Brighton 3, Coventry City 1: Debut and return goals for strikers as Albion ease into FA Cup quarter-finals

Brighton & Hove Albion striker Jurgen Locadia opens his account against Coventry City. Picture by PW Sporting Photography
Brighton & Hove Albion striker Jurgen Locadia opens his account against Coventry City. Picture by PW Sporting Photography

Brighton & Hove Albion eased into their first FA Cup quarter-final for 32 years with a comfortable win over Coventry City at the Amex this afternoon.

The Seagulls brushed aside their League Two opponents, who had already beat Premier League Stoke City in the third round, with an accomplished all-round showing that produced plenty of positives.

Connor Goldson is congratulated on his goal against Coventry City. Picture by PW Sporting Photography

Connor Goldson is congratulated on his goal against Coventry City. Picture by PW Sporting Photography

Goals from record-signing Jurgen Locadia on his debut, Leonardo Ulloa, his first since his return to the club, and a rare notch for centre-back Connor Goldson had the hosts 3-0 ahead and cruising in the second half.

But, while Jonson Clarke-Harris pulled one back with just over ten minutes left to play from a Brighton defensive lapse, it could have been plenty more by that time with the lively Locadia having enough chances to have capped his first start with a hat-trick.

Albion named a strong side despite making nine changes from the team that drew 1-1 with Stoke City in the Premier League last Saturday.

Solly March and Dale Stephens were the only players to keep their place in the starting 11, while club record signing Jurgen Locadia made his debut and Leonardo Ulloa also started for the first time since returning.

Leonardo Ulloa celebrates his first goal since returning to Brighton. Picture by PW Sporting Photography

Leonardo Ulloa celebrates his first goal since returning to Brighton. Picture by PW Sporting Photography

Mark Robins meanwhile made four changes from the side that lost 2-1 to Colchester United in League Two on Tuesday night with Jonson Clarke-Harris making his first start for the Sky Blues.

After a 15-minute kick-off delay due to transport problems on the roads and trains, it was the visitors that registered the first effort on target as Jordan Shipley curled a 24-yard free kick straight at Tim Krul with just a minute on the clock.

Albion responded with a spell of pressure and a flap from Blues keeper Lee Burge, before Ulloa met a Markus Suttner corner, but his header was deflected behind for another corner. From that, Uwe Huenemeier's downward header was met by Locadia on the turn, but his effort crashed off the post with just five minutes gone.

Not to outdone, Coventry set the woodwork rattling on 13 minutes as Jordan Willis' header from a corner crashed back into play and was cleared.

Brighton & Hove Albion's Leonardo Ulloa in action against Coventry City. Picture by PW Sporting Photography

Brighton & Hove Albion's Leonardo Ulloa in action against Coventry City. Picture by PW Sporting Photography

But Albion led two minutes later with Anthony Knockaert, having moments earlier taken too long with the ball outwide, this time opted for a low first-time cross and Locadia swept home from close range to open his Albion account.

Locadia then fluffed a chance to fire home a second. After a great run by Solly March he got in behind and cut back for the Albion new boy, but, with the goal at his mercy, he completely missed the ball. The Dutchman almost scored again on 31 minutes as he slid in to meet Suttner's low cross but his effort went just wide.

However, it was 2-0 just two minutes later as another sublime Suttner delivery, this time from the corner flag, was headed home at the back post by Goldson.

Further chances before the break saw Josh Barrett volley just wide, Locadia drove a low shot straight at Burge and Knockaert fired over the bar from a decent Dale Stephens pass.

Albion made two changes at the break as Tim Krul, who came off wincing at half-time after an earlier awkward fall, was replaced by Niki Maenpaa and Dale Stephens made way for Davy Propper.

The home side made it 3-0 on 63 minutes as a lovely inviting cross from Bruno was met by Ulloa, who glances his header from six yards into the top corner.

Goldson almost added his second and Brighton's fourth a minute later as he met March's deep cross, but headed over.

City pulled one back with 13 minutes left to play as Clarke-Harris drilled home a loose ball in the area after a long goalkick bounced and was headed down into his path to send the healthy contingent of more than 4,000 away fans into raptures.

Albion should have restored their three-goal lead immediatly as March found Knockaert, who side-footed wide from 12 yards.

Coventry had a brief spell after that, but failed to cause Manepaa many problems, while at the other end, Sam Baldock curled against the crossbar from March's cutback with just a minute left to play.

Albion: Krul (Maenpaa 46), Bruno, Goldson, Huenemeier, Suttner, Knockaert, Kayal, Stephens (Propper 46), March, Locadia (Baldock 76), Ulloa. Unused subs: Dunk, Hemed, Izquierdo, Rosenior.

Coventry City: Burge, Grimmer (McDonald 56), Willis, Hyam, Haynes; Barrett (Biamou 78), Kelly, Bayliss, Shipley; McNulty (Ponticelli 74), Clarke-Harris. Unused subs: O'Brien, Stokes, Vincenti, Kelly-Evans.

Attendance: 26,966 (4,335 away).

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