Tomer Hemed at the double as Brighton crush Burton
Tomer Hemed scored twice, including a penalty, as Brighton returned to the top of the Championship with a 4-1 thrashing of relegation-threatened Burton Albion.
The Seagulls, involved in a ding-dong battle with Newcastle the the Championship summit, now boast six successive home league wins and have taken 25 of the last 27 points available at the Amex.
Striker Sam Baldock and Glenn Murray hit Brighton's other goals before a crowd of 29,454.
Israel international striker Hemed, who scored a dramatic stoppage-time equaliser in last Saturday's 3-3 draw at Brentford, pounced the give the Seagulls the perfect start with the lead after only five minutes.
Hemed steered the ball home from the edge of the six-yard box after a cross to the far post by winger Anthony Knockaert.
Frenchman Knockaert set up the goal having earlier sustained a whack on the back of the ankle in a late challenge from Tom Flanagan.
The Seagulls enjoyed plenty of early possession and Steve Sidwell saw a deflected shot fly over from a cross by Solly March, who was making only his third start after a year out with knee trouble.
Burton keeper Jon McLaughlin later denied March on the edge of the area as the visitors, who have not kept a clean sheet since November 5, were put on the back foot.
Knockaert caused problems with a dazzling run down the right and his right-foot shot was deflected for a corner.
Burton, struggling to make an impression on Brighton's goal, appeared hard done by not to have been awarded a penalty shortly before the break when Dale Stephens clipped the onrushing Lucas Akins just inside the area.
The Seagulls doubled their advantage only two minutes after the break when recalled striker Sam Baldock, who had missed the previous five games with a calf injury, scored his 100th career goal.
Former Bristol City marksman Baldock steered the ball home from three yards after March, released by Sidwell, played him in across the face of the goal.
Hemed made the game safe with a 57th-minute penalty after the lively March was brought down by skipper John Mousinho.
Keeper McLoughlin was given no chance as Hemed coolly slotted the ball home to his right.
Burton had a lucky escape when Knockaert narrowly failed to get on the end of another good cross from March.
Seagulls keeper David Stockdale was called into action when he comfortably saved a low drive from Michael Kightly.
Stockdale excelled himself soon after by parrying a right-footed shot from Marvin Sordell, who created the chance by smartly cutting inside Lewis Dunk.
But the Brighton keeper was beaten on 75 minutes when Kightly, on loan from Burnley, curled in a superb free-kick which went in off the post.
Striker Glenn Murray came off the bench to head Brighton's fourth seven minutes from time from a perfect cross by Knockaert.
Source : PA