Ipswich 0-3 Brighton
1/1/13 - 3.00pm
Albion began the New Year with a win as they brushed aside Ipswich Town to record a convincing 3-0 victory.
Two first half goals from Dean Hammond and Craig Mackail-Smith, followed by a late strike from Wayne Bridge handed the clinical Seagulls their first win in 5, and one that could help revive their push for the top six.
Poyet's men controlled possession and took their chances when they presented themselves - something that hadn't been happening in recent weeks. David Lopez filled in at right-back for the injured Bruno, whilst Ashley Barnes and Dean Hammond returned to the starting XI.
And it was Hammond who, having scored his first goal for the Seagulls at Portman Road some ten years ago, opened the scoring with a text-book, near-post glancing header - meeting Andrea Orlandi's in-swinging corner to power home.
The visitors had some defending to do down the other end not long after, as Tomasz Kuszczak first saved from Daryl Murphy, before Kazenga LuaLua, tracking back from his left-wing role, executed a well-timed sliding tackle to deny the lurching Carlos Edwards.
Albion were soon back on the attack, however, as they doubled their lead with 34 minutes on the clock. Orlandi played the ball towards Barnes, whose neat headed flick saw Mackail-Smith through one-on-one with Stephen Henderson - and the industrious striker confidently slotted the ball in off the post to claim his 11th goal of the campaign.
Barnes, impressive on his return to the side, nearly forced an own goal from Luke Chambers before the interval, but the Seagulls were understandably content to take their deserved 2-0 lead into the break.
McCarthy's men began to mount some pressure in the early stages of the second half, as Guirane N'Daw and Lee Martin both tried their luck from distance. However, with the Seagulls having gained control with their composed possession play, Bridge killed off the contest with a third from range.
Gary Dicker played a lofted cross-field pass over to the left-back, and with acres of space ahead of him, the City-loanee strode forward and unleashed a 30 yarder, which bounced awkwardly for Henderson as the ball found its way into the Ipswich net.
Showcasing his range of passing from right-back, Lopez created a couple of late opening for the Albion strikers. First his lofted pass saw sub Will Hoskins and Barnes both through on goal, but the pair ended up leaving it for one another, after a slight miscommunication.
Then following a 20-pass move, Lopez played a stunning raking pass to again play Hoskins in on goal, but the striker's deft chip looped high over the Ipswich goal. A 3-0 scoreline away at an in-form side is not to be sniffed at however, as Albion departed Portman Road with a welcome 3 points.