Report: Sheffield Wednesday 1 Albion 0
Brighton & Hove Albion suffered late heartbreak as Leon Best’s 90th minute goal condemned the Seagulls to an agonising and undeserved defeat.
The evening didn’t start in the best fashion for the Seagulls when top scorer Leo Ulloa and Inigo Calderon were ruled out through illness, leaving Oscar Garcia with only six available substitutes.
However, despite the late disruptions, Albion stood firm in an open encounter that just lacked that final piece of quality from both sides in the final third - until Best’s late strike.
The first opening of the game saw Best narrowly miss a teasing ball in from Liam Palmer before Jake Forster-Caskey drilled over for the Seagulls; David Rodriguez then rattled the bar with a glancing near-post header from Forster-Caskey’s corner.
Wednesday responded through two close efforts from Jeremy Helan; the first a low strike from distance that was dragged wide, then moments later the winger flashed a volley narrowly past the post.
The hosts were then indebted to captain Glenn Loovens who intercepted Will Buckley’s cut-back that would have presented Forster-Caskey with a tap in at the far post.
And minutes later Loovens was at it again, this time cutting out Forster-Caskey’s dangerous looking ball after an excellent through pass from Jesse Lingard created space behind the Owls defence.
The game entered a lull after a lively opening 25 minutes and the next opportunity didn’t arrive until after the break when Forster-Caskey slipped through Buckley but Wednesday keeper Chris Kirkland made an excellent one-on-one save.
Oscar’s men had looked the more dangerous of the two sides and Lingard tested Kirkland before the former England goalkeeper was swift off his line to deny the on-rushing Rodriguez.
Albion had their own goalkeeper to thank when substitute Benik Afobe pounced on a loose ball in the area, only for a brave Tomasz Kuszczak to beat away the initial effort before Palmer grazed the top of the bar with his lofted follow-up.
Then, in a cruel twist of fate in the final minute, Best picked up the ball and weaved into the Brighton box, guiding a low effort home past Kuszczak into the far corner to give the Owls victory.