Rohan Ince, Solly March and Jon Obika opened their Albion accounts as the Seagulls safely secured a passage into the FA Cup fifth round with a 3-1 win over Micky Adams’s Port Vale.
A pre-match hailstorm brought about testing conditions, with the turf ingesting a lot of water, making the pitch heavy under foot and extremely slippery.
Despite the conditions the game started at full tilt, with Albion etching out the best of the chances in the opening 20 minutes. Ince dragged wide, Andrea Orlandi followed suit shortly after and Kemy
Agustien drew a decent stop out of Chris Neal as the Seagulls looked the likelier to find a breakthrough.
The Valiants were not being overawed though and Chris Lines looked liveliest for the hosts, but the midfielder didn’t receive the response he wanted from the referee after he tumbled in the Albion box.
As the weather improved, the game had a proper FA Cup feel to it but the underdogs were dealt a blow on 27 minutes as Orlandi’s corner picked out Ince, and the midfielder guided his first Albion goal past Neal to put Oscar’s side ahead.
Just as the Seagulls had undone their hosts from a corner, the Valiants struck back in the same manner as Chris Robertson powered his header home to the delight of the Vale faithful.
Adams’s side were evidently lifted by the equaliser but their joy was short lived as March’s exquisite chip evaded everyone and dropped into the far corner to restore the lead.
After the break Vale sensed they were not out of the contest and former Seagull Doug Loft struck high and wide after the ball fell kindly to him on the edge of the area.
Jake Forster-Caskey secured Albion’s goal of the Year for 2013 and the youngster wasn’t far off a repeat performance as his excellent long-range strike was brilliantly tipped over by Neal.
Moments later Forster-Caskey tried again, this time falling wide of the target while Agustien was unfortunate to see his skimming strike crack the post.
But with just over ten minutes to go Obika put the tie to bed and completed the hat-trick of first goals for the club as he rounded the stranded Neal and put Albion into the fifth round.