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13 June 2017

Paul Hazlewood
Will Buckley scoring the winning goal in the eighth minute of stoppage time.

Brighton & Hove Albion opened their 2011/12 Championship campaign against Doncaster Rovers in the first-ever league game to be hosted at the club’s brand new American Express Community Stadium.

Gus Poyet’s team were crowned League One champions the previous season, and after a summer of excitement and anticipation, the Seagulls began life in their state-of-the-art home, following years of hard work to make the club’s dream a reality.

Craig Mackail-Smith led the line for the Seagulls, after signing from Peterborough United over the summer, and Watford recruit Will Buckley began the game on the bench for Albion’s opening day fixture.

The atmosphere inside the stadium was electric, as over 20,000 supporters got to grips with their new home, before the match action got underway and Albion’s promotion-winners pursued victory on their Amex league debut.

But Albion’s opening day celebration was dealt an early blow in the 39th minute, when Rovers striker Billy Sharp fired towards goal, and despite Casper Ankergren’s best efforts, the striker’s shot rolled over the goal line.

With 15 minutes of the game remaining, Buckley was introduced for his Albion debut and it took the  winger just eight minutes to announce his arrival in the best way possible - by hitting the back of the net.

Buckley found the bottom corner with a low-driven effort from the edge of the penalty area, and with the game looking sealed at 1-1, the summer signing sent the Amex crowd into raptures with winning goal in the eighth minute of stoppage time.

Craig Noone played a delightful through-ball with the outside of his foot, and with just the goalkeeper to beat, Buckley opened up his body and curled the ball into the far corner, to secure a famous opening day victory for the Seagulls in their wonderful new home.

ALBION: Ankergren; Calderon, Greer, Dunk, Painter; Sparrow (Buckley 75), Bridcutt, Dicker; Barnes, Mackail-Smith, LuaLua (Noone 46).

SUBS NOT USED: Brezovan (GK), Vincelot, Navarro.

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