Solly March achieves Brighton derby victory over Crystal Palace

March scored the game-winner in the 15th minute, on 15 March, as the Seagulls drew level on points with sixth-placed Liverpool, one game down.

He also provided a double celebration for Brighton Chairman Tony Bloom after his horse Energumene won the Champion Chase at Cheltenham.

However, problems are mounting for Palace, after their winless run stretched to 11 games.

They were forced to give teenage goalkeeper Joe Whitworth a professional debut with number one Vicente Guaita and substitute Sam Johnstone injured.

At 19 years and 15 days old, Whitworth was the youngest goalkeeper to appear in a Premier League game since Ben Alnwick played for Sunderland in December 2005.

The former Palace ballboy started nervously with an unconvincing header from outside the box, but Brighton were unable to punish him.

However, Jason Steele was the busiest goalkeeper in the opening stages despite Palace failing to get a shot on target in their last three matches.

Wilfried Zaha at least corrected that particular mistake early on when he tested Steele with an angled drive.

Steele made a save with his knee after Joachim Andersen’s through ball split the Brighton defense and sent Michael Olise on target, before Odsonne Edouard palmed the ball away.

Whitworth got her first decent touch of the ball when she stopped Kaoru Mitoma’s long-range effort.

But he was defeated moments later when Mitoma sent March clean to find the net with a composed finish.

Palace could have equalized before halftime, but Andersen volleyed Olise’s free-kick across and wide.

They could also have been down to 10 men after Cheick Doucoure, back from suspension and already with a book, brought down Moises Caicedo as he was about to break through but somehow escaped another yellow card.

Understandably, the Palace midfielder did not emerge for the second half with Patrick Vieira sending out Eberechi Eze in his place.

The second half was delayed after a floodlight failure momentarily plunged the stadium into darkness, and referee Peter Bankes stopped the match, apparently because his headphones were no longer working.

Once play had resumed, Whitworth highlighted his potential with an impressive reaction save to avoid Alexis Mac Allister’s header from a corner.

Mac Allister nearly added a second with a wild run and a shot that went wide, but in the end Brighton had to hang on to March’s goal for nine minutes into stoppage time.

Seagulls boss Roberto De Zerbi believes the in-form winger deserves an England call-up, so March’s seventh goal of the season was a helpful reminder for Gareth Southgate, who names his last squad on Thursday.

The 28-year-old also scored in last week’s draw at Leeds, and if he gets the nod from Southgate it would really be March.


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