Brighton 2, Wigan Athletic 1: Celebrations start as Albion all-but clinch promotion to the Premier League

The champagne cork is struggling to be held in the bottle as Brighton & Hove Albion have all-but clinched promotion to the Premier League.

Glenn Murray wheels away in celebration after giving Brighton & Hove Albion the lead against Wigan Athletic
Glenn Murray wheels away in celebration after giving Brighton & Hove Albion the lead against Wigan Athletic

A 2-1 win over Wigan Athletic means Championship leaders Albion have so very nearly reached the promised land and the bottles could only be on ice for another couple of hours.

While many fans are already celebrating the result means that third-place Huddersfield Town can now only match Albion's 92-point total, but would need to turn around a 32-goal difference.

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That's so unlikely that Albion's place in the top-two is virtually guaranteed and could even be mathematically confirmed if Huddersfield fail to win at Derby County in the later 5pm kick-off this evening.

Glenn Murray celebrates after giving Brighton & Hove Albion the lead against Wigan Athletic

With Newcastle losing 3-1 at Ipswich, the Seagulls lead the division by seven points and that led to scores of fans flooding onto the Amex pitch at full-time in elation.

Chris Hughton made two changes to the team that won at Wolves on Good Friday as Gaetan Bong and Beram Kayal returned to the side for the missing Seb Pocognoli and Steve Sidwell.

Also absent were Sam Baldock, Shane Duffy, Connor Goldson and Vegard Forren through a combination of injuries and being rested.

A crucial headed clearance from Jake Buxton prevented Albion an early lead as Anthony Knockaert's cross look destined to find the head of Glenn Murray inside the six-yard box on 11 minutes.

Solly March fires Brighton & Hove Albion into a 2-0 lead against Wigan Athletic

Minutes later, Wigan stopper Jackob Haugaard dropped a routine catch in the box and Lewis Dunk's two attempts were both blocked away.

In a half of few chances, Dunk rose highest to head a Knockaert free kick over the bar on 27 minutes from 12 yards, while Uwe Huenemeier's header from a corner was held by Haugaard just past the half-hour mark.

Albion finally broke the deadlock in the 37th minute via some good old fashion route one football. Dunk smashed a ball upfield and Tomer Hemed chested it down in the box, then laid back to Murray, who fired home to Haugaard's left from just outside the penalty area.

It was almost then two as Murray's cut-back cross for Hemed was crucially cut out in the box. And, Murray then had a header from a corner ruled out as the ball went out before reaching the striker.

Five minutes into the second half, Wigan keeper Haugaard spilt a cross and Hemed's shot was blocked on the line, before Knockaert was harshly penalised for a foul on the keeper in the resulting scramble.

Knockaert then had his curling free kick tipped around the post by Haugaard, before Murray lashed into the side netting.

Albion did double their lead on 65 minutes as Knockaert skipped away from two defenders with a delightful run down the right, he teed up March who took a touch and dispatched through the legs of Haugaard.

Knockaert had a goal chalked out for offside and Murray flashed a ball across the box after a pacey breakaway.

With five minutes to go Wigan set up a nervy finale as substitute Nick Powell headed home a right-wing cross from six yards out, but Albion held out for that and an additional three added minutes before the celebrations started.

Brighton: Stockdale, Bruno, Huenemeier, Dunk, Bong, March (Murphy 73), Stephens, Kayal (Norwood 73), Knockaert, Hemed (Akpom 82), Murray. Unused subs: Skalak, Rosenior, Tomori, Maenpaa.

Wigan: Haugaard, Hanson, Buxton, MacDonald (Morsy 73), Burn, Jacobs, Power, Tunnicliffe (Colclough 61), Warnock, Perkins, Obertan (Powell 61), Unused subs: Connolly, Morgan, Gilks.

Attendance: 29,940.

Referee: James Linington.