Brighton pull level with ri­vals at top

The Daily Telegraph - Total Football - - TOTAL FOOTBALL FOOTBALL LEAGUE - By Richard Amofa

Brighton drew level on points with Cham­pi­onship lead­ers Burn­ley and Mid­dles­brough af­ter beat­ing Charl­ton Ath­letic 3-1.

Goals from Sam Bal­dock, Jiri Skalak and Tomer Hemed ex­tended Brighton’s un­beaten run to 12 games and en­sured the Cham­pi­onship’s top three all fin­ished the week­end on 87 points.

Jo­hann Berg Gud­munds­son pro­vided Charl­ton’s con­so­la­tion in a game halted sev­eral times by protests from the club’s fans against the owner Roland Duchâtelet.

Hun­dreds of black and white beach balls and bal­loons were thrown on to the pitch as an ex­pres­sion of dis­plea­sure against Duchâtelet, who, af­ter buy­ing the club in 2014, has now over­seen rel­e­ga­tion to League One.

De­lays oc­curred at the be­gin­ning of both halves, while an on-pitch flare re­sulted in an­other stop­page in the 89th minute.

A pre-match anti-Duchâtelet march was also staged, with an es­ti­mated 500 fans lin­ing the streets en route to the Val­ley.

“This is not the first time we have faced this sit­u­a­tion,” said the Charl­ton man­ager José Riga. “We had the same game against Mid­dles­brough. We had to be very ready, we were not.”

Burn­ley had reached the sum­mit with a 1-0 win at Pre­ston

North End on Fri­day. Mean­while, MK Dons’ rel­e­ga­tion to League One, af­ter a sin­gle sea­son in the Cham­pi­onship, was con­firmed af­ter they lost 4-1 to Brent­ford. De­spite tak­ing the lead through Nicky May­nard, goals from Sergi Canós, Lasse Vibe, Ryan Woods and Jake Bid­well con­demned MK Dons to their 23rd de­feat of the sea­son.

MK Dons man­ager Karl Robin­son said: “We’ve not been good enough all year. There will be a lot of talk­ing go­ing on in the next seven days for ob­vi­ous rea­sons, but cer­tain peo­ple will not be here next sea­son.”

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