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Selhurst Park (ATT 20,114) 1st December 2012 - Kick off 15:00 Ref: M Russell

C Palace Crystal Palace vs Brighton and Hove Albion Brighton

C Palace 3

G Murray (38, pen 54)
O Garvan (pen 71)

ft

Brighton 0

L Dunk (S/O 8)

Glenn Murray scores twice as Crystal Palace beat Brighton 3-0 to return to top of Championship

Last Updated: 01/12/12 9:41pm

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Glenn Murray: Starred for Palace against his former club

Glenn Murray: Starred for Palace against his former club

Glenn Murray scored twice against former club Brighton to clinch a memorable 3-0 derby victory which sent Crystal Palace to the top of the Championship.

The game-changing moment came after just eight minutes at Selhurst Park as Seagulls defender Lewis Dunk lost possession and saw red for bringing down the impressive Yannick Bolasie.

Owen Garvan hit the resulting free-kick against the crossbar but it was only a matter of time before the dominant Eagles broke the deadlock as Murray, who switched between the fierce rivals 18 months ago, headed home Bolasie's corner.

Craig Mackail-Smith should have levelled matters immediately after half-time but could only hit a post when clean through, and the miss proved crucial as Tomasz Kuszczak brought down Murray in the penalty area and the striker stepped up to fire home his 17th goal of the season from the spot.

Matters went from bad to worse for the Seagulls in the 71st minute as Gordon Greer fouled Murray in the area, and with the Palace striker having previously missed two penalties this season when looking for a hat-trick, it was Garvan who converted from 12 yards.

Close to 50 miles may separate the two sides, who had only met six times in the past 10 years before today, but that will not ease the pain of defeat for Brighton, who have also seen their seven-match unbeaten run come to an end.

Impressive Palace, meanwhile, have now lost only one of their last 17 and are unbeaten on home soil since the opening day, with Eagles fans able to enjoy top spot for at least 24 hours until second-placed Cardiff host Sheffield Wednesday on Sunday.

There can be no doubt the early dismissal played a huge part in the game.

The visitors dallied with the ball at the back and paid the price as Bolasie nicked in to grab possession, with Dunk sent off for subsequently bringing down the Palace forward when clean through.

Palace's pressure finally paid off in the 38th minute. Bolasie's inswinging corner was met by the head of an unmarked Murray, back from a one-match suspension, and he made no mistake from close range.

Julian Speroni had had next to nothing to do all half but he reacted superbly to keep out Ashley Barnes' flicked header.

Brighton's best chance came with just 62 second-half seconds on the clock as Wilfried Zaha, for all his impressive trickery, lost the ball in the middle of the park and Mackail-Smith was sent clear but could only find the outside of a post.

And the miss proved crucial as Palace doubled their advantage after 54 minutes. Kuszczak brought down Murray in the penalty area and the striker picked himself up to score from the spot.

Murray headed narrowly over with a hat-trick at his mercy but it was soon three-nil as Greer inexcusably hauled down Murray, leaving Garvan to fire home the resulting penalty from 12 yards.

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Sky Bet Championship

Sky Bet Championship
Pos Team P Pts
1 Bournemouth 39 73
2 Watford 39 72
3 Middlesbrough 39 72
4 Norwich City 39 70
5 Derby County 39 67
6 Ipswich Town 39 67
7 Brentford 39 66
8 Wolverhampton Wanderers 39 65
9 Nottingham Forest 39 57
10 Blackburn Rovers 39 54
11 Charlton Athletic 39 54
12 Sheffield Wednesday 39 53
13 Leeds United 39 52
14 Cardiff City 39 51
15 Birmingham City 38 47
16 Brighton and Hove Albion 39 45
17 Bolton Wanderers 39 45
18 Huddersfield Town 39 44
19 Reading 38 44
20 Fulham 39 43
21 Rotherham United 39 40
22 Wigan Athletic 39 35
23 Millwall 39 33
24 Blackpool 39 23