MIDDLESBROUGH manager Tony Mowbray admitted an away victory was the perfect way to celebrate his 100th game in charge of the club.
The Boro boss was delighted to feel that his preparation for the game had earned its reward.
“You have to prepare properly to face Brighton as they have an exceptionally good side,” he said.
“They are going to be frustrated but I’m sure they will have a good season. They will be there or thereabouts.
“We had a lot of the ball early on and Brighton came at us as the game wore on and hopefully we’ll get stronger.”
Striker Marvin Emnes clinched maximum points for Boro when his low shot from 25 yards took a deflection and wrong-footed keeper Tomasz Kuszczak.
Emnes also scored in the corresponding match last season and Mowbray said he had been encouraging him to shoot at every opportunity despite being handicapped by a foot injury.
The Boro boss said: “Emnes has been reluctant to shoot as he has had a sore right foot but if you don’t shoot you don’t score and it was an important goal for us.”
Brighton enjoyed most of the possession in the early stages of the game at the Amex Stadium. That was mainly down to mistakes in Boro’s midfield, with stray passes from Nicky Bailey and Josh McEachran, but Grant Leadbitter produced a good tackle inside the penalty area to deny a clear chance for Mackail-Smith.
But Boro looked dangerous on the counter-attack and Dutch attacker Emnes silenced the home crowd by making the breakthrough.
Brighton tried to hit back and in the 28th minute an outswinging corner from the left by Lopez was met by Dean Hammond but his header from six yards flew over the crossbar.
Two minutes later striker Craig Mackail-Smith latched onto a low ball sent in from the left but his 12 yard shot was superbly turned over the top by Steele.
The Seagulls kept pressing and 10 minutes before half-time midfielder Andrew Crofts was presented with a good opportunity 10 yards out, in a central position, but he sent his header over the top.
Stuart Parnaby started a league game for Boro for the first time since 2006, replacing Justin Hoyte who suffered a pulled hamstring at Watford two weeks ago, and he and his fellow defenders managed to keep Brighton at bay in the second half.
Poyet sent on attacking substitutes Stephen Dobbie and Will Buckley – and both players went close to levelling matters, before Boro keeper Steele pulled off a fine save to push away an Ashley Barnes effort from 25 yards.
The Seagulls did have other chances, particularly through Mackail-Smith, but they failed to score for the fifth Championship match in a row.
Brighton: Kuszczak, Saltor, Greer, El-Abd (Dobbie 69), Bridge, Hammond, Bridcutt, Crofts (Buckley 69), Barnes, David Lopez (LuaLua 82), Mackail-Smith. Subs Not Used: Ankergren, Dunk, Calderon, Dicker. Booked: Greer.
Middlesbrough: Steele, Parnaby, Bikey, Woodgate, Friend, McEachran (Miller 73), Bailey, Leadbitter, Haroun, Emnes (Smallwood 80), McDonald (Reach 85). Subs Not Used: Leutwiler, Thomson, Ledesma, Hines. Booked: McDonald. Goals: Emnes 21.
Att: 26, 293 Ref: Andy D’Urso (Essex).