Walsall's first game in a month ended in defeat as a hard-working Brighton side extended their unbeaten run to four games with a 2-1 victory at the Banks's Stadium.
On a muddy pitch, only declared fit for play a few hours before the start, the Seagulls were far sharper in the opening exchanges.
And they took the lead in the eighth minute as Glenn Murray picked up a through ball from Elliott Bennett before firing a right-footed drive past Clayton Ince.
The Saddlers, now without a win in four games, struggled to get going but pulled level in the 26th minute as Marc Richards struck a fierce shot that Michel Kuipers was unable to keep out.
Brighton continued to force the pace, however, and scored what proved to be the winner eight minutes before the break.
Tommy Elphick nodded the ball on to the far post and top scorer Nicky Forster cleverly volleyed into the roof of the net for his 14th goal of the season.
Walsall dominated the second half but couldn't crack the visitors' defence.
The Saddlers almost equalised in stoppage-time only for Adam Virgo to make a superb goalline block to deny Troy Deeney.
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