Brighton hero Hemed pleads innocence over 'stamp' claim
Brighton 1 Newcastle United 0
Tomer Hemed scored the only goal but the Brighton striker will desperately hope he is not back in the news today as he faces scrutiny as to whether he stamped on the Newcastle defender DeAndre Yedlin.
The English FA will have to decide whether there was intent as Hemed trod on Yedlin after the full-back went to ground late on in this precious victory for Brighton which propelled them into mid-table and halted Newcastle's run of three successive Premier League wins.
"I thought he stamped on my calf but (I) didn't see what happened," Yedlin later said. "Maybe it was accidental."
Hemed was adamant it was just that.
"It was an accident," the striker protested before suggesting there had been some friction between the pair.
"Before I just told him, 'If you cannot jump for the ball, why push me? Try to take the ball, don't push me'. But, after that, it was by accident. If I hurt him, I am sorry."
When Brighton were promoted from the Championship it looked like Hemed, a 30-year-old journeyman, was set to stay in the lower division, but Brighton's failure to sign a replacement gave him his chance.
hooked The way in which Hemed adeptly hooked the ball high into the net soon into the second half suggested he could have a big part to play in Brighton's efforts to cement their place in the top flight.
But the goal was not without controversy, with Newcastle manager Rafa Benitez claiming that Chancel Mbemba had been pushed by Brighton captain Bruno in the build-up.
Brighton manager Chris Hughton countered: "What you saw is what you see in every game. It certainly wasn't a foul."
These are the kind of games Brighton have to win if they are to have any chance of survival and they set about it knowing that. As did Newcastle.
It meant there were chances aplenty, especially during an open first half-hour.
Newcastle came close from their first corner, an out-swinger by Matt Ritchie, which was met by Mikel Merino whose volley was superbly pushed away by goalkeeper Matt Ryan.
Once ahead Brighton could have finished it only for Newcastle goalkeeper Rob Elliot to react brilliantly and block March's angled shot.
Newcastle came closest when Jonjo Shelvey's corner whacked against the outside of the near post with Ryan scrambling on his goal-line. (© Daily Telegraph, London)