Brighton moved into a play-off position after midfielder David Lopez's second goal of the season ended Birmingham's 10-match unbeaten run.

Lopez struck after the interval, the 31-year-old Spaniard finding the bottom corner of the net after Andrew Crofts had seen his shot parried.

Birmingham had their chances, Chris Burke firing over before Kazenga LuaLua and Burke were both denied.

But Brighton deserved their win, with Crofts and Lopez both going close.

The Seagulls have lost only one of the last seven outings and are now five points behind fourth-placed Derby.

Birmingham, who failed to score for the third time in five games, are 17th in the Championship table, eight points above the relegation zone.

Blues boss Lee Clark can have few complaints, with the hosts managing 24 shots compared to seven by the visitors.

From Basque Country to Brighton

David Lopez began his career at Osasuna and moved to Athletic Bilbao for €6m in 2007 but left after struggling for first-team opportunities. He has 11 goals in 59 appearances for Brighton.

Lopez struck just before the hour mark, the former Athletic Bilbao man pouncing after Crofts forced Darren Randolph to parry his shot.

Striker Jonathan Obika, signed on a 93-day loan from Tottenham, came on for his Seagulls debut with 25 minutes remaining

And the 23-year-old helped set up a chance for Lopez to double the lead but this time he could not find the net.

Birmingham rallied, former Manchester United goalkeeper Tomasz Kuszczak denying Burke an equaliser with a late save.

Brighton manager Oscar Garcia: "Yes, we are sixth, but I am pleased because we won the match and once again the performance of the team was very good.

"That is all, I don't want to comment further about our position in the league.

"I asked the players to be patient. We had to show Birmingham some credit as they were unbeaten in their last ten matches."

Birmingham manager Lee Clark: "We were a bit frustrated with our work in the final third.

"The quality of our final pass was not up to the required standard.

"We weren't clinical enough but the players have shown me terrific character."

Lineup, Bookings (7) & Substitutions (5)

Brighton & Hove Albion

  • 29 Kuszczak
  • 02 Bruno
  • 17 Ward
  • 04 Andrews Booked
  • 03 Greer
  • 20 Upson
  • 08 Crofts (Orlandi - 82' Booked )
  • 38 Ince Booked
  • 19 Ulloa (Obika - 63' )
  • 21 D. López (El-Abd - 91' )
  • 25 Lua Lua

Substitutes

  • 01 Brezovan
  • 06 El-Abd
  • 10 Agustien
  • 11 Orlandi
  • 14 Calderón
  • 22 Obika
  • 27 March

Birmingham City

  • 01 Randolph
  • 31 Caddis Booked
  • 18 Hancox
  • 17 Reilly Booked (Ferguson - 82' )
  • 08 Mullins Booked
  • 04 Robinson
  • 07 Burke
  • 20 Lee Booked
  • 19 Zigic
  • 15 Elliott (Brown - 63' )
  • 12 Novak

Substitutes

  • 13 Doyle
  • 14 Packwood
  • 22 Shinnie
  • 27 Ferguson
  • 29 Brown
  • 32 Bell
  • 33 Gray
Ref: Roger East
Att: 26,796

Match Stats

Shots

17 6

On target

7 1

Corners

8 6

Fouls

11 10

Live Text Commentary

Full time

Full Time Match ends, Brighton and Hove Albion 1, Birmingham City 0.

90:00 +6:29 Full time

Full Time Second Half ends, Brighton and Hove Albion 1, Birmingham City 0.

90:00 +5:08 Booking

Booking Andrea Orlandi (Brighton and Hove Albion) is shown the yellow card.

90:00 +5:01

Foul by Kazenga Lua Lua (Brighton and Hove Albion).

90:00 +5:01

Reece Brown (Birmingham City) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

90:00 +3:42 Booking

Booking Hayden Mullins (Birmingham City) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

90:00 +3:16

Kazenga Lua Lua (Brighton and Hove Albion) wins a free kick on the left wing.

90:00 +3:16

Foul by Hayden Mullins (Birmingham City).

90:00 +0:29 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Brighton and Hove Albion. Adam El-Abd replaces David López.

88:12

Corner, Birmingham City. Conceded by Tomasz Kuszczak.

88:09

Attempt saved. Chris Burke (Birmingham City) right footed shot from a difficult angle on the right is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Paul Caddis.

87:20

Offside, Brighton and Hove Albion. Andrea Orlandi tries a through ball, but Jonathan Obika is caught offside.

85:53

Foul by Jonathan Obika (Brighton and Hove Albion).

85:53

Mitch Hancox (Birmingham City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

82:09

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

81:32 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Brighton and Hove Albion. Andrea Orlandi replaces Andrew Crofts because of an injury.

81:19 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Birmingham City. Shane Ferguson replaces Callum Reilly.

79:56

Delay in match Andrew Crofts (Brighton and Hove Albion) because of an injury.

77:26 Booking

Booking Rohan Ince (Brighton and Hove Albion) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

77:18

Foul by Rohan Ince (Brighton and Hove Albion).

77:18

Lee Novak (Birmingham City) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

75:30 Booking

Booking Keith Andrews (Brighton and Hove Albion) is shown the yellow card.

75:16

Foul by Keith Andrews (Brighton and Hove Albion).

75:16

Callum Reilly (Birmingham City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

73:18

Jonathan Obika (Brighton and Hove Albion) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

73:18

Foul by Paul Robinson (Birmingham City).

73:09

Attempt blocked. Chris Burke (Birmingham City) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

72:24

Attempt missed. David López (Brighton and Hove Albion) left footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses the top left corner. Assisted by Jonathan Obika.

71:08

Foul by Andrew Crofts (Brighton and Hove Albion).

71:08

Oliver Lee (Birmingham City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

70:44 Booking

Booking Oliver Lee (Birmingham City) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

70:24

Kazenga Lua Lua (Brighton and Hove Albion) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

70:24

Foul by Oliver Lee (Birmingham City).

68:52

Offside, Birmingham City. Chris Burke tries a through ball, but Nikola Zigic is caught offside.

66:10

Offside, Birmingham City. Nikola Zigic tries a through ball, but Mitch Hancox is caught offside.

64:59

Corner, Brighton and Hove Albion. Conceded by Paul Caddis.

64:56

Attempt saved. Andrew Crofts (Brighton and Hove Albion) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Rohan Ince.

63:58

Hand ball by Reece Brown (Birmingham City).

62:54 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Brighton and Hove Albion. Jonathan Obika replaces Leonardo Ulloa because of an injury.

62:43 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Birmingham City. Reece Brown replaces Wade Elliott.

60:39

Corner, Brighton and Hove Albion. Conceded by Paul Caddis.

57:14 Goal scored

Goal! Goal! Brighton and Hove Albion 1, Birmingham City 0. David López (Brighton and Hove Albion) right footed shot from the right side of the box to the bottom left corner.

57:12

Attempt blocked. Leonardo Ulloa (Brighton and Hove Albion) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked.

57:09

Attempt saved. Andrew Crofts (Brighton and Hove Albion) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by David López.

55:53

Foul by Kazenga Lua Lua (Brighton and Hove Albion).

55:53

Paul Caddis (Birmingham City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

54:34

Leonardo Ulloa (Brighton and Hove Albion) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

54:34

Foul by Paul Robinson (Birmingham City).

53:13

Attempt missed. Nikola Zigic (Birmingham City) left footed shot from outside the box misses to the right.

52:36

Foul by Kazenga Lua Lua (Brighton and Hove Albion).

52:36

Paul Caddis (Birmingham City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

50:48

Attempt missed. Kazenga Lua Lua (Brighton and Hove Albion) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the left. Assisted by Keith Andrews with a through ball.

49:45

Attempt blocked. Leonardo Ulloa (Brighton and Hove Albion) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Bruno.

48:55

Attempt missed. Chris Burke (Birmingham City) left footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the left. Assisted by Paul Caddis.

46:33

Foul by Keith Andrews (Brighton and Hove Albion).

46:33

Chris Burke (Birmingham City) wins a free kick on the right wing.

45:37

Corner, Birmingham City. Conceded by Stephen Ward.

45:00

Second Half begins Brighton and Hove Albion 0, Birmingham City 0.

45:00 +3:44 Half time

Half Time First Half ends, Brighton and Hove Albion 0, Birmingham City 0.

45:00 +1:13

Attempt missed. Paul Caddis (Birmingham City) right footed shot from outside the box is too high.

45:00 +0:43

Corner, Birmingham City. Conceded by Stephen Ward.

45:00 +0:09

Foul by Bruno (Brighton and Hove Albion).

45:00 +0:09

Mitch Hancox (Birmingham City) wins a free kick on the left wing.

39:11

Attempt missed. Bruno (Brighton and Hove Albion) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the right. Assisted by David López with a cross following a corner.

38:37

Corner, Brighton and Hove Albion. Conceded by Paul Caddis.

38:36

Attempt saved. Kazenga Lua Lua (Brighton and Hove Albion) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the top centre of the goal. Assisted by Leonardo Ulloa.

38:00

Attempt saved. Kazenga Lua Lua (Brighton and Hove Albion) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Keith Andrews.

37:45

Attempt blocked. Andrew Crofts (Brighton and Hove Albion) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked.

35:50

Corner, Brighton and Hove Albion. Conceded by Paul Caddis.

34:35

Kazenga Lua Lua (Brighton and Hove Albion) wins a free kick on the left wing.

34:35

Foul by Chris Burke (Birmingham City).

33:07

Corner, Brighton and Hove Albion. Conceded by Paul Caddis.

31:53

Andrew Crofts (Brighton and Hove Albion) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

31:53

Foul by Hayden Mullins (Birmingham City).

31:15

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

30:32

Delay in match (Birmingham City).

30:00

Kazenga Lua Lua (Brighton and Hove Albion) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

30:00

Foul by Callum Reilly (Birmingham City).

26:48 Booking

Booking Callum Reilly (Birmingham City) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

26:47

Kazenga Lua Lua (Brighton and Hove Albion) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

26:47

Foul by Callum Reilly (Birmingham City).

25:42

Corner, Birmingham City. Conceded by Stephen Ward.

25:12

Attempt saved. Stephen Ward (Brighton and Hove Albion) right footed shot from the left side of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Bruno.

24:21

Corner, Brighton and Hove Albion. Conceded by Paul Caddis.

24:19

Attempt saved. David López (Brighton and Hove Albion) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Rohan Ince.

22:00

Foul by David López (Brighton and Hove Albion).

22:00

Chris Burke (Birmingham City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

20:59

Attempt missed. David López (Brighton and Hove Albion) left footed shot from outside the box misses to the left. Assisted by Kazenga Lua Lua.

20:07

Foul by Stephen Ward (Brighton and Hove Albion).

20:07

Paul Caddis (Birmingham City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

18:44

Attempt blocked. Andrew Crofts (Brighton and Hove Albion) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Leonardo Ulloa.

17:54

Attempt blocked. Andrew Crofts (Brighton and Hove Albion) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Rohan Ince.

17:25

Corner, Brighton and Hove Albion. Conceded by Paul Caddis.

16:11

Attempt blocked. Hayden Mullins (Birmingham City) header from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Oliver Lee with a cross.

15:34

Corner, Birmingham City. Conceded by Gordon Greer.

10:48

Attempt missed. Stephen Ward (Brighton and Hove Albion) left footed shot from outside the box is too high. Assisted by Rohan Ince.

6:10

Corner, Brighton and Hove Albion. Conceded by Paul Caddis.

5:10

Kazenga Lua Lua (Brighton and Hove Albion) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

5:10

Foul by Callum Reilly (Birmingham City).

0:58

Corner, Birmingham City. Conceded by Matthew Upson.

0:00

First Half begins.

0:00

Lineups are announced and players are warming up.

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