Glenn Murray strikes late to sink former club Palace and see Brighton through to FA Cup fourth round

Brighton and Hove Albion 2 Crystal Palace 1: Bakary Sakho's stunning strike looked to have forced a replay after Stephen Dales' opener but Murray's 87th-minute goal clinched victory for the hosts

Jim Daly
Amex Stadium
Monday 08 January 2018 22:27 GMT
Glenn Murray bundles in the winner for Brighton
Glenn Murray bundles in the winner for Brighton (Getty)

Of course it was Glenn Murray. The Brighton striker bundled in a late winner here at the Amex Stadium to give his side an FA Cup third round win over their arch rivals – and his former club – Crystal Palace.

On the night when the Video Assistant Referee made its debut in a competitive match in England, the only thing that needed closely looking at again was Palace’s poor defending as 34-year-old Murray ghosted in at the back post, unmarked, to prod home the winner with two minutes remaining.

Although there were suggestions it may have gone in off his hand, the VAR deemed this was not the case as referee Andre Marriner stuck by his decision to award the goal.

Wayne Hennessey asserts himself to punch clear a Brighton delivery
Wayne Hennessey asserts himself to punch clear a Brighton delivery (Getty)

Afterwards Murray insisted: “It wasn’t my arm, I think VAR would have pulled me back if it was. I just needed to get something on it and luckily I did, I think I got my hip or my knee or something on it. As soon as I did it I knew it wasn’t my arm, there was no doubt about it for me.”

Bakary Sako had earlier brought Palace level in the second half with a superb strike from distance after Dale Stephens’ first-half opener.

The forward’s stunning shot was the only real moment of note in a relatively drab game but as with many Palace performances this season, the visitors came alive after the beak and equalised through Sako’s fifth of the season.

The Seagulls had plenty of chances to restore their lead before Murray’s later winner, with substitute Sam Baldock hitting the post in the second half and blazing over when it seemed easier to score. Palace pressed for a late equaliser but Tim Fosu-Mensah and Sako both saw efforts flashed across goal while Berma Kayal also fired over from inside the box down the other end.

Dale Stephens wheels away in celebration after opening the scoring
Dale Stephens wheels away in celebration after opening the scoring (Getty)

Just 14,507 turned up to the Amex Stadium to watch the second of three meetings between the two sides this season and in some ways the low turnout was a shame given their famously misunderstood rivalry started in the FA Cup back in 1976.

Indeed, this was the first time Palace and Brighton had met each other in the Cup since those fierce meetings 42 years ago. Back then a Brighton penalty was controversially ordered to be re-taken after a Palace player had encroached in the box; the retake was missed and the Eagles won. This time around, though, there was no such controversy for the VAR system to be tested with.

Bakary Sako celebrates after drawing his side level
Bakary Sako celebrates after drawing his side level (Getty)

It wasn’t just the Brighton fans who didn’t seem particularly bothered by this late night FA Cup clash, with large segments of the home ends left empty. Both managers made sweeping changes – 12 in all between the two teams. Both managers were also forced into more changes early on as Izzy Brown and Jeffrey Schlupp hobbled off injured and were replaced by Baldock and Pape Souare respectively, the latter making only his third appearance since returning from a year out with a broken jaw and thigh sustained in a car accident.

But it was another substitute who settled it, with Murray’s late goal securing Brighton a trip to Middlesbrough in the next round of the Cup.

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