Brighton 1-3 Crystal Palace: Murray's mint for Eagles
Published 22:08 27/09/11 By MirrorFootball
Glenn Murray enjoyed a triumphant return to Brighton as he helped Crystal Palace beat their old foes.
Murray, who top-scored for the Seagulls last season before going to Palace for nothing on a Bosman, capped a famous derby night for the Eagles with a superb 18-yard finish in added time.
Wilfried Zaha and Darren Ambrose had earlier turned the game on its head after Craig Mackail-Smith gave Brighton an early lead.
Having turned down the offer of a new deal and opted to join their arch-rivals on a free, Murray was assured of a hostile welcome back to Sussex.
The pre-game atmosphere for this first M23 derby in six years – and the first ever at The Amex - was immense.
Experienced referee Andy D’Urso was keen to keep tight control and booked Palace right-back Peter Ramage on just six minutes for a foul on winger Craig Noone.
It looked a touch harsh. But the free-kick led to a corner and from that Brighton inflicted even greater punishment by going ahead.
Gary Dicker and Ryan Harley were allowed too much time to work a short-corner routine and the former’s low cross was touched home at the near post by the predatory Mackail-Smith.
Brighton dominated for a while – but Palace steadied themselves and Murray was so close to silencing the boos when he angled a shot just past the far post on 38 minutes following a poor pass by Lewis Dunk.
Brighton gave a surprise start at right-back to assistant manager Mauricio Taricco - the 38-year-old playing his first league game at this level since 2004.
Mackail-Smith made another big contribution in the 57th minute, this time at his own end as he cleared a Patrick McCarthy header off his own line at a corner.
But Zaha could not be contained and levelled in the 79th minute with a shot into the bottom corner from 18 yards after a mazy run.
Then, substitute Ambrose scrambled the 89th minute winner after a low cross from Jonathan Parr before Murray provided the perfect ending for the Eagles.
Palace boss Dougie Freedman watched 2,500 Palace supporters celebrate, then said: "It was fantastic for the fans. They have been through a lot in the last few years.
"The players stuck at it. Brighton have had a bad night at the office but they are a good side. We saw that in the first 15 minutes but I felt my team grew into the game."
Freedman, part of a dramatic late win for the Eagles at Withdean Stadium when these sides last met in 2005, praised Murray, who did not score after striking against his old employers.
He added: "Glenn played very well as he has since he has been here. But it's not the Glenn Murray show, it's the Crystal Palace show. He is a good guy, He is the sort of guy who gels into a team and helps the boys around him."
Shellshocked Seagulls boss Gus Poyet said: "I won't say sorry to the fans. We haven't let anyone down. No one died.
"Our last 45 minutes were our worst of the season. You don't expect that against Palace.
"We must stop conceding - that has to be our starting point. It's the biggest learning day of the season for me."