The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP - By Alex Smith

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.”

PIC­TURE: Ac­tion Images

TUS­SLE: Nor­wich’s Nathan Red­mond tan­gles with Brighton’s Bi­ram Kayal. Inset: Bradley John­son has a shot

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