Newcastle came into the tie in high spirits and wasted no time in their bid to continue their good form. The game got off to an electric start with Ryan Fraser coming close before Brighton spurned two set-piece opportunities and the ‘Seagulls’ were quickly made to pay for their profligacy. The first blow came in the 12th minute following a swift breakaway when Jacob Murphy hit the post, but Fraser was on hand to sweep home, pouncing on the rebound from close range.
The in-form Scotland international was at the center stage once again when he set up the Magpies’ second goal just two minutes after the opening strike. This time, his perfect cross found Fabian Schär, and the Swiss defender beat Sánchez with a bullet header at the front post. In the blink of an eye, Newcastle was leading by two goals. Brighton tried to react and showed a few flashes of life, mainly through Pascal Groß and Danny Welbeck, but their efforts were unsuccessful. With that scenario, it wasn’t surprising to see the Magpies hold a two-goal lead at the break.
Brighton started the second half with a more aggressive approach and that attitude change paid dividends, with the ’Seagulls’ pulling one back early in the second half thanks to Lewis Dunk. The towering defender met a cross from Groß and nodded the ball home to make it a 2-1 contest in the 55th minute.
The introduction of Neal Maupay and Solly March gave Brighton an even more attacking approach following their goal, but unfortunately for the visitors, that didn’t translate into too many scoring opportunities. The ‘Magpies’ were able to close things out in the dying minutes of the contest, and while it wasn’t a cruising victory by any means, it would also be unfair to say their three-point haul was in danger late in the match.
With the win, Newcastle takes another huge step towards safety. As for Brighton, they finally ended their streak of three games without scoring but have suffered four defeats in a row and need to turn things around quickly if they are to keep faint hopes of European qualification alive.