre Yedlin with an alleged stamp but Chris Hughton said there was no intent and Newcastle manager Rafa Benitez brushed off the challenge.

Standing firm

Much was made of the fact before the game that Newcastle had scored headers from corners to win their previous two matches.

Jamaal Lascelles had headed the only goal in the win at Swansea and then also nodded home the winner in their 2-1 victory against Stoke last weekend.

The Seagulls stood firm against Newcastle's set-piece threat, especially as the visitors had quality from the deadball situation in the form of Matt Ritchie and then Jonjo Shelvey when he came on.

The game was decided by a set-piece but it came from the Seagulls with a free kick routine straight from the training ground. Pascal Gross' free kick found Dale Stephens at the back post; he headed the ball across goal for Tomer Hemed to hook home the only goal.

Let off

Albion had a let off midway through the first half when Newcastle failed to take a golden chance to go ahead.

It was the sort of chance that will be taken much more often than not in the Premier League. Lewis Dunk made a mess of clearing Ayoze Perez's cross and the ball fell to Joselu inside the six-yard box. He had just Brighton keeper Mathew Ryan to beat but screwed his shot across goal and just wide of the far post.

Speaking on BBC 5 Live, former Australian keeper Mark Schwarzer said: "He has to score from there. A mistake from the Brighton defence as Lewis Dunk tries some sort of backheel. Good turn by Joselu but he should score. At the very least get it on target."

It was a key moment in the game and proved costly for the visitors who ended up losing the match.

Battle to be number one

There was talk from Albion fans in the build-up to the game about who was going to start in goal, Australian international Mathew Ryan or Tim Krul.

Ryan joined the Seagulls for £6m from Valencia in the summer. After conceding a couple of goals fans felt he should have done better with early in the season, he has produced some sound performances.

He could do little about either goal in last week's 2-1 defeat at Bournemouth but Krul impressed in Brighton's 1-0 Carabao Cup defeat, also at Bournemouth, in midweek.

When Krul's season-long loan was turned into a permanent deal during the week, it meant he was available to face Newcastle and many fans wondered if that would mean he would take over from Ryan as number one.

Ryan kept his place in the team and produced a fine early save when he kept out Mike Merino's volley from the edge of the penalty area. He also did well to keep out Jonjo Shelvey's shot direct from a corner when the Newcastle substitute looked to catch out Albion's stopper.

It was a solid showing from Australia's number one, who celebrated with fans in the North Stand afterwards, but Krul is waiting in the wings to grab his chance if it comes.

In the book

Heading into this afternoon's match, Albion had the fewest amount of bookings in the Premier League this season with just three.

Asked about it in his pre-match press conference, Hughton said it was just a coinidence: "We say 'Don't give away silly free kicks outside the box or in areas where you know the quality of delivery is going to be at its best in this division.'

"That's all we would say. We want to be as competitive as possible in this division and I think it's more coincidence. If we win a very competitive game and happen to get five or six booking, provided they are for the right things it comes with the territory."

Newcastle had 12 bookings and one red from five games heading into the game and Crystal Palace currently have the most in the top flight with 15.

Albion players Anthony Knockaert and Shane Duffy were both booked as Albion picked up a welcome three points.