Brighton tasted defeat for the first time in 6 games, after 2 freakish own goals. David Stockdale scored a remarkable two own goals as Brighton suffered a 2-0 defeat to Norwich at Carrow Road, meaning we must wait to clinch the Championship title.
Brighton were uncharacteristically slow to get out of the traps and almost conceded after just five minutes when Norwich striker Nelson Oliveira failed to connect with the ball when unmarked inside the six-yard box. The Canaries continued to dominate possession as the half wore on and deservedly took the lead, although in fortuitous circumstances. Josh Murphy showed great determination to bundle his way through two challenges before laying the ball off for Pritchard on the edge of the box. His sweet strike cannoned off the crossbar into the back of Stockdale and then back into the Brighton goal. It was a case of déjà vu 20 minutes later as another excellent shot from Pritchard struck the woodwork – only to once again rebound off the back of Stockdale and trickle over the line for a freakish second. Brighton had looked like a shadow of the side that had secured promotion to the Premier League earlier in the week and Hughton would have demanded a response during the half-time interval. The visitors began the second period with real intent and could have pulled one back when Jamie Murphy’s cross narrowly evaded Glenn Murray inside the Norwich box. The Seagulls top scorer thought he had his goal moments later but his looping header was well cleared off the line by Russell Martin. Norwich continued to provide a real threat on the counter-attack and youngster Murphy was unlucky to see his penalty appeals waved away after he was brought down in the box by Lewis Dunk. That proved to be the last real talking point in the match, as the hosts closed out a surprisingly comfortable win against the champions-elect.
Stockdale (5); Unlucky night for the Albion stopper; nothing he could of done to stop the goals.
Bruno (6); Showed some signs of attacking intent, but his rapport with Knockaert was off and had a real battle on his hands with Josh Murphy.
Hunemeier (6); Looked good in the air, but on the ground against Oliveira he looked lethargic and not at the races.
Dunk (6); Much similar to Hunemeier; got caught wrong side of Oliveira in the opening minutes.
Pocognoli (5); Frustrating night for the Belgian; restricted to lots of defending and then blazed his free kick over in the second half.
Knockaert (5); Terrible night for the Championship player of the year; grew frustrated as the game drew on, most likely due to his early encounter with Graham Dorian’s.
Sidwell (6); A really tough night for the midfielder with Pritchard coming and going and Howson getting forward every chance he could get.
Norwood (6); Same as Sidwell, but had more joy when in possession of the ball.
March (5); Pinto had him in his back pocket for much of the game; didn’t really create an awful lot.
Murphy (6); Should of had a penalty in the first half, but other than that he was pretty much chasing shadows with Norwich moving he ball around nicely.
Murray (6); Looked very isolated up top on his own, had a couple good chances, but couldn’t take them.
Hemed (6); Injected a bit of quality as the formation reverted to 4-4-2.
Stephens (6); Subbed on at the expense of Norwood, and helped control a losing midfield.
Akpom (N/A); Not much chance to do anything, other than get in the way of Murphy’s shot which he was offside for.
NCFC - BHAFC; Stockdale OG (18), (39);
Att; 26932 (Brighton Unknown)