Brighton 3 Rotherham United 0: More woe for Alan Stubbs' Millers on south coast

Brighton maintained their unbeaten start to the season, with a comfortable 3-0 home victory over Rotherham giving them a second Sky Bet Championship win out of three.
Brighton and Hove Albion's Anthony Knockaert, (left) celebrates scoring his side's first goal of the game.Brighton and Hove Albion's Anthony Knockaert, (left) celebrates scoring his side's first goal of the game.
Brighton and Hove Albion's Anthony Knockaert, (left) celebrates scoring his side's first goal of the game.

The Seagulls have yet to concede a goal this term and first half goals from Anthony Knockaert and Glenn Murray put them on their way before a crowd of 25,128 at the Amex Stadium.

Israeli international striker Tomer Hemed completed the scoring with a 58th minute penalty to leave Rotherham still searching for their first win under manager Alan Stubbs.

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Brighton, unbeaten at home since New Year’s Day, threatened early on when Murray failed to get a shot away after Gaetan Bong combined cleverly with Hemed.

Former Charlton midfielder Dale Stephens, called up for his first start of the season in place of Beram Kayal, was off target from the edge of the area after a short pass by Knockaert.

Brighton boss Chris Hughton gave a debut to Finland international goalkeeper Niki Maenpaa with David Stockdale nursing a shin injury, and Maenpaa was relieved to see a right-footed shot from skipper Stephen Kelly fly over.

But Albion took a firm foothold in the game by scoring twice in the space of three minutes through Knockaert and Murray.

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Frenchman Knockaert broke the deadlock in the 23rd minute by firing home from the edge of the area after being set up by Bong. Keeper Lee Camp got a hand on the ball but could not keep it out as Knockaert scored his seventh goal in 13 appearances at the Amex.

Liam Rosenior later delivered the perfect cross for Murray to hit his third goal of the season with a well-taken shot on the turn at the far post.

Hemed came close to making it 3-0 on the half hour but his goalbound shot was blocked by Camp.

Oliver Norwood and Jamie Murphy both put shots wide for the dominant Seagulls before the interval, while, at the other end, Maenpaa did not have a shot to save.

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Rotherham quickly came under pressure after the break and Hemed just failed to connect with an attempted volley after Rosenior’s cross.

But Hemed struck from the penalty spot to make it 3-0 on 58 minutes, sending Camp the wrong was after Murray was brought down by Stephen Kelly.

Hemed headed wide from a cross by midfielder Norwood as the one-sided nature of the contest continued.

Rotherham produced very little by way of attacking threat, but Maenpaa did well to save a goalbound shot from Ward, before turning a fierce drive from Will Vaulks round the post.

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The Millers had their best spell late in the game and Maenpaa was put under pressure by a poor back pass from Norwood.

Rotherham manager Stubbs admitted his side need to “grow into the demands of the Championship quickly” after leaking another three goals.

The Millers have now let in 13 in four league and cup games and Stubbs said: “I knew it would be a challenge and tough.

“It makes me even more excited to do something with the opportunity. I don`t fear what is in front of me. It is what it is and it makes it rewarding when you get results.

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“We have changed considerably the way we try and play and our squad has to grow into the demands of this division very quickly. When they do, they`ll compete much better.”

Stubbs insisted he was encouraged by his side`s second half display and the “character” they showed.

He added:” After our trip to Aston Villa, coming to Brighton was always going to be difficult.

“We make a mistake in our box and give Brighton an opportunity for their first goal. Then the game drifted away from us and we didn’t stop the cross for the second goal.

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“But in the second half we showed a little bit of character and that pleased me.

“Sometimes at 2-0 you can accept things and the hardest thing is to do something about it. We did that much better in the second half.

“The third goal killed it but the challenge for the penalty was made outside the box, and that is a sore one to take.”

Brighton: Maenpaa, Rosenior, Saltor, Dunk, Bong, Knockaert, Norwood, Stephens, Murphy, Murray, Hemed. Subs: Kayal, Skalak, Baldock, Sidwell, Ankergren, LuaLua, White.

Rotherham: Camp, Fisher, Kelly, Kelvin Wilson, Ball, Mattock, Smallwood, Vaulks, Forde, Taylor, Ward. Subs: Allan, Wood, Price, Thorpe, Yates, Warren.

Referee: Simon Hooper (Wiltshire)