Brighton boss admits he never expected Steve Sidwell's winner

Brighton Hove Albion Flags

Chris Hughton admits he never expected the central midfielder to score the winning goal after throwing him on late in the game against the Reds.

Brighton and Hove Albion manager Chris Hughton hailed the impact of Steve Sidwell after he scored the winning goal in the 2-1 win over Nottingham Forest on Monday, according to The Argus.

The Seagulls moved to within two points of the Championship summit with the away victory and now sit third in the second-tier, behind Middlesbrough and leaders Burnley.

Lewis Dunk put Brighton ahead on 27 minutes before Dexter Blackstock levelled the scoreline five minutes after the interval. But Hughton’s high-flying side were not to be denied, as Sidwell lashed in a 91st minute stoppage-time strike.

The former Newcastle United manager claimed he sent on Sidwell to tighten up his midfield to close out the tight affair at the City Ground but was delighted to see the ex-Chelsea midfielder snatch a dramatic three points.

The 34-year-old was also thrilled to add his name to the scoresheet, as he took to social media after the game:

You just can't beat that feeling ⚽️ massive win tonight, safe travels back to the fans. Said I'd score and celebrate with bench #teamspirit

— Steve Sidwell (@sjsidwell) April 11, 2016

It now appears to be a three-horse race for the two automatic promotion places at the top of the division, with fourth-placed Hull City trailing the leading pack by eight points with six games yet to play.

Hughton admitted he never expected Sidwell to notch the winner when he sent him on late in the game for Baram Kayal.

“I felt the game was becoming a little open and if we could secure a little bit in central midfield, a forward four could win us the game,” he was quoted as saying in The Argus.

“It probably didn’t work out quite that way with Stevey Sidwell scoring but I felt that James Wilson and Anthony Knockaert could influence the game.”

He added: “Siddy can break forward. That has been his game all his life, breaking forward from midfield.

“Did I bring him on for that reason? Not particularly! But I’m grateful that he did.”

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