Brighton 1 Newcastle Utd 0
Chris Hughton has insisted that Brighton match-winner Tomer Hemed's stamp on DeAndre Yedlin was an accident.
Israel striker Hemed's hooked strike sealed Brighton's 1-0 Premier League win over Newcastle, but the 30-year-old then courted controversy by stamping on Yedlin in a late tangle.
Brighton boss Hughton watched a replay of the 89th-minute clash and claimed there was no malice in Hemed's stamp, that was missed by officials. Hemed could face a three-match ban if found guilty of foul play by an FA disciplinary committee, and any absence may leave Brighton short of striking options with Glenn Murray still out injured nursing ankle trouble.
"I have seen it and my absolute impression was that there was no intention, particularly knowing the player," said Hughton. My first impression was that there was absolutely no intent."
When asked if he would fear Hemed facing retrospective disciplinary action, Hughton replied: "All I can do is give you my opinion. And that is that there's certainly no intent."
Hemed's second goal of the campaign denied Newcastle the chance to move fourth in the Premier League table, ending the visitors' run of three straight wins.
Newcastle boss Rafael Benitez insisted Brighton captain Bruno had fouled Chancel Mbemba in the build-up to Hemed's winner - but Hughton disagreed.
"What we saw is what you see in every game," said Hughton.
"It certainly wasn't a foul, but that's the same as what you'll see in any game."
Newcastle striker Joselu's glaring first-half miss summed up a testing day for Benitez's men on the road.
The Spanish manager lamented his side's loose defending for Hemed's goal, but still insisted the strike should have been chalked off by referee Andre Marriner.
"It's a player standing still and he's made a block," said Benitez, claiming Bruno had fouled Mbemba.
"It's a very clear foul, but still we were not defending well."
Hemed apologised to Yedlin for their late tangle, insisting he had not meant to stamp on the Newcastle defender.
Newcastle star Yedlin offered a cautious defence of Hemed's actions, hinting he felt the Brighton star's challenge was unintentional.
"I thought he stamped on my calf but didn't see what happened," said Yedlin.
"Maybe it was accidental. It was in the mix of things."
Brighton: Ryan, Bruno, Duffy, Dunk, Suttner, Stephens, Propper, Knockaert (Murphy, 80 mins), Gross, March, Hemed. Unused subs: Hunemeier, Izquierdo Mena, Schelotto, Rosenior, Krul, Brown.
Newcastle: Elliot, Clark, Yedlin, Lascelles, Mbemba (Gamez, 82 mins), Hayden (Shelvey, 66, mins), Merino, Ritchie, Perez, Atsu, Joselu (Gayle, 70 mins). Unused subs: Murphy, Diame, Manquillo, Darlow
Referee: Andre Marriner