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Chris Hughton’s Brighton reach FA Cup quarter finals

WEMBLEY BOUND?: Chris Hughton is 90 minutes from a date at the national stadium

BRIGHTON’S SPELL of indifferent form has ended with a place in the FA Cup quarter-finals.

The Seagulls beat a disappointing Derby 2- 1 to ensure a berth in the competition’s final eight

Brighton were coming off an unfortunate defeat to Premier League league leaders Liverpool, home draws against Watford and West Brom and last weekend’s surprise loss to Burnley.

The last time the Seagulls had landed points at home was a 1-0 win against Everton on December 29.

A three-quarters full AMEX Stadium confirmed once again that the magic of the FA Cup is no more. And after a lacklustre first 30 minutes by both teams the oldest domestic cup competition was certainly showing its age.

That said, the clubs concerned have different priorities with Albion looking to preserve their top flight status while the visitors pursue a place in the lucrative top flight.

The game’s first real action arrived in the 12th when Anthony Knockaert saw an effort tipped over by Kellie Roos in the Derby goal. Roos was to prove pivotal to his team all match.

Brighton midfielder Yves Bissouma was the game’s best player, displaying verve, energy and skill at every opportunity. His 22nd minute daisy cutter had Roos on alert once more.

Three minutes later he was to put a chance, high wide and not so handsomely into the stands.

But Albion despite that he and Brighton were in charge. Despite that outrageous effort Bissouma was making his team tick.

He was to set up the game’s first goal in the 33rd minute. The Ivorian’s run and cross saw Knockaert fire home with his right foot.

Just before half-time Bissouma was in assist mode again. After winning the ball tigerishly he hit the post with a curling left foot effort; Jurgen Locadia was on hand to fire home and further frustrate Derby boss Frank Lampard on the sidelines. His team were poor and were now virtually out of this fifth round tie.

Arsenal and Chelsea legend Ashley Cole was one of two substitutes that Lampard brought on to turn the tide at the start of the second period.

Derby had to be better and they were. But it was still the home side who created the best chances. Roos was deny Knockaert and Bernardo to keep his team in it.

Nine minutes from the end Cole, of all people, headed home to set up a tense finish. It was his first goal for the best part of nine years and his celebration confirmed that.

With just minutes on the clock, Derby captain Richard Keogh saw his close range header saved by Brighton ‘keeper David Button.

Derby offered very little else thereafter and most in the 24, 562 crowd went home happy with the hosts just 90 minutes from a special day out at Wembley.

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