Queens Park Rangers 1-2 Brighton & Hove Albion

Glenn Murray’s 21st league goal of the season opened the scoring for Brighton in the second half

Brighton beat QPR to return to the top of the Championship with their third win in the space of six days.

Glenn Murray’s 21st goal of the season broke the deadlock in the second half after he and Tomer Hemed saw first-half finishes disallowed for offside.

Sebastien Pocognoli doubled the Seagulls’ lead soon after with a spectacular free-kick.

Matt Smith’s header from a corner pulled one back for QPR but Brighton held on to go two points clear.

Victory for Brighton – their fifth in their past six games – stretched their advantage over third-placed Huddersfield to 12 points with five games remaining.

The Terriers, who still have seven games to play, are in action at Nottingham Forest on Saturday, while second-placed Newcastle travel to Sheffield Wednesday.

Brighton’s first win at Loftus Road in almost 60 years came after a dour first half of few chances.

But, approaching the hour mark, Murray broke the Rangers’ offside trap to latch on to Hemed’s neat through ball and finish past Alex Smithies.

Left-back Pocognoli, whose last goal was in 2011, then executed a pinpoint free-kick with his left foot which flew in off the crossbar for an unstoppable second.

QPR striker Smith flicked in a header at the near post to make it a nervous last 15 minutes for the visitors.

David Stockdale had parried an earlier effort by Smith from close range and the Brighton goalkeeper had to be alert to prevent his team-mate Steve Sidwell accidentally diverting a Ryan Manning cross into his own net.

QPR manager Ian Holloway:

“If the league are looking at us wondering if we had a go, then boy oh boy did we have a go. We were absolutely terrific.

“I’m in total admiration. We did everyone else in the league proud by giving everything.”

Brighton manager Chris Hughton:

“It’s a big win and at this moment every win feels like the biggest one.

“I thought we deserved it, we rode our luck near the end but over the 90 minutes I felt we were the better side.

“It became an old-fashioned game at the end, when you are 2-0 down you are going to go direct. They were difficult to handle but we showed great character and determination.”

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