Championship
Brighton2Wigan1

Brighton & Hove Albion 2-1 Wigan Athletic

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How Brighton went from Football League survivors to Premier League promotion

Championship leaders Brighton were promoted to the Premier League after they beat relegation-threatened Wigan, and Huddersfield then drew at Derby.

Brighton had to wait on the result of the 17:00 BST kick-off at Pride Park, before their return to the top flight after 34 years was confirmed.

Glenn Murray's crisp strike from the edge of the area put Albion ahead.

Solly March slotted in a second after the break, before Nick Powell's header made it a nervy final five minutes.

Brighton can now start preparing for life in the top division again following their relegation in 1982-83 and subsequent journey down and back up the leagues.

A Huddersfield win would have meant the Seagulls needed one more point to mathematically guarantee promotion, but their goal difference was already far superior to the Terriers.

Brighton need three more points to clinch the Championship title and will be crowned champions if they win at Norwich on Friday.

Wigan put up a spirited defensive display at the Amex Stadium, but offered little going forward until Powell's goal, and now face the prospect of an immediate return to League One.

They are five points from safety with three to play, including games against play-off chasing Reading and Leeds.

Why are the Seagulls soaring?

Glenn Murray
Glenn Murray has scored 18 of his 22 Championship goals at home

Brighton missed out on automatic promotion on the final day last season, when a draw at Middlesbrough saw Boro go up with Burnley and Albion finish third on goal difference.

They then lost in the play-off semi-finals to Sheffield Wednesday.

But Chris Hughton's side have bounced back superbly this campaign, winning 28 of their 43 matches, including all five games in April so far and bettering last year's total of 89 points already.

  • Attacking threat - Murray (22), Anthony Knockaert (15), Sam Baldock (11) and Tomer Hemed (11) have scored 59 of their 73 goals this season.
  • Home form - The Seagulls have picked up the most Championship points at home with 54, and won 17 of their 22 games there.
  • Unbeaten run - Brighton did not lose in October, November and December, winning 11 of their 15 games during that spell.
  • Tight defence - They have conceded the fewest goals in the Championship (36) with 21 clean sheets.

They could have beaten Wigan by an even bigger margin, but Murray saw his header ruled out and the Championship's Player of the Year, Knockaert, had a goal chalked out for offside and a strike cleared off the line.

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Brighton promotion: Chris Hughton says he did not expect Seagulls to be in this position

What a difference 20 years makes

Brighton's promotion party comes almost 20 years to the day since they were less than 30 minutes from dropping out of the Football League.

Trailing Hereford 1-0 on the final day of the 1996-97 season and needing a draw to survive, substitute Robbie Reinelt popped up in the 62nd minute to score an equaliser, Brighton held on and Hereford went down instead.

Steve Gritt, who had taken charge five months earlier with Brighton 11 points adrift at the bottom of the fourth tier, said afterwards: "It's not something I really want to go through again." They never have.

Withdean Stadium
Brighton played at the Withdean Stadium between 1999 and 2011

However, the club was still in turmoil off the pitch in 1997. They had to sell the Goldstone Ground to pay off some of their debts, spent two seasons 70 miles away at Gillingham's Priestfield Stadium, and then moved into the Withdean Stadium in 1999 - a council-owned athletics track on the suburbs of Brighton.

Chairman Tony Bloom's arrival eight years ago paved the way for their new permanent home and the success that followed, but it could have all been so different had they dropped into non-league.

Can Brighton survive?

Of the 71 promoted teams to play in the Premier League, 31 have been immediately relegated. But Brighton fans may want to put a positive spin on it - more than half of them stay up. The average finishing position is 15th.

Only twice have all three promoted teams stayed up - 2001-02 and 2011-12 - and only once have they all gone down - 1997-98.

Premier League relegation info

In recent years there has been an upturn in fortune for promoted sides. Since 2008-09, there has been only one season in which two of the three promoted clubs have gone straight back down (2014-15). In the five seasons prior to that, it happened four times (2003-04, 2004-05, 2006-07 and 2007-08).

In their current squad, excluding loan players, only six boast previous Premier League experience - Murray, Knockaert, David Stockdale, Steve Sidwell, Shane Duffy and Liam Rosenior.

But Hughton, who has won 63 of his 123 games in charge on the south coast, has managed in the top flight with Newcastle and Norwich.

They are also in for a bumper payday, with promotion to the Premier League worth an estimated £170m.

Race for the Championship
Brighton need three more points to guarantee the title

'A steely determination'

Brighton manager Hughton told BBC Radio 5 live his players were up for the challenge of promotion straight away, despite the heartbreak of 2015-16:

"It had something to do with how the season ended last season, but I think it was more the fact that the players enjoyed being up that end of the table, competing, getting into the play-offs.

"I think it was a conscious decision that they wanted that again, and the signs were there early in the season.

"We recruited well early in the season, in the summer, but it was a real steely determination from the group of players that wanted to do it again."

Promotion party in pictures

Amex Stadium crowd
Thousands of Brighton fans celebrated on the pitch at full-time
Chris Hughton
Brighton boss Chris Hughton allowed himself a smile at the end of the game
Brighton chairman Tony Bloom
Brighton chairman Tony Bloom has invested heavily in the club since arriving in 2009
David Stockdale
Seagulls goalkeeper David Stockdale is one of the few players in the squad with Premier League experience

Line-ups

Brighton

  • 13Stockdale
  • 2Bruno
  • 4Hünemeier
  • 5Dunk
  • 3Bong
  • 11KnockaertBooked at 51mins
  • 6Stephens
  • 7KayalSubstituted forNorwoodat 73'minutes
  • 20MarchSubstituted forMurphyat 73'minutes
  • 17Murray
  • 10HemedSubstituted forAkpomat 82'minutes

Substitutes

  • 1Mäenpää
  • 8Skalak
  • 15Murphy
  • 21Norwood
  • 23Rosenior
  • 27Tomori
  • 28Akpom

Wigan

  • 28Haugaard
  • 26Hanson
  • 3Buxton
  • 33Burn
  • 23Warnock
  • 16MacDonaldSubstituted forMorsyat 73'minutes
  • 17Jacobs
  • 6Power
  • 19TunnicliffeSubstituted forColcloughat 61'minutes
  • 4Perkins
  • 11ObertanSubstituted forPowellat 61'minutes

Substitutes

  • 8Morsy
  • 12Connolly
  • 20Morgan
  • 25Powell
  • 27Colclough
  • 31Byrne
  • 35Gilks
Referee:
James Linington
Attendance:
29,940

Match Stats

Home TeamBrightonAway TeamWigan
Possession
Home53%
Away47%
Shots
Home16
Away7
Shots on Target
Home8
Away2
Corners
Home10
Away1
Fouls
Home13
Away9

Live Text

Match ends, Brighton and Hove Albion 2, Wigan Athletic 1.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Brighton and Hove Albion 2, Wigan Athletic 1.

Attempt blocked. Nick Powell (Wigan Athletic) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

Attempt blocked. Ryan Colclough (Wigan Athletic) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Sam Morsy.

Offside, Wigan Athletic. Sam Morsy tries a through ball, but Dan Burn is caught offside.

Hand ball by Glenn Murray (Brighton and Hove Albion).

Corner, Brighton and Hove Albion. Conceded by Jake Buxton.

Attempt blocked. Chuba Akpom (Brighton and Hove Albion) left footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Jamie Murphy.

Attempt blocked. Max Power (Wigan Athletic) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by David Perkins.

Foul by Oliver Norwood (Brighton and Hove Albion).

Sam Morsy (Wigan Athletic) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Goal!

Goal! Brighton and Hove Albion 2, Wigan Athletic 1. Nick Powell (Wigan Athletic) header from the centre of the box to the centre of the goal. Assisted by Jamie Hanson with a cross.

Substitution

Substitution, Brighton and Hove Albion. Chuba Akpom replaces Tomer Hemed.

Offside, Brighton and Hove Albion. Tomer Hemed tries a through ball, but Anthony Knockaert is caught offside.

Attempt missed. Gaëtan Bong (Brighton and Hove Albion) right footed shot from outside the box is too high. Assisted by Jamie Murphy.

Corner, Brighton and Hove Albion. Conceded by Stephen Warnock.

Attempt blocked. Glenn Murray (Brighton and Hove Albion) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Jamie Murphy.

Foul by Bruno (Brighton and Hove Albion).

Nick Powell (Wigan Athletic) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Tomer Hemed (Brighton and Hove Albion).

Stephen Warnock (Wigan Athletic) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Substitution

Substitution, Wigan Athletic. Sam Morsy replaces Shaun MacDonald.

Substitution

Substitution, Brighton and Hove Albion. Jamie Murphy replaces Solly March.

Substitution

Substitution, Brighton and Hove Albion. Oliver Norwood replaces Beram Kayal.

Attempt saved. Gaëtan Bong (Brighton and Hove Albion) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the top centre of the goal. Assisted by Anthony Knockaert.

Attempt saved. Nick Powell (Wigan Athletic) right footed shot from long range on the left is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Stephen Warnock.

Foul by Beram Kayal (Brighton and Hove Albion).

Nick Powell (Wigan Athletic) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Corner, Brighton and Hove Albion. Conceded by Jake Buxton.

Offside, Wigan Athletic. Nick Powell tries a through ball, but Michael Jacobs is caught offside.

Goal!

Goal! Brighton and Hove Albion 2, Wigan Athletic 0. Solly March (Brighton and Hove Albion) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the centre of the goal.

Attempt blocked. Nick Powell (Wigan Athletic) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Michael Jacobs.

Substitution

Substitution, Wigan Athletic. Nick Powell replaces Gabriel Obertan.

Substitution

Substitution, Wigan Athletic. Ryan Colclough replaces Ryan Tunnicliffe.

Foul by Solly March (Brighton and Hove Albion).

Michael Jacobs (Wigan Athletic) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Attempt missed. Glenn Murray (Brighton and Hove Albion) right footed shot from the right side of the box is close, but misses to the right. Assisted by Anthony Knockaert.

Corner, Brighton and Hove Albion. Conceded by Jakob Haugaard.

Attempt saved. Anthony Knockaert (Brighton and Hove Albion) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the top right corner.

Tomer Hemed (Brighton and Hove Albion) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

goal

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Brighton43288773363792
2Newcastle432671076393785
3Reading43247126159279
4Huddersfield42246125449578
5Sheff Wed432291256421475
6Fulham4320131078542473
7Leeds432271456411573
8Norwich431891676661063
9Derby431712144946363
10Preston431613146257561
11Brentford431791770601060
12Aston Villa431513154546-158
13Cardiff431610175759-258
14Barnsley431512166160157
15Ipswich431316144853-555
16Wolves42159185254-254
17QPR43148214959-1050
18Bristol City43139215663-748
19Burton431212194457-1348
20Birmingham431114184263-2147
21Nottm Forest43129225668-1245
22Blackburn431014194964-1544
23Wigan431010233955-1640
24Rotherham4346333796-5918
View full Championship table

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