STEVEN GERRARD launched his Villa reign with a victory after late goals from Ollie Watkins and Tyrone Mings killed off the Seagulls.
Watkins raced onto sub Ashley Young’s pass and cut past Shane Duffy and Yves Bissouma before smashing his shot past keeper Jason Steele.
Gerrard fist pumped in delight outside of his technical area at the 84th minute opener.
Then four minutes later Adam Webster’s clearance fell into the path of Mings who made no mistake from 10 yards out and it was cue for more celebrations from Gerrard.
It ended Villa’s five game losing streak.
Brighton dominated possession but lacked a cutting edge and surrendered their unbeaten away record.
Former Rangers chief Gerrard was given a rousing reception by the Holte End before taking his place in the dug-out two weeks after Dean Smith’s sacking.
Villa’s owners are thirsting for success and a return to European football and Gerrard is the club’s 13th permanent manager this century.
They made a positive start and Matt Cash came close to breaking the deadlock.
John McGinn turned sharply in midfield and found Ollie Watkins in space on the left flank.
He picked out Matt Targett whose first time cross was met by Cash but his powerful downward header was blocked by Jason Steele.
Steele was making his Premier League debut for Brighton in place of the suspended Robert Sanchez and he was soon back in the thick of the action.
Emiliano Buendia’s first time flick almost carved out an opening for Danny Ings but Steele was quickly off his line to snatch the ball away from the feet of the Villa striker.
Brighton survived this early storm and started to ask more questions of the Villa back four.
Emiliano Martinez was tested for the first time when he smothered a downward shot from Leandro Trossard after Marc Cucurella’s centre was not properly cleared.
The Argentinian then denied Tariq Lamptey at close range after Cucurella’s cross was flicked on by Trossard.
Steele again was up to the task when turning aside Tyrone Mings header from a McGinn free-kick.
But then came the double late strike from Watkins and Mings.
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