Battling Albion stun Black Cats
By Andy Clarke
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Brighton beat Sunderland 2-1 despite the first half dismissal of Adam Virgo.Sunderland's promotion hopes suffered a significant blow as they were beaten 2-1 by 10-man Brighton at the Withdean Stadium.
The home side played for more than an hour with a numerical disadvantage after Adam Virgo was sent off, but Sunderland allowed them to nick the points with two soft first half goals.
Richard Carpenter grabbed the first after 26 minutes, volleying in from 12 yards with the aid of a deflection off Stephen Wright which took the ball wide of keeper Thomas Myhre.
Virgo, already cautioned for a crude shoulder-charge at Steve Caldwell, saw red just four minutes later when he clattered into Jeff Whitley.
Sunderland have won eight times on their travels this season and Virgo's dismissal should have been the catalyst for a ninth success.
But they failed to impose themselves in attack and went missing in defence when Carpenter swung in a corner two minutes before the break and Mark McCammon glanced in a header unhindered.
Mick McCarthy's side camped in the Brighton half after the interval, but Albion's debutant keeper Rami Shabaan kept them at bay with fine saves from Julio Arca and substitute Sean Thornton.
Michael Bridges flashed two shots wide of the post and Thornton failed to control Arca's mis-hit six yards from goal.
Arca finally pulled a goal back with a precise low shot from 25 yards which beat Shabaan's left hand and went in off the post.
Thornton then came agonisingly close to snatching a point for the visitors with a rasping drive which cannoned to safety via the upright.