A first-half goal from Brighton striker Craig Mackail-Smith was enough to earn his side a win over Derby County.

The Scotland international received the ball from Inigo Calderon 18 yards out and made no mistake, blasting the ball past Frank Fielding.

The win was the Seagulls' third in their last four matches after previously going nine without victory.

Defeat for Derby was their fifth straight loss and their ninth of the season so far.

The goal was Mackail-Smith's first in 10 games and enough to move the Seagulls back to the fringes of the play-off places.

They now sit level on points with sixth placed Leicester City, while Derby are 16th.

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Derby County manager Nigel Clough:

"It just won't drop for us at the moment but in terms of the performance, we are very pleased with the way we played.

"That's the best we have played for weeks. It could have been over by half-time. We played some lovely football.

"But this horrible, horrible game that we are involved in sometimes doesn't give you what you deserve."

Brighton & Hove Albion manager Gus Poyet told BBC Sussex:

"We defended like we were in a war. We threw bodies. We tried to do everything to do everything possible to stop (them).

"They took big risks which is normal, and then you need to take that chance to go on and score the second goal. If not, you're going to suffer. I think I'm going to have a heart attack soon.

"We knew that Derby needed to win the game today. So we can call it a double factor, to play with the nerves of the opposition, but at the same time dealing with everything that was coming."

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