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Barnes leads Albion's five-star show
Albion’s Championship season is well and truly up and running after they brushed past injury-hit Barnsley today.
Two goals in the opening quarter-hour soothed nerves as the Seagulls ran out 5-1 winners at The Amex.
Ashley Barnes broke the deadlock and was heavily involved in a goal in each half for Craig Mackail-Smith before later adding a second himself.
Wayne Bridge also netted - his first goal sicne 2007 - and there were terrific attacking performances from his fellow full-back Bruno and winger Craig Noone.
But it was a nightmare return to The Amex for David Gonzalez.
The Colombian goalkeeper dropped a Noone free-kick as he collided with his own defender Stephen Foster, allowing Ashley Barnes to shoot the Seagulls into a third-minute lead.
The lead was doubled 11 minutes later with a bolt from the blue as Bridge beat the static Gonzalez from 25 yards.
Tomasz Kuszczak maintained the 2-0 lead with a super save from Tomasz Cywka.
Still it was a shock when Barnsley got back into the game through Albion old boy Craig Davies .
The Reds’ skipper for the day fired a 34th minute penalty under Kuszczak’s dive after Andrew Crofts tripped Jacob Mellis after some tidy Barnsley passing.
The two-goal lead was restored just two minutes later with the troublesome Bruno at the origin of the goal.
He made a trademark raid down the right and his low cross was shot goalwards by Barnes – and deflected in off the unwitting Mackail-Smith.
Bruno seemed to be fouled by Davies just inside the Reds box and John Stones was lucky to escape a second yellow card as he pulled down the flying Mackail-Smith just outside the box.
Further punishment for Stones was handed out three minutes into the second period. Noone skipped away from his challenge and fired in a cross which was headed goalwards by Barnes and deftly flicked inside the far post by Mackail-Smith.
Barnes added the 81st-minute fifth from sub Kazenga LuaLua’s cut-back and left to a standing ovation a couple of minutes later.