REPORT: SHEFFIELD WEDNESDAY 1 ALBION 2
- Albion record a first-ever victory at Hillsborough
- Goals from Sam Baldock and Anthony Knockaert secure the three points
- Gary Hooper scored a late consolation for Wednesday
- Brighton move up to third in the Sky Bet Championship table
Brighton & Hove Albion recorded an impressive 2-1 win over Sheffield Wednesday to achieve a history-making first-ever victory at Hillsborough.
Goals from Sam Baldock and Anthony Knockaert in each half put Albion in control, before Gary Hooper found the net deep in stoppage time.
The result sent Albion up to third in the Sky Bet Championship table, four points behind league leaders Huddersfield Town.
Chris Hughton made three changes to the side that drew with Ipswich Town on Tuesday, as Gaetan Bong, Jamie Murphy and Baldock replaced Sebastien Pocognoli, Jiri Skalak and Tomer Hemed respectively.
There was also an enforced change with Steve Sidwell coming into the side to replace the suspended Dale Stephens.
Albion created their first chance in the opening few minutes, as some incisive play by Knockaert found Oliver Norwood in space, but his shot was saved by Keiren Westwood.
The hosts also had an opportunity to break the deadlock in the first ten minutes, when Adam Reach collected a loose ball and saw his shot go just past the post.
Knockaert was involved in the thick of the action again after latching on to Glenn Murray’s through ball, who in turn set up Baldock, but the striker's effort went wide.
Barry Bannan had two chances in quick succession; the first was comfortably saved by David Stockdale, while the second was a volley that sailed narrowly over the target.
The Seagulls continued their promising start t, as Murphy’s cross just missed the onrushing Murray and clipped the post before going behind.
Knockaert then embarked on a superb solo run towards goal but saw his effort from distance go just past the post.
Albion got the lead their dominance deserved; Lewis Dunk’s brilliant long ball with the outside of his boot found Baldock and the forward made a perfectly-timed run to fire past Westwood with 26 minutes on the clock.
Murray had the ball in the back of the net five minutes later, but his effort was ruled out for offside.
The Owls could have brought parity to the scoreline after Bannan found Glenn Loovens inside the area from a free-kick, but the defender’s header went over the bar.
Wednesday rallied late on in the first half, as Reach’s first attempt was blocked, while his second took a nick off Bong and forced Stockdale into a fine save.
Fernando Forestieri was next to test Stockdale with a low strike, but the Albion keeper was equal to the low strike and pushed it past the post.
Despite the hosts' resurgence it could have easily been 2-0 to the Seagulls when Sidwell played Murphy through, only to be denied a shot on goal by the linesman’s flag.
Wednesday had the first chance of the second half through Forestieri, but his set-piece curled over the target.
Albion’s defence forced were then forced into a series of blocks, before Steven Fletcher headed wide.
Shane Duffy then blocked Hooper’s effort, before Norwood made a superb clearance to keep out a header from Tom Lees.
For all of Wednesday’s dominance, it was the Seagulls who struck again thanks to Knockaert in the 73rd minute.
Bong picked out the Frenchman in space and he coolly slotted the ball home from close range to double the advantage.
The hosts still pressed forward and Stockdale made a wonderful one-handed stop to keep out Ross Wallace’s strike, before Lees and Reach saw their attempts go over the bar.
Wednesday did grab a consolation deep into time added on to deny Albion a fifth consecutive clean sheet in the league, as Hooper fired home from close range.