Brighton 4-0 QPR: Visitors swept aside after clinical second-half display from Seagulls
PUBLISHED: 21:42 19 April 2016 | UPDATED: 15:13 21 April 2016
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Brighton further underlined their promotion credentials as they secured a thumping victory against QPR on Tuesday evening at the Amex.
Anthony Knockaert’s brilliant free-kick gave the hosts a fortutious first-half lead, but there was no luck in the eventual scoreline as further goals from Jiri Skalak and Connor Goldson, as well as a second from Knockaert secured a deserved three points.
Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink made four changes to the side which drew at Cardiff on Saturday, with Alex Smithies returning to the team at the expense of Matt Ingram, while James Perch, Junior Hoilett and Conor Washington were also handed starting berths in place of Paul Konchesky, Tjaronn Chery and Sebastian Polter.
After a quiet opening to the game it was the promotion-chasing Seagulls who should have got themselves ahead on 17 minutes. Manchester United loanee James Wilson found Anthony Knockaert inside the box after a teasing cross from the left, but could only direct his header way over the crossbar.
Washington wasted a gilt-edged chance for the visitors just a minute later, blasting his shot over the bar from Massimo Luongo’s lay-off, after finding space inside the penalty area.
On the half hour mark the Rs went close ahead after Matt Phillips dispossessed Albion skipper Bruno Saltor, before running through on goal and seeing his powerful right-footed drive palmed away by David Stockdale.
Four minutes later and Wilson nearly broke the deadlock for Chris Hughton’s men. After driving forward into a promising position his 25-yard strike went just wide of Smithies’ far post.
It was Hughton’s men who had the best opportunity of the first half though, with Smithies denying Lewis Dunk from point-blank range with a stunning stop from his header.
But they weren’t too be denied for much longer with Onuoha penalised for a soft free-kick, with Knockaert stepping up to deliver a superb curling left-footed strike deep into stoppage time cue the home faithful erupting in delight.
And they didn’t have to wait long to double their lead after the break, and in spectacular circumstances again six minutes after the interval.
Skalak, who QPR tried to sign in January, hit a unstoppable right-footed strike from 30 yards out, with Smithies firmly rooted to the spot.
Rs boss Hasselbaink used all his substitutes as he looked for a way back into the game with Chery and Polter both coming on, as well as Nasser El Khayati.
There was to be no way back for QPR though, with Hughton’s side extending their lead further through Goldson before Knockaert slid home from close range to cap off a night to remember for the Sussex side.