Bobby Zamora celebrated his birthday in style by scoring the only goal as Brighton defeated Blackburn 1-0 to end their poor run of form.
Brighton went into the match hoping to end a run of six games without a goal and it was Zamora, on his 35th birthday, who ended the drought, on hand to tap into the empty net three minutes in after Jamie Murphy’s shot rebounded off a post.
The timely victory hauled Chris Hughton’s men back into the Championship play-off places.
Jordan Rhodes was lively in the first half for goal-shy Rovers without testing David Stockdale, but the game sprang to life in the second period as Blackburn’s Ben Marshall and Albion’s Anthony Knockaert were both denied by the woodwork in a frenetic spell.
The home side desperately pressed for an equaliser, but Brighton weathered the storm to record a second consecutive Ewood Park victory, consigning their opponents to a first home loss since October.
Blackburn showed plenty of endeavour, but lacked the quality to make it count and have themselves now gone six games without winning.
Boss Paul Lambert made three changes from the draw with QPR which saw Chris Brown, Matt Kilgallon and Darragh Lenihan drafted in.
Former Rovers defender Gordon Greer missed out through injury, so Connor Goldson started for Brighton, one of two changes from midweek along with Zamora.
Brighton ended their long wait for a goal in the third minute when a poor Kilgallon clearance landed to Murphy 25 yards out.
His rasping drive was brilliantly tipped on to a post by Jason Steele, but the rebound fell invitingly for Zamora to slot home with ease.
The hosts nearly ended their own barren run in front of goal moments later, but Rhodes’ glancing header drifted just past the far post.
He rattled the side-netting soon after a superb back heel by Brown to set him up.
Kilgallon endured a tough time back in the team and Zamora wriggled away from him just before the break, but Steele parried the powerful shot to safety.
Zamora should have doubled the lead 54 minutes in when Kilgallon’s slip left him one-on-one, but his lob over Steele drifted wide.
Blackburn cranked up the pressure and Marshall’s 59th minute free-kick somehow stayed out after rattling a post and hitting Stockdale before the visitors cleared.
It was the turn of Hughton’s men to hit the frame of the goal a minute later when a cross found its way to Knockaert 12 yards out and his ferocious drive cannoned off a post with Steele beaten.
Craig Conway produced a smart turn and stinging shot that Stockdale could only parry and Rhodes’ drive was easily saved late on as Brighton ended their eight-game winless run.
Don’t miss out on all the latest breaking news where you live.
Here are four ways you can be sure you’ll be amongst the first to know what’s going on.
1 Make this website your homepage
2 Like our Facebook page at facebook.com/pages/Sport-Sussex
3 Follow us on Twitter @SportSussex
4 Register with us by clicking on ‘sign in’ (top right corner). You can then receive our daily newsletter AND add your point of view to stories that you read here.
And do share with your family and friends - so they don’t miss out!