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21:45 1st September 2012
By  Will Jago

Albion 5 Barnsley 1

Brilliant Albion recorded their biggest Amex win this afternoon, with a convincing 5-1 victory over Barnsley.

Ashley Barnes and Craig Mackail-Smith both scored a brace, while Wayne Bridge also got his name on the score sheet and Adam El-Abd celebrated his 300th Albion appearance.

At 3pm, Gus Poyet's side were yet to score a goal this season and during the pre-match press conference the Albion boss asked that his side opened the scoring today; he didn't have long to wait for his wishes to be answered when Barnes opened the scoring inside three minutes.

Tykes left-back Scott Golbourne clattered Craig Noone on the right flank, receiving a yellow card for his troubles, and the winger delivered the free-kick to the back post.

Former Albion keeper David Gonzalez fumbled the ball, which dropped to the feet of Barnes and he turned home, opening his account for the season.

The Seagulls were in full flight against a largely ineffective Barnsley side during the opening half and doubled their lead after 14 minutes, when Bridge arrowed the ball into the bottom right corner from distance.

Albion had already ended their goal drought in style but it was also the on-loan defender's first league goal since December 2003.

A two-goal lead can often be a precarious position and Tomasz Kuszczak was called into action midway through the first half, when Tomasz Cywka fired the ball towards the top left corner, but the Polish keeper acrobatically turned the ball round his right post, to deny his fellow countryman.

That was a warning shot and ten minutes later the visitors got a lifeline when Golbourne was tripped by Andrew Crofts inside the box. Referee Roger East pointed to the spot.

Craig Davies, another familiar face amongst the Albion faithful, stepped up and lashed the ball down the middle; Kuszczak got a strong hand to the ball but not enough to keep it out.

But any fears the Seagulls had of losing their lead were quashed a minute later. The ever-attacking right-back Bruno picked out Barnes from the by-line; Barnes shot and Mackail-Smith reacted quickest to stub the ball past Gonzalez.

An eventful first half still had more to offer when Mackail-Smith was dragged down while through on goal by John Stones - who was already on a booking - but East decided not to dish out another caution.

Then, on the brink of half-time, Bruno was denied what looked like a certain penalty when he was clipped from behind inside the box by Davies, but East waved play on.

The Seagulls began the second half in the same fashion as the first, when Mackail-Smith doubled his tally for the afternoon.

Noone provided the delivery from the left, Barnes headed the ball towards goal and again Mackail-Smith got a small but significant touch to take the ball past Gonzalez. Barnes may have two goals to his name this afternoon but also played a massive part in both of his strike-partner's goals too.

Inside the final ten minutes the influential Barnes scored his second of the afternoon when he lashed Kazenga LuaLua's low cross into the top left corner from ten yards - recording Albion's biggest Amex win and their first five-goal haul for 19 months.

Moments later Barnes was substituted by Poyet to a standing ovation from the Amex crowd, making way for Torbjorn Agdestein.

LuaLua could have inflicted more misery on the Tykes when he beat Golbourne down the left, but the following shot blazed over the bar.


Albion: (4-3-3) Kuszczak (GK); Bruno, Greer, El-Abd, Bridge; Bridcutt, Dicker, Crofts (Harley 70); Noone (LuaLua 70), Mackail-Smith, Barnes (Agdestein 84). Subs: Ankergren (GK), Dunk, Calderon, Barker.

Barnsley: (4-4-2) Gonzalez (GK); Stones (Hassell 55), Foster, Wiseman, Golbourne (Crainie 55); Cywka, Dawson, Mellis, Etuhu; Davies, Harewood. Subs: Lidakevicius (GK), Collins, Dagnall, Clark, Rose.

Referee: Roger East

Yellow Cards: Barnes (Albion); Golbourne, Stones, Foster (Barnsley).

Attendance: 24,594 (297 Away)


    32,425 paving slabs were used to create the exterior concourse at the American Express Community Stadium.