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Brighton and Hove Albion vs Reading. Sky Bet Championship.

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Brighton and Hove Albion 3

  • S Baldock (35th minute)
  • J Murphy (56th minute)
  • A Knockaert (80th minute)

Reading 0

    Brighton 3-0 Reading: Seagulls go top of the Championship with win

    Reading's Jordon Mutch (right) is tackled by Brighton and Hove Albion's Dale Stephens
    Image: Brighton moved top of the table with a win over Reading

    Brighton moved to the top of the Sky Bet Championship with a comfortable 3-0 win over Reading on Saturday evening.

    Goals from Sam Baldock, Jamie Murphy and Anthony Knockaert ensured the Seagulls took full advantage of Newcastle's 2-2 draw with Bristol City to leapfrog Rafael Benitez's side.

    Brighton are now one point ahead of Newcastle while Reading remain fifth, 10 points off the automatic promotion spots.

    The first half began in an energetic fashion with Brighton keen to get on the front foot early. In the third minute, Knockaert came close to scoring for the hosts as he cut onto his left foot and curled his effort wide.

    In the 28th minute, Baldock came up with superb curler which nearly went in. On the left flank, he drifted inside, leaving Paul McShane on the floor, before bending his strike towards the top right corner which cracked off the woodwork.

    Chris Hughton was very pleased with his side’s performance as they hit top spot in the Championship with a 3-0 win over Reading

    Reading's best chances would come simultaneously with a powerful header from Danny Williams clutched on to by David Stockdale before Roy Beerens had a shot three yards from goal which the Brighton goalkeeper had to save with his feet.

    With Reading starting to find their footing in the match, it would be the Seagulls who would go a goal in front.

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    Bruno played a lovely floated ball over the Reading backline which Baldock read excellently, staying onside. The 27-year-old brought the ball down with an excellent first touch before smashing his effort past Ali Al-Habsi to give Brighton a deserved opening goal.

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    Knockaert almost doubled the lead in the 41st minute but his drilled shot towards the near post was kept out by Al-Habsi's left foot.

    Reading came very close to scoring an equaliser in the 55th minute when Shane Duffy blocked a goal-bound header from Williams off the line. And seconds later, Beerens executed a fine move around Bruno before hitting a low strike just wide of the post.

    But just one minute later Brighton secured their win through Murphy, who finished off a counter-attacking move by coolly chipping the ball over Al Habsi.

    Jaap Stam says his side made it too easy for Brighton, after the Seagulls went top of the Championship with a 3-0 win over Reading

    Glenn Murray had a goal chalked off before Knockaert missed a sitter from close range into the side netting. But the Frenchman would get his reward for his efforts.

    Another counter-attack from Brighton led to a three-on-one situation, with Murphy picking out Knockaert who slotted his strike into the top corner.

    Despite Reading showing more encouraging signs of a fightback in the final ten minutes, the game would end 3-0 with the Seagulls securing one of their most significant wins of the season.

    Brighton boss Chris Hughton:

    "That gap between ourselves and third place is back to six points. That's the most important position we can be in. We're on the back of a really professional performance tonight against a really good side that are expansive, who keep possession very well.

    "We broke [on the counter-attack} really well and we were well worth the win."

    Reading boss Jaap Stam:

    "We made it easy for them by giving them the goals. If they score three goals on the counter-attack you're not doing something right so you make it easy for them.

    "We know how they play in that they're very compact and wait for their moment to win that ball coming out on the break. They've done it in previous games as well.

    "It's not a shame that you lose to a team like Brighton but when you give the goals away like that it's very easy and difficult for yourself."

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