Championship
BrightonBrighton & Hove Albion2BirminghamBirmingham City1

Brighton & Hove Albion 2-1 Birmingham City

Bobby Zamora hits Brighton's second goal against Birmingham
Bobby Zamora's strike was his second goal in two games and his fourth in his last seven

Bobby Zamora's fourth goal of the season earned unbeaten Brighton a deserved win over Birmingham City to send them top of the Championship.

The veteran striker struck the winner after the break, tapping in after great work by the impressive Solly March.

It was March's thumping shot which put the hosts ahead in the first period.

Although Jon Toral headed Blues level, Brighton stretched their unbeaten start to the league season to 18 games thanks to Zamora's 47th-minute effort.

The margin of victory should have been far greater, with Manchester United loan striker James Wilson hitting the post on his debut late on and the Seagulls spurning numerous first-half opportunities.

March twice had sights of goal before netting the opener at the second attempt after Liam Rosenior and Jamie Murphy had combined to tee him up on 17 minutes.

Toral levelled four minutes later, heading in after home goalkeeper David Stockdale made an unconvincing attempt to keep out Jacques Maghoma's original strike.

Blues keeper Tomasz Kuszczak was lucky not to gift Brighton a second goal when he fumbled the ball over his own line only to be saved by referee Gavin Ward, who spotted a foul.

The visitors, who remain in the final Championship play-off place, could have made it 2-1 in five minutes of first-half injury time played because of a nasty-looking injury to Rosenior, who had to be taken off on a stretcher.

But midfielder Toral's fine left-foot effort went just wide and the Seagulls were back in front two minutes after the restart when Zamora - making his first Brighton home start in 12 years - tapped home his fourth goal in seven games.

Teenager Wilson replaced Zamora with 25 minutes to go and had the best chance to add a third home goal but saw his attempt come back off the foot of the post after running through one-on-one.

Stockdale then had to pull off a fine low save from David Davis in injury time to ensure former Birmingham boss Chris Hughton's Brighton have won all seven of their home games in which they have gone ahead this season.

Brighton manager Chris Hughton:

"Bobby Zamora has a certain know-how. He knows what he can't do. But he is not missing a lot of chances. The opportunities he's had, he has put away.

"He and Tomer Hemed can learn from Bobby. He is very good behind the scenes and does things in subtle ways.

"I think we recruited well in the summer and had a very good pre-season."

Birmingham City manager Gary Rowett:

"Solly March gave Brighton real impetus but, once we got the defensive side of our game right, we had chances.

"Jon Toral equalised and could have scored again before half-time. He's been really good for us and could have had seven or eight goals this season.

"We are still in sixth place. We have lost a couple recently, but performances are the main thing. I'm sure we'll keep improving."

Brighton's Solly March celebrates his first-half goal against Birmingham
Solly March has scored three goals in 15 appearances this season
Jon Toral
Jon Toral was Birmingham's main goal threat and almost put them ahead in first-half stoppage time
Bobby Zamora
Bobby Zamora has now scored 87 goals in two spells with Brighton

Line-ups

Brighton

  • 13StockdaleBooked at 90mins
  • 2Bruno
  • 3Greer
  • 5Dunk
  • 23RoseniorSubstituted forCalderonat 27'minutes
  • 20MarchBooked at 90mins
  • 6StephensBooked at 56mins
  • 7KayalBooked at 85mins
  • 15Murphy
  • 10HemedSubstituted forInceat 83'minutes
  • 25ZamoraSubstituted forWilsonat 66'minutes

Substitutes

  • 1Mäenpää
  • 14Calderon
  • 17Goldson
  • 19Manu
  • 21Wilson
  • 24Ince
  • 27van La Parra

Birmingham

  • 29Kuszczak
  • 31CaddisBooked at 62mins
  • 28Morrison
  • 23Spector
  • 3GroundsBooked at 32mins
  • 8GleesonBooked at 62mins
  • 6KieftenbeldBooked at 35mins
  • 19MaghomaSubstituted forDavisat 64'minutes
  • 20Toral
  • 7GraySubstituted forSolomon-Otaborat 83'minutes
  • 44Brock-MadsenSubstituted forVaughanat 64'minutes

Substitutes

  • 1Legzdins
  • 2Eardley
  • 15Vaughan
  • 17Solomon-Otabor
  • 22Shinnie
  • 25Lowry
  • 26Davis
Referee:
Gavin Ward
Attendance:
27,242

Match Stats

Home TeamBrightonAway TeamBirmingham
Possession
Home61%
Away39%
Shots
Home22
Away15
Shots on Target
Home9
Away5
Corners
Home9
Away6
Fouls
Home9
Away10

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Brighton and Hove Albion 2, Birmingham City 1.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Brighton and Hove Albion 2, Birmingham City 1.

  3. Post update

    Attempt missed. David Davis (Birmingham City) right footed shot from the right side of the box misses to the left. Assisted by Jonathan Grounds.

  4. Post update

    Attempt saved. Beram Kayal (Brighton and Hove Albion) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by James Wilson.

  5. Post update

    Corner, Brighton and Hove Albion. Conceded by Jonathan Spector.

  6. Booking

    Solly March (Brighton and Hove Albion) is shown the yellow card.

  7. Post update

    Solly March (Brighton and Hove Albion) wins a free kick on the right wing.

  8. Post update

    Foul by Jonathan Spector (Birmingham City).

  9. Post update

    Attempt saved. David Davis (Birmingham City) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by James Vaughan.

  10. Booking

    David Stockdale (Brighton and Hove Albion) is shown the yellow card.

  11. Post update

    Attempt missed. James Vaughan (Birmingham City) right footed shot from the centre of the box is high and wide to the right. Assisted by Jonathan Grounds.

  12. Post update

    Attempt missed. Michael Morrison (Birmingham City) header from the centre of the box is too high. Assisted by Viv Solomon-Otabor with a cross following a corner.

  13. Post update

    Corner, Birmingham City. Conceded by Bruno.

  14. Post update

    Attempt blocked. David Davis (Birmingham City) left footed shot from the left side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Viv Solomon-Otabor.

  15. Post update

    Delay over. They are ready to continue.

  16. Post update

    Delay in match Dale Stephens (Brighton and Hove Albion) because of an injury.

  17. Post update

    Foul by Dale Stephens (Brighton and Hove Albion).

  18. Post update

    Jon-Miquel Toral (Birmingham City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  19. Post update

    Foul by Gordon Greer (Brighton and Hove Albion).

  20. Post update

    Jonathan Spector (Birmingham City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.