Brighton 3 Crystal Palace 0: Stop the clocks – this was a win to remember, says Gustavo Poyet
Brighton and their supporters had double cause for celebration yesterday after their first home win over arch-rivals Crystal Palace since 1988 and three points that take them back into the play-off picture following three games without a victory.
The Seagulls drew level on points with sixth-placed Leicester City thanks to two goals either side of half-time from Leonardo Ulloa and another in first-half injury-time from David Lopez in front of a record crowd at the Amex Stadium of 28,499.
Ulloa has now scored eight times in 11 appearances since moving from Almeria in January for £2m and Brighton manager Gustavo Poyet praised the Argentinian's contribution. "[He's] the kind of centre-forward we missed for a year and half after we lost Glenn Murray [to Palace]." said Poyet. "He's got a right and a left foot, he can jump, he can head, move well in the penalty area. He's perfect for English football. Can you imagine if he'd been here in August? What a difference."
Murray, the top scorer in the country with 30 goals, was anonymous even when Palace were on top in the first half. The Eagles threatened only once, when Jonathan Parr raced forward from left-back only to scoop Wilfried Zaha's pass tamely into the arms of Tomasz Kuszczak.
Palace would have moved into second place with a win but they paid for the miss when Ulloa nodded on Liam Bridcutt's forward ball after 43 minutes and raced to the far post to head in Will Buckley's cross with the help of a deflection off Jazz Richards. Then Lopez curled a free-kick over the wall and in off the bar after Kagisho Dikgacoi fouled Buckley.
Ian Holloway, the Palace manager, introduced Kevin Phillips at the interval in an attempt to get a goal back but instead Brighton extended their lead with a goal that Holloway said was "the worst I've seen us let in."
Bridcutt, Lopez and Inigo Calderon played a neat triangle of passes before Bridcutt crossed, Andrea Orlandi headed across goal and Ulloa volleyed in unmarked.
Palace had no answer, and Zaha, signed by Manchester United in January for £15m and loaned back, spent the rest of the game firmly in the pocket of Wayne Bridge – a warning of the challenge he faces next season.
"It was pretty tight until we suddenly found ourselves 2-0 down," said Holloway. "That sums up the Championship. The third goal knocked the stuffing out of us and I don't ever want to see that again. We've got eight games left to do better than that."
Poyet summed up: "It wasn't very pretty, a derby, many mistakes, but when you come here you learn to have to beat Palace. It's a day to stop time, and stay there forever. After the day we went up from League One it's my best as manager – by far."
Brighton (4-1-2-3): Kuszczak; Calderon, Greer, Upson, Bridge; Bridcutt; Lopez (Hammond, 88) Orlandi (Crofts, 63); Buckley, Ulloa , LuaLua.
Crystal Palace (4-2-3-1): Speroni; Richards, Delaney, Ramage (Wilbraham, 67), Parr; Dikgacoi, Jedinak; Bolasie (Phillips, h-t) , Williams (Moritz, h-t), Zaha; Murray.
Referee C Pawson (S Yorkshire).
Latest in Sport
Cristiano Ronaldo pays €60,000 for brain operation for 10-month-old boy
Michael Schumacher 'experience' gives F1 legend chance to 'show his character', says Lewis Hamilton
Bayern Munich 1 Arsenal 1 match report: Lukas Podolski goal fails to inspire comeback at the Allianz Arena as Gunners are knocked out of Champions League
The 10 funniest football chants revealed, with poll naming West Ham supporters as 'wittiest in the country'
Barcelona 2 Manchester City 1 match report: Lionel Messi and Dani Alves on target as Pablo Zabaleta sees red and City exit Champions League
- 1 Hells of residence: Inside Macedonia's horrifying student accommodation - where the walls are green and the food is black
- 2 Girl found in the Amazon rainforest with neighbour Grover Morales after going missing for 7 months
- 3 Grace Dent: Who cares if she spells it Barraco Barner? Gemma Worrall is more employable than some bookish arts graduate
- 4 Rampaging elephant smashes up house but then 'saves crying baby trapped under debris'
- 5 Disney's Frozen is 'very evil' gay propaganda, says Christian pastor
Katie Hopkins continues campaign to become Britain's most hated talking head with poorly timed Bob Crow tweet
No EU referendum under Labour: Ed Miliband to reveal that vote on membership is ‘unlikely’ in next Parliament if party wins power
Grace Dent: Who cares if she spells it Barraco Barner? Gemma Worrall is more employable than some bookish arts graduate
Fracking is turning the US into a bigger oil producer than Saudi Arabia
Ukraine crisis: Russia pledges to 'retaliate against sanctions' as Ukrainian president says Crimea vote will not be recognised
The quiet diplomat: Catherine Ashton - recognised and admired in all the world’s troubled countries, yet ridiculed at home