LONDON • Brighton have enjoyed plenty of highs since being promoted last season, but the 3-1 Premier League home victory over Crystal Palace on Tuesday may well be their most cherished to date.
The "M23" derby is named after the motorway that connects the county of Sussex, where Brighton is located, and south London, which is the home of Palace.
Although their rivalry dates back to the 1940s, it took on another dimension only in the late 70s as they moved up English football's tiers.
There has been no let-up in the animosity since, with crowd trouble breaking out at the Amex Stadium when both sides met last term.
On Tuesday, there was more of the same despite the increased police presence, with reports of fighting between opposing fans around Brighton train station adding to the tension at the ground.
A home fan was also thrown out of the game for throwing a pie at Palace's Wilfried Zaha.
While the contest had simmered through its opening exchanges, all scrappy and ill-tempered, it was Palace that imploded midway through the first half.
James McArthur was ruled to have fouled Jose Izquierdo even though replays showed he had touched the ball first.
Palace never recovered their poise after Glenn Murray, who has represented both clubs in this fixture, thumped in the bitterly disputed spot kick.
Brighton defender Shane Duffy was then sent off for headbutting Patrick van Aanholt moments later. Murray had to be substituted after suffering a shoulder injury, but a volley from his replacement, Leon Balogun, doubled the hosts' lead.
The misery for Roy Hodgson's men was complete after another substitute, Florin Andone, struck home on the stroke of half-time. Luka Milivojevic netted a late consolation from the spot.
Afterwards, Brighton manager Chris Hughton revelled in one of the club's "most special" matches since their top-flight promotion, noting that the win had been one of his "proudest" moments.
"We knew we had to work incredibly hard because they are a gifted side, and if they got a goal earlier, it could have been difficult," he said.
Elsewhere, Bournemouth ended their four-game losing streak with a 2-1 home win over Huddersfield, while West Ham eased to a 3-1 victory over visiting Cardiff.
REUTERS, THE GUARDIAN