REPORT: WIGAN 0 ALBION 1
- Dale Stephens comes off the bench to score the winner
- Albion move up to second in the table
- The Seagulls extend their unbeaten run to eight games
- Brighton record their third away league victory of the season
Brighton & Hove Albion moved up to second in the Sky Bet Championship table after grinding out a 1-0 victory against Wigan Athletic at the DW Stadium.
A brilliant strike from distance by second-half substitute Dale Stephens was enough to settle an otherwise scrappy affair in Lancashire.
Chris Hughton made one enforced change from Tuesday’s victory over Wolverhampton Wanderers, with Connor Goldson replacing the suspended Lewis Dunk.
Albion worked an opening within the first minute, as Anthony Knockaert found Sam Baldock in the box, but the linesman’s flag was raised.
Wigan then caught out the Seagulls with quick passing move, which resulted in Michael Jacobs firing wide with an angled strike.
Jiri Skalak created Albion’s next chance with a superb in-swinging corner that was headed just wide by Shane Duffy.
David Stockdale made a stunning double save to keep out Nick Powell while at the other end, Oliver Norwood attempted to break the deadlock in speculative fashion, only to see his shot go high and wide of the target.
The Latics were forced into an early change when Powell came off injured and was replaced by Nathan Byrne.
Albion were hanging onto their clean sheet in the closing stages of the half, as Byrne sought to make an immediate impact, but saw his shot blocked inside the box.
Baldock could’ve given the Seagulls an unlikely lead after being played through by Glenn Murray’s flick on, but the number nine saw his initial strike saved by Adam Bogdan, before his second attempt was cleared.
Byrne then worked his way into a shooting position on the edge of the box and tried to curl the ball towards the bottom corner, but saw his shot drift just wide of Stockdale’s left-hand post.
The forward continued to look lively after the break, as he tried his luck from distance.
Hughton freshened up his side with a double substitution just past the hour mark, with Knockaert and Norwood replaced by Jamie Murphy and Stephens.
The Scotsman won a corner within seconds of entering the pitch and Skalak’s subsequent set-piece was headed wide at the far post by Goldson.
But it was the other substitute that gave Brighton the lead in emphatic fashion with 62 minutes on the clock, as Skalak laid the ball on a plate for Stephens to curl a stunning strike beyond Bogdan.
Skalak then made a driving run down the right to find Steve Sidwell in the box, but the midfielder could not make a decent connection with the pass.
However, Hughton’s men saw out the closing stages with relative ease to give the Seagulls three crucial points.