BIRMINGHAM (Reuters) - Aston Villa secured a dramatic 2-1 home win over 10-man Brighton & Hove Albion in a gripping Premier League clash on Saturday after left back Matt Targett struck deep into stoppage time to break down the stubborn visitors.
The result lifted Villa to 11th place on 11 points from nine games while Brighton, who enjoyed the lion's share of possession and took the lead through Adam Webster in a pulsating first half, dropped to 16th on nine points.
It also stretched Villa's unbeaten home run against the Seagulls in all competition to 12 games after they secured back-to-back Premier League wins for the first time since May 2015.
Villa manager Dean Smith was pleased with the result but not his team's performance.
"It’s nice to get late goals because it wasn’t a top performance," he told the BBC.
"It's great for us to get back-to-back wins for the first time in a long time. We played a good team today who played through us too easily."
Brighton dominated the opening 30 minutes and Webster fired them ahead when he headed home a Pascal Gross free kick at the far post past helpless Villa goalkeeper Tom Heaton.
The tide turned after Aaron Mooy was shown a second yellow card in the 35th minute for a second crunching foul in quick succession and it did not take the home side long to capitalise on their numerical advantage.
Midfielder Conor Hourihane had a goal disallowed by VAR in the 42nd minute before Jack Grealish equalised on the stroke of halftime following a Frederic Guilbert cross, stumbling through to turn the ball in from close range.
Brighton had missed chances in the first half as Heaton pulled off several superb saves but it looked like the visitors would hold out for a share of the spoils after their goalkeeper Mat Ryan kept the home side out.
Just when the visitors appeared to have weathered Villa’s second-half onslaught, however, Targett rifled in the winner from a tight angle after a fine pass from Grealish gave him time and space to beat Ryan.
Brighton manager Graham Potter praised his side for a brave performance.
"Our players have real courage and personality," he said.
"I’m so proud of them. Football can be cruel but our fans can see what we’re trying to do.
"We were positive but that makes it sorer to concede with the last kick."
(Reporting by Zoran Milosavljevic; Editing by Toby Davis and Ed Osmond)