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St Andrews Stadium (ATT 14,885) 17th August 2013 - Kick off 15:00 Ref: S Hooper

Birmingham Birmingham City vs Brighton and Hove Albion Brighton

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Brighton 1

A Crofts (73)

Sky Bet Championship: Brighton beat Birmingham 1-0 at St Andrew's

Last Updated: 17/08/13 6:19pm

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Andrew Crofts: Hit the winner for Brighton

Andrew Crofts: Hit the winner for Brighton

Andrew Crofts' strike earned Brighton their first Championship win of the season with a 1-0 victory at Birmingham City.

Birmingham, who also lost their opening home match 1-0 to Watford, could count themselves unlucky as they twice hit the woodwork in the second half but it was Crofts' clinical 73rd-minute strike which proved the difference as new Brighton coach Oscar Garcia celebrated his maiden win in the hotseat.

Brighton, a side loaded with experience, included the two Irish internationals, Stephen Ward and Keith Andrews, for their first full appearances and it paid off handsomely with three points.

Both were prominent in the early stages when the Seagulls' smart play indicated a hard afternoon for the home club.

Ward, signed a couple of days ago from Wolves on a season's loan, was involved in setting up several promising attacks which put Birmingham's reconstructed defence under pressure.

That was demonstrated in the 16th minute when Will Buckley's left-wing cross was headed by Leonardo Ulloa towards the far corner of the net only for Darren Randolph to push the effort wide of the post.

Ulloa, however, made a mess of a golden opportunity after 20 minutes. Sent clear by David Lopez he stumbled and sent his bobbling shot wide of the post in what was a massive let off for Birmingham.

At the other end the home side's attack struggled to cause many problems in the first half for a Brighton defence including former Blues stalwart Matthew Upson.

It was not until the opening five minutes of the second period that Birmingham finally found their shooting boots, only to see two efforts hit the frame of the goal.

Andy Shinnie latched onto a Scott Allan pass in the 49th minute before crashing a shot against the top of the bar - a fate which also befell Lee Novak a minute later.

On both occasions Brighton's defence was caught stranded in midfield but they rode their luck to stay in the game.

They quickly regrouped as the game became more open with both teams desperate to score the opening goal.

On the hour it required a superb save by Randolph to batter down a shot on the run from Kemy Agustien.

But Agustien was the player who created the breakthrough in the 73rd minute. He put a pass into the path of Crofts who scored with a low measured cross shot to the right of Randolph.

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Matches

Table

Sky Bet Championship

Sky Bet Championship
Pos Team P Pts
1 Norwich City 10 20
2 Nottingham Forest 10 20
3 Watford 10 20
4 Derby County 10 19
5 Ipswich Town 10 18
6 Wolverhampton Wanderers 9 18
7 Charlton Athletic 10 18
8 Middlesbrough 10 17
9 Sheffield Wednesday 10 16
10 Reading 9 14
11 Blackburn Rovers 10 14
12 Brentford 10 14
13 Cardiff City 10 13
14 Leeds United 9 13
15 Bournemouth 10 12
16 Millwall 10 11
17 Rotherham United 10 11
18 Brighton and Hove Albion 10 10
19 Birmingham City 10 10
20 Wigan Athletic 10 9
21 Huddersfield Town 9 8
22 Bolton Wanderers 9 5
23 Fulham 9 4
24 Blackpool 10 3