Brighton beat Huddersfield 1-0 at the Amex Stadium in a cagey encounter which gave Chris Hughton's men a huge lift in their bid to avoid relegation.
Alireza Jahanbakhsh struck the woodwork just before half-time in a match with few chances. It was substitute Florin Andone, who was available after a 3-match suspension, who headed home Anthony Knockaert's cross in the second half after a quick free kick. The significant breakthrough came after a much more dominant display by Brighton after the interval.
Huddersfield almost responded straight after they conceded through Steve Mounie but his effort was saved by Mat Ryan. Despite starting promisingly, the Terriers looked destined for defeat after conceding the opening goal and have struggled to score goals all season.
The result leaves Jan Siewert's side rock bottom in the Premier League and they are almost certain for a return to the Championship next season. However, the victory for Brighton not only relieves the pressure off Chris Hughton but also leaves them five points clear from the relegation zone in 15th place - and, crucially, with a game in hand over the clubs below them.
Key Talking Point
2019 has been a miserable year for Chris Hughton's side who were without a Premier League win since December 29 against Everton. This had seen them plunge down the table towards the bottom three.
The home match against bottom side Huddersfield emerged as a must-win given their dismal form in the League this calendar year. However, the first half performance was not an encouraging one as they failed to exert themselves on a side preparing for life in the Championship.
However, Hughton clearly inspired his team in the dressing room during the break. The Seagulls came out fighting second half and Hughton showed bravery to take off top scorer Glenn Murray and bring on Florin Andone. The Romanian repaid his manager shortly after, converting a brilliant header which gave Brighton all three points.
Starting XI: Ryan (7); Montoya (6), Duffy (7), Dunk(6), Bernardo (7), Bissouma (6), Stephens (6), Propper(7), Knockaert (7), Murray (5), Jahanbakhsh (7)
Substitutes: Andone (8), Izquierdo (6), Kayal (6)
STAR MAN- Florin Andone
Brighton's goal threat has mainly come from their talisman Glenn Murray this season. As of late, the experienced striker has been struggling for goals and Hughton had no choice but to replace him with Andone against Huddersfield.
The Romanian striker returned from suspension in style by adding much needed energy to Brighton's attacking threat before scoring an exquisite header. Brighton's dominance seemed to stem from the substitution which Hughton will be relieved to have got right.
Key Talking Point
Huddersfield were always underdogs to pick up points against Brighton, despite their surprising victory over Wolves in their last match.
The victory over high flying Wanderers marked Jan Siewert's first Premier League victory as Huddersfield manager and provided fans with a rare moment of ecstasy in an awful season.
The club, who are ever-present at the bottom of the League, remain 13 points from safety and have lost 21 out of their 29 matches. Their lack of confidence showed against Brighton, who in the first half, allowed Huddersfield to have possession without creating anything of notice.
Indeed, unfortunately for Huddersfield I fear that may be the game that sends them down, you could tell by their reaction at the end 😂— Paul Whitmore (@pswhitmore) March 2, 2019
Starting XI: Lossl (6); Bacuna (6), Schindler (5), Kongolo (5), Durm (6), Stankovic (6), Hogg (5),Billing (7), Pritchard (6), Mounie (6), Grant (5)
Substitutes: Mooy (5), Kachunga (6), Hadergjonaj (5)
STAR MAN: Phillip Billing
The holding midfielder has been a consistent force in Huddersfield's midfield despite a change of manager and continuous change of tactics to attempt to change their fortune.
He tested Mat Ryan and looked tidy in his build play, but with a lack of creativity and fluidity in front of him the Terriers could not build on his controlled performance.