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MATCH REPORT

PUBLISHED
20:30 14th September 2012
By  Will Jago

Albion 3 Sheffield Wednesday 0

Albion put on a performance befitting a team which tonight sits proudly on top of the table.

Goals from Wayne Bridge, Craig Mackail-Smith and Will Buckley were the icing on the cake of a five-star display which had Albion's biggest home attendance for almost 30 years purring with delight.

The sparkling Seagulls have now picked up three successive victories to find themselves perched on the Championship summit and few in the 26,594 crowd would argue that this was one of the best performances since the Uruguayan took charge of the club.

While Wednesday tested Tomasz Kuszczak with two early efforts, Albion set the tone for the evening when Dean Hammond latched onto Mackail-Smith's through ball before coolly tucking the ball home. Unfortunately for the midfielder, making his second debut for the club, he was narrowly flagged for offside.

The decision brought a rare groan from the home fans and they would be disappointed again five minutes later when Buckley raced through on goal, only to be denied by the outstretched hand of Owls keeper Chris Kirkland.

Albion continued to crank up the pressure and were finally rewarded on 24 minutes when Wednesday gave away a foul on the edge of their box.

Gary Dicker quickly rolled the free-kick into the path of Bridge, whose 20-yard pile-driver took a wicked deflection off Rodri before nestling into the back of Kirkland's net.

Jay Bothroyd also let fly for the visitors, only for his deflected effort to fall the wrong side of Kuszczak's upright, but it was Albion who were playing with a confidence borne out of their recent run of results.

The scoreline at the break told only half a story but it got better after the break as Poyet's men released the handbrake and went into overdrive.

Indeed, Albion doubled their account on 54 minutes when Bruno went on a cavalier run into the heart of the Wednesday box before sliding the ball into the path of Mackail-Smith. There would be only one result as the red-hot striker made it five goals in three games.

Yet before Amex faithful had time to find their seats it was three when a pin-point long ball forward by man of the match Bruno was superbly brought down by Buckley. Under pressure from two Owls defenders he kept his cool before producing a sublime chip which nestled into the back of Kirkland's net.

It was like the Alamo at times with Mackail-Smith also bringing a fine save out of Kirkland but Kuszczak showed his worth too, beatingout a point-blank header from Bothroyd.

Hammond again had the ball in the back of the net, only to again be foiled by the linesman's flag, but it could not put a dampener on an evening that saw Albion lay down a marker for the long road ahead.

TEAMS

Albion: (4-3-3) Kuszczak; Bruno, Greer, El-Abd, Bridge; Dicker, Bridcutt, Hammond; Buckley (Orlandi 77), Mackail-Smith (Dobbie 69), Barnes (Lopez 82) . Subs: Ankergren (GK), Dunk, Calderon, LuaLua.

Sheffield Wednesday: (4-4-2)Kirkland; Mattock, Taylor, Llera, Beevers; Antonio, Semedo, Johnson (Pecnik 62), McCabe; Bothroyd, Rodri (Barkley 46). Subs: Bywater (GK), Madine, Maguire, O'Grady, Lee.

Referee: Nigel Miller

Yellow Cards: Barkley, Llera. (Sheffield Wednesday)

Attendance: 26,594 (1,682 Away)

Lotto: www.seagullslotto.co.uk

    QUICK FACTS

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