Humbled 3-1 at home to West Ham in their last outing, a previously in-form Brighton side were looking to bounce back in the Premier League against a formidable Newcastle outfit who will compete in this season's Champions League.
And bounce back Brighton did, with Roberto De Zerbi's charges rallying to a commanding 3-1 victory over the Magpies courtesy of a clinical hat-trick from the latest in a long line of promising youngsters to have emerged at the Amex Stadium in recent years.
At just 18 years of age, Evan Ferguson from the Irish village of Bettystown looked like a seasoned veteran as he ran a usually resolute Newcastle rearguard ragged on the south coast.
Ferguson's dazzling performance was the latest benchmark in a fledgling career which has now seen the striker register 10 goal contributions in the Premier League (eight goals and two assists) - just the second non-English player aged 18 or younger to achieve this feat in England's top flight since Spaniard Cesc Fabregas.
As a kid and as a striker, you want to grow up and score as many goals as you can in the Premier League. When you get a hat-trick in the Premier League it's a good day. I had family here, so it was definitely good for them!
- Evan Ferguson
Growing up in Bettystown, a picturesque coastal village around 50km from Dublin, Ferguson is the son of a former Irish professional footballer Barry, who was on the books of clubs such as Coventry City, Colchester United and Shamrock Rovers during his playing days, and interestingly an English mother which made him eligible to play for Gareth Southgate's Three Lions.
A Manchester United fan who turned out for prestigious Dublin schoolboys club St Kevin's Boys, Ferguson was eventually snapped up by League of Ireland side Bohemians' academy.
Making his senior debut for Bohemians aged just 14 in a pre-season friendly against Chelsea in July 2019, setting up Bohs' equaliser on the day, it was clear from a very early age that Ferguson was a prodigious young talent who was destined to make the move to English football sooner rather than later.
So it would prove in January 2021, with Brighton fending off interest from the likes of Liverpool and Manchester United to bring Ferguson to the Amex Stadium.
Ferguson made just three professional appearances for Bohemians in Ireland before transferring to Premier League side Brighton aged 16 in January 2021.
His qualities are enough to become a great player - one of the top goalscorers in Europe.
- Roberto De Zerbi
Fast forward just two years and Ferguson is already one of the most feared strikers in the toughest league in the world.
Still only 18, Ferguson possesses both the physical stature and football brain of a player far beyond his tender years.
At 6ft 2in tall, the Irishman can provide a focal point up front, with his size and strength allowing him to hold his own in physical exchanges against even the most robust of Premier League defenders.
The aspect of Ferguson's game which has arguably impressed most for Brighton so far, however, is his goalscoring instincts and knack of being in the right positions at the right time.
His opening goal for the Seagulls against Newcastle showcased this perfectly, with Ferguson displaying razor sharp anticipation and reactions to be first on hand to follow up Billy Gilmour's effort from outside the box which was parried into the striker's path by Nick Pope.
His second strike was far easier on the eye, with the Irishman demonstrating his ability to score a variety of goals from different distances after collecting a pass from Gilmour around 25 yards from goal before bending a sumptuous effort past the helpless Pope in the Magpies' goal.
Ferguson's style of play and penchant for goals has drawn comparisons with England captain Harry Kane, with the teenager having admitted to have studied the Bayern Munich striker's game.
Brighton seems the perfect place for Ferguson to be at this stage of his career, with the Seagulls having earned an esteemed reputation for offering talented youngsters first team opportunities before allowing them to grow and evolve at the right pace.
In Roberto De Zerbi, Ferguson will be able to learn from a progressive manager with a track record of developing young talent, with the Italian seemingly keen to hone the young striker's overall skillset beyond his natural inclination for goals, in order to help propel him to the top level.
It has also become evident that Brighton will not stand in the way of their prized young assets making the move to some of the biggest clubs in the country should the right offer come in, as was demonstrated this summer with Alexis Mac Allister and Moises Caicedo's £35m and £115m transfers to Liverpool and Chelsea respectively.
Given the level of potential Ferguson is currently showing, it would come as little surprise should vultures begin to swirl to prise him away from Brighton for comparably substantial money in the not too distant future.
He can finish with his left or right, he is strong, quick and his hold up play is also very good. He is a natural goalscorer.
- Pascal Gross
Ferguson is regarded as the next big hope of the Republic of Ireland national team, and has netted two goals in his first six caps for his country since making his debut last year.
Premier League 2023/24 Top Scorers:
1) Erling Haaland (Manchester City) - 6
2) Evan Ferguson (Brighton) - 4
2) Bryan Mbeumo (Brentford) - 4
3) Taiwo Awoniyi (Nottingham Forest) - 3
3) Jarrod Bowen (West Ham) - 3
3) Odsonne Edouard (Crystal Palace) - 3
3) Solly March (Brighton) - 3
3) Heung-min Son (Tottenham) - 3
Premier League 2023/24 Top Shots on Target per 90:
1) Evan Ferguson (Brighton) - 3.91
2) James Maddison (Tottenham) - 2.40
3) Erling Haaland (Man City) - 2.32
4) Arnaut Danjuma (Everton) - 2.15
5) Odsonne Edouard (Crystal Palace) - 2.12
6) Pape Matar Sarr (Tottenham) - 2.08
7) David Brooks (Bournemouth) - 1.96
8) Solly March (Brighton) - 1.72
9) Mohamed Salah (Liverpool) - 1.58
10) Jarrod Bowen (West Ham) - 1.50
Top Goal Involvements (G&A) amongst U18s players in Europe's Top 5 Leagues 2022/23:
1) Youssoufa Moukoko (Borrusia Dortmund) - 11
2) Rayan Cherki (Lyon) - 10
3) Evan Ferguson (Brighton) - 8
4) Alejandro Balde (Barcelona) - 7
5) Julio Enciso (Brighton) - 6
6) Habib Diarra (Strasbourg) - 6
7) Gavi (Barcelona) - 6
8) Wilfried Gnonto (Leeds Utd) - 6
9) Mathys Tel (Bayern Munich) - 5
10) Eliesse Ben Seghir (Monaco) - 5
Premier League 2023/24:
Player Total Goals: