Six things we learned from Brighton v Huddersfield

Florin Andone is tackled by Terence Kongolo. Picture by PW Sporting Photography
Florin Andone is tackled by Terence Kongolo. Picture by PW Sporting Photography

Brighton & Hove Albion registered their first Premier League win of 2019 with a 1-0 victory against Huddersfield yesterday. Here's six things we learned from the game.

Performing under pressure

Referee Mike Dean. Picture by PW Sporting Photography

Referee Mike Dean. Picture by PW Sporting Photography

Brighton captain Lewis Dunk praised the Seagulls for performing under pressure to register their first Premier League win of 2019.

Dunk admitted it was a must-win game and there were a few nerves in the first half after a run of two points from seven games left Albion just two points above the relegation zone.

Brighton dominated the second period and Florin Andone's header earned all three points. The win moved them five points clear of third-from-bottom Cardiff, who lost 2-0 away to Wolves.

Albion got back to being hard to play against and ground out a 1-0 win - just like they did in October when they won three games by that scoreline.

A couple more wins from their remaining ten games should be enough for Brighton to stay in the Premier League for a third successive season.

Too safe in the first half?

The opening 45 minutes was a lacklustre affair with chances few and far between.

Albion fans got frustrated as the team sat back and the only effort of note was when Alireza Jahanbakhsh crashed a shot against the bar from distance.

At the other end, Mathew Ryan had to deny Alex Pritchard and Juninho Bacuna from distance but it was a first half low on quality.

Former Arsenal Ladies and England international said on BBC at the break about Brighton: "When you look at their home form it kept them up last season. They have brought in some players but not really kicked on. They stay in games, but I want them to be more attacking and go for it, they are still playing so safe."

The Seagulls showed more attacking intent in the second period and deservedly got all three points when Florin Andone headed home the only goal late on.

Instant impact

Florin Andone returned from suspension to get the only goal of the game 11 minutes from time.

The Romanian international is all-action and a livewire for opposition defenders to deal with.

His introduction brought more pace and energy into Albion's game and he had already had a shot well saved by Jonas Lossl before he headed the only goal from an excellent Anthony Knockaert cross.

Jose Izquierdo, just back from injury, also came off the bench and he brings more pace to the Albion line-up too.

The duo give Chris Hughton more options for the run-in as Brighton battle for Premier League survival.

A welcome clean sheet

Brighton kept their sixth clean sheet of the season yesterday as they limited the Terriers' chances.

Huddersfield's main opportunities were from distance, apart from a header just after Florin Andone's goal when Steve Mounie perhaps should have equalised but was denied by Mathew Ryan.

Bernardo returned at left-back in place of Gaetan Bong and got forward well down the left and also had penalty appeals waved away late on.

Shane Duffy was dominant in the air and Lewis Dunk was composed as usual, while Martin Montoya was largely untroubled at right-back.

Ryan made a few straight-forward saves and a target for the Albion backline now is to try to better the Seagulls' total of ten clean sheets from last season.

Jahanbakhsh on song

Iran international Alireza Jahanbakhsh produced his best performance in an Albion shirt yesterday and could easily have been named man of the match (which went to Shane Duffy).

The winger was lively throughout and always looked to get Albion on the front foot and moving forward.

He was unlucky to see a 25-yard shot crash off the bar in the first half and was denied by Jonas Lossl in the second period.

It's been somewhat of a stop-start season for the 25-year-old who had just forced his way into the starting line-up when he suffered a hamstring injury in early November.

He then linked up with Iran for the Asian Cup and yesterday was his first Premier League start since suffering the hamstring injury away to Everton.

Jahanbakhsh did himself no harm and will hope to get more starts throughout the rest of the season, while also looking to add more goals and assists to his game.

Dean has to wait for his century

Referee Mike Dean is still waiting to brandish his 100th red card in the Premier League.

Dean took charge of his first Premier League match in 2000 and has since been the man in the middle for 475 top-flight games, booking 1,719 players and sending off 99.

Fans were wondering if his 100th dismissal would come at the Amex but the 50-year-old showed just four yellow cards.

Dean is well known to Brighton fans after sending-off midfielder Dale Stephens in their Championship promotion-decider at Middlesbrough in 2016. Albion needed to win that game to go up automatically but it finished 1-1 and Brighton then lost in the semi-finals of the Championship play-offs.

The Seagulls went up the following season and Dean has now taken charge of six Albion games in the top flight.

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