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Aston Villa 1-2 Brighton: Seagulls secure first ever win at Villa Park

Aston Villa 1-2 Brighton: Seagulls secure first ever win at Villa Park

Brighton won at Villa Park for the first time in their history, deservedly edging out Aston Villa in a dramatic and entertaining encounter.

All of that preceded a frantic period of stoppage time that saw Tariq Lamptey sent off for a second yellow card and a decision to award Villa a penalty for a foul by March overturned after referee Michael Oliver consulted the pitchside monitor.

“I don’t know what a penalty is now. We could all hear the contact inside the ground,” said Villa boss Dean Smith.

The defeat is Villa’s third in succession at home in the league and also comes at the cost of a hamstring injury to Ross Barkley, who pulled up inside the first two minutes.

They stay sixth, but at risk of slipping down the table with the majority of the weekend’s fixtures still to be played.

Brighton’s first victory in two months does not improve their position of 16th, but they at least move six points clear of the relegation zone.

Styles make matches

This was made so enjoyable by a relentless back and forth, a consequence of contrasting styles. Whereas Villa pressed high, Brighton sat back, looking to break with pace and exploit an occasionally shaky home defence.

Bertrand Traore, Barkley’s replacement, and Jack Grealish pulled the strings for Villa, the latter routinely surrounded by a swarm of blue shirts.

Welbeck’s pace made Brighton’s first goal, yet he was outshone by the electric Lamptey, who was a constant nuisance down the the Seagulls’ right.

In the end, Brighton were simply more clinical, with Villa’s threat diminishing after they went behind for the second time.

Brighton find cutting edge

Brighton had managed only three goals in their previous four league matches, but despite often having to gather men behind the ball, they kept their attacking threat through Welbeck and his strike partner Neal Maupay.

Welbeck’s first goal for the club and fifth in as many games against Villa came against the run of play. With the Villa defence caught too high up the field, Welbeck latched on to Adam Lallana’s poke and ran unchallenged from inside his own half before cleverly lifting the ball over Emiliano Martinez.

Although Brighton lost the creativity of Lallana to a groin injury at half-time and found themselves pegged back soon after, they did not shrink.

And, nine minutes after the Villa equaliser, Pascal Gross rolled the ball across the face of the 18-yard box for March to add the delicious finish.

“Our second was a really good team goal and a great finish by Solly March,” said Brighton manager Graham Potter. “I’m pleased for him because he influences games.

“We’ve had a few penalties against us this season so I’m not sure what is and what isn’t a penalty these days. I know Solly touched the ball so we’re just happy it went our way this time.”

Villa rue wasted chances – and VAR

Villa can point to the misfortune of the Barkley injury and the overturning of the penalty decision, but they also engineered their own downfall through a number of missed chances and defensive errors.

Trezeguet and Ollie Watkins were the biggest culprits, with both guilty of wastefulness in the first half. The Brighton defence also proved resolute, with Ben White’s timely interception denying Watkins inside the six-yard box and Mat Ryan making a number of saves, including an unorthodox volley from a Tyrone Mings header.

Villa’s incision deserted them after Brighton’s second goal, yet they still seemed to have won a golden opportunity to snatch a point.

Oliver pointed to the spot when March caught Trezeguet but, despite the contact on the man being clear, March also got some of the ball, and that was enough to convince Oliver to change his mind, leaving Villa bewildered.

“If VAR thinks it’s not a penalty then just tell the referee it’s not a penalty,” said Smith. “It wasn’t given so we have to take it on the chin.

“I don’t think we were bad. We missed chances and we’ve made big mistakes for their goals. We have to defend much better. Brighton were a threat on the counter but I wasn’t overly concerned.

Source: BBC

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