Brighton & Hove Albion recorded a slender 2-1 win against MK Dons on Saturday to post an unbeaten streak of 17 games, a new record for the club.
Brighton & Hove Albion – 2
Milton Keynes Dons – 1
The win means that Brighton remain the only unbeaten club in the top five tiers of English football, with the next-highest club to register a point or better in every game being Solihull Moors of the National League North (Formerly Conference North, 6th tier).
With two early goals against the struggling Milton Keynes side, the Seagulls were in control, and sit second in the Championship behind Hull albeit only on goal difference.
Brighton’s 100th home game at the American Express Community Stadium began in the best possible way, with Solly March blasting home from 25 yards once a cleared corner kick sent the ball his way after four minutes.
Not long after, the scoreline was doubled by Jamie Murphy, who found the back of the net to notch his third goal of the season with 18 minutes on the clock.
MK Dons rallied though, and boosted by 635 away fans making the trip down from Buckinghamshire, Nicky Maynard found a way past David Stockdale to score his first goal for the Dons and bring the deficit down to one goal, which would ultimately prove to be a gap too great for the away side to bridge.
The first half petered out with both sides looking to refresh at half time, and during the interval, the away side brought on Dean Bowditch for Daniel Powell.
Almost immediately, goalscorer Murphy turned assistant and played Sam Baldock through, but he was caught offside. Baldock got another chance a few minutes later, but he took a knock and was subbed-off for fan favourite Bobby Zamora.
While Baldock’s afternoon didn’t end the way he would have liked, the appearance of Zamora received raucous applause from the home fans. Zamora, however, would prove to be ineffectual during the match, getting very little time on the ball.
The tempo in the second half was to a much slower beat than the energetic first half-hour, and the end of the game saw little other than a flurry of substitutions and bookings.
Elvis Manu came on for the Gulls with ten minutes to go, and his injection of pace was a welcome addition to a stagnant second half, but the Dutchman couldn’t muster a cross or shot with enough venom to trouble the visitors.
Five minutes of added time were called, during which Solly March somewhat tarnished his great start to the game with a needless slide tackle on Josh Murphy which won none of the ball.
The final whistle came with a unified sigh of relief for Brighton, who were arguably the second-best side in the latter part of the game, but robust defending – including that of man of the match Bruno – saw them hold out.
Brighton & Hove Albion
20 March (G, YC)
15 Murphy (G) // Manu – 83′
9 Baldock // Zamora – 56′ (YC)
10 Hemed // Crofts – 71′
Milton Keynes Dons
5 McFadzean (YC)
14 Carruthers // Murphy – 71′ (YC)
7 Baker // Church – 78′
17 Powell // Bowditch – 45′
28 Maynard (G)
The sides will return in two weeks, along with the rest of the Premier League and Championship, after next weekend’s International friendlies.
MK Dons are set to host Fulham on Saturday 21 November, while Brighton will travel to Burnley on Sunday 22 November.