Brighton & Hove Albion have enjoyed plenty of giddy highs since ascending back into English football’s elite division, from successive wins over Manchester United to a home humbling of Arsenal, though this may be the victory they have cherished most to date. Crystal Palace, their perceived rivals, were humiliated here by a team who had been reduced to 10 before the half-hour. The locals, raucous in their celebrations, revelled in a night of complete superiority.
It was the ruthlessness of their play that took the breath away, the hosts everything Palace were not. Where Albion were clinical to knock the stuffing from their opponents before the break, scoring three times without reply, panicked visiting players were inadvertently blocking each other’s shots in their desperation to muster a riposte long before the end. Their possession counted for nothing until yielding a consolation plucked so late as to make little difference. This was the stuff of nightmares for those from south London.