Brighton clinched the final play-off spot on the final day of the football league season courtesy of a dramatic late Leonardo Ulloa goal which sent the 2,000 travelling away fans into raptures.
Brighton went into todays game knowing a win would not be enough for them to reach the play-offs and would have one eye firmly fixed on the Reading game.
Reading were heading for the play-offs after holding second placed Burnley to a 2-2 draw at The Madejski stadium. The Royals fans thought that Gareth McCleary’s second half screamer was enough to secure 6th place and achieve their play-off ambitions, but a last-minute winner at The City Ground from Argentine striker Leonardo Ulloa sent the Seagulls fans into party mode and meant that Nigel Adkins side would be left to rue missed opportunities.
It started badly for Brighton when Matt Derbyshire scored his ninth of the season just twenty minutes into the game but an equalizer from Stephen Ward got things back on track for the seaside town when Nottingham Forest failed to clear a dangerous corner into the box, which after a number of scuffed clearances, was eventually turned in by Ward.
Leonardo Ulloa arrived at Brighton as a relatively unknown player, having signed from Almeria for a fee believed to be in the region of £2million. However the Argentine has become an instant hit amongst Brighton fans and notched his fifteenth goal of the season in the most dramatic style.
It was a fairly balanced game and Forest could have gone a goal ahead themselves on a number of occasions with Radoslaw Majewski and Matt Derbyshire having chances of their own.
For the second season running fans of the Championship would see a side sneak into the playoff places on the final day, with this years champions Leicester City achieving similar success as Brighton today.
Both Reading and Brighton swapped places a number of times throughout the day and after news broke at The Madejski of Brighton’s late winner the dejection on the faces of Reading players and fans was clear for all to see.
Brighton manager Oscar Garcia will now have to prepare his side for the playoffs and will be joined by Derby County, QPR, and Wigan Athletic.