Report: Albion 2 Wolves 0
Kazenga LuaLua grabbed a brace as Albion signed off their league season with a professional 2-0 win over League One-bound Wolves.
Gus Poyet’s side went into the game with a play-off place already confirmed but the visitors needed a win, coupled with defeats for Peterborough United and Barnsley, to avoid a second successive relegation.
But Dean Saunders' side found Albion’s Congolese winger in tremendous form as he grabbed two classy first-half finishes and the man of the match award.
The Seagulls will now enter the play-offs on a three-match winning streak and a nine-game unbeaten run, while Wolves will have to comprehend life in the third tier of English football, just 12 months after being in the Premier League.
Bakary Sako showed the sort of intent that was needed by the visitors if they were to avoid relegation as he flashed a left footed drive wide in the third minute.
But for the fourth time this season LuaLua powered home with his trusty right foot as he nestled his strike from just outside the box into the bottom corner.
It was the perfect start for Albion but a nightmare one for Wolves and their survival ambitions, but Saunders’ side almost drew level direct from Sako’s corner; only for Tomasz Kuszczak to beat the effort away on the line.
Poyet’s side had the advantage and took control of possession, stroking the ball around confidently without posing much threat to the Wolves goal.
Then Albion’s Congolese winger grabbed his second goal of the game as his clever step-over fooled the Wolves defenders before sliding the ball past Dorus De Vries.
A well worked free-kick almost dragged Wolves back into the game just minutes after LuaLua’s strike, but Jamie O’Hara’s placed finish could not find the target.
Leonardo Ulloa nearly added a third before half time but the referee’s assistant had his flag up regardless of the finish.
The visitors came out with purpose and ten minutes after the restart Matt Doherty’s downward header bounced up agonisingly over the bar before Ulloa nearly stole in up the other end to extend Albion’s lead.
The visitors applied a good spell of pressure but found little reward as Kuszczak beat away Kevin Doyle’s shot on the turn and he did excellently to push the loose ball away from the danger area after his initial save.
With just over 20 minutes to go a Mexican wave lapped the Amex and despite their perilous position, the Wolves supporters remained in good voice too.
Shortly after, LuaLua was taken off to rapturous applause for his heroics before Ashley Barnes attempted shot into the top corner drifted over.
Vicente also came close to a third as he fired wide after some trademark turns to deceive the visiting defence.
The game petered out in the final moments but Crystal Palace's 3-2 win over Peterborough sets up a mouth-watering semi-final clash next week.