London (AFP) – Brighton moved two points clear at the top of the Championship as a pair of penalties secured a 2-0 win against promotion rivals Leeds on Friday.

Chris Hughton’s side stole a march on previous leaders Newcastle thanks to penalties from Glenn Murray and Tomer Hemed at the Amex Stadium.

Brighton went ahead in the 24th minute when Murray took his tally for the season to 12 with a spot-kick after Leeds midfielder Kalvin Phillips was sent off for handling Lewis Dunk’s goal-bound effort.

The Seagulls doubled their lead seven minutes from full-time when Leeds captain Kyle Bartley fouled Dunk and substitute Hemed calmly converted the resulting penalty.

Brighton, unbeaten in 14 games and winners of six of their last eight matches, are now eight points clear of third placed Reading in the race for automatic promotion to the Premier League.

Newcastle can regain pole position with a win against Birmingham at St James’ Park on Saturday, while Reading host Sheffield Wednesday.