By Tim Hodges from the Amex
Brighton & Hove Albion 3 Sheffield Wednesday 0
Brighton and Hove Albion tore apart Sheffield Wednesday at the Amex Stadium this evening (Friday 14 September) with a display of quite breathtaking football.
In the first few minutes Wayne Bridge flicked the ball over the head of Wednesday’s Michail Antonio and set the tone for Albion to delight the crowd The 26,594 figure was the club’s biggest league attendance since the 2-2 draw with Liverpool in March 1983.
Dean Hammond, making his second Albion debut, looked to have put the Seagull’s in front on 17 minutes but sadly for the midfielder it was ruled out for offside.
Soon after Bridge and Liam Bridcutt set Will Buckley away. The midfielder took the ball in his stride but was thwarted by a great save from Chris Kirkland in the Wednesday goal.
It was all Albion but from an inviting free-kick full back Bruno Saltor put the ball high and wide
Bruno was 40/1 to score the first goal and not long after his defensive partner Wayne Bridge also at long odds, swept a free-kick past Kirkland and with more than a generous deflection put the Albion 1-0 up.
Wednesday were offering very little. Antonio looked their most likely threat and Jay Bothroyd was being man marked, in fact almost stalked, by Liam Bridcutt. The big forward was having to come deeper and deeper to get a sniff of the ball.
Albion ended the half as they began, pinning the Owls back and at times knocking the ball around with embarrassing ease.
Sheffield Wednesday’s big Spanish centre half Miguel Llera clattered into Craig Mackail-Smith early in the second half. From the resulting free-kick Bruno outsmarted a couple of Wednesday defenders and slid the ball into the area where Mackail-Smith slammed it home for 2-0 and duly performed his C-gull celebration routine.
Almost before hands had stopped clapping, Bruno hit a long raking pass which Buckley brought down and chipped over Kirkland to put the Seagulls 3-0 up and poor Wednesday looking totally outplayed.
Mackail-Smith then had another chance to score but Kirkland pawed his header around the post.
As the match calmed down the Seagulls reverted to the clipped confident passing game we became used to, once the job was done, in the old League One days.
Poyet, introduced Stephen Dobbie, Andrea Orlandi and David Lopez before the end, and Tomas Kuszczak, a virtual spectator in the Albion goal for most of the evening, made a stunning save from a Bothroyd header.
The Albion beat Sheffield Wednesday to gain promotion from the old Division 3 in 1977 and, despite all their achievements, can seldom have play much better since those days.
Albion: Kuszczak; Bruno, Greer, El-Abd, Bridge; Bridcutt, Hammond, Dicker; Buckley, Mackail-Smith, Barnes. Subs: Ankergren, Dunk, Dobbie, Orlandi, Calderon, Lopez, LuaLua.
Sheffield Wednesday: Kirkland; Beevers, Taylor, Llera, Mattock; Antonio, Semedo, McCabe, J.Johnson; Rodri, Bothroyd. Subs: Bywater, Madine, Maguire, O’Grady, Pecnik, Lee, Barkley.
Referee: Nigel Miller (Co Durham)
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