Brighton & H A 0 Sheffield United 1

Jagielka tightens Blades' grip at top
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The Independent Football

"We have deserved every win," said Warnock after this latest victory, although he did concede that they were lucky in some respects here. A Dean Hammond header four minutes from time that went just past the post saw Brighton spurn their last chance to come away with something.

Warnock's counterpart at Brighton, Mark McGhee, felt that his men gave the game away in the first half. That was when Phil Jagielka scored the only goal and thereafter the Seagulls chased hard but in vain.

United's initial superiority was unfairly reflected by that single goal at the interval. Their willingness to use Alan Quinn and Keith Gillespie on the wings made them attractive to watch at times and they played the ball to feet, moving it around with ease.

However, the decisive goal came through the middle of the field. Steven Kabba, who has five goals to his name this season, was involved in the build-up, but the final honours went to Jagielka. With 26 minutes gone and having tested Wayne Henderson twice in goal through Quinn and Gillespie, Jagielka made a foray through the middle where he played a smart one-two with Kabba. Jagielka's first-time shot was saved well but Henderson was helpless to stop the rebound.

Much in the same way that McGhee believed his side lost the game in the first half, Warnock felt his men had the chances to make the second half a procession, although after the goal only Kabba went close. The best Brighton could do initially was to hit United on the counter-attack and twice in quick succession Leon Knight set up his strike partner, Jake Robinson, who dragged his chances wide.

Frustrated by his partner's efforts, Knight himself finally had a go, and from 25 yards his powerful shot was first fumbled, then grabbed by Paddy Kenny.

An increasingly frantic second half saw the bookings tally hit six - but Brighton could not force the one goal they craved. Richard Carpenter brought a fine save from Kenny before Hammond's miss left McGhee ruing missed opportunities.

Brighton & Hove Albion: Henderson; Reid, Hart (Elphick, 90), Butters, McShane, Hammond, Carpenter, Carole (Frutos, 70), Jarrett, Knight, Robinson (Kazim-Richards, 79). Substitutes not used: Oatway, Chaigneau (gk).

Sheffield United: Kenny; Bromby, Morgan, Unsworth, Jagielka, Alan Quinn (Armstrong, 87), Kozluk, Montgomery, Gillespie, Shipperley (Ifill, 74), Kabba (Tonge, 90). Substitutes not used: Nalis, Geary.

Referee: L Probert (Gloucestershire).