Report: Forest 1 Albion 2
Brighton & Hove Albion clinched the final play-off position this afternoon with a dramatic 2-1 victory over Nottingham Forest.
Despite an early goal from Matt Derbyshire, Albion levelled through a Stephen Ward strike before Leo Ulloa scored in the final moments of the game.
With rivals Reading drawing 2-2 at home to Burnley, Oscar Garcia’s men took sixth spot in the table and a play-off semi-final encounter with Derby County.
Brighton had the first real chance of the game as Ulloa bore down one-on-one with Forest goalkeeper Dorus De Vries, only to fire wide from a tight angle.
Marcus Tudgay then found space in the Albion box and chipped past the onrushing Tomasz Kuszczak, but his shot also fell wide of the post.
Forest then took the lead on the 22 minute mark. A searching cross from the left found the head of Derbyshire who stooped low to direct his effort past Kuszczak.
Albion responded immediately when a quick free-kick set Inigo Calderon free down the right flank and his cross was turned in by Ulloa. However, the celebrations were cut short as the Albion top-scorer was flagged for offside.
The Seagulls started the second half positively and soon levelled proceedings. Andrea Orlandi’s corner was headed back across goal, Ulloa failed to get a shot away but Ward was on hand to strike low into the Forest goal.
Jesse Lingard then made way for Kazenga LuaLua before Kuszczak saved well to deny a stinging volley from Stephen McLaughlin. Solly March then came on to replace Orlandi.
LuaLua made an instant impact, cutting in from the left before firing a 25-yard effort just wide of Dorus de Vries's far post. Oscar then made his final change of the game, Craig Mackail-Smith replacing Will Buckley.
Calderon almost found a winner in the final 10 minutes when he manoeuvred enough space in the Forest area to volley at goal, but his strike was well saved by De Vries.
There was to be one final throw of the dice. LuaLua worked the ball wide to Mackail-Smith whose teasing crossed from deep was headed home by Ulloa, sending the travelling Albion fans into raptures.