Scott swoops with late winner

SCOTT Vernon kept his cool under pressure to wrap up all three points for away-day specialists Colchester United at Brighton on Boxing Day.

Carl Marston

Brighton & Hove Albion 1 Colchester United 2

SCOTT Vernon kept his cool under pressure to wrap up all three points for away-day specialists Colchester United at Brighton on Boxing Day.

Super sub Vernon had been low on confidence after a lean spell in front of goal, but the ex-Blackpool striker came up trumps with an 87th minute winner at the Withdean Stadium.

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Relegated to the bench by manager Paul Lambert, deadly finisher Vernon was finally introduced as a substitute for the final 11 minutes.

And he repaid his boss by exchanging a slick one-two with Kem Izzet, before poking the ball beyond onrushing keeper John Sullivan from eight yards out.

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It was Vernon's second goal of the season, but his first for four months following a goal in the 3-1 win at Swindon in mid-August.

Ironically, Brighton had looked in charge when ex-Ipswich Town marksman Nicky Forster headed home Dean Cox's pinpoint cross to secure a 21st minute lead.

But the U's were handed a Christmas present, a day late, by Adam Hinshelwood, who inexplicably gifted the U's a 35th minute equaliser with a comical own goal.

Hinshelwood was making only his second start since a year-long struggle with a knee injury, but it turned into a miserable afternoon for the centre-half. He put too much pace on his back pass, the ball rolling beyond a stranded Sullivan. Both the ball and the Seagulls keeper ended up in the back of the net.

The visitors improved in the second-half, but a point apiece still looked on the cards until Vernon popped up with his late winner.

It secured Colchester's first ever victory at Brighton, at the same extending the Seagulls' dreadful recent run to no wins in seven league fixtures. Their manager, Micky Adams, the former Colchester assistant boss, has a big task on his hands to drag them out of the relegation zone.

The U's, by contrast, are on the rise thanks to a superb away record - this was their sixth win on the road from 11 away league games.


BRIGHTON: Sullivan 6, Whing 6, Hinshelwood 5, Elphick 7, Richards 7, Fraser 6 (sub McLeod, 82), El-Abd 7, Johnson 7, Cox 7 (sub Thornton, 82), Murray 7, FORSTER 8 (sub Fleetwood, 82). Unused subs: Loft, Chrichton.

COLCHESTER: Walker 7, Maybury 7, Baldwin 7, Coyne 6, Tierney 7, Yeates 7, HAMMOND 8, Perkins 7 (sub White. 79), Izzet 7, Jackson 6 (sub Gillespie, 73), Platt 6 (sub Vernon, 79). Unused subs: Reid, Gerken.

Referee: Mr Rob Shoebridge (Derbyshire) 6

Attendance: 6,299.

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