REPORT: NORWICH 2 ALBION 0
- Albion are beaten 2-0 by Norwich City
- David Stockdale scores two unfortunate own goals
- Alex Pritchard’s shots hit the woodwork and go in off the keeper
- The Seagulls need just three points from two games to clinch the title
Brighton & Hove Albion were beaten 2-0 by Norwich City at Carrow Road this evening, meaning their quest to secure the Sky Bet Championship title continues with two games remaining.
Alex Pritchard struck two first-half efforts, both of which came back off the woodwork before going in off David Stockdale in bizarre fashion - giving the Canaries all three points despite ended the game with no shots on target.
Chris Hughton made four changes to the starting line-up that clinched promotion on Monday, with Sebastien Pocognoli, Steve Sidwell, Oliver Norwood and Jamie Murphy all coming into the side.
Anthony Knockaert had Albion’s first opportunity of the game after Glenn Murray found the Frenchman on the edge of the box, but his stinging effort was deflected behind.
Murphy then headed over Solly March’s precise cross to the back post, before Uwe Huenemeier’s headed effort from Knockaert’s corner was comfortably gathered by Norwich goalkeeper John Ruddy.
Despite Albion’s early dominance, the hosts took the lead when Pritchard’s 20-yard strike came back off the crossbar, hit Stockdale’s back and found the back of the net on 18 minutes.
Huenemeier came close to levelling just before the half-hour mark, but the German defender’s glancing header from Norwood’s cross was brilliantly saved by Ruddy at close range.
Albion then had a big shout for a penalty turned down after Murphy went over under the challenge of Graham Dorrens, and the referee’s decision proved costly for the visitors as Norwich added another goal on their next attack.
Quite remarkably, it was the same combination that led to the second goal, as Pritchard’s curling effort came off the inside of the post and went in off Stockdale in the 39th minute.
Murray almost pulled a goal back for the Seagulls after they returned for the second half, but the striker’s close-range header from Norwood’s corner was blocked on the goal line.
Pocognoli took free-kick responsibility from 30 yards, but the full-back’s curling effort cleared the crossbar, before Sidwell glanced a header wide of the target from Murphy’s searching cross.
Hughton introduced Dale Stephens and Tomer Hemed as the Seagulls continued to search for a breakthrough, with Norwood and Knockaert making way for the pair.
Murray worked a shooting opportunity for himself and drilled a powerful shot on goal from just outside the box, but Ruddy was equal to the striker’s opportunist effort.
It was Albion’s top goalscorer that continued to threat during the closing stages, with his powerful right-footed drive sailing wide of Ruddy’s left-hand upright, but the Canaries protected their clean sheet and took all three points.