Brighton returned to the top of the table, for a few hours at least, as the beat promotion rivals Sheffield Wednesday, in a game which saw 3 goals and 3 red cards.
Glenn Murray had a fantastic chance to put Brighton ahead early on, but a fine save from Kieran Westwood denied the Albion top scorer. The first half was frantic affair, until Tomer Hemed picked up a loose bal in the middle of the park, and drove towards the Wednesday goal. After breaking a Sam Hutchinson tackle, he fed Anthony Knockaert through in towards goal; a heavy touch front the Frenchman seemed to give Westwood the chance to steal the ball from him, but the Albion winger got it past him, before cutting the ball back and curling his shot into the roof of the net from a tight angle. The lead lasted 10 minutes as Wednesday drew level, thanks to an unfortunate own goal from stand-in captain Lewis Dunk; Fernando Forestieri’s cross was diverted goalwards by Oliver Norwood, but hit Dunk’s head on the way through, giving David Stockdale little hope of saving it; it looked like he would of stopped Norwood from getting an own goal himself. Into the second half, and Brighton should of regained the lead, but Shane Duffy’s powerful header was just to high, after a lovely free-kick from Norwood. Not long after Albion were reduced to 10 men, after Murray was penalised for handball in the area; penalty awarded and Murray sent off. Forestieri stepped up for the Owls, but he couldn’t score past Stockdale with the initial shot, and then was denied again with his follow up. Against the run of play, Brighton regained the lead thanks to another Knockaert goal; Seb Pocognoli sent in a teasing cross, which beat everyone but Knockaert who dived in to divert the ball into the net, and send the home fans wild. The tension didn’t stop there, just minutes later Steven Fletcher was sent off, after lashing out at Dale Stephens with most of the players getting involved in the melee after. As the game finally drew to a close, Hutchinson was also sent packing, after his wild diving challenge on Solly March saw him pick up a second yellow card, although it could have also warranted in a straight red card too. The final whistle went, and after a tense night it was Brighton who picked up the points, and returned to the top of the league, at least until 5pm on Saturday.
Stockdale (9); Not called into action as much as he was expecting to, but was more than heroic to keep out Forestieri’s penalty; not just the initial effort but the incredible ability to dive back across the goal to tip the ball around the post. World class double save, and kept the Seagulls level.
Goldson (7); Superb defensively, but slightly hesitant in getting forward, which was understandable with the attacking powers of Forestieri and Reach.
Duffy (7); Claimed everything that Wednesday threw into the box, and was as good as he has been all season.
Dunk (7); Unfortunate own-goal for the stand-in captain, but brushed it off with another solid performance in tough times during the second half.
Pocognoli (8); Set up the winner with a superb curling cross into Knockaert, and was pretty solid attacking too as well as defending.
Knockaert (9); Definatly his best game since his father’s passing, maybe his best of the season. Run rings around the Owls defence for much of the 1st half, before scoring his goal, then popping up later in the game for the winner.
Stephens (7); Sat a little deeper than he usually did, but was alert to dangers when Wednesday were instigating attacks.
Norwood (7); His unfortunate touch lead to the own goal, but still had a good game. Should of had an assist when Duffy headed over from his free-kick in the second half.
Murphy (6); Given the chance to prove he is the player for the wide left role, but couldn’t grab that chance. Struggled in possession and was quite passive.
Hemed (7); Brilliant work on the counter attack to break a tackle, then to feed Knockaert through for the opening goal. Upped his game when Murray was sent packing, and left as the lone striker.
Murray (6); Should of scored early on in the game if not for Westwood’s good save. Sent off for handball, which will divide opinions, but would of been thankful for Stockdale heroics in the goal; his celebrations showed that.
March (6); Sent on for March when Brighton needed some attacking intent.
Sidwell (5); Helped see the game through when Brighton got ahead late on.
Skalak (N/A); Late run-out for the winger.
BHAFC - SWFC ; Knockaert (35), (85), Murray (64; OFF); Dunk (45 OG), Fletcher (89; OFF), Hutchinson (90+6; OFF)