Birmingham City 1-2 Brighton & Hove Albion: Lewis Dunk keeps Seagulls' play-off hopes alive
By PA Sport
Last Updated: 05/04/16 11:19pm
Lewis Dunk kept Brighton's automatic promotion hopes alive with a crucial winner at Birmingham.
The defender headed in a second-half clincher to seal a 2-1 comeback win at St Andrew's and keep the pressure on the Sky Bet Championship top two.
Victory was vital for Brighton after second-placed Middlesbrough beat Huddersfield 3-0 and they remain a point outside the automatic spots, although 'Boro have a game in hand.
Connor Goldson's first goal for the Seagulls had levelled as boss Chris Hughton won on his return to his former club.
Kyle Lafferty opened the scoring on his debut but the Blues faded badly, with their own play-off hopes hanging by a thread.
They moved for the Northern Ireland striker to give them firepower to reach the top six but are now 11 points behind with a game in hand.
The hosts survived a scare after 10 minutes when Tomasz Kuszczak and his defence scrambled Bruno's header off the line, before Jiri Skalak hit the side netting.
But six minutes later Birmingham took the lead with a goal which David Stockdale will want to forget.
The goalkeeper should have had Jacques Maghoma's angled drive covered but instead spilled it into the six-yard box where Lafferty gleefully tapped in.
It was his first goal in English league football since January 2015 and Jon Toral almost built on it when he volleyed wide after 27 minutes.
But two minutes later the Seagulls levelled as Goldson netted his first goal for the club when he headed in Skalak's free-kick from 12 yards.
It gave Brighton the impetus to finish the half stronger and they made it count by netting the winner three minutes after the break.
Maikel Kieftenbeld gifted the visitors a needless corner and Dunk arrived unmarked to thump in an eight-yard header from Skalak's centre.
Two minutes later Kuszczak's fine save denied Tomer Hemed a spectacular third, turning away the striker's overhead kick, after the Seagulls had cut Birmingham apart.
The Blues were on the ropes and struggled to create any clear chances to give them a way back into the match.
Brighton were never troubled again and Jamie Murphy could have added the gloss with two minutes left, only for Michael Morrison to block his 12-yard effort.
James Wilson almost made it 3-1 in added time when he broke from a corner but, with Kuszczak stranded up field, he failed to beat Paul Caddis.