Football can be cruel. In the space of minutes, a result can be turned on its head and throw fans through every emotion thinkable. Fulham were on the receiving end of that when Brighton punished them with two goals in three minutes back in early January. That would be the unfortunate fate of Brighton last night. Goals from Mohamed Diame and Ayoze Perez in the space of eight minutes snatched 3 points and 1st place from Hughton’s clutches.
Thoughts on the game…
Brighton started off the stronger of the two sides. Bruno was denied by Kyle Darlow after the keeper parried his powerful volley. Baldock also came very close after a clever free kick routine which saw him clear on goal. However, once again Darlow made the vital stop. The Magpies keeper made a few more decent saves against Knockaert and Murray
A scramble in the box granted Brighton a seemingly fortuitous penalty. Both Murray and Clark were pulling each others shirts. It was the first of many odd decisions by referee, Bobby Madley. Murray stepped up and converted the penalty.
Both teams had very good chances to score. Gouffran should have capitalised from Stockdale’s mistake. Brighton were unlucky to have a header cleared off the line. On another day the score could of been much higher for both teams.
It was a very mixed game for Brighton. The Seagulls created many great chances in the first 30 minutes. However, it was Newcastle who controlled the rest of the match in search of an equaliser.
David Stockdale – 6 – The keeper made some important saves which undeniably kept Brighton in the match. However, he almost gifted Gouffran a goal with a careless pass. Stockdale also should of done better with his punch for the first goal. It left him out of position for Diame’s fortuitous deflection.
Bruno – 5 – Unlucky not to score from his powerful volley. He was caught out of position and needed to win the header from Ritchie’s cross field ball to prevent the second goal.
Dunk – 7 – Another solid performance. Didn’t do much wrong and unlucky to see his header cleared off the line.
Duffy – 7 – Continuing to impress and wins virtually every header. A brilliant addition alongside Dunk. However shouldn’t have lost Perez in the box for Newcastle’s second goal
Tomori – 5 – Struggled on the left side because he is naturally right footed. Played well enough and made a few decent tackles.
Knockaert – 6 – We saw occasional glimpses of his quality. However, Newcastle did well in man marking and making sure he had limited space.
Sidwell – 8 – Another solid performance. He made some crucial tackles. Sidwell alongside Stephens is looking like a great partnership.
Stephens – 6 – Average game for his standard. He did his job but also misplaced too many passes on the night.
Murphy – 7 – One of the better performers in the team. His direct running threatened Newcastle in the first half. He went missing in the second half.
Baldock – 6 – Provided energy and pace upfront as he always does. He was unlucky not to score in first half.
Murray – 5 – Yes he scored a penalty. However, misplaced far too many passes and was isolated in the second half. Not his best game in a Brighton shirt.
Man of the Match:
Steve Sidwell. He was been rock solid in recent games. Provided some crucial tackles and link up play. He didn’t put a foot wrong in my opinion.
We have played the best team in the Championship and were unlucky to lose. We lost to a team that is worth over £70,000,000 who also have a Champions League winning manager at their helm. We only have one top six side to play (Leeds). The rest of our games are very ‘winnable’ against mid-table sides. Villa might be a struggle on the last day of the season, but hopefully we will be promoted already by then.
We need Newcastle to do us a favour and beat Huddersfield and Reading in their two fixtures. If they do and we can get past Forest and Rotherham then we could be 12 points clear of third.
We have +30 goal difference and are 6 points clear of third. We are in a very strong position and promotion is in our hands. Lets just hope the players can hold their nerve.
Both teams were below par however it was still an end-to-end entertaining game. The scoreline should have been much higher! Bobby Madley didn’t help the flow of the game by blowing the whistle every time players made contact. I thought we sat on our laurels too early and payed the price by sitting too deep and as a result gave Ritchie and Shelvey space to run at our defence and spray passes around the pitch. We were too sloppy with our passing which cost us when we were chasing a goal at the end. Hughton normally makes wise substitutions, however, taking Baldock off when it was 1-1 invited pressure and allowed the Magpies defence to play it out from the back. Kayal was also ineffective when he came on the pitch.
However, the chances we created would have probably been enough against a lower-placed side. It wasn’t our worse performance but a combination of misfortune and lack of concentration cost us. If we play like we did last night against Nottingham Forest, we are very likely to come away with three points.
Ideally, both Newcastle and Brighton will finish in the top two. Both teams have been superior than the rest of the Championship clubs over the course of the season and it would be the fairest outcome!
I believe Newcastle will win the league. Last night’s result will probably be the difference. However, winning the league is not the priority. Securing second and avoiding play offs is.
Top two is the priority and we are still in a great position to finish there.
Article by George Carden