Patrick Gleeson reports on Brighton’s impressive win on Sunday.
Albion smashed rivals Crystal Palace in front of a bumper crowd at the Amex yesterday and reignited their push for a play-off spot.
A Leonardo Ulloa header and a sumptuous free kick from David Lopez saw the Seagulls go into the break with a comfortable lead, and it was the former who added the icing to the cake with a fierce volley in the second half.
The win was Brighton’s first in 25 years at home to Palace and means the only thing keeping Albion out of the top six is Leicester’s superior goal difference.
Ian Holloway’s men started the brighter of the two sides with Jonathan Parr and Glenn Murray both trying their luck at goal, but it was a man in a Brighton shirt who almost put Palace ahead. Matthew Upson’s awkward defensive header was fizzing towards the bottom corner of Tomasz Kuszczak’s goal before the keeper brilliantly clawed the ball away.
Albion then went on the attack and Will Buckley’s inviting cross was met by Ulloa who headed against himself and past Julian Speroni to break the deadlock. Moments later, Brighton doubled their lead when David curled his 20-yard free kick into the roof off the net via the underside of the crossbar - a quick fire double that punctured Palace.
Holloway made a desperate double substitution at half time, with Kevin Phillips and Andre Moritz adding extra firepower to his shackled squad.
However, Leonardo Ulloa secured all three points for the hosts with a lashed volley in the 50th minute.
Andrea Orlandi provided the assist with a neat flick across goal to crown his solid display.
Albion were in bullish mood and were aching for revenge of their 3-0 loss earlier in the season at Selhurst Park.
The Seagulls almost added salt to the gaping Eagles wound when Ulloa, Buckley and the impressive Kazenga LuaLua all came close in the closing stages of the game, but the scoring finished at three.
Albion can climb into the play-off places when they travel to fifth place Nottingham Forest next weekend.