Glenn Murray scored his fifth goal of the season to give Brighton victory over West Ham in an entertaining Premier League match at the Amex.
Murray stroked home Beram Kayal’s excellent cross from the left on 25 minutes for the only goal of the game.
The Hammers responded positively, with Marko Arnautovic threatening to equalise before half-time.
The visitors continued to press in the second half, but Brighton held on to claim all three points.
Fabian Balbuena had the Hammers’ best chance, heading Felipe Anderson’s whipped corner wide from four yards out.
And Arnautovic lifted a late shot over the crossbar after good work down the left.
The hosts had opportunities to extend their lead, though, and Murray twice headed over the crossbar.
But his first-half goal was ultimately enough for the Seagulls to secure only their second win of the season.
Murray the difference again
Murray was Brighton’s standout performer once again, hitting his 99th goal for the club in another impressive display.
Only Chelsea playmaker Eden Hazard has scored more Premier League goals than him this season, while Harry Kane and Jamie Vardy are the only Englishman to have hit more in 2018.
And the 35-year-old has now scored six times against the Hammers – twice more than against any other opponent.
Seeing his name on the scoresheet has become the norm – he scored in the shock 3-2 victory over Manchester United, twice in a 2-2 draw with Fulham and once in a 2-2 draw with Southampton.
His latest goal helped Brighton go 12th in the table.
Brighton’s defence hold firm
The hosts had to survive a nervous second half, though, as West Ham piled on the pressure in search of an equaliser.
The visitors had 17 shots in total with six blocked, while goalkeeper Mat Ryan made four saves.
Shane Duffy, Lewis Dunk and Kayal were pressed into action for the Seagulls, blocking five shots between them and each making five clearances.
They were clinging on at times – and captain Bruno even needed an energy gel – delivered by a ball boy – late in the second half.
But despite the pressure they created chances of their own and could easily have won by more.
Hammers impressive in defeat
West Ham could argue they deserved to take something from the game, though, as they peppered Brighton’s goal for much of the second half.
But they fell short in their attempt to secure back-to-back away league wins for the first time since February 2017.
Arnautovic – with five – had more shots than anyone else on the pitch, but it was Balbuena who squandered the best chance to equalise.
Declan Rice impressed in midfield and Anderson was bright again – making six key passes – but he too shot wastefully over the bar.
Defeat ended a run of four games without defeat, but West Ham’s performance was full of positives.
Man of the match – Glenn Murray (Brighton)
A favourable opponent – the best of the stats
- Brighton have won all four of their home top-flight matches against West Ham.
- West Ham have lost all three of their Premier League meetings with Brighton, losing with a different manager each time (Slaven Bilic, David Moyes and Manuel Pellegrini).
- Murray has scored 12 Premier League goals for Brighton in 2018 – the only Englishmen with more this calendar year are Kane (17) and Vardy (14).
- Brighton full-back Bruno became just the second outfield player in the past five seasons to start a Premier League game aged 38 or older. The other was Gareth McAuley.
- West Ham have lost seven of their past 10 away Premier League games (W2 D1).
- 27% of Brighton’s wins in the Premier League have been against West Ham (3 of 11).
‘We were better than Brighton’ – what they said
Brighton manager Chris Hughton on Sky Sports: “As the game went on we rode our luck but sometimes you need that. It’s a first clean sheet of the season for us and you need a goalscorer. In the end it was our night.
“We had to work hard for it. We made a lot of poor choices on the ball. They are a good side with really good forward options. We had periods of the game where we defended well from the front.
“It’s a massive win for us.”
West Ham boss Manuel Pellegrini: “I am frustrated because I think we do the things to win the game. We had three clear chances to score and didn’t. They had one chance in the first half and then defended. We deserved more.
“The first 35 minutes we were not at the pace needed, especially to fight for the second balls. The team is in progress. We didn’t play a bad game, we were better than Brighton, but with eight games played we don’t have too many points. We must continue improving.”