Report: Albion 2 Bristol City 0After the frustrations of Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Bolton, Albion returned to winning ways with a comfortable victory against Bristol City.
It was also a night of firsts at the Amex, with Andrea Orlandi netting his first goal for the club, likewise Dean Hammond in his second spell with the Seagulls.
Both goals came from set pieces in an emphatic first-half display from Gus Poyet’s side who are now unbeaten in seven games.
The victory puts Albion within a point of the play-offs and in buoyant mood ahead of Saturday’s much anticipated trip to Crystal Palace.
The last-gasp goal conceded against the Trotters three days earlier didn’t affect Poyet’s men, who opened the scoring after just six minutes.
Will Buckley was fouled down the right flank; Orlandi played a short free-kick to Liam Bridcutt and his teasing ball into the box was met by the head of Dean Hammond from six yards out.
It certainly warmed up the atmosphere on a bitterly cold night at the Amex which saw striker Will Hoskins making his first start since last November in a forward line-up that also saw the return of Stephen Dobbie.
The Robins, fresh from their 3-1 win at Middlesbrough on Saturday, showed little resistance in the opening stages as Albion searched for a second.
It duly arrived on 26 minutes when Buckley was again fouled on the right wing. This time man-of-the-match Orlandi swung the ball into the box and it eluded everyone included a red-faced Robins keeper Tom Heaton.
Dobbie flashed an effort narrowly over the bar moments later while Hoskins just failed to get on the end of a Buckley cross as Albion continued to turn up the heat.
Orlandi also curled in a delightful 20-yard effort that just drifted wide of Heaton’s right-hand upright while it took City 35 minutes to register their first effort on goal when Stephen Pearson’s left-foot drive cannoned off Tomasz Kuszczak’s crossbar to safety.
City upped their game and on-loan Neil Danns had an effort inside the box cleared off the line by Gordon Greer while the follow-up was beaten away by Kuszczak.
Albion began the second half back on the front foot with Orlandi blazing over while Hoskins broke through past two defenders, only to see his shot blocked by the feet of Heaton.
With the game falling a little flat, Craig Mackail-Smith replaced Dobbie on the hour mark and he delightfully brought the ball down for Buckley to try his luck from distance. Instead, the wide man teed up Hoskins, whose drilled effort was blocked.
Hoskins also tried a spectacular overhead effort which proved to be his last kick of the game as he was replaced by Andrew Crofts.
The victory, Albion’s 1000th at home, thankfully, had none of the late drama which proved so costly at the weekend as the side looking forward to the trip to Selhurst Park with optimism.