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The visitors matched their higher-ranked opponents in the first half and only trailed to Alexis Mac Allister’s header at the break.
It was a different story after it, though, as the Seagulls struck three times in under 20 minutes – through Alireza Jahanbakhsh, Bernardo and Viktor Gyokeres – to ensure comfortable progress.
Sean Raggett almost restored some pride for the Blues late on, but his header was kept out by a stunning Jason Steele save.
Kenny Jackett made three changes from the side that drew with Shrewsbury in the league at the weekend.
James Bolton came in for the cup-tied Callum Johnson, with Cam Pring replacing Lee Brown on the opposite flank.
And the final switch saw Ryan Williams handed a wide role in the attacking midfield trio, as Gareth Evans made way.
Brighton had an early chance to break the deadlock, with Craig MacGillivray making a fine save to deny Gyokeres and Bernardo sending the loose ball wildly off target.
But the Blues were not looking over-awed against their top-flight opponents and created several opportunities of their own in the opening 45 minutes.
The first was a low Ronan Curtis free-kick from the left that was turned inches past his own post by Dan Burn.
Marcus Harness then came close to scrambling a John Marquis header over the line, although an offside flag had been raised against the Pompey striker.
Brighton were almost gifted an opener midway through the first half, courtesy of a poor Raggett back-pass.
Pascal Gross tried to take advantage, but MacGillivray took the sting off his shot and Jack Whatmough headed clear from the line.
It was then the turn of skipper Dale Stephens to go close, with his low drive clipping the outside of the post.
The visitors were looking a threat on the counter, though, and Curtis broke quickly up the pitch from a Seagulls corner, only to see his shot blocked.
But it was Brighton who broke the deadlock on 38 minutes, as Mac Allister charged in unmarked to firmly head home Jahanbakhsh’s cross.
Pompey were still posing a threat at the other end and thought they should have been awarded a spot-kick just before the break.
A strike from Harness might have deflected onto the arm of a prostrate Joel Veltman, although it was certainly not deliberate from the defender.
Brighton & Hove Albion 1
The Blues had a chance to level following the restart, when Curtis was fouled on the left and was not quite able to sneak the resulting free-kick inside Steele’s near post.
But the Premier League side had a cushion moments later following a quick passing move up the pitch.
The ball eventually found Jahanbakhsh on the edge of the box and he hit a rocket of a shot into the top corner.
And the situation soon got even worse for the visitors, as a cross from Gross was deftly glanced home by Bernardo.
It took a heroic piece of defending from Tom Naylor to deny Brighton a fourth goal, with the skipper – making his 100th appearance – somehow stopping the ball crossing the line and ending up in a heap in the net.
Jackett made a double change just past the hour mark, with Curtis and Marquis replaced by Ellis Harrison and Andy Cannon.
But Brighton continued to dominate and put the result beyond doubt on 71 minutes, as Gyokeres twisted one way and the other before sliding the ball past MacGillivray.
Whatmough was immediately removed and on came Paul Downing, perhaps with one eye on Sunday’s league visit to Rochdale.
It was fellow centre-back Raggett who came close to a consolation, though, meeting Pring’s corner and seeing his header brilliantly repelled by Steele.
And the Seagulls had to play out the final few minutes with just 10 men, as Stephens limped off with all three substitutions having already been made.
Brighton (4-2-3-1): Steele; Molumby, Veltman (Sanders 68), Burn, Bernardo; Propper, Stephens (c); Jahanbakhsh (Roberts 68), Gross (Gwargis 77), Mac Allister; Gyokeres
Goals: Mac Allister 38, Jahanbakhsh 54, Bernardo 57, Gyokeres 71
Subs not used: Sanchez, Yapi, Dendoncker, Cochrane
Pompey (4-2-3-1): MacGillivray; Bolton, Whatmough (Downing 71), Raggett, Pring; Naylor (c), Morris; Williams, Harness, Curtis (Cannon 63); Marquis (Harrison 63)
Subs not used: Turnbull, Brown, Close, Evans
Referee: Matthew Donohue
|Pompey have completed the signing of midfielder Michael Jacobs.
The 28-year-old has penned a two-year deal, with the club holding the option for a further 12 months.
He left Wigan at the end of last season and will wear the number 24 shirt during his time at Fratton Park.
Blues boss Kenny Jackett said: “Michael’s an exciting player with good Championship experience and an excellent track record of getting out of this division.
Jacobs began his career with Northampton, where he impressed enough to earn a move to Championship side Derby.
He was then signed by Jackett – initially on loan – at Wolves and helped them secure the League One title with a record points tally of 103.
Jacobs moved to Wigan in the summer of 2015, where he picked up a medal for topping the third tier table on two more occasions.
He made a total of 188 appearances for the Latics and scored 32 goals, including a fine solo strike against Blackburn back in June.
Most of the action took place in the second half, with Jack Whatmough – making his 100th appearance for the club – among those to go close.
And both sides came close to snatching a late winner, as Rekeil Pyke was denied by Craig MacGillivray, while Tom Naylor’s header struck the woodwork.
But the visitors had to play the final few seconds with just 10 men after Aaron Pierre was dismissed for a second bookable offence.
Kenny Jackett made one change from the side that beat Colchester in the EFL Trophy earlier in the week.
That came at left-back, where summer loan signing Cam Pring dropped to the bench to make way for Lee Brown.
It did not take long for Jason Cummings to collect an early booking following a late challenge on Marquis.
And Bryn Morris then came close to haunting his former club with a fierce drive that was parried by Matija Sarkick.
The ball ran loose and John Marquis desperately tried to get there first, but the keeper was able to smother it.
But it was, generally, a laboured start from the hosts and Shrewsbury almost made them pay from a corner on 12 minutes.
The ball was headed against the post by Brad Walker and, with the goal gaping, Ethan Ebanks-Landell then nodded it wide.
There was controversy when Marquis collected a Ronan Curtis pass and was fouled outside the box by Pierre.
The Blues striker felt he was last man and it should have warranted a red card, but referee Charles Breakspear opted to brandish only a yellow.
Several players were hovering over the free-kick and when Brown eventually took it, he curled the ball inches past the post.
There were half-chances at both ends of the pitch, although it had certainly not been the most entertaining period of football.
Shrewsbury Town 0
Marquis came close to breaking the deadlock soon after the restart, trying an inventive lofted effort from the right side of the box that drifted narrowly wide.
And their opponents then went close at the other end, as Brad Walker danced past a number of challenges, only to screw his shot horribly off target.
Jackett made his first change 10 minutes into the second half, with Andy Cannon on to replace Gareth Evans.
Both sides were looking to counter with pace and one such attack led to Marquis having a header deflected over the bar.
Clear-cut chances were still proving to be few and far between, though, and it took an unlikely source to find the next shot on target.
A Curtis free-kick was nodded back into the centre by Sean Raggett and Whatmough’s volley was saved by Sarkic.
Ryan Williams came on for Marcus Harness on 69 minutes, as Jackett decided to freshen up his forward options.
And when the newcomer was hacked down by Josh Vela, Breakspear played the advantage and Pompey broke.
Cannon timed his run to stay onside and collect Curtis’ pass, but could not get the ball on his right foot and the move broke down.
Vela was then shown a booking and so was substitute Marlon Fossey for a foul on Curtis down the left.
Brown was the one to take it and tried to send the ball over Sarkic, with the keeper back-pedalling to just about prevent it finding the net.
Pompey were well on top now and Scott Golbourne was well-placed just in front of the line to block Raggett’s header.
Then, after Ben Close had replaced Morris, the left-back also managed to divert Williams’ goal-bound header to safety.
But it was Shrewsbury who almost grabbed a late winner from a corner, with MacGillivray – who had experienced a quiet afternoon – making a stunning save to deny Pyke.
The ball was still loose and the danger was not over, however, with Whatmough managing to hack from the line.
Pompey then almost secured all three points for themselves, with Naylor meeting another fine Brown free-kick and rattling the crossbar with his header.
Pierre was sent off late in stoppage-time, picking up a second booking for a clear foul on Marquis 20 yards out.
It meant that Brown had the final chance to secure victory, sending his low free-kick through the wall and seeing Sarkic turn it around the post.
Pompey (4-2-3-1): MacGillivray; Johnson, Whatmough, Raggett, Brown; Naylor (c), Morris (Close 80); Harness (Williams 69), Evans (Cannon 55), Curtis; Marquis
Booked: Harness, Morris
Subs not used: Turnbull, Bolton, Pring, Harrison
Shrewsbury (4-3-3): Sarkic; Williams (Fossey 72), Pierre, Ebanks-Landell (c), Golbourne; Vela (Norburn 78), Walker, High; Cummings (Barnett 84), Pyke, Whalley
Sent off: Pierre (two yellow cards)
Booked: Cummings, Whalley, Vela, Fossey
Subs not used: Burgoyne, Love, Daniels, Udoh
Referee: Charles Breakspear