Sheffield Wednesday 2-0 Brighton: Ross Wallace and Kieran Lee on target at Hillsborough
By Lewis Jones at Hillsborough
Last Updated: 14/05/16 9:51am
Sheffield Wednesday grabbed the initiative in the Sky Bet Championship play-off against Brighton by winning the semi-final first leg 2-0.
Ross Wallace and Kieran Lee netted the goals on a dramatic night at Hillsborough, where Brighton lost Tomer Hemed, Steve Sidwell, Conor Goldson and Anthony Knockaert all to injuries and had to play the last 30 minutes with 10-men after making all their substitutions.
It could have been worse for Brighton, who only missed out on automatic promotion on goal difference, as Wednesday had a Fernando Forresteri goal disallowed for offside, 30 seconds after the referee had originally given the goal.
The atmosphere inside Hillsborough at kick-off was electric with many calling this Sheffield Wednesday's biggest game since the League Cup final in 1993.
Wednesday were at it from the first whistle.
Wallace tested David Stockdale with a rasping 25 yard effort before Brighton's Hemed hit the post with a brave header from an Anthony Knockaert corner.
On 19 minutes, Wednesday had the ball in the net but it was controversially disallowed, 30 seconds after it was given.
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A long punt forward was missed by Gary Hooper and found its way through to Forestieri, who had been standing in an offside position from the original kick. He held off a challenge and finished into the bottom corner. He ran off celebrating but the linesman and his assistant disallowed the goal for offside as Hooper had not touched the ball.
Even the stadium announcer announced the goal such was the delay in the officials coming to a decision.
Brighton's top scorer Hemed hobbled off with a hamstring injury on 38 minutes and was followed almost immediately by centre-back Godson minutes later, who was replaced by Liam Rosenior.
The reshuffle caused Brighton to sit deeper than usual for the remainder of the half and Wednesday took advantage.
Wallace picked the ball up near the halfway line and drove at the Brighton defence. He pulled back his left foot and fired a powerful effort beyond Stockdale from 30 yards. Hillsborough erupted.
Things got progressively worse for Brighton after the break. Sidwell limped off on 49 minutes as manager Chris Hughton was forced into his last change.
Then, unbelievably - or not so on Friday 13th - Knockaert hit the deck holding his ankle and was stretchered from the field meaning Brighton had to play the last half hour with 10-men.
Wednesday took full control of the game from that moment and doubled their lead on 73 minutes through one of their unsung heroes.
Lee finished off a brilliant move with a cool low finish after Forestieri's clever ball took three Brighton defenders out of the game.
Wednesday hunted a third and Brighton tried to hang on. To their credit they defended resolutely to keep the tie within reach but this was to be Wednesday's night.
No team in Championship play-off history has overturned a 2-0 deficit from the first-leg. Brighton have it all to do on Monday.