There are plenty of contenders for Albion’s player-of-the-season prize.

Inigo Calderon offered a reminder at Withdean last night that he is one of them.

The swashbuckling Spaniard scored his sixth goal of the campaign in the second half to secure a sixth victory in succession for Gus Poyet’s trailblazers.

That is a fantastic return for a right-back and Calderon has performed consistently well, both in attacking and defending.

County were obdurate opponents but they lacked ambition, which has become the norm at Withdean as opponents try in vain to foil the Seagulls’ remarkable unbeaten run in the league since April.

They are now ten points clear at the top with ten games to go. Half of those are at Withdean so the title, yet alone automatic promotion, is within touching distance.

The singular change to the starting line-up made by Poyet from the team which worked hard for Saturday’s 1-0 win at Oldham was not unexpected.

Gary Dicker, an influential substitute at Boundary Park, took over from Radostin Kishishev in the middle of the park.

The absence from the squad of Oldham matchwinner Ashley Barnes with ankle ligament damage created a space on the bench for Norwegian prospect Torbjorn Agdestein.

County chief Paul Ince adopted a cautious approach, with his team too close to the drop zone for comfort after Saturday’s 1-0 home defeat by Bristol Rovers.

Ricky Ravenhill returned from a hamstring injury to a five-man midfield which also included David Martin, a transfer target for Albion during his time at Millwall.

It was a familiar set-up from visitors to Withdean and the match assumed a customary early pattern, Albion completely controlling the possession and probing for a breakthrough.

They created three decent chances inside the opening quarter-of-an-hour. If any of them had been accepted it would have forced County into a more adventurous outlook.

Chris Wood had a couple of opportunities to provide a parting gift before he heads off to China to play in a friendly for New Zealand later in the week.

He slotted narrowly wide at the near post from a cross by the overlapping Inigo Calderon after neat build-up play involving Elliott Bennett and Glenn Murray.

Wood spurned a clearer opening shortly afterwards when he headed over Bennett’s inviting free-kick from the edge of the six-yard box.

Bennett was in some discomfort as a consequence of an early knock in the back sustained in an aerial duel.

He passed over Albion’s first corner of the game to Dicker, whose delivery was headed wide at the far post by Murray.

The one-way traffic in the first half was unrelenting. Bennett, his pain easing, tested Stuart Nelson with a dipping drive from 25 yards which the keeper athletically tipped behind.

Nelson also grabbed a close range effort by Wood at the near post after the linesman on the opposite side of the pitch initially raised his flag before quickly lowering it.

Notts were virtually non-existent as an attacking threat. Lee Hughes, their isolated front man, set himself up as something of a pantomime villain for the Withdean faithful in his contest with the indefatigable Adam El-Abd.

Hughes was eventually booked for a foul on the Albion centre-half before riskily trying to reverse the situation, and the punishment, with a theatrical reaction to an El-Abd challenge.

It was a sideshow to the main event, which required patience from Poyet’s runaway leaders in pursuit of a ninth straight home win in the League and FA Cup.

There was nothing wrong with their performance in the opening 45 minutes. It lacked only a finishing flourish.

There was another injury blow for Albion just before the interval, when El-Abd limped off with a hamstring injury and was replaced by Tommy Elphick.

He is a more than able deputy but El-Abd has been a model of consistency this season and it is a setback Albion could have done without so soon after losing Barnes.

County, perhaps sniffing an upset, finally came to life in first-half stoppage time with a shot by Martin which Casper Ankergren parried and a header from Mike Edwards straight into the arms of the Danish keeper from the ensuing corner.

It was plain to see why County arrived without a goal in open play for more than eight hours. Ince’s tactics, nevertheless, were understandable in the circumstances, especially as his side had lost four of their previous five outings.

Poyet brought on Craig Noone in place of Bennett and, just as in the previous two matches, a change proved effective.

Within five minutes of his introduction, Noone’s cross eluded Nelson and his defenders for Calderon to slide the ball in at the far post.

Noone galvanised the team from the bench against Tranmere at Withdean earlier this month. Dicker and Barnes did likewise at Oldham.

The game meandered once Albion had got their noses in front. They were content to remain in control, while County did little to suggest they were capable of finding an improbable equaliser.

Ankergren was forced only into a couple of routine saves from shots by Alan Gow and substitute Njogu Demba to secure a fifth clean sheet in the last six matches.

That is some record. Albion continue to prove they are far and away the best team in the division at both ends of the pitch.

Albion (4-1-3-2): Ankergren; Calderon, Greer, El-Abd (Elphick 45), Painter; Bridcutt; Bennett (Noone 59), Sparrow, Dicker; Murray, Wood (Sandaza, 79). Subs not used: Brezovan, Novarro, Agdestein, Kishishev.

Scorers: Calderon (64).

Yellow Cards: None.

Red Cards: None.

Notts County (4-5-1): Nelson; Darby, Chilvers, Edwards, Harley; Gow, Bishop, Ravenhill (Demba, 79), McDonald (Clifford 59), Martin; Hughes (Westcarr 79). Subs not used: Burch, Sodje, Brandy, Sproule.

Scorers: None.

Yellow Cards: Hughes (28) foul, Bishop (68) kicking ball away.

Red Cards: None.

Referee: Phil Crossley (Kent).

Attendance: 7,264 (151 County).

Next match: Albion v Swindon League One Saturday (1pm).

Entertainment: 2 out of 5.