Brighton 3-0 Brentford: Albion move up to third in Championship table
By PA Sport
Last Updated: 06/02/16 9:28am
Brighton climbed up to third in the Championship after Anthony Knockaert, Tomer Hemed and Jamie Murphy secured a comfortable 3-0 victory at home to Brentford on Friday night.
All the Seagulls' previous 13 victories this season had been by a one-goal margin and this was their first clean sheet at the Amex Stadium for three months.
Brighton now boast three straight wins and Knockaert produced a particularly impressive display before a crowd of 24,096, while Brentford have now won only one of their last seven league and cup games.
The match got off to a lively start, with the Seagulls going close in the first minute through French winger Knockaert. The former Leicester man shot wide of keeper David Button's right-hand post after Murphy had a low drive blocked.
A mistake by central defender Lewis Dunk presented Brentford midfielder Alan Judge a clear sight of goal and he put an angled shot wide with only goalkeeper David Stockdale to beat.
Knockaert threatened again with a tremendous run through the middle that ended with him hitting a deflected shot wide, before the alert Stockdale parried a fine goal-bound effort by Judge at the other end.
Brentford had a let-off in the 25th minute when skipper Bruno Saltor's rasping drive was deflected onto the crossbar by Harlee Dean, but the Seagulls broke the deadlock two minutes later.
Knockaert fed Murphy and his cross, after good play down the left, was seized on by the energetic winger, whose low shot from just inside the area brought his first goal for the club.
Hemed should have increased the advantage soon after, but shot into the side netting with only keeper Button to beat.
However, the Israel striker was on target two minutes before the break, with his downward header from Beram Kayal's cross his first goal in 11 games.
Albion withdrew veteran striker Bobby Zamora for Manchester United loanee James Wilson at the interval and they went close shortly after the break, when Hemed put a glancing header wide from a cross by Murphy.
The former Sheffield United winger was wasteful himself moments later when he blazed a good chance over.
Brentford, with only one win since the turn of the year, lived dangerously again when Knockaert drove over from a cross by Wilson.
The Bees came close to reducing the deficit when Albion keeper Stockdale fumbled a corner from Josh McEachran and John Swift put a deflected shot over at the far post.
However, Knockaert came close to hitting his second goal six minutes from time when narrowly failing to make contact with a Murphy cross.
Murphy sealed Albion's most convincing win for 11 months in the second minute of stoppage time, with a left-footed finish into the corner following a pass by substitute Andrew Crofts.