The messages have taken a little while to sink in, but Mark McGhee is gradually moulding Albion back into shape.

The first home League win of his reign wasn't pretty, but it was thoroughly professional in difficult conditions.

Wrexham never threatened to improve on the highest number of away victories in the Second Division as the Seagulls put successive Withdean defeats behind them with encouraging efficiency.

McGhee said: "As a team we were struggling when I arrived. We had lost form and a little bit of fitness, a lot of confidence and belief.

"I don't think it's all back yet just because of two wins, but we are going in the right direction and people are starting to play a bit better.

"You look at trends and the trend at the moment seems to be improvement. We were better at Notts County and it was similar again.

"We are not playing as well as I hope one day we will play in terms of our football.

"I thought we created enough chances to have won the game earlier, but there was a real discipline about our shape and the work ethic was excellent. It was a well-earned victory."

The game and the performance may not stick in the memory of fans, but these are the kind of days which provide the platform for a promotion campaign.

And the goals which won it will be remembered, both for their quality and the identity of the scorers.

Albion were too dependent in the past couple of seasons on Bobby Zamora, the same could be said now of Leon Knight.

Only twice previously had victory been achieved in the League without Knight's name on the scoresheet, so it was refreshing to see a couple of midfielders ending droughts.

McGhee kept faith with John Piercy. The former Spurs midfielder retained the right-sided midfield role, even though he was sent off in the closing stages at Notts County, and Gary Hart was available again after a ban.

Piercy responded with the first League goal of a career in which, up to now, he has been no more than a bit-part player.

In a move straight off the training ground, Piercy instantly controlled Guy Butters' header from a Danny Cullip free-kick to beat Andy Dibble with a left-foot snapshot from 12 yards.

A hamstring twinge felt by Piercy in training 48 hours ahead of the game forced him off before the break, but he is banned for Sunday's LDV trip to QPR anyway and should be fit for the next League fixture at home to Port Vale.

Richard Carpenter's solitary goal before Saturday came against Boston in the LDV at Withdean.

He doubled his tally with an exquisite left-foot chip from outside the box midway through the second half, which dropped in via the bar.

It was important because 1-0 is never comfortable, although Wrexham had offered little as an attacking force up to that point.

Carpenter has thrived with the arrival of Mark Yeates from Spurs. McGhee's diamond formation in midfield is working like a gem.

Carpenter said: "Mark is a good player. That is why they rate him so highly at Spurs. He's got great feet, he's quick and he's like a little rat, always there running forward and back.

"It gives me time to tidy up and sit a little bit more. He plays just in front of me, then when we haven't got the ball he comes in alongside me."

Yeates was not as influential as against Notts County, but there was also further evidence of his developing understanding with Knight.

Had it not been for Dibble, Albion would have been in command before Carpenter's delightful contribution.

The widely-travelled 38-year-old denied Knight either side of the interval and somehow stopped Chris McPhee's close range header from Yeates' corner in first-half stoppage time.

Ben Roberts was untroubled by comparison. The Welshmen had their fair share of possession, but the back four were so solid in front of Roberts that he did not have a serious save to make until the 72nd minute.

Perhaps it was the shock of Wrexham managing a shot on goal which caused him to drop a long range free-kick by Stephen Thomas, who had been brought on moments earlier.

Brian Carey spurned the visitors' best chance seven minutes from the end, missing the target from point-blank range when Hector Sam headed down a Thomas cross.

Cullip, Butters, Kerry Mayo and Adam El-Abd, a boy in a man's body, deserved Albion's first clean sheet for nine games.

They have not conceded a goal from open play since that 4-1 debacle against Bristol City. The difference in the defending was, as McGhee put it, like night and day.

He said: "Our organisation and shape won us the game, as well, obviously, as the players' hard work.

"It is important against a system that's different from your own that you recognise what is going to happen and you make allowances for it.

"Most of their possession was on the halfway line or inside their own half, so it wasn't hurting us.

"When you are playing against a 3-5-2 then at times you have to surrender possession. You have to be disciplined and not go rushing in to try to win the ball when you can't."

The players carried out his instructions to the letter. McGhee is increasingly making his mark.