It has been twelve hours since Brighton and Hove Albion managed to score more than one goal at home; of late this has not been a problem with the Seagull’s taking fourteen points from a possible eighteen since the last time they found the net more than once.
With this in mind, as Chris McCann put Wigan Athletic 2-0 up four minutes into the second-half on Saturday afternoon, it was always going to be an uphill battle for Oscar Garcia’s side to continue their winning form at home.
Brighton have the third best defensive record in the SkyBet Championship; but the one thing the Spaniard’s side has consistently lacked this season is a clinical finish.
As the Latics won their game in hand against Barnsley on Tuesday, the two sides began the day at stalemate; both on 46 points and a goal difference of plus seven.
As usual, Brighton began quickly and were soon creating opportunities to open the scoring.
With three goals in three appearances, Leo Ulloa was a man brimming with confidence, and yet the Argentinian saw two glorious chances go begging. He sent an unchallenged volley from the edge of the area straight into the gloves of Ali Al-Habsi; soon after a glancing header from the Argentinian was also gratefully collected by the Wigan keeper.
Defensive duo Bruno Saltor and Gordon Greer found themselves inside the opposition penalty area early on but both failed to hit the target with their attempts.
This wasn’t unusual for Albion; however, what followed was unusual.
An uncharacteristic mistake from veteran Matthew Upson led to James McArthur opening the scoring for the visitors. As the Scot advanced into Albion’s area, he cut onto his left foot and curled hit shot past the outstretched fingers of Tomasz Kusczcak. It was the first goal that Brighton have conceded at home in the league since New Years Day.
Albion looked like they had equalised just moments later as David Rodriguez found Dale Stephens’ late run into the area, but the midfielder’s shot came crashing back off the underside of the cross bar and cleared to safety. This was Albion’s fifth clear chance in twenty minutes; it is no wonder Oscar Garcia has lamented his sides inability to be clinical this season.
Four minutes into the second half Uwe Rosler must have been amazed to see his side double their lead from a corner.
Martyn Waghorn sent an inswinging corner in and McCann jumped highest to glance his header past Kusczcak, sending the home fans into shock as they watched their side concede two at the Amex for the first time since the 2-1 defeat to Barnsley on 3rd December.
Garcia threw Will Buckley, Kazenga LuaLua and Jon Obika on in an attempt to get back into the game. The comeback looked to commence as Ulloa bundled home an Andrea Orlandi corner with ten minutes to go.
The Seagull’s continued to press whilst the Latics struggled to get out of their own half.
With Ulloa and Obika now upfront for Oscar Garcia, the Spaniard stretched the play with LuaLua down the left and Buckley on the right.
Rosler went to five at the back to counter the Seagull’s pressure but the home side continued to create chances.
Wigan remained disciplined and solid at the back despite Al-Habsi’s goal being threatened with shots from Buckley, LuaLua and Ince.
Uwe Rosler’s side have crept above Albion this week with this being their fifth win in six games. The victory puts them one point off the play-off places whilst Albion slip four points adrift with fifteen games remaining of the season.
Brighton: Kuszczak, Bruno, Greer, Upson, Ward (LuaLua 69), Ince, Stephens, Orlandi, Lopez (Obika 75), Rodriguez (Buckley 58), Ulloa
Subs not used: Brezovan, Dunk, Calderon, Andrews
Wigan: Al-Habsi, Boyce, Ramis, Barnett, Beausejour, McEachran (Gomez 58), McCann, McArthur, McClean (Perch 45), Waghorn (Espinoza 72), Maynard
Subs not used: Nicholls, Holgersson, Crainey, Fortune
Goal(s): McArthur, McCann
Man of the Match: McCann
Written by Tom Roddy