Sheffield Wednesday match report: Owls 1 Brighton 2

Sheffield Wednesday v Brighton
Sheffield Wednesday v Brighton
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Sheffield Wednesday fell to their second home defeat of the season, losing to much-fancied Brighton and Hove Albion 2-1 today.

Strikes either side of half-time by Sam Baldock and Anthony Knockaert ensured the classy Seagulls secured their first victory at Hillsborough at the 18th time of asking.

Substitute Gary Hooper grabbed a consolation in an added on time but it was a bad day all-round for the Owls, who lost goalkeeper Keiren Westwood to injury,

Victory was sweet revenge for Brighton, who saw their promotion dreams ended by Carlos Carvalhal's charges last time around.

Carvalhal made five changes to his starting line-up, handing starts to Jack Hunt, Glenn Loovens, Daniel Pudil, Ross Wallace and Fernando Forestieri. Liam Palmer, David Jones, Gary Hooper and Will Buckley dropped to the bench while Sam Hutchinson also missed out. It is thought Hutchinson, who has been converted to a defender this season, picked up a knock.

Midfielder Almen Abdi (flu) and striker Lucas Joao (groin) were not included in the match-day squad.

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Brighton, looking to make amends after losing to Wednesday in last year's Play-Off Semi-Finals, also freshened things up, making four alterations to their starting line-up. Gaeten Bong, Steve Sidwell, Jamie Murphy and Sam Baldock all returned.

It was the visitors who carried the greater attacking threat in the early stages as Oliver Norwood saw his effort saved by Keiren Westwood after a fine run by Anthony Knockaert before Sam Baldock dragged wide when he should have at least forced Westwood into action.

But Wednesday also had their moments, with Barry Bannan's audacious volley going narrowly over the top after the Seagulls failed to effectively deal with Ross Wallace's inviting centre.

As an attacking force, Brighton looked bright and purposeful and Jamie Murphy's inswinging cross flashed just wide of the far post.

It was no surprise when Chris Hughton's side opened the scoring in the 26th minute. It was a peach of a finish by Baldock. He raced on to Lewis Dunk's through ball before delicately chipping the ball over Westwood.

Both Westwood and Glenn Loovens suffered knocks and required treatment as the hosts tried to regroup quickly.

Shane Duffy was shown the first yellow card of the afternoon after he unceremoniously brought down Forestieri just inside Brighton's half.

Wednesday upped the tempo and Adam Reach cut inside before unleashing a fierce low right foot which was spilled by David Stockdale and Jack Hunt's effort on the rebound was deflected behind by a Brighton defender. Home fans wanted a penalty but referee Oliver Langford wasn't interested.

Moments later, Forestieri's glancing header drifted inches wide as the Owls enjoyed their best spell of pressure.

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Westwood was taken off at half-time and replaced by youngster Cameron Dawson, who was making his first ever Wednesday appearance.

Neither side had many sights at goal after the break, with Forestieri's free-kick from just outside the penalty area failing to trouble Stockdale.

Wednesday briefly created panic in Brighton's well organised backline as Hunt's over hit cross had to be tipped behind by Stockdale before Steven Fletcher headed over at the far post following another incisive move.

Midway through the half, Tom Lees nearly marked his 100th Wednesday outing in style but his header was cleared off the line by Northern Ireland international Norwood.

The home fans kept cheering on Carvalhal's men on but the Seagulls stood firm defensively and it was easy to see why they boast the meanest defence in the division.

Knockaert, a constant nuisance for Brighton, doubled their advantage in the 73rd minute, sweeping in Bong's low delivery to claim his fifth goal of the campaign. The Frenchman was booked for over-celebrating with the Seagulls bench.

The Owls huffed and puffed in the closing stages and Wallace's left foot piledriver was superbly turned away by Stockdale before Fletcher fired agonisingly wide after a lovely run and cross by Reach.

Wednesday's record-signing Reach should have reduced the deficit late on only to shoot over after a neat flick by Hooper.

It was Hooper who had the last word, rifling in his third goal of the season after Forestieri had been thwarted by Stockdale.

Owls: Westwood (Dawson HT); Hunt, Lees, Loovens, Pudil (Hooper 57); Wallace, Bannan, Lee, Reach; Forestieri, Fletcher. Substitutes: Palmer, Buckley, Sasso, Jones, Nuhiu.

Brighton: Stockdale; Bruno, Duffy, Dunk, Bong; Knockaert, Sidwell, Norwood, Murphy; Baldock (Skalak 76); Murray (Hemed 88). Substitutes: Maenpaa, Pocognoli, Goldson, Ince, Manu.

Attendance: 25,605

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