The look on the face of Rafa Benitez after the final whistle was something to behold.

Coming through the toughest test of the season on the south coast, the three points returning Newcastle United to top spot and eight points clear in the automatic promotion race with 12 games remaining.

However, they had to do it the hard way.

Huddersfield fan Robert Madley once again found a penalty from a nothing situation but I suppose we can only be grateful that he didn’t send Ciaran Clark off!

Madley’s penalty and red card (later rescinded by the FA) gifted Sunderland a 3-0 win last season and arguably was the decisive factor in Newcastle and not the mackems going down.

That was before the Rafa Benitez era but the United boss wasn’t taking this lying down.

Rafa declaring ‘You can’t give a penalty in this kind of game in that kind of situation’, after Clark’s 50/50 wrestling match with his opponent which happens pretty much every time a corner is given, in every game.

To wipe away any suggestion that Newcastle are somehow getting the benefit of the doubt/favouritism this season, Rafa Benitez pointed out that Newcastle have only been awarded two penalties this campaign.

Considering Newcastle are easily the top scorers with 66 goals in the Championship it makes that stat look ridiculous, especially when Brighton have now had 10 and Reading 11.

However, when you win games in the last 10 minutes after such an injustice, is there any place in the world better to be than the Newcastle away end?

Rafa Benitez:

“You cannot give a penalty in this kind of game in that kind of situation.

“We are the division’s most offensive team and yet we have only been given two penalties this season (Brighton have now been handed 10 and Reading 11).

“It was difficult when you play against a good team and with the (dis)advantage of a goal from penalty that wasn’t, it was more difficult.

“Watching the replay of the penalty he was pushing our player – but the reaction of the team was good.

“We were creating chances and you have to be pleased with the performance of everyone, on the pitch and off the bench.

“The pressure is still the same and we approach every game trying to win.

“Games at Huddersfield and Reading will have the same pressure but we (now) have the same confidence.

“It will be difficult and dangerous and there are still a lot of games to play, we have to make sure we continue to work hard.

“We created a lot of good situations before that (Diame) goal, we were lucky but it was one that we could score.

“Then Ayoze (Perez)  showed composure – I was very pleased with the reaction of our players

“I think that we have had great games this season and you can talk about Norwich at home.

“We played against a very good team tonight though and that gives us satisfaction.

“For sure we’d like to come back here next season and play this game again, in the Premier League.”

Stats from BBC Sport:

Brighton 1 Newcastle 2

Newcastle: Diame 81, Perez 89

Brighton: Murray 14 (pen)

Possession was Brighton  46% Newcastle 54%

Total shots were Brighton 10 Newcastle 19

Shots on target were Brighton 6 Newcastle 8

Corners were Brighton 3 Newcastle 6

Referee: Robert Madley

Newcastle United:

Darlow, Yedlin, Lascelles, Clark, Dummett, Ritchie, Colback (Murphy 74), Shelvey, Atsu, Diame, Gouffran (Perez 82)

Unused Subs

Elliot, Hanley, Gamez, Anita, Mitrovic

Crowd: 30,230 (Newcastle 2,700)

(To read the instant fan/writer reaction to Brighton 1 Newcastle 2 go HERE)

(Read HERE what Joe Dixon had to say straight after the final whistle)

(To view the player ratings by fans and to add your own go HERE)

(Chris Hughton thought it was a ‘Sickener’, read what he had to say HERE)

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