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Thursday 13 December 2018

Duffy walks early but Brighton win derby

Brighton 3 Crystal Palace 1

SENT-OFF: Shane Duffy. Photo: PA
SENT-OFF: Shane Duffy. Photo: PA

Brighton shrugged off the dismissal of Shane Duffy to ease to a 3-1 home victory over rivals Crystal Palace.

The Ieish defender was given a straight red card for thrusting his head into Patrick van Aanholt's, with Brighton 1-0 up through Glenn Murray's penalty, and while they then appeared at risk, Leon Balogun and Florin Andone responded to secure all three points by half-time.

With victory Chris Hughton's team have moved into the Premier League's top 10, leaving Roy Hodgson's only three points above the bottom three and continuing their struggle for consistency.

It was a clumsy challenge by James McArthur on Jose Izquierdo, as Palace struggled to clear their lines and Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Milivojevic comically collided, that meant the hosts were awarded a 24th-minute penalty.

Murray, who has repeatedly given Palace cause to regret his sale in 2015, calmly sent his eighth goal of the season towards the top right corner, and with their growing sense of momentum they swiftly pursued a second.

With Murray hurt after a challenge by James Tomkins in the course of conceding a corner, near the watching referee Kevin Friend, Duffy confronted Van Aanholt, who appeared to exaggerate the slight contact made and watched as the defender was sent off.

The injured Pascal Gross was then replaced by Balogun, and when Solly March's 31st-minute right-wing corner was headed on towards him, with his first touch the substitute struck powerfully on the turn from in front of goal, beyond Wayne Hennessey and into the back of the net.

Milivojevic threatened for Palace when, at 2-0 down, they could still have made their numerical advantage count but saw Bernardo clear his goal-bound shot off the line, and when the hosts responded with the third by half-time, defeat looked inevitable.

In injury time Bernardo sent the ball upfield and substitute Andone, appearing to chase a lost cause, collected possession on the left, sprinted towards the area beyond Tomkins and after cutting inside on his right foot produced an angled finished to extend their lead.

That Brighton had been reduced to 10 men and Palace were continuing to struggle in the absence of the focal point provided by a consistent orthodox striker and goalscorer - Wilfried Zaha and Andros Townsend were again up front - made a quieter second half inevitable.

It took until the 81st minute for Palace to get the goal they perhaps had earned, and unsurprisingly again owing to Zaha's influence.

Drawing a foul from Yves Bissouma, Zaha earned Palace a penalty, and the reliable Milivojevic powerfully finished into the bottom right corner to score what proved only to be a consolation.

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