REPORT: ALBION 3 BOLTON 2
- Goals from Jamie Murphy, Tomer Hemed and Beram Kayal secure all three points
- Albion remain fourth in the Championship table
- The Seagulls record a fourth consecutive victory
- Jiri Skalak comes off the bench to make his Albion debut
Brighton & Hove Albion moved to within one point of the automatic promotion places with a hard-fought 3-2 win over Bolton Wanderers at the Amex.
The result leaves Albion fourth in the Championship table, but within touching distance of second-place Middlesbrough who face Leeds United on Monday night.
Chris Hughton named an unchanged side from the one that beat Brentford 3-0 eight days ago, including Liam Ridgewell, who made his final appearance before returning to Portland Timbers. Sam Baldock and Jiri Skalak both took their places on the bench.
Bolton had their first opening of the game when Wellington Silva curled a relatively harmless free-kick wide of David Stockdale’s left-hand post.
The deadlock was broken in the 11th minute when Jamie Murphy was played through on goal by Beram Kayal and the Scot made no mistake in slotting the ball home beyond Ben Amos.
The Trotters had a golden opportunity to level when a fairly innocuous ball into the box found Emile Heskey, but the forward’s close-range header went wide.
But the former England international did equalise in the 22nd minute, after his shot took a deflection off Lewis Dunk to beat Stockdale.
Albion broke forward in a bid to re-establish their lead and Ridgewell latched onto the ball only to see his cross-shot saved by Amos.
Kayal almost caught the Bolton keeper off guard with a strike from just outside the box, which was parried away for a corner.
The Seagulls had a penalty shout turned down when Tomer Hemed took a tumble inside the area after tussling with Mark Davies - but referee Rob Lewis allowed play to continue.
Albion re-established their lead in the 43rd minute as Anthony Knockaert’s superb run and cross found Bobby Zamora, whose deft backheel played in Hemed to slot the ball home.
The Seagulls came agonisingly close to a third in first-half stoppage time, when Connor Goldson and Bruno combined to set up Murphy, but his fierce drive was saved by Amos.
Parity was restored to the scoreline again though, as Albion’s defence failed to deal with a free-kick played into the box and Jay Spearing fired home the loose ball past an unsighted Stockdale.
It could have got worse for Albion after the break when Liam Feeney found himself one-on-one with Stockdale, but his shot was well saved.
Down the other end, Hemed saw his shot cleared off the line before the lead was re-established yet again by Kayal. Hemed’s back-heeled assist found his compatriot who curled a brilliant effort past Amos to make it 3-2.
Both sets of supporters stood up for a minute’s applause in the 63rd minute to remember the life of Bolton chairman Phil Gartside, who sadly passed away this week.
Albion came close to going two goals in front for the first time after Murphy set up Zamora, but his shot on the turn went narrowly wide.
Kayal could have added a fourth goal in the final five minutes after being set up by Knockaert, but his looping effort sailed wide.
There was still time for Skalak to replace the excellent Knockaert for his Albion debut in the last minute of normal time.
Fellow substitute Kazenga LuaLua had Brighton’s final opportunity with a low driven free-kick that was saved and Albion saw the game out despite six minutes of injury-time being played.
£1000 JACKPOT 108674
£100 SUPERSTORE VOUCHER 110590
MAGNUM OF CHAMPAGNE 111009
BOTTLE OF CHAMPAGNE 110020
BOTTLE OF CHAMPAGNE 110650
1ST PRIZE £500 1530
2ND PRIZE £50 3743
3RD PRIZE £25 2872
1ST GOAL TIME 11 MINS