On a chilly night on the South Coast, it was the battle for 3 points between 2 sides, who have been shocked on how their season is going. Brighton were looking for the 3 points to clamber into the automatic promotion places, while Reading were looking to edge away from the relegation places. However, it was the home side who prevailed, in a game which turned quite scrappy very quickly. The first half was good; nice, crisp passing from both sides, with good chances but the second half was more wrestling than football, with fouls being given every couple of minutes for bear-hugs and unnecessary fouls. It suited Brighton as it helped the clock run down, but as it did, Reading grew more and more frustrated, which only meant that the fouls got worse and more consistent. But it was a valuable 3 points for the Seagulls, as it took them into the top 2 with Hull’s home draw against Forest.
After a fast-paced start, the first chance fell in favour of the visitors; Matej Vydra received the ball from Danny Williams on the edge of the Albion box, and after carving an opening he fluffed his attempt, but Hal Robson-Kanu was on hand to take the shot, which strayed just wide of David Stockdale’s post hitting his water bottle in the process. Brighton had a good chance to open the scoring, when Sam Baldock picked up a long ball he tried to cut inside for a shot, however he was tackled but it fell kindly for Anthony Knockaert, he then tried a shot after getting the better of Jordan Obita, but it hit the side-netting. Baldock then picked up a loose ball after a headed clearance from the Brighton defence, he then played a simple pass forward into the path of Dale Stephens, he then took it into the box and had his low shot well saved by Ali Al-Habsi. Baldock was involved again in the next Brighton chance; Jamie Murphy played a good ball into Baldock, and after running at the Royals defence, he put through James Wilson who hit the ball first time into the corner via the post, to give the Seagulls a 1-0 lead. Vydra had a long shot saved by Stockdale soon after, but the Albion stopper couldn’t gather it in time with Robson-Kanu lurking, but the Reading forward blasted the chance high over the bar. Into the second half, and Baldock had a great chance to double the lead; Knockaert did well to beat Obita down the right, and after a lovely cut-back to the penalty spot Baldock met it, but his shot was sliced over. Murphy was next to have a good chance; after Stephens won the ball in midfield and passed to Baldock, the latter quickly helped it onto Murphy before he was caught offside, but his side foot effort was narrowly wide of the far post. Robson-Kanu had a good header well saved by Stockdale towards the end of the game; but it wasn’t as good as a chance that Williams had, after a Garath McLeary free-kick was hit deep but was recovered by Michael Hector with a volley back towards goal but Williams, who was free, blazed his volley wide when it seemed harder to miss. The game ended, with Brighton moving up into 2nd while Reading stay 15th, looking over their shoulder.
Stockdale (7); Not much for him to do, but could thank his lucky stars that Robson-Kanu missed after he spilled Vydra’s shot.
Bruno (7); Worked hard with Knockaert, and was defensively very good.
Goldson (7); Another great performance for the youngster; made it hard for Vydra the get any clear openings on goal, which resulted in him having long attempts.
Dunk (7); Solid as he has been for the past few weeks, with good clearing headers and slick passing.
Rosenior (6); Didn’t affect the game too much, but was where he needed to be when required.
Knockaert (6); Worked hard as usual, but seems like teams have figured him out already, and is now hard for him to weave his magic.
Kayal (7); Re-called to the starting XI, and proved why he shouldn’t be left out.
Stephens (7); Good performance after some below par ones prior; should of had a goal, but was good overall.
Murphy (6); Maybe should of scored when 1-on-1, but other than that it was a hard night for him.
Baldock (8); At the heart of everything that Brighton did; excellent running as usual and was a nuisance all night.
Wilson (7); Best game in an Albion shirt; non-stop running and was rewarded with a goal.
LuaLua (5); Short introduction for the explosive winger.
Bong (5); Good to see him back, nothing of major concern.
Sidwell (N/A); On late to see out the game.
BHAFC - RFC; Wilson (25);