By Tim Hodges from the Amex
Brighton & Hove Albion 2 Bristol City 0
The Albion saw off a largely lacklustre Bristol City at the Amex this evening with goals from midfielders Dean Hammond and Andrea Orlandi.
The Albion took the lead after just seven minutes. Will Buckley went clear down the right only to be fouled by Matthew Bates.
From the resulting Liam Bridcutt free kick, Hammond got in front of his marker to head Albion into a 1-0 lead from close range.
The Albion remained on top. Stephen Dobbie, who started up front with Will Hoskins, was industrious and created a couple of half chances.
Then 20 minutes after the first goal, the Albion doubled their lead from another free kick, this time from Orlandi from about 25 five yards out and to the right of the penalty area.
He curled in a cross that eluded City’s Stephen Pearson as he tried to clear and appeared to take a nick off keeper Tom Heaton. Ultimately it sailed into the net to put the Seagulls 2-0 up.
Before half time Pearson rattled Albion’s cross bar with a thunderous drive from 25 yards and minutes later Neil Danns beat Tomasz Kuszczak but Albion captain Gordon Greer made a last-ditch sliding goal-line clearance to maintain Albion’s advantage.
In the second half the visitors became a little more adventurous although the Albion should have made it three.
When clean through and one on one with Heaton, Hoskins shot straight at the keeper who saved well.
Hoskins had another good chance later on in the half but went for the spectacular rather than making absolutely sure.
Mackail-Smith, rested or maybe even dropped to the bench, was given most of the last half hour and showed some great first touches and first-class effort.
At one point he took the ball on his thigh when alone up front and surrounded by City defenders. He managed to find Buckley in space.
Buckley, a little out of sorts, flung in a few crosses, and linked up well with Bruno Saltor.
City became a little more confident before the end and substitute Sam Baldock’s deflected snap shot could have gone anywhere.
But this was a generally effortless win for the Albion. When you consider that just four years ago Bristol City dipped one toe in the Premier League only to be foiled by Hull, it shows the gaint leap forward the Albion have taken since the dark days of Micky Adams’s second spell at the club.
Albion: Kuszczak; Bruno, Painter (Calderon 85), Greer, Dunk; Bridcutt, Hammond, Orlandi; Buckley, Dobbie (Mackail-Smith 60), Hoskins (Crofts 77). Subs Not Used: Brezovan, El-Abd, Lopez, Barnes.
Bristol City: Heaton; Foster, Fontaine, Bates, Bryan; Kilkenny (Reid 86), Elliot (Baldock 80), Danns, Pearson, Adomah; Davies (Taylor 46). Subs Not Used: Gerken, Carey, Woolford, Wilson.
Referee: Dean Whitestone (Northampton)