Brighton 1-0 Wolves: Glenn Murray scores 100th goal for the Seagulls as 35-year-old becomes club’s second highest goalscorer with second half winner
- Glenn Murray scored his 100th Brighton goal as he netted the winner against Wolves on Saturday
- The 35-year-old put the Seagulls in front within three minutes of the second half, tapping in at the back post
- It was his 100th goal for the club as he became Brighton’s second highest goalscorer, overtaking Kit Napier
- Murray, who suffered a concussion at Newcastle last week, is now behind just Tommy Cook in the charts
- Wolves tried to force their way back into the game but fell to back-to-back defeats in the Premier League
When the team-sheets emerged on the eve of this game, Chris Hughton’s decision to place the 38-year-old right-back Bruno against the electric Adama Traore had the potential to be one of the crueller experiments the Premier League has witnessed.
Instead, the Catalan defender rose to the occasion quite remarkably. Not only did Bruno’s diligence, experience and patient defending nullify the threat of the former Barcelona winger, but his confidence grew to the extent that he raided forwards beyond Traore to set up Brighton’s opening goal.
The cult hero with the bald head and the Shoreditch beard powered into the penalty area on the blindside of Traore just after the interval to meet a hooked cross, where he drove a cross-cum-shot that fell to the poacher Glenn Murray to score his sixth goal of the campaign, and his 100th in total for Brighton.
Glenn Murray put the Seagulls in front within three minutes of the second half as he finished off Bruno’s pass at the far post
Brighton fans go wild in the stands as Murray celebrates while Joao Moutinho cuts a frustrated figure for Wolves
It was the imposing striker’s 100th goal for the club as he became Brighton’s second highest goalscorer on Saturday
MATCH FACTS, PLAYER RATINGS, LEAGUE TABLE AND MATCH ZONE
Brighton: Ryan 7.5; Bruno 8, Dunk 7.5, Duffy 7.5, Bong 7; Jahanbakhsh 6, Kayal 6.5, Stephens 6.5, Izquierdo 6 (Knockaert 81), March 6 (Bissouma 71, 6); Murray 7.
Subs not used: Locadia, Andone, Balogun, Steele, Bernardo.
Goals: Murray 48
Bookings: Kayal, Dunk, Knockaert
Manager: Chris Hughton
Wolves: Patricio 6; Bennett 6, Coady 7, Boly 6; Doherty 7, Mourinho 7, Neves 7, Jonny 6 (Bonatini 85); Traore 5 (Cavaleiro 61, 6.5), Jimenez 5.5 (Jota 61, 7), Costa 5.5.
Subs not used: Gibbs-White, Ruddy, Vinagre, Dendoncker.
Manager: Nuno Espirito Santo
Referee: Anthony Taylor 6
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Glenn Murray put the Seagulls in front within three minutes of the second half as he finished off Bruno’s ball at the far post. Click HERE for more from our MATCH ZONE.
It makes Murray, 35, the highest-scoring Englishman in the Premier League this season and his natural instincts in front of goal were once again the decisive factor in turning Brighton’s diligence into a winning formula.
Soon after the goal, Traore conceded defeat in the battle against a man sixteen years his senior as he swapped wings and by the hour mark, he had been hooked and replaced by Ivan Cavaleiro.
Traore’s start was his first in the Premier League this season and this therefore marked the first occasion where manager Nuno Espirito Santo had made a change to his starting line-up. After defeat against Wolves last week, Wolves came out determined to make amends.
Ultimately, they were handed a brutal lesson in efficiency by one of the division’s most awkward opponents. Wolves had more of the play, played with the greater imagination and Brighton won the game with their only shot on target. Sometimes, football can feel rather unfair and once the disappointment settles, Santo will surely take many positives a fine performance.
Managerial duo Nuno Espirito Santo and Chris Hughton share a warm embrace before kick-off on Saturday afternoon
Brighton defender Lewis Dunk battles for the ball with Wolves’ striker Raul Jimenez in the early stages of the contest
Dale Stephens is beaten to the ball by Jimenez as the duo look to bring down a goal kick in the opening 10 minutes
Matt Doherty was a constant attacking outlet for Wolves down the right as Brighton’s Gaetan Bong tries to block a cross
The visitors dominated the opening exchanges at the AMEX Stadium and Adama Traore tried to drive past Stephens
Wolves midfielder Ruben Neves tries a shot from distance but his effort was blocked by Brighton’s Beram Kayal
Only Leicester and Tottenham have beaten Chris Hughton’s side on their own turf since late January – and they are particularly difficult to destabilise once they have a lead to protect. This was Brighton’s third consecutive 1-0 victory and it was born out of organisation and desire.
While Brighton’s forward play was sluggish and lacking coherence, Wolves created the better first-half opportunities. Indeed, the visitors should have taken the lead when Matt Doherty came inside, slid the ball into Raul Jimenez, whose exquisite backheel saw Doherty raiding into the penalty area.
The wing-back had time and space, but coaxed his left-footed strike wide of the post. Wolves continued to threaten and promised to unlock the defence through Ruben Neves’ sliderule pass but Doherty was this time beaten to the ball by Mat Ryan.
Alireza Jahanbakhsh of Brighton reacts after a cross narrowly missed him inside the middle of the penalty area
Wolves defender Willy Boly powers a header on target but Brighton managed to clear the danger once again
Doherty had a good chance to break the deadlock but he cut inside and fired his effort just wide of the far post
Espirito Santo tries to deliver some instructions to his players during the opening 45 minutes on a cold afternoon
Shane Duffy had the best chance in the first half when he ghosted round to the back post at Solly March’s corner
The Irish defender could only head the ball onto the post though and lay in the goalmouth with his head in his hands
Brighton’s doggedness is relentless, summed up when their two most forward-thinking players in Murray and Jose Izquierdo scrapped by their own corner flag to earn a corner.
Yet Brighton were outplayed for long periods of this game by a Wolves team who continue to impress. Santo’s team do not resemble a promoted side, either in their urgency to recoup possession or their quality in dictating play. Conor Coady built play majestically from his centre-half position, while Ruben Neves and Joao Moutinho controlled the midfield. If there is a flaw in this Wolves side, it is their inability to apply the finishing touch.
Wolves have now had 132 shots this season and scored only nine goals in 10 games and this threatens to be their undoing.
Murray wheels away in delight and produces a trademark celebration after giving his team in the lead on home soil
Brighton goalkeeper Mat Ryan ran the length of the pitch to celebrate his team’s opening goal of the game
Jonny Castro tries to find an equaliser for the newly-promoted side as Duffy attempts to get rid of any danger
Neves goes down clutching his right leg after being caught with a late tackle in the middle of the pitch
Neves had a good chance to pull Wolves back into contention with a free-kick around 25-yards from goal
Lewis Dunk made an incredible defensive header to redirect Neves’ free-kick over his own crossbar though
In truth, they could barely have done more to score here. In the dying embers of injury time, Ryan made one of the outstanding saves of the season, sticking out a wrist to deny Ryan Bennett’s high-speed strike from pointblank range.
As Wolves chased the game, Brighton’s resilience only intensified. Shane Duffy and Lewis Dunk were imperious once more, marshalling their backline with authority and steel. Dunk threw a head out to divert Neves’ goalbound free-kick wide and goalkeeper Mat Ryan saved well when Doherty and then Neves struck fine efforts from distance.
They were aided, too, by Wolves profligacy, as Doherty met Cavaleiro’s clipped cross on the run but stabbed wide of goal. Jota then skipped into the box, evading two challenges but his effort was saved once more by the robust Ryan.
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