Friday the 13th lived up to its name for the Albion, after Wednesday took full advantage of the 1st leg at Hillsborough. It was a slightly harsh result on Brighton after losing FOUR players to injury during the match, but the scoreline doesn’t flatter Wednesday at all, playing fluid football and punishing a very poor Brighton side. It means Brighton have it all to do on Monday night, to stop them going out of the play-offs at the semi final stage for the 3rd time in 4 years.
Brighton had the first chance of the game when Anthony Knockaert kept the ball in play and flicked it onto Bruno, who cut it back to Sam Baldock with the striker’s shot being deflected wide for a corner. From the resulting corner, Jiri Skalak whipped in a fantastic ball, and Tomer Hemed rose highest to head the ball onto the post leaving Kieran Westwood stranded in his goal. Hemed and Connor Goldson were soon forced off with injuries, Hemed with a suspected back problem and Goldson with a hamstring injury. Ross Wallace had a long range effort terrifically tipped round the post by David Stockdale, before Fernando Forestieri though he had put the Owls in front, only for the referee Andre Marriner and his linesman to give the Italian offside, which was the correct decision. Wallace had another long range effort on target, but this time it did find the net, after it went through Beram Kayal and Gordan Greer’s legs. Daniel Pudil had another long range effort go narrowly wide just after half-time, before Sidwell and Knockaert were forced off through injuries; another hamstring problem and a twisted ankle respectively. Skalak went close for the Albion from a dipping free-kick which went just over, before Kieran Lee made it 2-0 after Forestieri picked him out with a delightful through ball, which Lee then kept his cool when 1-on-1 with Stockdale. Skalak had a beautiful volley go just over too, but it wasn’t to be for Brighton, who will have to make history to make it to Wembley on the 28th May.
Stockdale (6); Made a good save from Wallace, rarely called into much action.
Bruno (6); Good spell at right-back before coming into the middle to cover Goldson. Looked a little out of his depth, but kept at it.
Goldson (5); Unlucky night for the young centre-back, looked as if he was going to have a big game too after keeping Gary Hooper quiet.
Greer (5); Struggled against the pace of Forestieri, and looked a little out of place, but I guess that’s what happens when you have only played 2 games this year.
Bong (6); Played one of his better games since his injury, but still doesn’t look as threatening as he did before.
Knockaert (6); Harsh on the Albion play-maker who worked hard for so long, and looks as if he won’t be avaliable to turn it around.
Kayal (6); Made to work a little harder without his usual midfield partner, made a little easy when Richie Towell came on with fresh legs.
Sidwell (5); Struggled to make an impact in the game, and had to come off early in the 2nd half.
Skalak (6); Fine game from the Czech, his dead ball qualities are going to be a real threat on Monday night, after causing the Owls a few problems.
Baldock (6); Run his head into the ground, and was unfortunate not to give Albion the lead with a good effort early on.
Hemed (6); Fantastic header from him which hit the post, but looks as if his departure was only precautionary.
Wilson (6); Worked as hard as he could, but for obvious reasons he struggled to win many aerial battles.
Rosenior (6); Hughton clearly benched him to give his a breather ready for Monday, but that never happened. Worked well with Knockaert, then Skalak when he came off.
Towell (6); Not the way he would of wanted his league debut, but took it well and sharpened up the midfield.
SWFC - BHAFC; Wallace (45), Lee (73);