PNE 2 Brighton & Hove Albion 0
Huntington headed home from Paul Gallagher’s first half cross and then Robinson did well to break into the box and convert from debutant Daryl Horgan’s through ball.
Chris Maxwell saved a last minute penalty from Tomer Hemed to keep the clean sheet intact that the performance of the defensive unit deserved.
A Gallagher cross for a Huntington header had been a common sight over the past couple of seasons and it combined in typical fashion 13 minutes in when a free kick was awarded out on the right and the No.12 delivered a perfect free kick to the penalty spot to where the centre half rose highest to head into the bottom right hand corner; his first goal since Wembley.
In reality the Lilywhites could already have been ahead after Robinson collected the ball in a left hand channel after being fed by Gallagher; the forward raced into the box and fired goalwards, only for former Blackburn Rovers defender Shane Duffy to get a foot in the way and deflect the ball past David Stockdale, but also inches wide of the right hand upright.
The visitors were being frustrated by North End’s organised structure, but top scorer Glenn Murray looked lively and seven minutes before the interval Chris Maxwell had to get down low to his right to push an effort from the loanee around the post for a Seagulls corner.
The second half began with the visitors coming straight back at the home side, but Irishman Horgan on full debut found a superb ball to send Robinson through on goal. The forward, wide left of the three in a 4-2-3-1 after the break, showed great strength to hold off Seagulls’ skipper Bruno, who looked like he might bring the No.37 down, before drilling the ball with the laces into the bottom right hand corner off the inside of the post to double the lead on 53 minutes.
Horgan almost marked his full debut with a stunning goal with 13 minutes to go as his quick feet created space on the right hand corner of the box and he curled an effort that had Stockdale beaten, but it was inches wide of the left hand post.
In the sixth minute of five signalled by the officials the visitors were awarded a penalty by match official Simon Hooper, when substitute Jamie Murphy was pulled down, but Israeli striker Tomer Hemed’s effort was superbly saved by Mawell, diving at full stretch to his right and give the clean sheet and the three points to Simon Grayson’s men.
PNE line-up: Maxwell, Vermijl, Cunningham, Browne, Clarke (c), Huntington, Horgan (Spurr, 90), Gallagher, Robinson (Barkhuizen, 84), Hugill, McGeady (Grimshaw, 90). Subs not used: Lindegaard, Makienok, Pringle, May.
Brighton & Hove Albion line-up: Stockdale, Bruno (c), Skalak (Murphy, 56), Baldock (Hemed, 63), Knockaert, Sidwell (Kayal, 73), Murray, Goldson, Norwood, Duffy, Adekugbe. Subs not used: Maenpaa, Hunemeier, March, Hunt.
Attendance: 11,391 (1,205 Brighton & Hove Albion fans)
Referee: Mr S Hooper