|Wood 79||Venue: The Den
|Barnes 17, El-Abd 49|
GOALS from Ashley Barnes and Adam El-Abd condemned ten-man Millwall to their third successive Championship defeat.
Debutant Chris Wood pulled a goal back for the Lions in the second half, but Brighton were good value for their victory and would have won by a bigger margin had it not been for goal-line clearances by Shane Lowry and Liam Trotter in either half.
Manager Kenny Jackett had shaken up his startling line-up in the wake of the 2-0 defeat to Cardiff City in midweek, handing West Brom loanee Wood his first start and dropping goalkeeper Maik Taylor for David Forde.
It was Wood who spurned the game's first chance, heading Scott Malone's cross straight at the feet of Tomasz Kuszczak in the fourth minute.
At the other end, Wayne Bridge saw his skidding shot saved by Forde before Will Buckley placed an effort a foot wide of the far post at the end of a jinking run.
Albion took the lead in the 17th minute when Malone and Trotter were beaten cheaply by Buckley, whose low cut-back was smashed home by Barnes from ten yards.
Millwall were slow to respond to going behind but Wood and Malone combined to good effect again in the 26th minute, with the former scooping the latter's cross over the bar from a narrow angle.
But Albion went close to doubling their lead when Buckley latched onto a long pass and nodded the ball past the advancing Forde – only to see his shot hammered clear by Lowry.
James Henry sprung into action as half-time approached, first testing Kuszczak with a curling shot from the edge of the area and then seeing the former Manchester United stopper spill his drilled cross with Trotter and Keogh waiting to pounce – but neither could capitalise.
The Lions were building up a head of steam going into half-time but their good work was undone when El-Abd rifled in a second goal for Brighton after Andrea Orlandi's corner was poorly dealt with.
And it was nearly 3-0 when Barnes' header from Gary Dicker's cross was cleared off the line by Trotter.
But the game finally appeared to be beyond Millwall's reach when substitute Chris Taylor was shown a second yellow card for a robust challenge on Kuszczak – even though the winger appeared to have made minimal contact with the keeper.
However, Wood rifled in from a narrow angle in the 79th minute to set up a dramatic finale – and nearly grabbed a last-gasp equaliser when the ball fell to him at the back-post in stoppage time, only for Kuszczak to made a crucial block.
Millwall: Forde, Dunne, Malone (Robinson, 62mins), Abdou, Lowry, Osborne, Trotter, Wright, Wood, Keogh (Henderson, 76mins), Henry. Subs not used: M.Taylor, Shittu, Batt, Smith.
Brighton: Kuszczak, Saltor (Calderon, 46mins), Greer, Hammond, El-Abd, Barnes, Orlandi (Lualua, 83mins), Mackail-Smith (Dicker, 42mins), Bridcutt, Bridge, Buckley. Subs not used: Dunk, Dobbie, Ankergren, Lopez.