Danny Ings returned from injury to score the winner with a penalty as Southampton came back to edge an entertaining Premier League encounter at Brighton.
The result lifts Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side up to fifth in the top flight, while the Seagulls remain 16th.
Ings, back after a month out with a knee injury, came on as a half-time substitute and converted from the spot after VAR penalised Solly March for a foul on Kyle Walker-Peters.
Referee David Coote initially awarded the visitors a free-kick on the edge of the Brighton box after March tangled with the Southampton full-back, whose momentum carried him forward.
But despite multiple camera angles appearing inconclusive, his decision was overturned.
Pascal Gross had opened the scoring for the hosts with a penalty after a handball from Saints captain James Ward-Prowse.
And while Brighton impressed they were punished for failing to add to their tally on the stroke of half-time.
Ward-Prowse’s pinpoint delivery from a corner on the right saw Jannik Vestergaard power a header into the top left corner to equalise.
Earlier Brighton had become the latest Premier League side to welcome back 2,000 supporters after a nine-month absence.
Ings helps Saints to up-tempo finish
While Hasenhuttl is an accomplished pianist and has reportedly performed in front of his players, he will have been frustrated by the off-tune showing he saw from them during the first period.
Brighton’s high pressing saw Saints cough up possession cheaply on the edge of their own penalty area on several occasions.
And as they struggled to play out from the back there was a noticeable absence of rhythm to their play.
When Danish defender Vestergaard levelled the scores, he did so with Southampton’s first effort on target in the game.
However, the half-time introduction of Ings, on for Moussa Djenepo, galvanised the visitors and added some sparkle to their attacking play.
The England forward’s deft touch brilliantly released Stuart Armstrong, as Theo Walcott went close with a curling effort from 20 yards.
His ball juggling skills and quick thinking also provided fellow substitute Nathan Redmond with a superb chance and he supplied the coup de grace from 12 yards, keeping his composure following a lengthy delay.
One of the biggest criticisms that has been levelled at Brighton is that they do not reap the rewards their fluent football deserves, particularly in attack.
Prior to kick-off only strugglers Sheffield United, Burnley and Manchester United had scored less goals at home than the Seagulls this term.
And that, plus another failing – their weakness defending set-pieces – ensured their winless start on their own patch continued.
Danny Welbeck, Lewis Dunk and Gross all had good opportunities to ensure Graham Potter’s side went into the interval with a healthy lead.
Instead they found themselves level after allowing the tallest player on the pitch a free run to connect with Ward-Prowse’s corner.
Only Leicester (7) have now conceded more set-piece goals (apart from penalties) in the Premier League this season than Brighton (6).
And while Aaron Connolly saw his close-range effort saved with the score at 1-1, the manner of their defeat appeared to add an element of misfortune to their own shortcomings.
More to follow.
Brighton & Hove Albion
- 5DunkBooked at 56mins
- 3WhiteSubstituted forJahanbakhshat 81′minutes
- 8BissoumaBooked at 89mins
- 13GroßBooked at 80mins
- 7ConnollySubstituted forMaupayat 64′minutes
- 18WelbeckSubstituted forTrossardat 82′minutes
- 1McCarthyBooked at 87mins
- 6RomeuBooked at 47mins
- 12DjenepoBooked at 13minsSubstituted forIngsat 45′minutes
- 32WalcottSubstituted forRedmondat 69′minutes
- David Coote
Match ends, Brighton and Hove Albion 1, Southampton 2.
Second Half ends, Brighton and Hove Albion 1, Southampton 2.
Attempt saved. Leandro Trossard (Brighton and Hove Albion) header from the centre of the box is saved in the top centre of the goal. Assisted by Solly March with a cross.
Yves Bissouma (Brighton and Hove Albion) is shown the yellow card.
James Ward-Prowse (Southampton) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Yves Bissouma (Brighton and Hove Albion).
Oriol Romeu (Southampton) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Leandro Trossard (Brighton and Hove Albion).
Alex McCarthy (Southampton) is shown the yellow card.
Che Adams (Southampton) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Joël Veltman (Brighton and Hove Albion).
Foul by Stuart Armstrong (Southampton).
Solly March (Brighton and Hove Albion) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Corner, Brighton and Hove Albion. Conceded by Jannik Vestergaard.
Attempt missed. Neal Maupay (Brighton and Hove Albion) left footed shot from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the left. Assisted by Pascal Groß.
Attempt missed. Alireza Jahanbakhsh (Brighton and Hove Albion) right footed shot from the centre of the box misses to the right. Assisted by Leandro Trossard.
Substitution, Brighton and Hove Albion. Leandro Trossard replaces Danny Welbeck.
Substitution, Brighton and Hove Albion. Alireza Jahanbakhsh replaces Ben White.
Goal! Brighton and Hove Albion 1, Southampton 2. Danny Ings (Southampton) converts the penalty with a right footed shot to the bottom left corner.
Pascal Groß (Brighton and Hove Albion) is shown the yellow card.