Brighton & Hove Albion manager Chris Hughton felt striker James Wilson produced his "best all round 90 minutes" for the club as the Manchester United loanee hit the only goal in their 1-0 home victory over Reading.
Brighton’s fifth win in their last six home games lifted them into second place in the Championship and an automatic promotion place and Hughton felt Wilson fully justified his recall to the team.
Wilson partnered Sam Baldock up front with Tomer Hemed dropped to the bench and Hughton said: “I wanted to play James. It was a question of who I played alongside him.
“Bobby Zamora was not available through injury and I thought maybe Sam would complement James a bit better.
“James has been a bit stop-start since joining us, but he has been involved and he’s getting used to the level of what the Championship is.
“It was a good, fast attack that led to the goal and it was James’ best all round 90 minutes for us.”
Wilson failed to get sufficient contact on a teasing ball across the six-yard box by Baldock for an initial chance stopped by Reading’s Oman keeper Ali Al Habsi.
But England Under 21 international Wilson made no mistake to fire the hosts ahead on 25 minutes with a cool left-footed finish inside the keeper’s left-hand post after Baldock’s pace took him past skipper Paul McShane.
Wilson threatened to double his side’s advantage when he headed over at the far post after winger Anthony Knockaert whipped in a free-kick with pace.
The pace of strikers Baldock and Wilson continually gave Reading problems and the former was narrowly off target after the influential Knockaert delivered the perfect pass.
With Hull City failing to beat Nottingham Forest, Bright climbed into the automatic promotions spots. Since they crashed 4-1 at Cardiff on February 20, they have won three and drawn two and kept five successive clean sheets for the first time in the league since 2004.
Hughton feels the fine run is down to a “good, hard working team” and added: “It’s down to the team; you know you have to dig deep.”
Brighton are six points behind leaders Burnley, and one above third-placed Middlesbrough and Hughton went on: “Burnley are building up a head of steam. They are a very good team, used to this league and they’ve got very good players.”
Hull slipped to fourth in the table after they were held to a 1-1 draw against Forest.
The visitors earned new manager Paul Williams a point in his first game in charge since being appointed to replace Dougie Freedman for the remainder of the season.
Forest took a first-half lead through Gary Gardner’s rising shot from distance before Sone Aluko slid home a second-half equaliser for Hull, whose winless run in the league extended to four games.
Meanwhile, Ipswich Town moved to within one point of the play-off places after a Daryl Murphy double inspired a 2-0 victory over Blackburn Rovers.
Out of nothing, the home side took the lead from the penalty spot in the 67th minute.
Luke Chambers was bundled over by Hope Akpan as he attempted to meet Freddie Sears’ corner and Murphy, celebrating his 33rd birthday, clinically found the bottom corner from the resulting spot-kick.
The goal did little to lift the general nature of the match with Blackburn substitute Tony Watt firing a rare chance wide of the near post in the 81st minute.
But Ipswich made the points safe three minutes before the end when Luke Varney out-muscled Adam Henley before playing a perfect pass for Murphy to run onto and find the bottom corner for his 10th of the season.
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