Eddie Howe was forced to make one change to his line up with Sven Botman ruled out with an ankle Injury as he looked to get back on to winning ways after the disappointment of last weekend’s smash and grab at the hands of Liverpool.
Matt Targett was brought in at left back as Howe resisted bringing in club captain Jamaal Lascelles and instead moved Dan burn to partner Fabien Schar in the centre of defence.
And his team should have been ahead as early as the first minute when Isak was clean through only to pull his shot wide of the Brighton keepers last hand post.
And he should have done better on two minutes when he miscued his effort after a great run and pull back by Tonali after some great pressing down the right side.
Brighton’s first chance came on 5 minutes when the ball again broke to March on the right side of the Newcastle box. His fierce shot however went high and wide of Pope’s goal for a goal kick.
March was again involved when he once again got free of Targett, and his cross was just cut out from a corner
Brighton’s Evan Ferguson was certainly keeping the Newcastle defenders busy with his ever-present physicality and Dan Burn was finding it difficult to cope with the young Irishman’s movement.
Brighton by now were drawing in Newcastle’s midfield five and finding lots of space to exploit as Ferguson and Joao Pedro well supported by the running of March and Mitoma were keeping the back four busy.
March was giving Targett a lot to do and think about defensively, with little support coming from Gordon or indeed any of the central midfield three, who were failing to provide him with an outlet when he did get the better of the ever-dangerous March
On 15 minutes a great driving run by Almiron could have given Newcastle the lead as his shot was deflected to the near post where the Brighton keeper was forced to get down and turn the ball out for a corner.
Gordon was starting to get a bit more of the ball and on 17 minutes he released Isak who beat his man and cut the ball back, but no Newcastle player was following up with Gordon having peeled off to the back post, anticipating the ball rolling across the six-yard box.
The game was starting to open, and March was proving to be the main dangerman for Brighton, dragging defenders right across the back line and while Mitoma was less effective on the left, he was still a continued threat.
But the turning point of the game came on 27 minutes when some poor distribution by Pope saw his wayward clearance intercepted by Estupian who in turn released Mitoma whose effort was blocked by Pope. However, the ball fell to Billy Gilmour who fired a thunderous shot towards goal. Pope could only fumble the ball into the path of teenager Evan Ferguson who slotted the ball home.
With Brighton starting to take a grip on the game Newcastle seemed rattled and when Joao pinto fired a shot over Pope’s crossbar the omens were looking ominous, and Howe was hoping to hear the half time whistle.
Newcastle came out with a little more urgency in the second half but that was quickly extinguished as Brighton started to get a firm grip of the midfield. Gilmour was having one of those games that opposition managers hate; getting freedom all over the park and it was no surprise when, in the 64th minute the same player was again first to the ball as Bruno challenged and his fellow midfielders stood in bewilderment.
Gilmour slipped the ball to Ferguson who took five touches unchallenged and then planted his shot from 25 yards into the bottom corner. 2:0.
On 70 minutes it was game over as far as Newcastle were concerned and again it was Ferguson who did the damage, this time latching on to a pass from Mitoma who shrugged off a half-hearted challenge from the already booked Gordon.
Ferguson shot from the edge of the box took a deflection off Schar and nestled into the corner with Pope stranded.
And stranded probably summed up Pope’s performance as well as those of his two central defensive teammates.
By 73 minutes the only thing on Howe’s mind must have been damage limitation. He replaced Isak and Targett with Barnes and Lascelles. Burn slotted in at left back and within minutes he was booked for a foul on Lamptey.
with all his substitutes used, this was proving to be a bad day at the office Howe when Schar picked up an injury but was forced to stay on to see out the remaining few minutes rather than see Newcastle finish with 10 men. His woes were complete.
Callum Wilson, who came on in the 58th minute for Joelinton did manage to pull a goal back in time added on and it was a well taken effort after he was put through by fellow substitute Sean Longstaff who had replaced Tonali.
Brighton thoroughly deserved their three points and for the third weekend in a row Tyneside was reverberating to the sound of ‘regroup and go again next week’!