HUGHTON HAUNTED BY REDMOND
CHRIS Hughton was left cursing former protégé Nathan Redmond after enduring an unhappy reunion with ex-employers Norwich.
Redmond came off the bench to set up Bradley Johnson’s 62ndminute winner as Norwich maintained their Premier League promotion push.
He had scored for England U21s in their 3-2 midweek victory against Germany and his 56thminute introduction turned the game against the Seagulls.
The wide-man left Joe Bennett floundering down the right before supplying an excellent low cross for Johnson to fire home.
Brighton manager Hughton, who signed Redmond for the Canaries from Birmingham two years ago, said: “It was not a surprise factor because I know what he can do coming off the bench.
“It was a poor goal to concede and I think Joe will look back at it and know he could have done better.
“But Redmond is a big talent and can do good things against anyone.”
Norwich chief Alex Neil has mainly used Redmond as a super sub and is content for him to continue in that role.
Neil explained: “Nathan Redmond came on and had an instant impact in the game and manages to create a goal for us.
“We wanted him to come on, make a difference and win the game for us – and that is what he’s done.
“He was disappointed he wasn’t playing and I thought his attitude when he did come on was fantastic.
“Up until that point we had struggled to create.”
Monday marks exactly one year since Hughton was sacked by the Canaries and the Brighton boss was upset not to take a point from his old club.
Hughton added: “I think we deserved something. I’m disappointed. It was the one bit of quality they showed which settled the game.
“Norwich didn’t show anything I didn’t already know. I thought before the season they’d get promoted and still think they will get one of the automatic places.
“We played well against another top team but to push on we need to beat the top teams”
Brighton keeper David Stockdale had barely left the dressing room when he flung himself full length to brilliantly save Johnson’s pile-driving free-kick.
The former Fulham shot-stop- per was forced into his best again to block out Wes Hoolahan after centre-back Gordon Greer misjudged his interception attempt.
Neil was left exasperated by his side’s inability to turn their early monopoly of the ball into goals.
After a slow start, Hughton’s side fought back but time after time Chris O’Grady showed why he has only scored once in the Championship this season.
John Ruddy kept out a fierce low O’Grady drive with his feet, before holding onto a mishit cross by the Seagulls striker.
Former Tottenham defender Sebastien Bassong’s blushes were saved by a scuffed shot by Joao Teixeira – after the Canaries centre-back inexplicably passed straight to former Celtic man Beram Kayal.
Hughton added: “It was a game of chances. I thought they were very good in the first 20 minutes and we found it difficult to get close to them. They are a team in really good form but after that period we were excellent and had the better chances.”
Norwich have only lost one of their last 12 games and now sit just a point and a place adrift of the automatic promotion places with six games to go.
And Neil is hoping to keep that kind of form going to fire them into the Premier League.
Neil added: “We’ve taken one more step, now onto the next one. We’ve got six games left now, and we have to go and win all six.”
TUSSLE: Norwich’s Nathan Redmond tangles with Brighton’s Biram Kayal. Inset: Bradley Johnson has a shot