Brighton ended the Premier League Boxing Day action with a 2-0 victory at home to Brentford.
Puzzling moved to a kickoff at. 20:00 despite the train traffic across the country stopping, the bees could not give their traveling fans anything to shout about when the Seagulls took 13 matches without winning in all competitions.
Brentford started bright and dismissed a great chance to take an early lead when the ball ricocheted to Shandon Baptiste from a corner, but his goal from close range was blocked.
Dan Burns’ rejected nod bounced from the top of the crossbar at the other end, while Enock Mwepu shot into the side netting as the hosts began to kick in gear.
Brighton eventually took the lead when Mwepu dropped one in behind Brentford’s defense for Leandro Trossard to chase, and with Alvaro Fernandez off his line, the Belgian lobbed it over the Spanish stopper and into an empty net.
Former Bee Neal Maupay added a second at half-time with a violent blow to the edge of the box to give Thomas Frank’s side a mountain to climb.
Brentford looked much more up for the fight after the break but still struggled to create any clear chances, with Sergi Canos shooting high and wide from a tight angle around the hour.
Baptiste’s deflected effort from within range required an acrobatic stop from Robert Sanchez to deny him, and the Spaniard hit an Ethan Pinnock nod from the line moments later.
The visitors continued to search for a way back into the match, where Marc Cucurella this time prevented Pinnock from entering.
Brentford dominated possession in the final stages but could not find a way through as Brighton secured the three points.
Here are your player ratings for both sides …
Cucurella bombed a lot / Bryn Lennon / GettyImages
Robert Sanchez (GK) – 7/10 – Commanded his area well and often handled Brentford’s long throws himself.
Tariq Lamptey (RB) – 7/10 – Hardly worried and his fast feet helped Brighton out of some sticky situations.
Adam Webster (CB) – 7/10 – Was not overwhelmed by his duels with Toney but received a warning for a clumsy challenge on Onyeka.
Dan Burn (CB) – 7/10 – It was difficult for Brentford’s air bombing strategy to have a meaningful effect with 6ft7 Burn on the back.
Marc Cucurella (LB) – 8/10 – Had a lot of joy over the overlap and fought hard in his duel with compatriot Canos. Super clearance to stop Pinnock’s nod crossing the line.
Lallana was a joy to watch / Mike Hewitt / GettyImages
Enock Mwepu (CM) – 7/10 – Excellent assist to Trossard’s opener and made the most of Vitaly Janelt’s absence in Brentford’s midfield, which dominated in the middle of the park.
Jakub Moder (CM) – 6/10 – Neat and tidy again.
Adam Lallana (AM) – 7/10 – Walked through the midfield and rolled back the years with a top performance.
Maupay scored a super goal / Bryn Lennon / GettyImages
Leandro Trossard (RW) – 7/10 – Excellent finish to break the deadlock and looked dangerous during his 45 minutes of play.
Neal Maupay (CF) – 8/10 – Looked like a threat all night and deserved his goal against his former side.
Alexis Mac Allister (LW) – 6/10 – Often dropped deep into midfield with Lallana on the move, which benefited the English veteran much more.
Danny Welbeck (LW, 46 ‘for Trossard) – 6/10 – Looked fit, fresh and sharp.
Pascal Gross (CM, 84 ‘for Lallana) – N / A
Steven Alzate (RW, 84 ‘for Mac Allister) – N / A
Pinnock had two nicks cleared from the line / Bryn Lennon / GettyImages
Alvaro Fernandez (GK) – 4/10 – Was not helped by a scratched offside line but should still have been more decisive in the run-up to Trossard’s goal.
Ethan Pinnock (CB) – 6/10 – Made several blocks and was dominant aerial. Often pressed in errors due to play on his unnatural side.
Pontus Jansson (CB) – 4/10 – Physical as always but caught by falling too deep sometimes.
Mads Bech Sorensen (CB) – 3/10 – Looked out of his depth. Brentford miss Charlie Goode and Kristoffer Ajer.
Baptiste drove forward / Mike Hewitt / GettyImages
Sergi Canos (RWB) – 5/10 – Had some early success against Cucurella and took risks, but they were not often met by a reward.
Shandon Baptiste (CM) – 7/10 – Carved out Brentford’s best openings by pushing into the right channel but sometimes missed one last ball.
Christian Norgaard (CM) – 5/10 – Saw a yard off the pace and his booking means he will miss Wednesday’s visit to Man City.
Mathias Jensen (CM) – 2/10 Caught when he swung a few times and his off-ball flaws were obvious. Hooked at half time.
Dominic Thompson (LWB) – 4/10 – Rico Henry’s problem with the hamstring meant that Thompson was thrown in for his Premier League debut. He was not bad.
Toney fought to influence / Visionhaus / GettyImages
Bryan Mbeumo (CF) – 3/10 – Did a little before he was replaced, probably with injury.
Ivan Toney (CF) – 5/10 – Started bright but soon faded and failed to hold the ball and engage himself or others. Booked for a dive after a challenge of 5ft4 Lamptey.
Yoane Wissa (CF, 41 ‘for Mbeumo) – 4/10 – Had a little more success on the ball than Mbeumo, but not much.
Frank Onyeka (CM, 46 ‘for Jensen) – 6/10 – His introduction provided the competitiveness that his name manager would have required.
Saman Ghoddos (LWB, 66 ‘for Thompson) – 5/10
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