Brighton started in the ascendancy, and Andrew Crofts was unlucky to see his third-minute strike cannon back off the post.
The home fans were infuriated shortly after though, as the referee made the contentious decision to only book Lewis Dunk in the 13th minute after he pulled back an onrushing Andre Gray. Jota sent the resulting free kick just wide of the post.
Then, in the space of 60 seconds, two chances changed the shape of the game.
Jota and Alan Judge both went close for the home side before Gray doubled their lead in the 32nd minute with a poacher's finish from close range.
Five minutes before the break, Gordon Greer gave a glimmer of hope to the away side as he thumped the ball home from close range at a corner to make it 2-1.