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Aston Villa 1-2 Brighton: Solly March curler seals first Villa Park win for Seagulls



Report and free match highlights as Danny Welbeck scores his first Brighton goal to help the Seagulls to their second Premier League win of the season, despite Tariq Lamptey’s late red card; Ezri Konsa replies for Aston Villa but they lose third successive home game

Brighton claimed their first win at Villa Park in a dramatic encounter with a superb curling effort from Solly March sealing a 2-1 victory against Aston Villa.

It was an entertaining, end-to-end game between two sides who have played wonderful football this season, but with differing fortunes. Brighton struck early on as Danny Welbeck (12) netted his first goal for the club, adding to Aston Villa’s woes after an early injury to Ross Barkley.

But, after a strong end to the first half, the hosts struck back two minutes after the break as Ezri Konsa (47) sent Bertrand Traore’s free-kick into the back of the net. It was then a wonderful, curling effort from March (56) which secured Brighton’s second win of the season and their first at Villa Park.

There was a dramatic finish, though, as Tariq Lamptey was sent off in the 91st minute after two quick yellow cards.

March then almost went from hero to villain when he was penalised for a foul on Trezeguet deep into injury-time, with referee Michael Oliver pointing to the spot. But, after consulting VAR and the pitchside monitor, he judged that March had touched enough of the ball before catching Trezeguet to rule the penalty out.

It is a precious three points for Brighton, who remain in 16th on nine points, six clear of the bottom three ahead of the remaining games this weekend. Aston Villa stay in fifth place.

How Brighton survived a late scare

Aston Villa dominated the opening exchanges, but suffered a blow inside two minutes when Barkley went down clutching his hamstring and was soon replaced by Traore. They were hit again shortly after as, with their first attack, Brighton took the lead.

Pascal Gross and Adam Lallana linked up well in a tight midfield space, with the latter sending the ball forward for his Welbeck. It was a bursting run from the striker as he expertly lifted the ball over the oncoming Emiliano Martinez for his first Brighton goal.

Player ratings

Aston Villa: Martinez (6), Cash (6), Konsa (7), Mings (7), Targett (7), Luiz (6), McGinn (6), Trezeguet (6), Barkley (n/a), Grealish (7), Watkins (7). 

Subs used: Traore (7), Hourihane (6), El Ghazi (5). 

Brighton: Ryan (7), Lamptey (7), Dunk (6), White (7), Webster (6), March (8), Gross (7), Bissouma (7), Lallana (7), Welbeck (7), Maupay (6). 

Subs used: Veltman (6), Burn (n/a), Molumby (n/a). 

Man of the match: Solly March.

Welbeck had two glorious chances to add his second shortly after. March send a wonderful cross his way, but Aston Villa just managed to clear, before the spritely Lamptey set him up from the right. However, Welbeck showed signs of rustiness with his touch, sending the ball into Martinez’s arms.

The half continued as a breathless, end-to-end affair with both sides having sights of goal, but Villa ended it strongly and should have equalised. In the 39th minute, the ever-impressive Jack Grealish delivered a free-kick, but Tyrone Mings’ touch at the far post sent the ball looping into the air. Brighton goalkeeper Mat Ryan was aware of the danger and booted the ball off the line before the lurking Ollie Watkins could connect.

A minute later and some sensational defending from Ben White stopped another wonderful Aston Villa attack. Grealish was involved again, darting down the right channel and easily away from Adam Webster before sending a cross in for the run of Watkins. However, White just got a foot onto the ball ahead of the striker.

Aston Villa picked up where they left off after the break and scored almost instantly. Despite the introduction of Joel Veltman at half-time for Lallana, there was some horrible defending from Brighton. Traore whipped in a free-kick and unmarked Konsa drove at the delivery from deep, sending it home with an outstretched foot.

But Brighton took just nine minutes to find a reply and it was a wonderful goal to secure a much-needed three points. It was some patient build-up from the visitors before Gross swept the ball to March on the left of the area. It was then a sumptuous, curling effort into the far corner from the midfielder, beating Martinez’s leap.

There were fewer clear-cut chances than the first half but it was still an entertaining encounter, with the most dramatic moments coming as four minutes of added time were shown. Brighton ended the game with ten men after two quick bookings for Lamptey in the 88th and 91st minutes, although the second for a foul on Grealish was hotly protested.

Minutes later, Villa thought they had been given a lifeline when March was penalised for a kick on Trezeguet. The midfielder indicated that he had touched the ball before the player and, after consolation with VAR and the pitchside monitor, referee Oliver agreed and ruled out the spot-kick.

Man of the match – Solly March

It was a headline-grabbing performance from March as his wonderful curling finish secured the win for Brighton. He didn’t score at all last season and now has two this term.

Along with Lamptey and Welbeck, he was also the man trying to make things happen. He had seven open-play crosses – the most of the Brighton team – and also topped the charts for possession gained (10).

He also helped out in defence, making four tackles – joint with Yves Bissouma – and helped with four clearance and one interception.

Opta stats

  • No team has conceded more home Premier League goals than Aston Villa this season (11, level with Newcastle United).
  • Only Robbie Fowler (5) has scored more away Premier League goals at Villa Park than Danny Welbeck (4).
  • Pascal Gross has been directly involved in 29 goals for Brighton in the Premier League (12 goals, 17 assists), more than any other player.

What’s next?

Aston Villa are back on Monday Night Football on November 30 when they travel to West Ham, kick-off 8pm. Brighton face a tough game next Saturday when they host Liverpool in the Premier League; kick-off 12.30pm.