Brighton & Hove Albion were knocked out of the FA Cup after a battling 3-2 defeat against Arsenal.
In an entertaining fourth round tie in front of a record crowd of 30,278 at the Amex, the visitors got off to the best possible start, taking the lead after just two minutes when Theo Walcott finished low past David Stockdale after some clever play from Calum Chambers.
The Gunners could have scored a second soon after had Aaron Ramsey’s goal-bound shot not been blocked by Lewis Dunk.
Arsenal eventually doubled their lead, however, in the 23rd minute when Tomas Rosicky found Mesut Ozil and the German calmly slotted home.
Two minutes later Albion forced their first attack of the game but Sam Baldock headed Bruno’s cross over the bar.
Baldock had another chance to score minutes later but the forward lashed his shot wide of the target after a mix-up in the Arsenal defence.
In the 35th minute Chris O’Grady teed up Jake Forster-Caskey but the midfielder's shot failed to trouble Wojciech Szczesny in the Arsenal goal.
Arsenal had the lion's share of possession in the opening half but it was a different story after the break.
Indeed, four minutes after the re-start Albion pulled one back in excellent style when Chris O’Grady created space for a turn and finish low past Szczesny to give the Seagulls hope.
Albion continued to rally but the Gunners regained their two-goal cushion ten minutes later in empathic style, when Rosicky excellently volleyed home after a clever one-two with Olivier Giroud.
The Seagulls refused to give up hope though and in the 74th Baldock set up a grandstand finish with an excellent chip over Szczesny after a perfectly weighted ball from Danny Holla.
The game really opened up and with ten minutes remaining Alexis Sanchez burst down the wing and fed fellow substitute Chuba Akpom, but Stockdale was alert and produced a good low save.
Sanchez almost gave the Gunners breathing space once more but the Chilean’s free-kick was deflected onto the woodwork with six minutes remaining.
The Seagulls were then denied a penalty when the ball struck Chambers’s arm from Adrian Colunga’s cross but referee Michael Oliver deemed it to be accidental.
In additional time Stockdale produced an outstanding one-handed save to push another Sanchez’s free-kick away from danger.
Right at the death Rosicky picked out Ramsey at the far post but the Welshman failed to hit the target.
Despite Albion’s best efforts, the Gunners held on to progress into the fifth round - but they were made to work for their victory.1901 Lottery
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