Middlesbrough 0-1 Brighton & Hove Albion: Murray seals stifled Seagulls' fifth-round place from wasteful Boro

Middlesbrough 0-1 Brighton & Hove Albion: Murray seals stifled Seagulls' fifth-round place from wasteful Boro

A last-minute goal from Glenn Murray sealed a 1-0 win for Premier League strugglers Brighton at The Riverside Stadium.

Danial Kennedy

The Premier League's Brighton & Hove Albion  managed to snatch their place in the fifth round of The FA Cup, as a late strike from substitute Glenn Murray secured a 1-0 win against a wasteful Middlesbrough. 

The first 45 minutes belonged to the home side who started off well with half-chances for both Ashley Fletcher and Adam Braithwaite. Tony Pulis' side grew in confidence as the half went on with Daniel Ayala and Patrick Bamford going even closer, culminating in Adama Traoré's effort hitting the post five minutes from the break.  

Boro lacked the same intensity in the majority of the second period as Brighton looked to snatch the win with three chances for Beram Kayal, Jiří Skalák and Sam Baldock in quick succession, Traoré and José Izquierdo went close but didn't prove enough to prevent a replay but Murray's late effort secured their arguably undeserved passage. 

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Starting off on the right foot 

A lot had changed since the last time these two sides met back in the Championship, with Boro going up and coming back down in place of The Seagulls, but the hosts had been revitalised under the management of Pulis and were even touted as favourites for the clash but only had half-opportunities to show for their early persistence. 

Boro looked to take the lead a minute in as Brighton failed to clear their line much to the advantage of Fletcher, he was looking to impress in his first game of the Pulis reign but his shot on the turn was wide of the post.

It was then the turn of Braithwaite who did well to make space and get his head onto George Friend's cross from left, but his effort went well over Tim Krul's crossbar. 

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Going for the spectacular 

Considering they were the higher-ranking side, Brighton showed little going forward besides Skalák's free-kick. It was no surprise then that the first real chance of the clash fell to the home side who should have done better with the chance presented to them. 

The corner was played in following some great trickery from Traoré, it looked perfect for Ayala to continue his recent form of scoring as he was left free inside the six-yard box but his header was straight at Krul. 

It did look like that it would have to be something spectacular to break the deadlock and Bamford nearly provided that just after the half-hour mark. Ryan Shotton's throw was flicked on by Ayala which Bamford took on his chest before going for the overhead kick but it nestled on the roof of the net. 

It only seemed a matter of when not if Boro would take the lead and came within inches of doing so just before the break, they broke well from the Brighton corner through Fletcher who did well to slide it into Traoré. The winger looked to deceive Krul at his near post, but the effort clattered back off the upright. 

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Picking up some speed 

Boro seemed to lack the same energy at the beginning of the first period that saw them go so close to taking the lead in the first-half and were nearly punished for their lack of composure as Brighton nearly took the lead with their first shot on target. 

Kayal certainly tested Darren Randolph for his first contribution as he failed to keep hold of the Israeli's effort. He redeemed himself by getting down at the feet of Skalák having suffered an injury in the process. The danger wasn't over for the home side as the ball spilled out to Baldock, but Ayala stood firm to block the effort. 

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Looking to make that crucial difference late on 

Pulis looked to add that attacking edge in the dying embers with the introduction of top scorer Britt Assombalonga but their best chance of the second period fell to Traoré. He did well to slither his way in from the left to the edge of the area and take aim from the edge of the area but it whistled past Krul's post. 

Brighton's patient build-up play nearly paid off as Davy Pröpper's pass managed to find Izquierdo, the substitute did well with his smart turn but the effort lacked similar greatness as it went straight into the arms of Randolph. 

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Big man strikes again 

It did look like that a replay at The AMEX Stadium would be on the cards as the game entered the final minute of normal time, but Hughton's final roll of the dice in Murray proved to be a masterstroke. 

Markus Suttner played a hopeful ball in from the left which landed into a dangerous area, however, it did look like Friend had it covered but Murray was quick to get in his face as the clearance deflected off the striker and beyond Randolph.