How sweet does revenge taste, especially when you break a 102 year hoodo0? Let me tell you, it tastes exquisite and I can’t wait for more of the same later in the season. Brighton were fully deserved of their history-making victory, and have sent out a message of intent with the result. Other than a few moments during the game, Brighton never really looked threatened by the home side.
After a lackluster game on Tuesday night, Chris Hughton made 4 changes to the starting XI, one of which was enforced with Dale Stephens suspended. Sam Baldock, Jamie Murphy, Gaetan Bong and Steve Sidwell all came in to the squad at the expense of Tomer Hemed, Jiri Skalak, Seb Pocognoli and Stephens. Murphy looked bright on his return to Sheffield, and his curling cross nearly crept into Kieran Westwood’s far post, with the Irish international anticipating a touch from the diving Glenn Murray. Brighton did soon take the lead with Baldock’s audacious lob. Lewis Dunk managed to stretch his legs as he powered out of defense, before finding Baldock’s run in behind the Owls defense, with a crisp lofted ball, with Baldock seemingly making the lob look effortless as it bounced underneath the post, and sent the traveling fans mad. Fernando Forestieri was a pain in the play-offs for Brighton, and made a nuisance of himself yet again; his header just sailing wide of David Stockdale’s goal. Murray had a goal ruled out for offside, which was incorrectly given by the linesman, as he hit home a wonderful volley. Into the 2nd half, and Wednesday started to look a little more threatening, with Tom Lees having a goal-bound header cleared off the line by Norwood. After a few half chances for the Owls, they were made to pay, when Bong set up Knockaert to double the Seagulls lead; with the Frenchman getting a yellow card for over-celebrating. Ross Wallace’s long-range effort was tipped round the post by Stockdale, while Adam Reach missed an absolute sitter when he blazed his volley over from 3 yards out, after a near-post flick on by Steven Fletcher. Sub Gary Hooper did managed to get a consolation goal, after some penalty box pinball, but it was too late for another chance with the ref blowing his whistle not soon after. 3 points for the Seagulls, which leaves them in a firm position going into the 2nd international break, and into a tough run of fixtures.
Stockdale (7); Looked visibly devastated when Hooper popped up to score the consolation goal, but other than that he had a good day in goal, with not much to trouble him.
Bruno (7); 150th start for the club on his 36th Birthday; not a bad present at all. Composed as always, apart from his reaction to the booking.
Duffy (8); Had a tough jon of marking the handful Forestieri, but lived up to the billing. Dominate in the air again, and made a crucial block from Hooper when it was 1-0.
Dunk (9); What more can we say about him? Another extraordinary performance, which was so good, that even the Owls fans were raving about him on their fan sites after the game.
Bong (8); After a sticky patch at the start of the season, he looks as if he might have gotten over it. Good attacking play with Murphy, who he seems to play better with, and another good assist to Knockaert.
Knockaert (8); Scored what turned out to be the winner, and his over-celebrating caused him to get an unnecessary booking, but other than that it was business as usual for the tricky winger.
Sidwell (8); It will be so difficult for Hughton to drop him in 2 weeks time; calm, sharp and dominant in the centre which frustrated Wednesday.
Norwood (7); Great goal-saving clearence from Lees’s header, but other that than it was an average performace for him, who has been hot and cold since his arrival.
Murphy (7); Looked sharp and threatening early on; went close with his cross/shot. A little quieter in the 2nd half.
Murray (7); Unlucky to see his goal ruled out for offside, but a good all-round performance of attacking and defending from the on-loan Bournmouth man.
Baldock (8); His movement was enough to send the Wednesday back 4 mad, and that’s how he got his goal. Had it all to do still, but got the lob spot on. A fantastic game from him, and will be expecting more.
Skalak (6); Some bright moments when he came on for Murphy
Hemed (N/A); No time for him to do anything
SWFC - BHAFC; Hooper (90+5); Baldock (26), Knockaert (73);
Att; 25,605 (691 Brighton)