Brighton and Hove Albion vs Leeds United: Seagulls hit four again as woeful display hurts Steve Evans

Brighton & Hove Albion 4 Leeds United 0

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The Independent Football

Brighton have narrowed the gap at the top of the Championship in style. Chris Hughton’s team remain in fourth place after this victory over Leeds United, but they are only two points behind leaders Burnley.

This was Brighton’s sixth victory in their past eight matches and a team that had forgotten how to score in six matches either side of the new year has suddenly located the whereabouts of the net with a vengeance. Tomer Hemed scored twice as they followed up a 4-0 victory at Bristol City a week ago by scoring four times in 20 first-half minutes. 

Leeds, in contrast, have now won only once in 11 league matches and their inept performance in that opening half will only increase the pressure on Steve Evans, whose team did little to reduce the chances of him becoming the sixth manager to be sacked by Massimo Cellino in his two years as owner.

Brighton went ahead after 18 minutes when left-back Liam Rosenior was pulled down by Scott Wootton. A penalty to the home side is a rarity at the Amex – this was their first for 23 months – but Hemed chipped it home as Marco Silvestri dived right.

Four minutes later, Sol Bamba’s poor pass out of defence went straight to Sam Baldock, who exchanged passes with Dale Stephens and saw his shot from 12 yards deflected past Silvestri by Liam Cooper. 

After 28 minutes, it was 3-0 as Bamba knocked the ball away from Anthony Knockaert but only as far as Hemed, who advanced into the penalty area and slid a low shot under Silvestri. It was  the Israel forward fifth goal in six games after scoring only once in the previous five months.

Brighton made it four in the 38th minute as defender Lewis Dunk outjumped Bamba to head his first goal of the season from Stephens’ corner and ended the half with an almost arrogant spell of possession. 

Leeds had to improve after the interval but Brighton goalkeeper – and Leeds fan – David Stockdale did not have a shot to save until Lewis Cook’s long-range effort after 64 minutes. Cellino will not have been pleased.

Brighton & Hove Albion (4-4-2): Stockdale; Bruno, Goldson, Dunk, Rosenior; Knockaert, Kayal (Sidwell, 78), Stephens, Murphy; Baldock (Skalak, 73), Hemed (Wilson, 78). Substitutes not used: Maenpaa, Greer, Calderon, Zamora.

Leeds United (4-4-1-1): Silvestri; Wootton (Carayol ht), Bamba, Cooper, Taylor; Coyle,  Diagouraga (Murphy, 84), Bridcutt, Mowatt; Cook; Doukara (Erwin, 75). Substitutes not used: Antenucci, Adeyemi, Berardi, Peacock-Farrell.

Referee: P Bankes (Merseyside).