Brighton 1 Derby 2 match report: Seagulls are still pointless as Chris Martin gives Rams play-off ideas

New boss Oscar Garcia has lost all three of Brighton's competitive games this season

The Amex Stadium

Derby County are seldom mentioned among the possible contenders for promotion from the Championship, but on their day they can match any team in the division and this was one of their days. They passed the ball well, created and converted chances and defended in determined fashion when Brighton had their 15 minutes in the second half, and their manager Nigel Clough hopes that it will set the tone for a play-off campaign.

“In terms of giving us confidence and belief this will be very important,” he said. “We're as good as anyone in the league. We're aiming for the top six. There's nothing wrong with aiming high.”

Chris Martin, signed from Norwich City this summer after a loan spell at Pride Park last season, scored both goals against the team with the best defensive record in the Championship last season, might have had more, and looks a useful acquisition. “He's been the one we've been most pleased with in pre-season,” Clough said. “The number nine on his back may not mean much with squad numbers going up to 99, but it does to us.”

But for a late equaliser by Blackburn Rovers last weekend, Derby would have won both their games, and their three points yesterday were well-deserved, although it could be argued that they visited the Amex Stadium at the right time.

Brighton have lost all three competitive games this season under their new head coach, Oscar Garcia, and whether it is a case of a hangover after last season's play-off defeat, the after-effects of the summer's protracted dismissal of Gustavo Poyet or simply the adjustment to new methods, Brighton have yet to pick up last season's pace.

They would point to injuries to key midfield players – Clough admitted that Brighton missed Liam Bridcutt, sidelined with a groin problem - and the failure of Andy D'Urso to spot a handling offence as mitigating factors in yesterday's defeat. But it could also be noted that Poyet's team never lost after going 1-0 up all last season, while Oscar's team have done so in all three games so far, at Leeds last weekend, at home to Newport County in the Capital One Cup in midweek and again yesterday.

They went ahead here after 17 minutes when right back Inigo Calderon, able to play after a red card received against Newport was rescinded, flighted a cross to the far post for Leo Ulloa to make himself a yard in which to head powerfully back across Lee Grant and in for his second goal of the campaign.

That hardly reflected the run of play, which Derby had edged, but the visitors took it in their stride, continued to find space in front of the Brighton back four. Paul Coutts' looping header forced Tomasz Kuszczak to backpedal before he could grab the ball and Derby earned their reward after 27 minutes. Left back Craig Forsyth played a low cross to the near post, where Martin turned Calderon and got in a shot. It was charged down, but the striker's persistence earned him a second chance and he beat Tomasz Kuszczak with the outside of his right foot.

Brighton thought they should have had a penalty after Ulloa took a theatrical tumble over Richard Keogh on the edge of the Derby penalty area and David Lopez' free kick appeared to strike the raised hands of Martin, but D'Urso was unmoved.

Instead of going ahead, Brighton went behind in the opening minute of the second half. Right back Kieron Freeman played a dangerous low cross between goalkeeper and back four, Kuszczak came off his line then stopped and Martin got ahead of Calderon to score.

Brighton reacted. Ulloa's leaping header cannoned back off post, debutant Rohan Ince volleyed wide from 20 yards, Kemy Agustien saw his 25-yarder finger-topped over and Matthew Upson glanced a header wide. But they also left spaces and Martin came close to a hat-trick, while Jamie Ward could have added to the score when he broke away in the final minute but shot across goal and wide.

If I had a dream it would not be this start for sure,” Oscar said. “Like the other games we had chances to score. We must be more clinical. They had three chances and scored two goals. And I hope one day we will have a bit of luck in our favour.”

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
Ashley Barnes of Burnley scores their second goal
footballMan City vs Burnley match report
News
news
News
Sir James Dyson: 'Students must be inspired to take up the challenge of engineering'
i100
Life and Style
Apple showed no sign of losing its talent for product launches with the new, slightly larger iPhone 6 making headlines
techSecurity breaches and overhyped start-ups dominated a year in which very little changed (save the size of your phone)
Arts and Entertainment
Catherine (Sarah Lancashire) in Happy Valley ((C) Red Productions/Ben Blackall)
TV
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

Who remembers that this week we enter the 150th anniversary year of the end of the American Civil War, asks Robert Fisk
Homeless Veterans appeal: Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served

Homeless Veterans appeal

Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served
Downfall of Dustin 'Screech' Diamond, the 'Saved By The Bell' star charged with bar stabbing

Scarred by the bell

The downfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Security breaches and overhyped start-ups dominated a year in which very little changed (save the size of your phone)
Cuba's golf revolution: But will the revolutionary nation take 'bourgeois' game to its heart?

Will revolutionary Cuba take 'bourgeois' golf to its heart?

Fidel Castro ridiculed the game – but now investment in leisure resort projects is welcome
The Locked Room Mysteries: As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor Otto Penzler explains the rules of engagement

The Locked Room Mysteries

As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor explains the rules of engagement
Amy Adams on playing painter Margaret Keane in Tim Burton's Big Eyes

How I made myself Keane

Amy Adams hadn’t wanted to take the role of artist Margaret Keane, because she’d had enough of playing victims. But then she had a daughter, and saw the painter in a new light
Ed Richards: Parting view of Ofcom chief. . . we hate jokes on the disabled

Parting view of Ofcom chief... we hate jokes on the disabled

Bad language once got TV viewers irate, inciting calls to broadcasting switchboards. But now there is a worse offender, says retiring head of the media watchdog, Ed Richards
A look back at fashion in 2014: Wear in review

Wear in review

A look back at fashion in 2014
Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015. Might just one of them happen?

Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015

Might just one of them happen?
War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

The stories that defined 2014

From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?