Forest felled by Virgo's header

Nottingham Forest 0 Brighton & Hove Albion 1

Brighton's anxiety to quit the Withdean Stadium for a new home seems to be having a curiously beneficial effect on their away form. Last night, thanks to a first-half goal by Adam Virgo, Mark McGhee's side recorded their third win in four matches on the road.

Brighton's anxiety to quit the Withdean Stadium for a new home seems to be having a curiously beneficial effect on their away form. Last night, thanks to a first-half goal by Adam Virgo, Mark McGhee's side recorded their third win in four matches on the road.

Forest's efforts to continue where they left off against West Ham on Sunday, when two goals in the last four minutes gave them a first win of the season, fell miserably flat as hard-working Brighton left them still uncomfortably close to the bottom of the table.

Virgo headed home Darren Currie's left-wing corner at the far post after 25 minutes, using his 6ft 2in to advantage while Forest complained to the referee, Graham Laws, that he should have awarded a goal-kick. The Whitley Bay official upset them even more in the second half by sparing defender Charlie Oatway a red card in a case of mistaken identity.

The 21-year-old Virgo is enjoying a successful switch of roles, having been converted from centre-back to striker, although he finished last night's game back in defence as McGhee threw all his resources into keeping the points. It was Virgo's goal by which Brighton pulled off a surprise win at Leicester last month.

"The second half was all about protecting the lead," McGhee said. "That's when they really came at us. Our goalkeeper played particularly well, and the defending was resolute."

As defender Danny Cullip now faces up to six weeks on the sidelines with a hernia operation, McGee may be forced into fielding Virgo as a defender.

"We've got to somehow find a way of keeping him up front," McGhee added. "That might mean getting a loan player in, but we don't have the funds to buy someone of experience, so we're looking at young players.

"It's a difficult situation, so we're grateful for every point."

After Cullip and Adam Hinshelwood had stifled the threat posed by Forest's David Johnson and Gareth Taylor, even the introduction of a third striker in Marlon King in the second half could not save Joe Kinnear's side. Indeed, Cullip could have doubled Brighton's lead before half-time, glancing a header wide from a Currie free-kick after the home defence failed to spot his run.

The Brighton goalkeeper, Michel Kuipers, made crucial saves from King and twice from Taylor. But the visitors were fortunate not to have faced the last 35 minutes with 10 men, referee Laws cautioning Cullip for a foul when Oatway, already booked, was the true offender.

Nottingham Forest (4-4-2): Gerrard; Perch, Hjelde, Morgan, Rogers; Impey (Bopp, h-t), Jess (King, h-t), Evans, A Reid; Taylor, Johnson. Substitutes not used: Roche (gk), Commons, Robertson.

Brighton & Hove Albion (4-4-2): Kuipers; Oatway (McPhee, 61), Cullip, Hinshelwood, Harding; Hammond (Mayo, 69), Carpenter, Nicolas, Currie; Virgo, Knight (Jarrett, 72). Substitutes not used: P Reid, May (gk).

Referee: G Laws (Tyne and Wear)

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