Brighton 4-0 QPR: Anthony Knockaert nets twice in rout
By PA Sport
Last Updated: 19/04/16 10:22pm
Brighton kept the pressure on Sky Bet Championship leaders Middlesbrough and second-placed Burnley with a convincing 4-0 victory over QPR before a crowd of 25,411 at the Amex Stadium.
The in-form Seagulls followed Friday's 5-0 thrashing of Fulham to move level on points with Burnley with their sixth win in seven games.
French winger Anthony Knockaert put Albion on their way with the opening goal and also hit the fourth in the 85th minute in a dominant individual display.
The former Leicester winger gave Brighton the lead with a superb free-kick just before the break, Jiri Skalak doubled the advantage shortly after the interval with a terrific individual goal, before defender Connor Goldson made it 3-0 with a late header.
The Seagulls, now unbeaten in 11 league games, threatened when skipper Bruno sent in a dangerous cross from the right but former Albion centre-back Grant Hall rose to confidently head the ball clear.
Knockaert, who notched his third goal in 15 games in last Friday's 5-0 hammering of Fulham, should have put his side ahead in the 18th minute.
Manchester United loanee James Wilson created the opening with a storming run and delivered a perfect cross from the byline, but Knockaert headed the ball over from only four yards.
Albion had a let-off moments later when, in a quick Rangers counter-attack, Matt Phillips laid the ball onto Conor Washington but he wastefully drove over with a left-footed shot.
Rangers, winless away from home since beating Rotherham 3-0 on January 16, threatened again when veteran defender Clint Hill had a glancing header saved by David Stockdale following an Alejandro Faurlin corner.
Stockdale came to his side's rescue with a low one-handed save to keep out a low goal-bound shot from Phillips after Bruno gave the ball away.
Phillips went close with a dipping 20-yard shot before the Seagulls almost broke the deadlock four minutes before the break.
A corner by Knockaert was headed powerfully goalwards at the back post by Lewis Dunk, but keeper Alex Smithies managed to block the ball on the line.
Knockaert had an effort blocked on the line before he gave his side the lead on the stroke of half-time by curling in a superb left-footed free-kick into the top corner.
Czech international winger Skalak doubled Albion's lead six minutes after the break with his first goal in English football and he could scarcely have scored a better one.
Skalak, who came close to joining Rangers before signing for Brighton in the January transfer window, opened his account in tremendous fashion by smashing the ball home from 25 yards into the roof of the net after the visitors failed to clear.
Rangers came under further pressure when Knockaert had a shot blocked and the ball ran to substitute Sam Baldock, who was similarly denied at the far post.
Former Shrewsbury centre-back Goldson made it 3-0 17 minutes from time, rising high at the far post to power in a header from a corner by Knockaert.
The industrious Knockaert fittingly had the final say by completing the scoring five minutes from time with a low left-footed strike following a pass by substitute Steve Sidwell.