Late drama as City snatch victory against 10 man Albion
Brighton boss Chris Hughton said he was “angry” over an offside claim in the build-up to Sol Bamba’s last-minute winner, which earned Cardiff City a second win of the season.
The visitors, who took the lead via Lewis Dunk’s early header before Callum Paterson’s equaliser, had Dale Stephens sent off for a lunge at Greg Cunningham after 34 minutes.
After some superb defending, Brighton looked like they would escape with a point but Cardiff twice hit the woodwork in the build-up to Bamba’s strike.
“I don’t think Sol Bamba looked offside, he was offside!” said Hughton. “I understand the sending off, some would give it, some wouldn’t, but on the winning goal he is offside and for me that is not a difficult decision to make.
“We have a linesman in a very good position when the ball comes back in, so for me, I am more angry with the second decision than the first one.”
Having won three successive games in October, Brighton surrendered a winning position for the first time this season and have now had two consecutive defeats.
On his 100th game in charge of the Bluebirds, veteran boss Warnock made clear that he did not consider the visit of Brighton a “must-win” game.
Cardiff have played all of the Premier League’s top five in their opening 11 fixtures back in the top flight and were beaten by Leicester City last weekend.
A home contest with Brighton seemed to be an opportunity for Cardiff to change their fortunes, but they continued an unfortunate trend of conceding early to give themselves a tough task.
Tottenham, Arsenal, Liverpool and now Brighton have all scored against the Bluebirds inside the opening 11 minutes this season.
Already criticised by their manager for conceding “sloppy goals”, Cardiff surrendered the advantage to Brighton within six minutes and in the simplest of manners, the eighth time in 12 league games this term they have conceded first.
The goal was a well delivered set-piece; a free-kick from Solly March headed home emphatically by Dunk who lost his marker Bamba with ease.
It was a fitting response from Dunk to the news he has been called up by England manager Gareth Southgate.
Brighton could have extended their lead when it was still 11 versus 11, but Glenn Murray’s snap shot was held by Neil Etheridge as Cardiff looked to respond.
The Bluebirds received a slice of luck with their equaliser, with Kadeem Harris’ powerful run resulting in a cross that deflected off Gaetan Bong and perfectly into the path of Paterson, who nodded home to level.
This was the first time this season that Brighton have given up an advantage from a winning position, leaving Manchester City as the Premier League’s only side who have yet to surrender a lead.
Albion won all of their league fixtures in October 1-0 against Wolves, Newcastle and Southampton.
However, after conceding an equaliser and a contentious red card, the match then spun in Cardiff’s favour in the 33rd minute.
Stephens lunged at Cardiff defender Cunningham, the velocity of the tackle prompted Martin Atkinson to show a straight red card.
Brighton then battled to hold on as Victor Camarasa twice tested Mat Ryan, and it appeared the Bluebirds would be denied before their dramatic winner in the last minute of normal time. Harris also saw a brilliant attempt rebound off the underside of the cross bar.
Bamba, created chaos in the penalty area with a bicycle kick that struck the post, with Ryan brilliantly tipping Paterson’s rebound onto the crossbar.
However, Bamba reacted quickest, blasting home to earn Cardiff a vital win.
Peltier 6 (for Morrison 70 mins)
Hoilett 6.5 (for Murphy 72 mins)
Reid 6.5 (for Ralls 76 mins)