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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 Derby County 13 26
2 Watford 13 25
3 Middlesbrough 13 23
4 Wolverhampton Wanderers 13 23
5 Norwich City 13 22
6 Nottingham Forest 13 22
7 Charlton Athletic 13 22
8 Bournemouth 13 21
9 Ipswich Town 13 20
10 Cardiff City 13 19
11 Blackburn Rovers 13 19
12 Brentford 13 19
13 Sheffield Wednesday 13 18
14 Rotherham United 13 16
15 Leeds United 13 16
16 Huddersfield Town 13 16
17 Reading 13 15
18 Millwall 13 14
19 Wigan Athletic 13 12
20 Brighton and Hove Albion 13 12
21 Birmingham City 13 11
22 Fulham 13 11
23 Bolton Wanderers 13 8
24 Blackpool 13 6