By 90Min
January 08, 2018

Brighton beat Crystal Palace 2-1 at the Amex to progress into the FA Cup Fourth Round in what was the first game in English football featuring a video assistant referee.

The VAR was situated almost 70 miles away in Uxbridge, West London, but there was no need for it to be called into action during a rather uneventful derby.

Both managers made a host of changes. Chris Hughton rested seven first team players and introduced Beram Kayal back into the first team picture. Roy Hodgson left out star man Wilfried Zaha as well as Christian Benteke and Ruben Loftus-Cheek, opting for Bakary Sako upfront.

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Brighton's Izzy Brown - who turned 21 on Sunday and has been plagued with injuries all season - was forced off after a challenge in the opening minutes with Jeffrey Schlupp, which also led to the Crystal Palace man being withdrawn too.

Tomer Hemed had the first real chance of the game with a powerful header from a corner in the 18th minute but it was straight into Wayne Hennessey's gloves.

Brighton were by far the better team in the early stages of the match and they deservedly took the lead in the 25th minute with Dale Stephens' first goal of the season. He drove into the box and rifled past Hennesey when the Welshman should really have done better to keep the ball out.

Ezequiel Schelotto - who has somewhat struggled to adapt to life in the Premier League - was putting in a great shift down the right flank and played a good cross into the near post with six minutes left of the first-half but Solly March's flick was easily gathered by the Palace keeper this time around.

After the restart, Brighton were working their short corners very well from the right hand side and almost doubled their lead in the 65th minute. March played the ball out to Kayal for a different angle, and the Israeli international's cross was met by his compatriot Hemed. Although he fluffed his lines with the header, his second attempt on the volley was a whisker wide of the post.

Tim Krul had hardly anything to do all game, but there was nothing he could do about Sako's scorcher in the 69th minute. Palace hadn't created anything so Sako took matters into his own hands by taking the ball down 25-yards-out and unleashing a venomous swerving strike which bounced off the base off the post and in to make it 1-1.

The Malian international had found his rhythm and nearly scored a quick fire second as he skipped away from Connor Goldson's sliding tackle but could only find the side netting when racing down on goal. 

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After that, the game sprung into life with neither side wanting an extra fixture among their relegation scrap. Brighton went straight down the other end and March laid the ball on a plate for substitute Sam Baldock but his curling effort cannoned off the side of the post. March then set up Kayal in a similar fashion in the second phase but he blasted way over.

With three minutes to go, there was only one man who was going to decide this game. Glenn Murray replaced Hemed and charged in at the back post to bundle the ball home against his former club. The game finished 2-1 with both sides looking relieved at not having to contest a reply, while Brighton walked down the tunnel deserving to be in the Fourth Round of the FA Cup.

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