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Match Reports

Brighton & Hove Albion v Norwich City

3 April 2015


BRADLEY Johnson's second half strike earned Norwich City a hugely important 1-0 win over Brighton & Hove Albion on Good Friday.

The midfielder rifled home Nathan Redmond's cross just after the hour mark to maintain the Canaries' promotion push at the expense of Chris Hughton's hosts.

It was a hard-fought win for Alex Neil's troops, but they will feel they deserved the three points on the basis of play.

The win keeps them in touch with the top two in the Sky Bet Championship ahead of Monday's visit of Sheffield Wednesday, with only six matches left of the regular season.

City named the same 18 players that formed their matchday squad for the 3-1 win over Nottingham Forest a fortnight ago, with in-form Wes Hoolahan starting in support of Cameron Jerome in attack.

Brighton-born Russell Martin skippered the side, and former Seagulls loanee Johnson operated on the left-side of midfield. The Canaries were up against their former manager Chris Hughton.

The visitors made a bright start, with Johnson forcing David Stockdale into a smart stop when he drilled a free-kick goalwards after just three minutes.

Martin then nodded over Jonny Howson's cross just before Brighton had their first opening when target man Chris O'Grady kept Ruddy busy with a shot from the corner of the box.

City began to control the tempo in midfield and on 11 minutes, Hoolahan was set-up by Jerome after Gordon Greer's slip, but once again Stockdale protected his goal effectively.

They continued to see more of the ball and somehow Martin Olsson's low cross on 27 minutes evaded everybody in the box before Johnson pushed an effort wide.

With ten minutes left on the clock, Brighton started to put some pressure on the Canaries though and they should have scored on 38 minutes.

Sebastien Bassong's short backpass was picked up by Beram Kayal, who carried the ball into the box and passed to Joao Teixeira - but the creative midfielder shot the wrong side of the post.

Rohan Ince guided a volley over from Joe Bennett's corner, then O'Grady and Teixeira forced saves from Ruddy and it was City who will have been more grateful for the half-time whistle when it came.

HALF-TIME: Brighton & Hove Albion 0-0 Norwich City

After more Brighton possession, Neil made an early change in the second half by introducing Redmond for Wes Hoolahan.

The home team had a penalty appeal turned down on 57 minutes when Teixeira fell under Bassong's challenge, and five minutes later City had the lead.

Substitute Redmond was heavily involved - the winger raced onto Steven Whittaker's pass, shimmied into the box and played a low ball across the six-yard box.

Waiting was Johnson, who fired it into the roof of the net with a typically confident finish before leading the celebrations in front of the Yellow Army at that end of the ground.

In the aftermath of the goal, the game was evenly balanced - Brighton brought on their own direct wide threat in Kazenga LuaLua to try and grab an equaliser.

Redmond dragged an effort wide from 25 yards as City started to feel comfortable with their advantage, and responded by bringing on two more attackers.

One of them was Leon Best, who saw a glancing header drift well wide from LuaLua's cross, but time was running out for the hosts.

Gary Hooper replaced the tireless Jerome with two minutes left, and the Canaries saw the final moments out to secure a vital three points.

FULL-TIME: Brighton & Hove Albion 0-1 Norwich City

GOALS: Canaries: Bradley Johnson (62)

BRIGHTON & HOVE ALBION: Stockdale; Bruno, Greer, Halford, Bennett; Kayal (Mackail-Smith 79), Ince, Stephens; Calderon (LuaLua 71), O'Grady (Best 79), Teixeira. Subs not used: Walton (GK), Dunk, Forster-Caskey, Carayol.

NORWICH CITY: Ruddy; Whittaker, Martin (c), Bassong, Olsson; Howson, Tettey, Dorrans, Johnson; Hoolahan (Redmond 56); Jerome (Hooper 88). Subs not used: Rudd (GK), Cuellar, Loza, O'Neil, Odjidja-Ofoe.

REFEREE: Mr A Davies

ATTENDANCE: 28,890 (3,214)

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