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Sky Bet Championship

Amex Stadium (ATT 26,796) 11th January 2014 - Kick off 15:00

Brighton Brighton and Hove Albion vs Birmingham City Birm'ham

Brighton 1

D Lopez (58)

ft

Sky Bet Championship: Brighton beat Birmingham 1-0 at the Amex Stadium

Last Updated: 14/01/14 3:34pm

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David Lopez (R): Hit the winner for Brighton

David Lopez (R): Hit the winner for Brighton

David Lopez hit the only goal as Brighton boosted their play-off challenge with a 1-0 win at the Amex Stadium to end Birmingham's 10-match unbeaten run.

Brighton, with only one win from their previous four home games in the Sky Bet Championship, were good value for the three points and move into the top six.

The hosts threatened early on as defender Bruno Saltor had a low cross saved by Darren Randolph before Stephen Ward fired over from a pass by Rohan Ince.

Brighton skipper Gordon Greer was forced to put a dangerous ball from Mitch Hancox over his own bar before Albion midfielder Andrew Crofts had a volley blocked at the other end.

Spanish midfielder Lopez had a shot blocked midway through the half when compatriot Bruno delivered an accurate cross to the far post.

Lopez then forced Randolph to push his goal-bound shot round the post after Ince won the ball to set up the chance.

Brighton had a penalty appeal waved away when Crofts was brought down on the edge of the area by Hayden Mullins, and the resulting free-kick by Lopez was headed behind.

Randolph kept Birmingham on terms by producing two fine saves inside a minute to deny Kazenga LuaLua. First the Irishman dived full length to parry a fierce drive and then he kept out another stinging shot with a leaping save.

Birmingham midfielder Chris Burke shot over shortly after the interval, Randolph having thwarted LuaLua by diving bravely at the winger's feet moments earlier.

Brighton broke the deadlock in the 58th minute when Lopez struck a low shot with the outside of his right foot into the bottom corner. The Spaniard took his chance after Crofts forced Randolph to parry his shot and Birmingham were unable to clear.

Striker Jonathan Obika, signed on a 93-day loan from Tottenham, came on for his Seagulls debut with 25 minutes remaining in place of Leonardo Ulloa.

Randolph pushed a shot from Crofts round the post as Brighton sought to ram home their advantage.

Good work from Obika helped set up Lopez and his shot flew narrowly wide 17 minutes from time.

Brighton received an injury blow when Crofts had to be helped off with a knee problem and he was replaced by Andrea Orlandi.

Birmingham staged a late rally and a goal-bound shot by Burke was well parried by Tomasz Kuszczak.

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Matches

Table

Sky Bet Championship

Sky Bet Championship
Pos Team P Pts
1 Bournemouth 46 90
2 Watford 46 89
3 Norwich City 46 86
4 Middlesbrough 46 85
5 Brentford 46 78
6 Ipswich Town 46 78
7 Wolverhampton Wanderers 46 78
8 Derby County 46 77
9 Blackburn Rovers 46 67
10 Birmingham City 46 63
11 Cardiff City 46 62
12 Charlton Athletic 46 60
13 Sheffield Wednesday 46 60
14 Nottingham Forest 46 59
15 Leeds United 46 56
16 Huddersfield Town 45 54
17 Fulham 46 52
18 Bolton Wanderers 46 51
19 Reading 46 50
20 Brighton and Hove Albion 46 47
21 Rotherham United 46 46
22 Millwall 46 41
23 Wigan Athletic 46 39
24 Blackpool 45 25