Brighton & Hove Albion: Flippin’ LuaLua helps put Seagulls back in play-off places

Posted On 25 Apr 2014 at 10:35 pm
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Brighton & Hove Albion 2 Yeovil Town 0

By Tim Hodges from the Amex

The Albion went back into the Champoinship play-off places for the time being after a hard-fought victory over now relagated Yeovil.

But it wasn’t until the 78th minute that Albion got their breakthrough, albeit fortuitously.

Substitute Kazenga LuaLua looked to have fired in a cross seeking out Leo Ulloa but the ball eluded eveyone including Yeovil keeper Marek Stetch and found its way into the bottom corner sending Albion fans wild with delight.

LuaLua then performed his outlawed double somersault to celebrate his first of the season.

Prior to this it was an extremly frustrating night for Albion players and fans alike and, despite claims of an immediate gung-ho approach from coaching staff, it was Yeovil who were on top for long periods of the first half.

The dimuitive Sam Hoskins was causing Albion problems all over the pitch he and Ruben Palazuelous were ensruring Albion were defending as oppsoed to all-out attack early on.

On 20 minutes Palazuelos hit the bar from the edge of the area with Tomasz Kuszczak well beaten.

Bruno Saltor and Will Buckley were beginning to combine well down the right for the Albion. With half an hour played the recalled Andrea Orlandi had a great chance to put Albion in front but sidefooted wide from 12 yards, with Stech seemingly commited and a Yeovil defender gounded.

Minutes later from a Stephen Ward cross, Orlandi headed wide from similar position with only Stech to beat.

Before half time Ulloa and Jesse Lingard had half chances, as did Lewis Dunk with a far post header.

Albion also had lucky escape before the break, as Kuszczak missed a Hoskins free kick. He came to the edge of his area to collect and Dunk had to calmly chest the ball down almost on the goal line.

The second half started with Yeovil again pressuring Albion, at one point all 22 players except Stech were in Albion’s penalty area.

The Seagulls got the bit between their teeth again. A rampaging run from Ward saw Ulloa narrowly head his cross over then Orlandi failed to connect with Dale Stephens low cross into the six-yard box.

Ulloa then saw a another header scooped away acrobatically from the already grounded Stech.

But Albion still had to worry about Yeovil and just past the hour Joe Edwards became the second Yeovil player of the night to hit the bar.

Albion were running out of ideas. Solly March replaced the wasteful Orlandi and minutes LuaLua replaced the largely ineffectual Buckley. However, LuaLua waited on the touchline for a good six minutes fully stripped while he waited to come on.

Albion appeared to be staggering their substitutions and it looked like Craig Mackail-Smith was being prepared but, with Dale Stephens injured, Jake Forster-Caskey was the preferred replacement. The frustration and disappointment of Mackail-Smith was evident as he jogged back to take his seat in the dugout after being sent to warm up – as it was with many Albion fans.

Yeovil threatened to attack Albion again but were now being marshalled well by Gordon Greer and Dunk.

Then with 12 minutes left LuaLua, crowded by defenders, whipped in the cross that found its way into the goal unaided to put the Albion in front.

The following double somersault scored only 8 out of 10 as he stumbled on landing after the second one!

Albion had one more scare from a Yeovil free kick for which the Glovers threw everyone except Stech forward. Then March raced clear and picked out Lingard who doubled Albion’s lead in stoppage time.

All Albion eyes will now be on the Keepmoat Stadium tomorrow (Saturday 26 April) as relagation-threatened Doncaster take on Reading.

The Royals would go back above Albion into sixth place with a win.

Albion conclude the regular season at Nottingham Forest next Saturday (3 May). Forest themselves could still be very much in the hunt for a play-off place.

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