Hughton questions red-card decision as Brighton are left to go up hard way
Brighton manager Chris Hughton was critical of referee Mike Dean’s decision to send off Dale Stephens during the 1-1 draw at Middlesbrough that denied the south-coast club an automatic promotion spot.
Midfielder Stephens had equalised for Brighton after Cristhian Stuani’s opener but was dismissed minutes later after a challenge on Gastón Ramírez.
Hughton, whose side must now successfully navigate their way through the play-offs to achieve Premier League status, said: “You go with your gut feeling. I thought I had a good view and my first thought was that it was nowhere near a red card.”
Brighton’s play-off opponents, Sheffield Wednesday, ended their regular Championship season with a 2-1 defeat at Wolves.
The home side took the lead through a Michael Turner own goal and doubled their advantage when George Saville scored 10 minutes before half-time. Lewis McGugan pulled one back for Wednesday from the penalty spot.
Despite the defeat, Wednesday manager Carlos Carvalhal was in a confident mood, saying: “We will be underdogs but that can be a positive for us.”
Hull City manager Steve Bruce saw his side beat Rotherham 5-1 but later urged the club’s fans to put aside their protests over owner Assem Allam’s membership scheme plans ahead of their playoff ties against Derby County.
“Now is the time to forget protests and get behind the team,” Bruce said.
Fifth-placed Derby were beaten 1-0 by Ipswich Town, but Rams head coach Darren Wassall said: “Ultimately, this result doesn’t matter. In the big scheme of things it’s inconsequential because next week’s results are the ones that will define our season.”