(Reuters) - Brighton and Hove Albion players denied Championship winners’ medals by Newcastle United last season were celebrating revenge of a sort after beating them 1-0 in the Premier League on Sunday.
Winning away to Brighton last February with two goals in the final 10 minutes helped Newcastle pip the south coast club for the (second tier) Championship title by one point.
“If everyone can remember the game here with Newcastle last season, it’s a shame we didn’t win,” said Israeli striker Tomer Hemed, whose goal decided Sunday’s tight encounter that lifted Brighton further away from the relegation zone.
“I think in the last few games we have been playing well. This win can give us a push for the next games. We deserve it.”
Midfielder Dale Stephens, whose header across goal from a free kick set up Hemed to score, admitted there was a blocking move involved in the set-piece routine.
“I’m glad it paid off. We change the blocker each time,” he said.
“We’re playing against a team who are flying, which makes it sweeter. We deserved it, we worked hard, we played well today. A win is massive in this division.”
Former Newcastle striker and manager Alan Shearer was disappointed with the team’s performance after successive league wins against West Ham United, Swansea City and Stoke City had lifted them to fourth place in the table last weekend.
“Not good enough today from @NUFC unfortunately,” he tweeted. “The better team won.”
Sky Sports pundits were critical of Hemed, despite his fine display, for an apparent stamp on DeAndre Yedlin just before the end.
“I don’t want to say this because I thought he was the man of the match today but for me he’s had a good look and he knows exactly what he’s doing,” said former Liverpool midfielder and manager Graeme Souness.
“It would have been very easy to put his foot somewhere else, let’s put it that way. It may come back to bite him.”
Another studio guest, former Arsenal and France striker Thierry Henry, agreed that Hemed could face retrospective action from the Football Association.
“I think he’s had a look at him there. He doesn’t have to put his foot there. If anyone reviews it, he will be a massive loss for this football club.”
Reporting by Steve Tongue; Editing by Toby Davis