Brighton & Hove Albion notched up another impressive goalscoring display, netting four goals against Queens Park Rangers, as only goal difference now separates them from second-placed Burnley.
- Albion remain in third place
- The Seagulls are only outside the top two on goal difference
- Jiri Skalak scores his first goal for the club
- Albion achieve back to back clean sheets
Goals from Jiri Skalak, Connor Goldson and a double from Anthony Knockaert sealed the emphatic home win.
Chris Hughton named an unchanged team, repaying his faith and sticking with the same side that beat Fulham 5-0 last Friday.
With five minutes on the clock the Amex Stadium stood up and gave a minute's applause for Albion fan Dennis Caesar, who sadly passed away Friday night shortly after attending the Fulham game.
The first real chance fell to Brighton as James Wilson's surging run and cross was met by the head of Knockaert, but the ball flew over the bar. The Seagulls then had a scare almost immediately as QPR broke but, fortunately, Conor Washington’s turn and shot went just over David Stockdale’s bar.
Skalak picked up the game's first booking after a late tackle on ex-Albion player Grant Hall.
With a quarter of the game gone there was a shout for a penalty when Knockaert was shoved over in the box, but referee Keith Hill was having none of it.
Clint Hill had QPR’s best effort of the opening 45 minutes and rose well to meet Alejandro Faurlin's corner, but his headed effort was straight at Stockdale, who held onto the ball comfortably.
Matt Phillips then capitalised on a rare Bruno mistake, but his resulting low driven shot was met by Stockdale who got down quickly to make the save. Phillips was looking like QPR’s most threatening player, and not long after he went close once again with a curling effort that was just off target.
Lewis Dunk then went agonisingly close, but the defender's thumping header from a Knockaert corner was blocked by keeper Alex Smithies.
The deadlock was broken in first-half stoppage time when Skalak earned a free-kick just outside the box. Knockaert stepped up and duly curled his left footed effort into the top corner from 25 yards to give the Albion the lead.
The late first-half goal seemed to rejuvenate the Albion and they came out a different side, looking much more assertive and threatening.
It didn’t take long to double the lead and when the ball bounced in front of Skalak 30 yards out he smashed his effort into the top corner to open his account for the Albion in some style.
With 20 minutes to go, the Czech international was given a standing ovation as he was replaced by Jamie Murphy.
The Albion were looking rampant again and their third goal came courtesy of another set piece, this time Goldson heading in from a Knockaert corner.
Knockaert then capped off a man-of-the match performance, with his second goal and the Albion’s fourth on the night, curling in a low effort from the edge of the box with just over five minutes remaining.
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