A brilliant first-half strike from Marcos Alonso was enough to give the Wanderers a 1-0 victory over Brighton at the Reebok Stadium.
The result sees Brighton tumble out of the npower Championship play-off spot, while the Super-Whites eight match unbeaten run seems to have come just in time to push for one of the elusive top six places..
Brighton started quite brightly and showed the former premier league side just why they were sitting in a play-off position, with some slick play and it was against the run of play when the Whites burst up the other end to take a 20th-minute lead. There appeared to be little on as Alonso strode towards the left-hand corner of the area, but then unleashed a superb low drive across the former Man Utd keeper Thomasz Kuszczak and into the far corner.
Alonso came close to adding a second in the 32nd minute, stooping to head over from Jay Spearing’s right-wing corner.
Brighton came out in the second half on fire and had the home side on the rack for long periods as they pushed for a much deserved equaliser with David Lopez’s 20-yard volley flying narrowly over, while Andrew Croft blasted high and wide at the back post from Leonardo Ulloa’s right-wing cross after Wanderers Zat Knight got a crucial glancing touch.
Wanderers could have doubled their lead when Chung-Yong Lee’s shot looked to have hit Matthew Upsons hand which seemed to cause a frantic melee, before a collection of Brighton bodies flung themselves towards Spearing’s follow-up at the expense of a corner.
As the game entered its final quarter, it seemed only a matter of time before the Whites defence would crumble under the intense barrage from the Seagulls onslaught, and no doubt had this game come 4-5 weeks ago you’d have put money on them surrendering their slender lead.. but there seems to be air of confidence that is sweeping through the Whites defence of late, since the January addition of loanee Craig Dawson and the introduction of the experienced Andy Lonergan
For all Brighton’s possession and attacking prowess, the Wanderers managed to comfortably see out their second successive clean sheet and their fifth successive victory for the first time in more than six years, to go within 3 pts of a play-off place
Take a bow Nigel Miller, for today’s referee put up the best refereeing performance I’ve ever seen at the Reebok, he was consistent, letting play continue at every opportunity, he wasn’t easily conned nor was he whistle happy.. and above all he possessed that great quality that is so often missing from today’s officials…Common Sense … Well done Mr Miller, I for one will look forward to you becoming a top Referee
Bolton Wanderers: Lonergan (8), Ricketts (6), Knight (7), Dawson (7), Alonso (8), Eagles (8) (Medo 70), Spearing (9), Pratley (7), Chung-Yong (8), Ngog (6) (Wheater 86), K Davies (6) (C Davies 75)
Subs Not Used: Lainton, Sordell, Holden, Odelusi
Goals: Alonso 20
Brighton & Hove Albion: Kuszczak, Bruno, El-Abd, Upson, Bridge (Orlandi 66), Crofts (Buckley 58), Bridcutt, Barnes, Vicente, Lopez, Ulloa
Subs Not Used: Ankergren, Greer, Hammond, Calderon, Dicker
Sent Off: Barnes
Referee: Nigel Miller 10/10
– Charlie Parker