• Albion 4 - 0 QPR, 19.04.2016

    Déjà vu, all over again.

    The AMEX under lights. Visitors from West London dominating early exchanges, before conceding from a set piece, then getting swept away.

    The Albion's incredible run goes on, with another massive win - but not without a tense opening. It took the Seagulls half an hour to click - careless in possession, and suffering a collective loss of composure, in the face of Rangers' high tempo pressing. Time and again, a poor first touch, or a hurried pass, saw the ball turned over. Even the brilliant Bruno suffered - his first half performance a throwback to his error-strewn efforts of previous seasons.

    That Rangers were held at arm’s length through this spell, was chiefly down to a sensational defensive midfield display from Dale Stephens – everywhere – winning the ball – breaking up play – preventing the visitors from settling into any comfortable possession. He never does anything overly clever, Stephens, so his work can go unnoticed, but he is in superb form right now. His selfless efforts are appreciated by those that matter – Inigo Calderon, asked for his personal choice for Player of the Season, had no hesitation in including the Albion number 6 alongside Bruno.

    The first scare of the game came at the ‘wrong’ end. Bruno dallied on the ball, and lost out to Matt Phillips, whose crisp low drive was saved well by David Stockdale. Anthony Knockaert and Connor Washington each sent the ball high over the bar from close range – rare big moments in what had become a lengthy bout of head tennis. Each side had a free header from a corner – both Clint Hill and then Lewis Dunk directing straight at the keeper.

    And then, with the half ticking away, a moment of magic to finally light the evening’s fuse. As Jiri Skalak waited under a high ball, 20 yards from goal, Nedum Onouha clambered over him to head it away. Skalak and Knockaert stood either side of the dead ball – the left / right foot options leaving keeper Alex Smithies hedging his bets in the centre of the goal. Knockaert pull rank, took one step, and swept the ball over the wall, and into the top right corner.

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