REPORT: ALBION 2 SHEFF WED 1
- Anthony Knockaert’s brace gives Albion a memorable victory
- Glenn Murray sent off in the second half before David Stockdale saves the resulting penalty
- Wednesday end the match with nine men after Steven Fletcher and Sam Hutchinson are sent off
- Brighton return to the top of the table
Brighton & Hove Albion returned to the top of the Sky Bet Championship table with a dramatic, incident-fuelled 2-1 victory over Sheffield Wednesday.
Anthony Knockaert’s brace either side of Lewis Dunk’s own goal gave ten-man Albion a memorable victory over Wednesday, who ended the match with nine men after Steven Fletcher and Sam Hutchinson were sent off.
Chris Hughton made six changes to the side that lost to Preston North End on Saturday, which included Connor Goldson and Tomer Hemed, coming in for injured duo Bruno and Sam Baldock.
Knockaert showed some stunning skill to get to the byline and teed up Glenn Murray, whose shot was saved by Keiren Westwood, before Jamie Murphy saw his follow-up shot go wide.
Knockaert made another run down the right-hand side and got the better of Wednesday defender Daniel Pudil, but Westwood was on hand to intercept the Frenchman’s cross.
David Stockdale was called into action for the first time in the match when he made a two-handed save to keep out Adam Reach’s low driven effort across the face of goal.
The Owls were forced into their first change when Jack Hunt was stretchered off injured following a collision with Sebastien Pocognoli and replaced by Liam Palmer.
Albion broke the deadlock when Hemed made a surging run forward and superbly picked out Knockaert, who showed an incredible level of composure and trickery before he fired home past Westwood in the 34th minute.
Hemed tried his luck with a shot from distance, but his long-range attempt went wide.
The Seagulls suffered a cruel blow in the 45th minute as Fernando Forestieri’s ball across the box caused havoc and took a deflection off Oliver Norwood and then Dunk for an own goal.
Norwood was the provider for Albion’s first clear-cut chance after the re-start, as his perfectly-weighted set-piece was met by Shane Duffy, whose towering header went narrowly over the bar.
Hemed then teed up Jamie Murphy with a cross from the right flank, but his header went straight at Westwood.
Wednesday still carried a threat themselves though, as Ross Wallace attempted to catch out the Albion defence with a free-kick that went beneath the wall, but Stockdale made a comfortable stop.
There was a nervy moment for the Albion defence when a long ball caused confusion among Dunk and Stockdale, before Pocognoli beat Steven Fletcher in the air to clear the danger.
There was a moment of drama just past the hour mark when Murray was shown a straight red card for a deliberate handball inside the box from a Glenn Loovens shot.
But Stockdale spared Albion’s blushes to save Forestieri’s spot-kick and made an even better save low to his left-hand side to keep out the rebound.
The Owls press forward again and Pocognoli had to be alert to deny Wallace a shot on goal with a perfectly-timed challenge, before Barry Bannan fired a close-range shot wide from inside the box.
Pocognoli delivered a fine in-swinging cross towards Hemed, but could not quite reach the ball as he slid towards the cross.
But the Belgian got his assist just seconds later with another pinpoint ball into the area and Knockaert slid the ball home at the far post in the 85th minute.
In a game full of twists and turns, Wednesday were also reduced to ten men when Fletcher was shown a straight red for appearing to head butt Dale Stephens.
The drama did not end there though, as Hutchinson was shown a second yellow card deep into injury time for going in late on Solly March to end an incredible evening.
1901 CLUB LOTTERY
1ST PRIZE £1000 35150
2ND PRIZE 34562
3RD PRIZE 33465
4TH PRIZE 33684
5TH PRIZE 31894
ALBION HAT TRICK
1ST £400 3062
2ND £50 3732
3RD £25 1581
1ST GOAL TIME 34TH MINUTE