Six things we learned from Brighton's win at QPR

Dale Stephens fires in a shot at QPR. Picture by Phil Westlake (PW Sporting Photography)
Dale Stephens fires in a shot at QPR. Picture by Phil Westlake (PW Sporting Photography)
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Is it now when not if the Seagulls are promoted? Here's six things we learned from the win at Queens Park Rangers.

WHEN NOT IF?


Three wins in six days has taken Albion to the brink of promotion to the Premier League. Nine points from their final five games will be enough to take the Seagulls up - and that's if Huddersfield win all seven of their remaining matches.


Brighton are back on top of the Championship, two points ahead of Newcastle, and 12 points ahead of third-placed Huddersfield, who travel to Nottingham Forest this afternoon.


Albion are on the verge of returning to the top flight of English football for the first time since 1983.

TIGHT CALL


Twice in the first half, Albion had efforts ruled out by the assistant referee's flag. But both were proved to be the correct decision by the replays afterwards.


First, Glenn Murray turned home a Anthony Knockaert delivery on 33 minutes and ten minutes later Tomer Hemed slid the ball in from Sebastien Pocognoli's low drive but the celebrations were cut short quickly both times.

HALF-TIME TALKING POINT


A challenge late in the first half by James Perch on Sebastien Pocognoli had some fans questioning the leniency of referee Simon Hooper.


Perch caught the Seagulls left-back with a nasty challenge but escaped without a booking. The replays suggested Perch was lucky not to be carded, while some refs may well have shown a red for the tackle.

PLAYING THROUGH ILLNESS?


Concerns were raised just before kick-off as Lewis Dunk pulled out of the warm-up and was led away by the Albion medical team. The central defender was taken off after half an hour of the Birmingham City win on Tuesday, with Chris Hughton later revealing he had been suffering with illness on Monday.


Dunk had been feeling better during the week and despite the pre-match drama when Fikayo Tomori stood in during the warm-up, the home-grown player came off at half-time after he could obviously give no more.


A battler, warrior and very likely future Albion captain.

SIX-YEAR WAIT


Sebastien Pocognoli's first goal in English football was also his first for more than six years and it was certainly worth the wait.


The Belgian international had not scored since August, 2010, when he netted for Standard Liege. Moves to Hannover 96 and then West Brom followed without a goal and Pocognoli then joined the Seagulls on loan from the Premier League Magpies in August.


In his 18th appearance for Brighton, he curled a stunning free kick from the edge of the penalty area into the top corner. He could not have hit the shot any sweeter and was mobbed by his Seagulls team-mates as they celebrated in front of the away fans.

LOUD AND PROUD


The Albion fans did not stop singing throughout the game. The Seagulls had more than 3,000 fans at Loftus Road and they went through their full rendition of songs. Their celebrations were twice cut short by the offside flag in the first half but they grew gradually louder throughout the second period.


Goals from Glenn Murray and a stunner from Sebastien Pocognoli had the Seagulls fans singing 'we're on our way to the Premier League' at the full-time whistle.

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