Nottingham Forest 1 Brighton 2 match report: Seagulls into the play-offs after Leonardo Ulloa's last minute winner

Brighton claim final play-off spot by just one point ahead of Reading

City Ground

Leonardo Ulloa's injury time goal carried Brighton into the play-off places on an afternoon of high drama at the City Ground.

The Argentinian striker netted with a neat header to seal a 2-1 victory and lift the Seagulls above Reading and into sixth place.

It was the second season running that another side had sneaked into the top six on the final day at the City Ground, with Leicester having done the same last year.

However, a Forest side that was hampered by having as many 16 players injured, suspended, ill or unavailable was unable to hold out against Oscar Garcia's team.

Forest had taken the lead in the 22nd minute through Matt Derbyshire, but saw Stephen Ward fire the visitors level, before Ulloa delighted the 2,000 travelling fans with his late, late strike.

Brighton spurned the chance to make a flying start, with Ulloa firing wide when presented with a fine opening after only six minutes. The Argentinian striker had the goal at his mercy after sprinting clear, but rolled his shot agonisingly wide of the post, after Dorus de Vries had moved quickly to close the angle.

It proved to be a decisive moment as Forest subsequently began to dominate, with Marcus Tudgay forcing a smart save from Tomasz Kuszczak.

But the goalkeeper did not cover himself in glory as the Reds made their pressure tell, taking the lead through Derbyshire. The striker made firm enough contact with a diving header at the near post, after being picked out in impressive fashion by Dan Harding's left wing cross but Kuszczak made a hash of the save, allowing the ball to slip from his grasp and into the net.

It almost got worse for the visitors when Ben Osborn flashed a fizzing low shot narrowly the wrong side of the upright.

Ulloa was to be denied again, this time by a tight looking offside call after he had forced the ball home from close range, while Gordon Greer fluffed his lines when he sent a near post header well wide when finding himself unmarked at a corner.

Brighton emerged with a fresh sense of urgency after the interval - and clawed themselves level in the 53rd minute.

An opportunity seemed to have slipped from their grasp when Ulloa failed to make contact with a shot from close range, following a corner - but the ball rebounded kindly for Ward, who made no such mistake, driving a low shot through a melee of players and into the net.

Forest responded quickly, with Stephen McLaughlin almost firing a spectacular second for the home side. The midfielder could hardly have made a better connection with a 20-yard volley, which he sent arrowing towards the bottom corner - but Kuszczak was equal to it, plunging low to push the ball around the post.

While Tudgay went close as well, prodding a clever ball from Majewski into the side-netting, before the little Pole was then denied himself, by another save from Kuszczak, at his near post.

De Vries saved bravely at the feet of Buckley and LuaLua bent a shot close, then in the 90th minute the goalkeeper made a spectacular one-handed stop to deny Inigo Calderon.

But there was still more drama to come, as substitute Craig Mackail-Smith whipped in a cross from the left and Ulloa dived to send a header across goal and inside the far post.

PA

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

The future of songwriting

How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at long last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

Beating obesity

The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
9 best women's festival waterproofs

Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

Wiggins worried

Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific