Report: Bolton 0 Albion 2
Will Buckley was at his blistering best as the midfielder’s brace gave Brighton & Hove Albion a brilliant 2-0 win away at Bolton Wanderers.
The winger’s two clinical finishes were reward for Albion’s excellent defensive display against in-form Bolton, and the result follows Tuesday’s victory by the same scoreline against QPR.
The Seagulls now sit just a point outside the play-off places and are unbeaten in four games as the business end of the season approaches.
Adam Bogdan had to be alert early on as Stephen Ward’s cross deviated towards the keeper’s far corner but the Seagulls soon found a way past the Bolton keeper.
Top scorer Leo Ulloa curled a tantalising ball into the box that was met first time by Buckley but Bogdan made an incredible point-blank save to deny the winger. However, the danger wasn’t gone and the midfielder latched onto the rebound and fired a superb effort into the top corner to put Oscar’s men ahead.
The hosts almost hit back moments later but Tomasz Kuszczak pulled off a stunning one-handed save to tip Alex Baptiste’s dipping effort over the bar - then the Pole pushed David Wheater’s header in the same direction to thwart the Wanderers captain.
On 32 minutes, Kuszczak was once more called into action as he parried Chung-Yong Lee’s low drive away and Lewis Dunk was on hand to clear the rebound.
Dougie Freedman’s men hadn’t lost in five games and were showing why as they continued to press the Seagulls back, but some excellent and resilient defending kept the Trotters at bay.
Bolton kept coming though and Medo Kamara’s free-kick deflected onto the bar and the Sierra Leonean struck over as the Seagulls took their advantage in at the break.
Liam Trotter had an early chance after the interval but dragged wide while Joe Mason came even closer, flashing a strike across goal.
Wanderers thought they had equalised as Lee’s shot was deflected in by Mason but the linesman’s flag denied the hosts, while Bogdan got down well to deny Dale Stephens up the other end.
Jesse Lingard looked lively and drove a strike wide before Buckley’s sheer pace caught the Bolton defence sleeping and his first-time left-footed finish nestled in the bottom corner to put Albion in a commanding position.
With the visitors two goals to the good, the host’s intensity notably dropped; Oscar’s men started to play the ball around and ended the match in assured fashion.
With the play-offs in sight, the side now head into another big game against Ipswich Town next Saturday at the Amex.