Match ends, Aston Villa 2, Brighton and Hove Albion 1.
Aston Villa 2-1 Brighton: Grealish inspires Villa to late win over 10-man Brighton
Matt Targett scored a dramatic winner with Aston Villa coming from behind to beat 10-man Brighton as Dean Smith celebrated his one-year anniversary in charge.
The result lifts Villa, who were mid-table in the Championship when Smith took over, up to 11th in the Premier League.
Brighton, who last won consecutive Premier League games in March, had started brightly and carved out several goalscoring opportunities before going ahead - with Adam Webster heading Pascal's Gros' free-kick into the bottom right corner from close range.
But Villa, who had a Conor Hourihane goal ruled out after VAR deemed forward Wesley had fouled Seagulls goalkeeper Mat Ryan in the build-up, levelled after Aaron Mooy was sent off for the Seagulls.
The Australia midfielder carelessly collected two yellow cards in the space of five minutes - the second for a foul on Jack Grealish - to hand Villa the initiative.
And that allowed Grealish to play a central role in Villa's comeback - as he tapped in Frederic Guilbert's cross from close range to equalise.
The midfielder then laid on Targett's late winner, his pass releasing the full-back on the left of the Brighton penalty area. Targett's shot found the bottom right corner to secure Villa's first back-to-back Premier League wins since May 2015 and leave Brighton 16th in the table.
Grealish integral as Villa rewarded for perseverance
While Dean Smith's Aston Villa side were initially outplayed and outmanoeuvred by the visitors in their first top-flight meeting for 26 years, they persevered and were also aided by the first-half dismissal of Mooy.
Mooy's departure not only deprived Brighton of one of their better performers, it also released Grealish, who had until then been largely restricted to defensive work.
Though Grealish worked diligently to track back down the left to try and stem the flow of Brighton attacks, his contributions at the other end of the pitch swung the outcome in the hosts' favour.
Driving Villa forward at every opportunity, his equalising goal, coming as he slid in Guilbert's cross at the Holte End of the ground, represented his second consecutive Premier League goal and his fourth of the season.
"It was a captain's performance," said Villa manager Dean Smith.
"For the other side of the game people don't see, Jack ran 60 yards to back dispossess players [at times]. He was integral to everything, he got the goal and provided an assist. All in all he was really good."
Though Ryan repelled two zinging efforts from the 24-year-old after the break, Grealish's influence never waned.
With Villa slowly taking control, Anwar El Ghazi wastefully blasted a right-foot shot over the bar from eight yards after following up Conor Hourihane's shot.
That appeared to have been Villa's best chance to claim all three points, until Grealish's late intervention, showing quick feet and intelligence to flick the ball between Brighton defenders for Targett's late goal.
Brighton punished for late lapse
The afternoon had started serenely for Brighton who picked up where they left off in their 3-0 win over Tottenham prior to the international break.
Initially controlling proceedings, midfield trio Dale Stephens, Aaron Mooy and Davy Propper set the tone as the Seagulls swept forward and fed Neal Maupay and Aaron Connolly at every opportunity.
And their goal, which arrived when Webster headed back across goal from Gros' right-footed delivery, was just reward for their efforts.
Only a superb Tom Heaton save from Connolly, after the forward had been sent clear on goal by Maupay, prevented a richly-deserved second goal.
Mooy's dismissal though four minutes later shifted the momentum back in favour of the hosts and allowed Grealish and John McGinn more time and space to direct Villa's attacks.
At times Brighton made light of that, with Webster, Dunk and Duffy all impressive in defence as they restricted the hosts, largely to half chances and just seven shot on target until Targett's late strike.
"In the context of the game the sending off has an impact," said Brighton boss Graham Potter, "We were the better team and in control until then."
But despite still causing the hosts problems on the counter-attack and with a point in sight, Brighton were punished for a defensive lapse with two defenders being drawn to Grealish and Targett allowed to run beyond them in the penalty area.
"It's a painful one that is for sure," Potter added. "When it happens with the last kick, it's a heart-wrenching one."
Man of the match - Jack Grealish (Aston Villa)
Villa concede a lot of shots - the stats
- Aston Villa's Premier League games this season have seen a combined 293 shots (131 attempted, 162 faced), more than any other side, with today's game seeing 44 (24 attempted, 20 faced), the most in a single Premier League fixture since Manchester United v Burnley in October 2016 (45).
- Aston Villa came from behind to win a Premier League game for the first time since December 2014 against Leicester (2-1), ending a run of 50 winless games in the competition when falling behind at any stage.
- Aston Villa have won back-to-back Premier League games for the first time since May 2015 under Tim Sherwood.
- Brighton have now lost 15 Premier League games in 2019, more than any other team this calendar year in the competition.
- Brighton have never won away at Aston Villa in any competition, with today their 12th such visit (D3 L9).
- Pascal Gros has assisted 12 goals for Brighton in the Premier League - at least five more than any other Seagulls player - and has 22 goal involvements in the competition (10 goals, 12 assists); only Glenn Murray (26) has more.
- Brighton's Aaron Mooy became the first Australian player to be sent off in a Premier League game since Brad Smith for Liverpool against Swansea in May 2016.
- Since they joined the Premier League in 2017-18, only Leicester (10) and Everton (9) have received more red cards in the competition than Brighton (8).
Aston Villa travel to the Etihad Stadium to face Manchester City next Saturday, 26 October (12:30 BST) while Brighton will hope to bounce back against Everton later the same day (15:00 BST).
- 14HourihaneBooked at 19minsSubstituted forTrézéguetat 63'minutes
- 21El GhaziSubstituted forDouglas Luizat 76'minutes
- 9WesleySubstituted forDavisat 76'minutes
- 6Douglas Luiz
- 22MontoyaBooked at 53minsSubstituted forDuffyat 70'minutes
- 18MooyBooked at 35mins
- 44ConnollySubstituted forMarchat 45'minutesBooked at 87mins
- 7MaupaySubstituted forAlzateat 81'minutes
- David Coote
- Shots on Target
Second Half ends, Aston Villa 2, Brighton and Hove Albion 1.
Goal! Aston Villa 2, Brighton and Hove Albion 1. Matt Targett (Aston Villa) left footed shot from a difficult angle on the left to the centre of the goal. Assisted by Jack Grealish.
Corner, Aston Villa. Conceded by Mat Ryan.
Attempt saved. Keinan Davis (Aston Villa) left footed shot from a difficult angle on the left is saved in the top right corner.
Foul by Davy Pröpper (Brighton and Hove Albion).
Marvelous Nakamba (Aston Villa) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Solly March (Brighton and Hove Albion) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Marvelous Nakamba (Aston Villa).
Attempt missed. Douglas Luiz (Aston Villa) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the left. Assisted by Jack Grealish.
Solly March (Brighton and Hove Albion) is shown the yellow card.
Foul by Solly March (Brighton and Hove Albion).
Tyrone Mings (Aston Villa) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Attempt missed. Matt Targett (Aston Villa) left footed shot from outside the box is too high from a direct free kick.
Foul by Davy Pröpper (Brighton and Hove Albion).
Jack Grealish (Aston Villa) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Adam Webster (Brighton and Hove Albion).
Trézéguet (Aston Villa) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Substitution, Brighton and Hove Albion. Steven Alzate replaces Neal Maupay.
Attempt missed. Pascal Groß (Brighton and Hove Albion) right footed shot from more than 40 yards on the right wing misses to the left.
Attempt blocked. Douglas Luiz (Aston Villa) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Jack Grealish.
VAR Decision: No Penalty Aston Villa.
Attempt blocked. John McGinn (Aston Villa) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Matt Targett.
Substitution, Aston Villa. Keinan Davis replaces Wesley because of an injury.
Substitution, Aston Villa. Douglas Luiz replaces Anwar El Ghazi.
Corner, Aston Villa. Conceded by Dale Stephens.
Attempt blocked. Jack Grealish (Aston Villa) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Matt Targett with a cross.
Attempt blocked. John McGinn (Aston Villa) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Jack Grealish.
Solly March (Brighton and Hove Albion) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Anwar El Ghazi (Aston Villa).
Substitution, Brighton and Hove Albion. Shane Duffy replaces Martín Montoya.
Attempt blocked. Adam Webster (Brighton and Hove Albion) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Neal Maupay.
Attempt blocked. Adam Webster (Brighton and Hove Albion) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Solly March.
Attempt missed. Anwar El Ghazi (Aston Villa) header from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the right. Assisted by Trézéguet with a cross.
Attempt saved. Martín Montoya (Brighton and Hove Albion) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Pascal Groß.
Attempt missed. John McGinn (Aston Villa) left footed shot from the left side of the box is too high. Assisted by Jack Grealish.
Attempt blocked. Trézéguet (Aston Villa) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by John McGinn.
Substitution, Aston Villa. Trézéguet replaces Conor Hourihane.
Attempt missed. Neal Maupay (Brighton and Hove Albion) right footed shot from outside the box is just a bit too high. Assisted by Pascal Groß.
Adam Webster (Brighton and Hove Albion) wins a free kick in the defensive half.