Albion have to win their final game of the season at Middlesbrough for promotion to the Premier League after a 1-1 draw at home to Derby County this afternoon.
A win over the Rams would have meant the Seagulls needed just a draw on Teeside for promotion. Derby’s Andreas Weimann, who had been on the pitch less then a minute, scored at the second attempt to give Derby the lead on 71 minutes but Albion substitute James Wilson equalised deep in injury-time.
Brighton finished the game with ten men after defender Lewis Dunk was sent off for a second bookable offence seven minutes from time and he will now miss the promotion-decider at Boro.
With the Amex crowd rocking, Albion made a bright start as Beram Kayal had a low shot deflected just wide on five minutes, before Anthony Knockaert’s shot after the resulting corner had been half-cleared was easily saved by Derby keeper Scott Carson.
Knockaert’s dipping shot was then deflected just over on eight minutes, before the Rams’ Tom Ince latched on to a long ball forward and rifled into the side netting.
Albion again went close on 15 minutes when Knockaert’s free kick was brilliantly headed off the line by the back-peddling Jason Shackell.
Jiri Skalak blazed over after Kayal flicked on Bruno’s cross to the wideman on 24 minutes, before excellent defending by Bruno at the other end prevented Ince from getting a shot away.
Tomer Hemed headed a Skalak cross wide after a quick break forward, while the visitors always looked dangerous in the opening 45 minutes but failed to create any clear openings.
The half ended with Albion on the front foot and Lewis Dunk’s glancing header from Skalak’s corner was deflected just the wrong side of the far post.
Derby threatened at the start of the second half when as Ince, Will Hughes and Johnny Russell all had shots saved by Albion keeper David Stockdale.
Albion’s first opportunity of the half came on 54 minutes but Dunk headed Knockaert’s teasing cross over, before the Seagulls had a strong penalty waved on the hour. Knockaert went down under a challenge from George Thorne but even with the assistant referee flagging for a spot-kick, referee Robert Madley correctly ruled Thorne had made contact with the ball and awarded a corner.
Brighton introduced James Wilson and Kazenga LuaLua for Sam Baldock and Skalak on 67 minutes and LuaLua had a dipping shot from 25 yards saved by Carson within a minute of taking to the field.
Derby went ahead on 71 minutes when substitute Andreas Weimann, who had been on the pitch less than a minute, raced on to Hughes’ pass and scored at the second attempt after Stockdale kept out his first effort.
Dunk was red-carded seven minutes from time for a second bookable offence, after a rash challenge on Craig Bryson – his second dismissal of the season.
In the final action of the match, Brighton equalised when Derby failed to clear Knockaert’s corner and Wilson was on hand to fire home from a couple of yards and extend Albion’s unbeaten run to 13 games.
The point keeps Albion third in the Championship, behind second-placed Middlesbrough on goal difference.
BRIGHTON: Stockdale; Bruno, Goldson, Dunk, Rosenior; Knockaert, Kayal, Stephens, Skalak (LuaLua 67); Baldock (Wilson 67), Hemed. Subs: Maenpaa, Greer, Bong, Murphy, Sidwell.
DERBY: Carson, Christie, Bryson, Keogh, Martin, Russell, Shackell, Hughes (Buxton 90), Ince (Weimann 70), Olsson, Thorne. Subs: Mitchell, Bent, Butterfield, Blackman, Guy.
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