sport

Garcia: Brighton defeat harsh

Oscar Garcia says Brighton's Championship play-off semi-final first-leg defeat to Derby was "a totally unfair result".

The Seagulls led through Jesse Lingard's 18th-minute strike at the Amex Stadium on Thursday night, but Derby's top scorer Chris Martin levelled from the penalty spot for his 24th goal of the season after Matt Upson brought down Craig Forsyth.

Then, in first-half stoppage time, Martin's long-range effort come back off the crossbar and bounced in off the back of luckless Seagulls goalkeeper Tomasz Kuszczak.

Brighton pushed hard for an equaliser in the second half, but Rams keeper Lee Grant stepped up to the plate with stunning saves from Leonardo Ulloa and Stephen Ward to ensure County take a slender 2-1 lead back to the iPro for the second leg on Sunday evening.

Afterwards, Garcia explained he was unhappy with referee Roger East's decision not to award his side at least one spot-kick after Inigo Calderon and Ulloa were both sent tumbling in the area.

"It was a totally unfair result," said the Spaniard. "We were better than them in all areas apart from the most important area, in front of goal.

"If the referee had given us the penalty, it would have been an even better start for us, and then another in the second half. But the referee didn't give them and that's it.

"It's difficult to play the third best team in the league and the top scorers in the league. They are a very good side, so I'm really happy with the performance."

Seagulls skipper Gordon Greer told Sky Sports: "We'll take a lot from our performance tonight. We'll go there on Sunday and give it everything.

"We're a good side and I think we're unlucky to come away with a defeat."