Brighton & Hove Albion returned to the top of the Sky Bet Championship with a 2-0 victory over Barnsley, as two second-half goals from Sam Baldock proved the difference at Oakwell this afternoon.
- Albion return to the top of the league
- Sam Baldock opens the scoring with brilliant half-volley
- Baldock adds another from Knockaert’s pass
- The Seagulls record their 16th clean sheet of the season
The striker opened the scoring with a brilliant individual effort from outside the penalty area, before sealing his brace and three points for Albion with a simple finish from Anthony Knockaert’s pass inside.
Chris Hughton made two changes to the side that drew 1-1 with Ipswich Town, as Glenn Murray and Jamie Murphy replaced Tomer Hemed and Solly March in the starting line-up.
Albion had an early shout for a penalty as Baldock went down inside the box, but the referee awarded a free-kick in the other direction and booked the forward for simulation.
Murphy had Albion’s first notable attempt on goal when he raced into the penalty area and headed over the crossbar from Bruno’s fine delivery from the right wing.
David Stockdale was forced into making two saves low down in quick succession as he parried away a stinging drive from Marley Watkins before comfortably gathering Adam Armstrong’s low-driven effort.
Steve Sidwell glanced a header wide of the target from Murphy’s inswinging free-kick, shortly before Knockaert’s close-range effort was blocked in front of goal.
Baldock volleyed narrowly wide after working space for himself on the edge of Barnsley’s penalty area, and he then turned provider for strike partner Murray, but Tykes goalkeeper Adam Davies tipped the forward’s deflected header over.
Barnsley captain Marc Roberts rose highest inside the box to meet a corner at the back post, but the defender could only direct his tame header wide of Stockdale’s left-hand upright.
Sebastien Pocognoli had an ambitious volley drop wide of the target after plucking the ball out of the sky shortly before the break, but neither side were able to open the scoring as they went in level.
The Seagulls took the lead in the 53rd minute and it was a wonderful individual effort from Baldock that broke the deadlock. The forward chipped the ball up for himself after racing towards the edge of the penalty area, before looping a half-volley over Davies into the back of the net.
Albion broke forward at speed with only four Barnsley defenders back to prevent their counter attack, but Knockaert could only fire straight at Davies after surging into the penalty area.
Tykes substitute Adam Hammill blazed over the crossbar after running on to Ryan Kent’s pass inside, before Stockdale saved comfortably from the midfielder’s second effort inside a minute.
The hosts were made to pay for not taking their chances and it was Baldock again who scored for the Seagulls, as he slotted past Davies from close range after meeting Knockaert’s pass across the box in the 68th minute.
Stockdale produced a fine save to deny Watkins' low shot that was heading towards the bottom corner, before Bruno came to his team’s rescue at the back post and blocked Andy Yiadom’s goal-bound effort.
Hammill fired over the crossbar for Barnsley in the closing stages as they pressed for a goal, but Albion’s defence held strong as they returned to winning ways with a convincing away performance.