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Club News

2016/17 SEASON REVIEW: APRIL

16 June 2017

Paul Hazlewood
Albion's supporters celebrate reaching the Premier League at the Amex.


Brighton & Hove Albion had seven games in April to make their Premier League dream a reality, and it all started with back-to-back fixtures against Blackburn Rovers and Birmingham City at the Amex.

 
The Seagulls knew six points were crucial to their hopes of reaching the Premier League, as they faced four tough away trips in their remaining six games of the season. Just when it really mattered, Albion stood up and produced in front of their home fans, as they opened the month with maximum points.


Glenn Murray’s 67th-minute strike put the Seagulls in front against Rovers, and despite a nervy ending to the match, Hughton’s team held on for all three points and their 20th clean sheet of the season.
 
Murray was again the man to settle any nerves when Birmingham visited the Amex a few days later, as he struck in the 2nd minute of the game. Tomer Hemed and Uwe Huenemeier added further goals before the Blues scored a consolation late on, and that victory moved Albion ten points clear of third-placed Reading at the time.


Next up was a trip to face Queens Park Rangers at Loftus Road, a ground Albion hadn't won at since 1957. For the third game in succession, Murray opened the scoring, before Sebastien Pocognoli found the top corner with an audacious curling free-kick to give the Seagulls a two-goal cushion in West London.
 
Matt Smith set up a nail-biting finish for Albion’s vocal support behind the goal, as he headed past Stockdale to make it 2-1, but the Seagulls held on and moved onto 86 points.


A brace from Anthony Knockaert was the difference when Albion travelled to face Wolverhampton Wanderers at Molineux, as the Frenchman extended his goal tally to 14 for the season. The 2-0 victory meant Albion could, all but mathematically, seal promotion with just three more points, as they welcomed Wigan Athletic to the Amex in their next game.
 
With Albion searching for a breakthrough, Murray found the back of the net with his 22nd strike of the season shortly before half-time. The Amex crowd were in full voice and the stadium erupted for a second time when Solly March added a second goal, as the Seagulls moved to within touching distance of the Premier League.
 
Nick Powell pulled a goal back for the Latics, but the full-time whistle blew and Albion’s supporters flooded onto the Amex pitch to celebrate with their heroes, as promotion to the Premier League was all but guaranteed, with Huddersfield Town needing a huge turnaround in goal difference.


However, promotion was mathematically confirmed that evening when the Terriers conceded late on to draw with Derby County. Albion’s long-awaited promotion to the Premier League had arrived, and what a momentous day it was for the club, players, fans and city.
 
Albion returned to action knowing they could wrap up the Sky Bet Championship title with another three points, but defeat followed for the Seagulls, as two bizarre own goals from David Stockdale handed Norwich City a 2-0 victory at Carrow Road.
 
Another chance went untaken when Bristol City visited the Amex for Albion’s penultimate game of the season, as the Robins secured a narrow 1-0 victory and prevented the Seagulls from winning the Championship on the south coast.


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