By Tom Mackintosh
Brighton 1 Burnley 0 – report of Saturday’s match
David Lopez’s first-half volley was enough to sink Burnley on Saturday, and move Brighton into the play-off places, as the season moves into the business end. The Spaniard latched onto the end of a Wayne Bridge cross to score his fifth goal of the season in front of a bumper crowd at the Amex Stadium.
Burnley, whose promotion push has started to recede, have failed to win any of their last four league games. Brighton, on the other hand, have won three of their last four. And despite a number of commanding outfield performances, it was Tomasz Kuszczak who stole the show with a string of sensational saves.
Albion boss Gus Poyet on goalscorer David Lopez: “He is a different player and I always try to play him. Because of his technical ability he scores some very important goals and he showed that again.”
Burnley manager on his side’s efforts: “We deserved something, absolutely. You win games with displays like that and to come here and perform like that was very pleasing.”
Brighton, who started slowly, had to withstand early pressure from the visitors but took the lead on the twenty minute mark. Vicente capped a masterful display in the heart of the Seagulls midfield by spraying a ball out wide for Bridge. The former England defender’s cross was flicked on by Ulloa and Lopez arrived at the back post to fire past a helpless Grant to give Brighton a 1-0 lead.
This didn’t prevent Burnley’s dominance and they were unfortunate not to equalise on the half hour mark. Keith Treacy’s corner was met by Burnley skipper Jason Shackell but his effort was cleared off the line by Wayne Bridge.
A few minutes later, Shackell got on the end of another Treacy corner, but his bullet header was excellently saved by Kuszczak. Brighton manager Gus Poyet hailed his keeper’s performance after the game and at times he kept his side in the contest.
Burnley started the second half the same way they started the first by maintaining possession of the ball effortlessly It was Brighton who wasted the best opportunity of the half as Leonardo Ulloa failed to convert from close range midway through the second half. Burnley could have snatched an equaliser right at the death but top scorer Charlie Austin squandered a great chance after getting on the end of Danny Ings’s cross.
Brighton, rather fortunately perhaps, clung on to all three points.