REPORT: ALBION 2 WIGAN 1
- Albion move to within one point of guaranteeing Premier League football
- Glenn Murray and Solly March on target for Albion
- Nick Powell scores a late consolation for Wigan
- The Seagulls go 15 points clear of third place Huddersfield TowN
Brighton & Hove Albion all but mathematically secured a place in the Premier League following a 2-1 victory over relegation-battling Wigan Athletic at the Amex.
A goal in each half from Glenn Murray and Solly March put the Seagulls 2-0 in front before Nick Powell’s late header halved the deficit late on.
Chris Hughton made two changes to the side that won at Wolves last Friday, as Gaetan Bong and Beram Kayal replaced Sebastien Pocognoli and Steve Sidwell.
Anthony Knockaert tried his luck from distance early on, but his tame effort from distance was comfortably gathered by Wigan goalkeeper Jakob Haugaard.
Knockaert then cut inside from the left and drifted in a superb cross towards the onrushing Murray, but Jake Buxton got a crucial touch to head the ball behind.
The Frenchman delivered another ball into the box that Haugaard couldn’t deal with, before Lewis Dunk saw his second attempt deflected wide.
The Knockaert-Dunk combination was in action again, as the Albion centre-back rose highest in the box from an in-swinging set-piece only to see his header go over.
Albion continued to cause Wigan problems from set-pieces, and this time Uwe Huenemeier met a Knockaert corner at the far post, but Haugaard collected the ball.
Albion broke the deadlock in the 37th minute courtesy of Murray, who fired home his 22nd goal of the season from the edge of the box after being teed up by Tomer Hemed.
The club’s leading marksman thought he doubled Albion’s advantage five minutes later when he headed home, but the ball had gone out of play from the original corner.
Albion had a golden chance to double their advantage shortly after the re-start after Haugaard dropped the ball but both Hemed and Knockaert saw their subsequent shots blocked on the line.
Haugaard redeemed himself moments later with a fine save to keep out Knockaert’s free-kick from nestling into the far corner.
The Seagulls did get the second goal in the 65th minute, as some brilliant skill from Knockaert teed up March, who took a touch and fired a right-footed strike through Haugaard’s legs.
Substitute Jamie Murphy raced forward down the left-hand side to set up Murray in a central position, but Stephen Warnock deflected his effort over the target.
Albion had their second effort of the afternoon ruled out for offside when Hemed played Knockaert through on goal, although it looked a very close call.
The Seagulls continued their dominance as Murray flashed a ball across the face of goal and Knockaert narrowly failed to make a connection at the far post.
Just as Albion looked to be cruising toward the finishing line, Powell headed home Jamie Hanson’s perfectly-weighted cross to make it 2-1 five minutes from time.
Albion sub Chuba Akpom came close to adding a third late on, but his angled attempt hit the side netting.
But the game finished 2-1 with Albion knowing that their place in the Premier League is all but secured - sparking jubilant scenes at the Amex which will last a lifetime.
1ST PRIZE £1000 62120
2ND PRIZE 61579
3RD PRIZE 55431
4TH PRIZE 61812
5TH PRIZE 59212
ALBION HAT TRICK
1ST PRIZE £750 2887
2ND PRIZE £50 3388
3RD PRIZE £25 1479
1ST GOAL TIME 37 MINS