Report: Brighton 2-1 Wednesday
Three red cards, an own goal, a missed penalty and a late winner – this Championship clash between Brighton and Wednesday had it all.
The pulsating promotion encounter saw the Seagulls triumph 2-1 but only after being taken to the maximum by the Owls, who saw Fernando Forestieri miss from the spot after Lewis Dunk deflected into his own goal following an Anthony Knockaert opener.
Glenn Murray was dismissed for the deliberate handball but Sam Hutchinson and Steven Fletcher also saw red after the lively Knockaert struck a late winner for Brighton.
An explosive start was a sign of things to come as the Seagulls fashioned a great chance in the opening minute.
Dangerman Knockaert jinked his way into the box from the right and pulled back for Murray to slot goalwards but Keiren Westwood dived low to thwart the early effort.
Slowly but surely, the Owls crept back into proceedings and Adam Reach forced a five save from David Stockdale midway through the first half.
But Wednesday then suffered a double blow, from which Brighton emerged in front.
First Jack Hunt was forced out of the action following a clash with Sebastien Pocognoli before the hosts broke to take the lead on 34 minutes.
Tomer Hamed led the charge and fed Knockaert, who rounded Westwood to calmly slot past two retreating defenders and into the roof of the net.
But the Owls were undaunted and countered to equalise a minute before the break.
Barry Bannan played in Forestieri and the Italian delivered a clever cross with the outside of his boot that was deflected in by the unfortunate figure of Dunk.
The second half began with both sides on the front foot – Albion went close when the towering Shane Duffy headed inches over the crossbar.
Westwood then saved from Jamie Murphy before there was more drama on 66 minutes when Brighton were reduced to ten men, conceding a penalty in the process.
Murray parried a fierce drive from Glenn Loovens in the box and the referee pointed to the spot before issuing the red card.
Forestieri placed to Stockdale’s right and the keeper saved well before rising off the deck to also stop the Italian’s second attempt from the rebound.
Wednesday, though, were undaunted and piled forward in a bid to maximise the numerical advantage.
Bannan went close with a toe-poked shot following a neat give and go with Forestieri, then the hosts enjoyed their best spell of the half in the closing stages that ultimately spawned the winner.
Five minutes from the end, that man Knockaert finished the match as he started, right at the heart, converting Pocognoli’s splitting pass at the far post.
Then, with Wednesday chasing an equaliser, both Fletcher and Hutchinson were shown red cards.
Substitute Fletcher was dismissed after a tussle with Dale Stephens and Hutchinson swiftly followed having accrued a second yellow card to make a frustrating evening complete.
Wednesday: Westwood, Hunt (Palmer 33), Loovens, Lees, Pudil (McManaman 67) Wallace, Hutchinson (S/O 90), Bannan, Reach, Forestieri, Winnall (Fletcher 56 S/O 89)