By David Windsor
Two goals from Rodriguez Vicente gave Brighton a valuable three points to maintain their unbeaten run in 2012 with a 2-0 victory against Portsmouth at the Amex on Saturday.
Vicente came off the bench to fire a free-kick past Portsmouth goalkeeper Jamie Ashdown on 74 minutes, before slotting home in stoppage time after a neat cut-back from Kazenga LuaLua.
Brighton and Hove Albion, who were 11 games unbeaten going to the game, dominated the large periods of the second half but luck appeared to be with visitors; after Brighton defender Joe Mattock crashed a volley against the post.
Portsmouth, who were docked 10 points earlier this season for going into administration, had their moments in the opening 45 minutes, the best coming after a Scott Allen’s strike produced a fine save from Brighton goalkeeper Brezovan.
Pompey are rooted to the bottom of the Championship and there were no favours granted by their South coast neighbours as the substitute Vicente ultimately stole the show with a brace in the last 15 minutes. The injury-plagued, former Valencia winger who signed for the Seagulls in the hope of regular football has managed only 9 starts all season after injury set-backs.
Gus Poyet was full of praise for Vicente, labelling the Spaniard “the best player at the club” and it was hard to argue with his assessment after a display of such outstanding technical quality.
Vicente’s shirtless delight in front of the Amex crowd gained him a yellow card and if Brighton are to consolidate their position in the play-off places, the diminutive winger from Valencia will be crucial to their chances.