Brighton 1-0 Wolves: Sam Baldock secures all three points
By PA Sport
Last Updated: 18/10/16 11:48pm
Sam Baldock was on target for the third game running as Brighton kept the pressure on their promotion rivals by extending their unbeaten run to seven games with a 1-0 home victory over Wolves.
Baldock's early strike means that Chris Hughton's men have now taken 17 points from the last 21.
Seagulls goalkeeper David Stockdale made crucial stoppage-time saves from skipper Danny Batth and Helda Costa as inconsistent Wolves, with only one point from their last four games, went down to defeat before a crowd of 25,231.
Hughton made one change, bringing in Czech international Jiri Skalak for Jamie Murphy, and Skalak wasted no time in setting up an early opportunity for the Seagulls. Baldock released Skalak on the wing and his cross was wastefully headed over from eight yards by Frenchman Anthony Knockaert in the seventh minute.
Former Leicester winger Knockaert had a curling free-kick tipped over by goalkeeper Carl Ikeme before Brighton took the lead in the 14th minute when striker Baldock was on target again from 10 yards.
Defender Gaetan Bong's pinpoint cross from the left found Baldock unmarked and he headed home off the underside of the crossbar with Ikeme getting a slight touch.
Wolves gradually came more into the game and, from their second corner of the match, Congolese midfielder Prince Oniangue shot over from the edge of the area.
Wolves head coach Walter Zenga made a double change for the second half by introducing Jon Dadi Bodvarsson and Ivan Cavaleiro and the pair combined to almost bring their side level moments after the restart. From a cross by Cavaleiro, Bodvarsson slid in at full stretch and his close-range shot was blocked by the alert Stockdale.
Brighton, beaten only once at home in the league since losing to Wolves on New Year's Day, threatened when Glenn Murray got in front of defenders at the near post to head a Knockaert corner inches wide.
Wolves had a let-off when Baldock shot across the face of the goal following dazzling wing-play by Knockaert. Brighton were forced to withdraw the injured Bruno before the lively Knockaert forced a late save from Ikeme.
Wolves applied late pressure to threaten an equaliser but Albion's defence held firm to claim an eighth clean sheet of the season.
Brighton boss Chris Hughton:
"It is very timely that Sam is in this form and I am very pleased for him. He's been good for us. Not many teams play with two up front and Sam is confident having scored three in three.
"He may not score too many with his head but he showed a desire to get across the defender. He is a team player, works hard for the team and he is at the right place at the right time. He is good for us at the minute."
Wolves head coach Walter Zenga:
"It was a good game in my opinion but they scored and we didn't. We played at the same level as Brighton. We were in the game and there was no difference in the teams. I would prefer to play badly and take the points.
"In the last four games we have only taken one point, but we must believe in our job. Sometimes the ball goes in on the first chance. On the first chance for Brighton they scored and on the last for us we didn't."