Date:Sunday May 5 2013
4/5/13 - 12.45pm
Kazenga LuaLua scored a fine brace as Albion maintained their play-off bound momentum with a comfortable win over Wolves that sent them tumbling into League One.
Dean Saunders' men needed to win and pray that their immediate relegation rivals fell to hefty defeats, but despite the Seagulls being unable to move from their 4th place finish, they were in no mood to do any favours as the nation indulged in the final day Championship drama.
During a lively start, the visitors looked to threaten early on, and Bakary Sako couldn't have come much closer on 3 minutes when he thumped the base of the post with a typical left-footed belter from outside the area.
Albion hit back immediately, and with LuaLua evidently eager to impress on his return to the starting XI, the live-wire winger opened the scoring just 2 minutes later with a trademark effort from distance, finding the far corner of Dorus De Vries' net with a powerful drive from 25 yards.
Sako again looked the most likely man to cause damage for Wanderers, as he bent an audacious in-swinging corner to Tomasz Kuszczak's near post, but the Polish stopper reacted well to parry the ball out before Albion eventually cleared the danger.
Chances were at a premium for the rest of the half as the Seagulls played keep-ball against a side whose spirits were clearly waning - and it was their Congolese wideman who killed off any potential upset when he grabbed a fine second.
A clever flick-on from the tireless Andrew Crofts saw the ball fall to LuaLua in an acre of the space on the left, where he proceeded to carry the ball into the area, leaving his man for dead with a nifty step-over before firing a low left-footed finish under the hapless De Vries.
Jamie O'Hara nearly halved the deficit just before the break, but he could only curl wide after finding space following a neatly worked set-piece. Most likely resigned to relegation, Wolves came out to create in the second half, and Matt Doherty somehow missed the target when his close ranger header bounced off the ground and narrowly over Kuszczak's bar.
Kevin Doyle forced the Albion keeper into a smart stop following his swivelled shot, before Ashley Barnes and then Vicente wasted decent opportunities in the closing stages.
The final whistle blew, as Wolves' relegation became a reality, whilst Albion set up a somewhat stomach-churning play-off semi-final showdown with rivals Crystal Palace. Nervous?
Date:Sunday May 5 2013
|3. Derby County||18||10||6||2||+15||36|
|4. Hull City||18||10||5||3||+16||35|
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