Sheffield Wednesday suffered a second straight Championship defeat as new league leaders Brighton inflicted a 3-0 reverse at the Amex Stadium.
Goals from Wayne Bridge, Craig Mackail-Smith and Will Buckley put the Owls to the sword and Dave Jones’ men must now regroup for back to back home games against Huddersfield and Bolton.
Having suffered their first loss under Jones at Crystal Palace prior to the international break, Wednesday were keen to bounce back against an in-form Seagulls side boasting eight goals from their previous two games.
But Brighton were just too hot to handle and despite promising bursts of possession, the visitors never looked likely in the final third and Gus Poyet’s sides were excellent value for all three points.
Wednesday did enjoy the better openings in the early exchanges, with Jermaine Johnson and Rhys McCabe each sending in daiycutters that called former Manchester United goalkeeper Tomasz Kuszczak into action.
But right on the 15-minute mark, Brighton had a clear cut chance to steal into the lead when a hopeful clearance from the back saw Buckley break free and bear down on goal only for Chris Kirkland to deny the striker with a fine low save.
On 24 minutes, though, Brighton did seize the advantage, albeit in fortunate circumstances.
Bridge tried a curling, angled free kick that Kirkland had covered before a wicked deflection off the Wednesday wall diverted the ball into the far side of the net.
The Owls then went on to enjoy a healthy spell without troubling Kusczcak and it was at the other end where the next real action of note unfolded ten minutes before the break when Kirkland dashed off his line to thwart the onrushing Ashley Barnes.
Wednesday made a change for the second period, with Rodri making way for new loan capture Ross Barkley, who joined on loan earlier in the day.
And the youngster from Everton was soon at the heart of the action, forcing a fine save from Kuszczak at the keeper’s near post.
But the ball moved swiftly to the other end, where Brighton promptly doubled their lead on 54 minutes.
Bruno Salter darted down the right and fed an inviting feed in for Mackail-Smith to tap home from close range.
The Owls responded with Johnson sending a dipping shot narrowly wide but it was game over three minutes later when the Seagulls stormed three goals ahead.
Bruno was again the architect, this time sending a delicious angled cross into the danger zone where Buckley executed a clever chipped finish past Kirkland to put the hosts out of sight.
With Brighton comfortably in the driving seat, Mackail-Smith would have bagged a second goal – and a third for the Seagulls inside ten minutes - were it not for Kirkland making an impressive diving save.
It just wasn’t Wednesday’s day, which was summed up 15 minutes from time when debutant Jay Bothroyd seemed certain to score from a fierce back post header but Kuszczak produced a world class save to deny the Owls even a consolation.
Brighton: Kuszczak, Saltor, Greer, Hammond, El-Abd, Barnes (Lopez 81), Mackail-Smith (Dobbie 70), Dicker, Bridcutt, Bridge, Buckley (Orlandi 76)
Unused substitutes: Ankergren, Dunk, Calderon, LuaLua
Owls: Kirkland, Mattock, Taylor, Llera, Beevers, Antonio, Semedo, J Johnson (Pecnik 61), Rodri (Barkley 46) Bothroyd (Madine 87)
Unused substitutes: Bywater, Lee, Maguire, O’Grady