Glenn Murray’s late winner guided Brighton & Hove Albion to an Emirates FA Cup triumph over rivals Crystal Palace on a revolutionary night at the Amex Stadium.
Dale Stephens’ first goal of the season for Brighton was cancelled out by Bakary Sako’s thumping second-half strike before Murray, a former Palace player, sent the hosts through to meet Middlesbrough in the fourth round.
Meanwhile, the tie’s broke new ground as the video assistant referee (VAR) system was implemented in a competitive England match for the very first time.
- The Emirates FA Cup
- Third Round
- Monday 8 January 2018
- The Amex Stadium
- By Dan Barnes
No lack of derby spice
It may stand out from the crowd as a rivalry not based on proximity but there can be little doubting the ferocity of the M23 derby, which was greeted by a hearty atmosphere at the Amex.
This was the fifth Emirates FA Cup tie between these two sides and the first since the Eagles’ 1-0 win in a first-round replay in 1976.
With two replays scuppered by the elements, that tie was settled at the fifth attempt, being played at a neutral venue – Chelsea’s Stamford Bridge.
This latest stanza of this fiercely-contested rivalry concluded with Chris Hughton’s Seagulls claiming the bragging rights.
A groundbreaking screen test
The final third-round tie of this season’s Emirates FA Cup pushed the English game into new territory, with a video assistant referee (VAR) used for the first time in a competitive club match.
With Andre Marriner the official in charge of proceedings, VAR Neil Swarbrick and assistant video referee Peter Kirkup were on hand to provide assistance from the Premier League’s match centre in Stockley Park, near Heathrow.
Officials had access to a multitude of camera angles and could assist with major incidents such as goals, penalty decisions and red cards.
This was a historic night, with the system due to be utilised again when Chelsea and Norwich City meet in a third-round replay later this month.
Murray’s just mint for Seagulls
Experienced frontman Glenn Murray has tasted success with both Brighton and Palace, having helped both earn promotion to the Premier League during a professional career that began back in 2004.
The 34-year-old, in his second spell as a Seagulls player, settled matters with three minutes of normal time remaining, getting a feather touch to help Uwe Hunemeier’s header from a free-kick into the net.
Murray’s seventh goal of the season was also his first against the Eagles since departing Selhurst Park in January 2017.
Stephens comes to the party
Cranking the atmosphere up to fever pitch for the first time all evening, Seagulls midfielder Dale Stephens picked the perfect time to open his account for the season.
The 28-year-old midfielder, who has been a Brighton player for nearly four years, received the ball from Esequiel Schelotto as he burst into the Palace area with 27 minutes on the clock.
Stephens then put his foot through the ball, with Eagles goalie Wayne Hennessey unable to do anything to halt the Brighton man’s ferocious strike.
Souare features again
Pape Souare’s career could well have been ended by the broken leg he sustained in a road accident on the M4 in September 2016, so it warmed the heart to see the Palace full-back continue his journey back to full fitness in the Emirates FA Cup.
After his leg was trapped by a contorted door and he was airlifted to hospital, the Senegalese full-back was forced to overcome a lengthy battle to resume his playing career but Souare is finally right back amongst it.
After Jeff Schlupp was forced off 13 minutes in, the 27-year-old was introduced for his third substitute appearance since his initial comeback against Huddersfield in the Carabao Cup in September last year.