Brighton top Championship after convincing win

Sam Baldock scores for Brighton
Sam Baldock has scored 10 league goals for Brighton this season, including four in his last four appearances

Brighton took advantage of a slip-up by Newcastle as they beat Reading at home to go top of the Championship.

Newcastle's 2-2 draw with Bristol City gave the Seagulls an opportunity to go one point clear at the summit.

After a quiet opening, Brighton's Sam Baldock hit the post with a curling 20-yard shot before latching onto Bruno's lofted pass to fire past Ali Al-Habsi.

Dale Stephens set up Jamie Murphy to chip in the second and French winger Anthony Knockaert slid in a late third.

As well as leapfrogging Newcastle, who Brighton host on Tuesday, Chris Hughton's side created a six-point gap to third-placed Huddersfield.

Reading have taken only five points from their five games in February and Leeds' win over Sheffield Wednesday in Saturday's early kick-off meant the Royals dropped to fifth position, 10 points from the top two.

Chances were rare in the first 30 minutes but the game sparked into life with Baldock's superb shot against the upright.

Al-Habsi kept out Knockaert's low attempt before Baldock's opening goal, while Reading's Danny Williams had a header saved by home goalkeeper David Stockdale, who also denied Roy Beerens from close range.

The victory was secured in a frantic passage of play early in the second half, when Brighton defender Shane Duffy reacted quickly to clear a Williams header off the line, and then the hosts broke swiftly from the resulting corner to make it 2-0.

Knockaert's 11th league goal of the season, an angled shot from 15 yards, extended the Seagulls' unbeaten Championship run at home to 14 games.

Jamie Murphy scores for Brighton
Jamie Murphy's goal was his first for Brighton since 5 November

BBC

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