Sam Baldock on target again as Brighton scrape past Wolves
Sam Baldock was on target for the third game running as Brighton kept the pressure on their promotion rivals by extending their unbeaten run to seven games with a 1-0 home victory over Wolves.
Baldock's early strike means that Chris Hughton's men have now taken 17 points from the last 21.
Seagulls goalkeeper David Stockdale made crucial stoppage-time saves from skipper Danny Batth and Helda Costa as inconsistent Wolves, with only one point from their last four games, went down to defeat before a crowd of 25,231.
Hughton made one change, bringing in Czech international Jiri Skalak for Jamie Murphy, and Skalak wasted no time in setting up an early opportunity for the Seagulls.
Baldock released Skalak on the wing and his cross was wastefully headed over from eight yards by Frenchman Anthony Knockaert in the seventh minute.
Former Leicester winger Knockaert had a curling free-kick tipped over by goalkeeper Carl Ikeme before Brighton took the lead in the 14th minute when striker Baldock was on target again from 10 yards.
Defender Gaetan Bong's pinpoint cross from the left found Baldock unmarked and he headed home off the underside of the crossbar with Ikeme getting a slight touch.
Skalak put a free-kick just wide after Knockaert was brought down on the edge of the area by skipper Batth who received a caution.
Wolves gradually came more into the game and, from their second corner of the match, Congolese midfielder Prince Oniangue shot over from the edge of the area.
Baldock was unable to get an effort on goal when skipper Bruno delivered a fine cross to the far post.
Albion goalkeeper Stockdale came to his side's rescue two minutes before the interval by tipping over a goal-bound shot from Costa.
Wolves head coach Walter Zenga made a double change for the second half by introducing Jon Dadi Bodvarsson and Ivan Cavaleiro and the pair combined to almost bring their side level moments after the restart.
From a cross by Cavaleiro, Bodvarsson slid in at full stretch and his close-range shot was blocked by the alert Stockdale.
Brighton, beaten only once at home in the league since losing to Wolves on New Year's Day, threatened when Glenn Murray got in front of defenders at the near post to head a Knockaert corner inches wide.
Wolves had a let-off when Baldock shot across the face of the goal following dazzling wing-play by Knockaert.
Brighton were forced to withdraw the injured Bruno before the lively Knockaert forced a late save from Ikeme.
Wolves applied late pressure to threaten an equaliser but Albion's defence held firm to claim an eighth clean sheet of the season.
Source : PA