Match Report: Sheffield Wednesday 1 Brighton 0

Leon Best celebrates his brilliant last-gasp winner for Wednesday

Leon Best celebrates his brilliant last-gasp winner for Wednesday

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Leon Best made up for his miss in the Doncaster derby by snatching victory with a splendid goal against Brighton last night.

With 90 minutes on the clock, the striker made a solo run and powered a shot into the bottom corner.

It gave the Owls their fourth successive home win and settled a close contest against promotion-chasing opposition.

Chris Kirkland was another hero with two important stops in the second half and gave his team their third clean sheet in those four home games.

Stuart Gray made two changes after the 1-0 defeat at Doncaster.

Caolan Lavery, who had been doubtful with a hamstring niggle, did not make the 18, and Atdhe Nuhiu was dropped to the bench.

Joe Mattock stepped up from sub to starter for his first duty since he suffered knee damage in the 1-0 victory against Middlesbrough on March 1.

Sam Hutchinson returned to the starting line-up after recovering from a knee problem and playing as a sub last Saturday.

Brighton suffered a blow with top scorer Leonardo Ulloa ruled out by illness.

The naming of only six players on their bench suggested than the resources of manager Oscar Garcia were stretched.

Wednesday started with a 4-2-3-1 formation, with Mattock at left back and Jeremy Helan on the left side of the forward midfield trio, and Liam Palmer and Chris Maguire to his right.

They received a warning in the 15th minute when forward Jesse Lingard was allowed a free header from right-side corner and hit the bar.

Helan should at least have hit the target as he powered an angled volley across goal from eight yards.

Brighton had big Rohan Ince - a distant relative of the famous Ince father and son - as a screen in front of their back four, but wide men David Rodriguez and Will Buckley looked to push foward on the left and right respectively.

Buckley seized upon a careless pass by Glenn Loovens and dashed into the box. Oguchi Onyewu came to his partner’s rescue by cutting out the resulting cross.

Brighton were slick in possession and preventing Wednesday from getting a grip in midfield or doing anything of note going forward, with half an hour gone. There were noises of impatience from the home crowd.

As half time approached, the Owls showed just enough spark in the attacking third to raise their fans’ hopes, though without getting an unhindered sight of Tomasz Kuszczak’s goal.

Hutchinson had needed some attention for an apparent knock and was replaced at the midway point by Giles Coke.

Wednesday had something of a 4-1-4-1 look about them at the opening of the second half, with Kieran Lee the deepest midfield man, .

But they were slit open for the first time in open play when midfield player Jake Forster-Caskey played a splendid ball along the ground and through the middle.

Will Buckley has forsaken his wide role for a moment to make a forward run down the centre and timed it perfectly to leave defenders in his wake and go one-on-one with Chris Kirkland.

The keeper blocked the shot in typical fashion.

Wednesday worked hard to try to ensure the opposition did not earn as much possession as they had enjoyed in the first half.

The dangers of leaving any gaps at the back were demonstrated when again Brighton launched a counter-attack and for a moment it looked as if Rodriguez would be first to a through ball on the edge of the box.

But Kirkland came hurtling out and spread himself to make a second vital intervention in the space of 13 minutes, blocking at the forward’s feet.

Then it was Kuszczak’s turn.

Benik Afobe had been on as sub for Helan for only three minutes when he nipped in behind the Brighton defence and the keeper beat away his close-range shot.

The ball came out to Palmer and he fired just over the bar.

Maguire had the confidence to strike from 35 yards but the keeper saw it all the way and made a clean catch.

It was a more open game than in the first 45 minutes.

Wednesday pressed, then Brighton sprang forward and had a two-against-two break until Mattock launched into a great tackle on the touchline.

But Brighton had no answer to Best in that late drama.

He made a surging, powerful run down the inside-left channel to make himself some space just inside the box and drilled a left-foot shot into the keeper’s bottom left-hand corner.

There were exactly 90 minutes on the clock. The board went up showing three extra minutes and there was time enough for Kirkland to be flattened in challenging sub Kazenga LuaLua bravely in the box, but the keeper completed the game after treatment.

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