LuaLua is head over heels!

The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP - By Alan Lewis To com­ment on this match go to http://boards.footy­mad.net/

KAZENGA LuaLua’s Fri­day night som­er­sault was one of both re­lief and ela­tion as he net­ted the win­ner to en­sure Brighton kept pace with a late play-off push.

LuaLua and Jesse Lin­gard scored as the Seag­ulls saw off a re­silient Yeovil, rel­e­gat­ing their vis­i­tors from the Cham­pi­onship in the process.

The 23-year-old’s cross-cumshot found the net just four min­utes af­ter he ap­peared from the bench to set Brighton on their way.

It was LuaLua’s first goal since May of last year and he marked the over­due ef­fort with an ac­ro­batic cel­e­bra­tion – made fa­mous by older brother Lo­mana – as the Seag­ulls guar­an­teed play-off in­ter­est in next weekend’s fi­nal-day show­piece.

“I’ve been wait­ing to do that cel­e­bra­tion for a long, long time,” he said.

“Leo (Ul­loa) was in the box so I thought I’d cross it for him but it missed ev­ery­one and went in, so I’ll take it. It’s my first goal of the sea­son and it’s been a long time com­ing.

“It’s not about the goal though, it’s about the team per­for­mance and we dom­i­nated the game and played re­ally well.

“We had to win if we want to fin­ish in the play-offs so it was get­ting a bit ner­vous to­wards the end, but it was great to fi­nally score and then Jesse’s goal fin­ished it off nicely.

“It was all about putting pres­sure on the teams around us and we have done that. It’s com­ing to­wards the ex­cit­ing end of the sea­son and we have to keep dig­ging away. Who knows what can hap­pen, but we have to make sure we re­main fo­cussed.”

The vis­i­tors were inches from open­ing the scor­ing in the 18th minute when Ruben Palazue­los sent the ball crash­ing against the cross­bar from 20 yards out.

And af­ter An­drea Or­landi headed wide at the other end Brighton stopper To­masz Kuszczak saved a low Sam Hoskins drive to deny the Glovers again. Joe Ed­wards shaved the Seag­ulls’ bar af­ter the break with an 18-yard ef­fort but LuaLua made Yeovil re­gret their misses 12 min­utes from time.

His right-footed cross evaded ev­ery­thing but the net and on­loan Manch­ester United striker Lin­gard made sure ofYeovil’s fate, meet­ing Solly March’s cross and steer­ing home in added time.

The de­feat con­firmed Yeovil’s rel­e­ga­tion, leav­ing skip­per Jamie McAl­lis­ter bit­terly dis­ap­pointed, but he was pleased to for­mally thank the trav­el­ling fans af­ter the whis­tle – on the ad­vice of as­sis­tant man­ager Terry Skiver­ton.

“It has been the story of our sea­son, re­ally,” said McAl­lis­ter. “We con­tained them and played some good stuff when we had the ball.We had a few chances and hit the bar twice – they had a cou­ple of op­por­tu­ni­ties as well – but it is just get­ting that goal.

“Most of us had got our heads around it (rel­e­ga­tion) but for it to be fi­nal you could see the gaffer was a bit emo­tional – same with Terry and all the boys were the same.

“It’s just so close but not enough in the end. The boys are gut­ted but we go again and stick to­gether.We have one last game to see if we can fin­ish and win and get to 40 points.

“The fans have been mag­nif­i­cent all sea­son – su­perb home and away.We ap­pre­ci­ate them.”

PIC­TURES: Pin­na­cle

LOOK AT ME LADS: Brighton’s Kazenga LuaLua af­ter giv­ing the Seag­ulls the lead

JAMIE McAL­LIS­TER

their fans DOWN: Yeovil ap­plaud

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