The Day After: A Brighton Fan’s Thoughts on the Game


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.

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Image sourced from: irishmirror.ie

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.


Player Ratings

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Image sourced from: dailymail.co.uk (Getty Images)

 

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 – 5Struggled 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:

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Image sourced from: dailymail.co.uk

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.



Remaining Games

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.


Verdict

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Image sourced from: Getty Images

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
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Victory against Huddersfield puts the Albion back on track

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Overview

Brighton edged Huddersfield in what turned out to be a relatively tight affair.

Jamie Murphy was sent clean through by Tomer Hemed in the 8th minute. The Scotsman missed the one-on-one effort however, thus not giving Brighton the early lead.

Both teams struggled to break each other down in what was turning out to be a fairly conservative match. Long range efforts from Beram Kayal and former Albion loanee, Rajiv Van La Parra, were close to finding the net.

Brighton had the clearer chances out of both sides. However it was in the 80th minute where the deadlock would be broken. A powerful run along the edge of the box from Jamie Murphy excited Brighton fans, however the subsequent shot from Glenn Murray was blocked by the Terriers defence. Hope was not lost, the rebound was picked up by Murphy who slid the ball to Anthony Knockaert, the winger took a speculative low-driven shot towards the goal. It looked like an easy save for Huddersfield goalkeeper, Danny Ward. However, as he blocked the shot, the ball rolled out of his arms and into the back of the net. An extremely fortuitous goal for the Albion however probably a deserved one from Brighton’s control on the game.


Our Man of the Match

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Lewis Dunk. The amount of times he recovered Gaetan Bong’s mistakes was incredible. His maturity, inch-perfect tackling, direct running, and beautiful long range passes to wide areas helped stretch the play and start attacks for Brighton. It is great to see him becoming such an important figure within our team. Personally, I think he should be next in line for the captain’s armband.


Team Ratings

Stockdale – 6 – Improved since the Brentford game. Made some solid saves throughout the match.

Bruno – 6 – Helped stretch the play effectively and another player who improved since the Brentford match.

Dunk – 9 – Didn’t put a foot wrong all game. Deserved Man of the Match.

Duffy – 6 – He was solid alongside Dunk and won pretty much every header. I just worry about his definite lack of pace.

Bong – 4 – Wasn’t at the races today (and hasn’t been for a number of weeks) – Looks sluggish and gives the ball away too often. Maybe a spell out of the side would help recapture his form.

Kayal – 7 – Solid Kayal-esque performance. Did what expected!

Stephens – 7 – Put his head down and worked hard which is nice to see after the recent transfer fiasco. His partnership with Kayal is looking formidable as always.

Murphy – 6 – Missed a sitter early on and went missing for parts of the game. However did get an assist for Knockaert’s goal. Average performance.

Knockaert – 7 – Wasn’t his usual menacing self in the centre of the park and looked to get crowded out by the Huddersfield players. Went out wide in the latter stages of the game and scored a goal. Decent performance.

Skalak – 5 – Didn’t do much tonight and lacked that extra yard of pace when he did have the ball.

Hemed – 7 – I was very impressed with his hold up play in the first half. He was an effective target man and seemed to win every header. Went missing in the second half sometimes.


Summary

Overall, it wasn’t one of Brighton’s best performances. They had 15 shots but only managed to get 3 of those on target. The Albion were solid defensively, they didn’t allow Huddersfield the opportunity to get a decent chance in the box.  In the end, its a big statement of intent to beat the early league leaders and has reignited the faith of many fans for the season ahead. Onwards and upwards!

 

Article by George Carden.

 

 

BHAFC vs QPR – Seagulls soar as QPR are swept aside

Despite the ‘cheesiness’ of the title. The statement is very true. Thirteen goals in four games have secured four straight victories. The Seagulls are well and truly soaring.

The scoreline could seem a bit harsh on Queens Park Rangers. A few decent chances to take the lead kept the Albion faithful biting their nails. Conor Washington failed to hit the target from inside the box in what was arguably QPR’s biggest chance of the match. The 2.5 million man, signed from Peterborough in January, could have got his first league goal for the Hoops. However it wasn’t to be.

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Matt Phillips capitalised on a silly Bruno mistake, driving forward and testing David Stockdale with a low shot. Thankfully, a strong glove parried the ball away for Dunk to clear.

As many disappointed Brighton fans descended down the stairs in what was an extremely dull first half for the Albion. One man stepped up. The ever reliable Knockaert curled a freekick top corner from just outside the box. I managed to capture the goal on my phone. Click here to watch it. Don’t forget to carry on reading this article though!

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Whatever Chris Hughton said to the players must have worked. In similar fashion to the 5-0 romping against Fulham. The Albion looked free-flowing, entertaining, and most importantly, dangerous. It took just six minutes for Brighton to get a second of the evening. Jiří Skalák, the man from Mladá, picked up the ball from ex-Brighton youngster Grant Hall, and on the half volley, smashed the ball into the top corner from what must be 30 yards out. What a way to score your first goal in English football! In my opinion it has to be goal of the season. Skalák has now got six assists and one goal in the space of six starts.

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Photo credit: gettyimages – Mike Hewitt

After this it was a case of how many goals we would score before the final whistle. The answer would be two. A Goldson looping header made it 3-0. Knockaert put the icing on the cake with a placed shot into the bottom corner. Capping off a fine performance from the Frenchman.


Man of the Match:

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Anthony Knockaert. A faultless performance helped ensure a Brighton victory. Two goals and one assist made it 5 goals and 5 assists in 15 games for the winger. A shrewd piece of business by the recruitment team.


Verdict:

Middlesbrough and Burnley must be looking over their shoulder very nervously. The Seagulls look the only team ‘un-phased’ by the mounting pressure of automatic promotion. However it is almost impossible to decide who will come out on top in these three matches. Who can hold their nerve? My money is on Brighton.

Match Review -Forest vs BHAFC – ‘Sidwell saves the day’

 

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Before sitting down to watch a must-win game for the Albion. We decided to get some pre-match food. Nandos it was. I’m generally not their biggest fan however it did the trick as was nicer than expected. As we walked in, I noticed a familiar… head. Faced away from me with his younger brother, Sami, and some friends was ex-Albion defender Adam El-Abd. I could recognised that shaved head from a mile away! They were probably going to watch Brighton on the television too.

 

 

The game had started. The first real chance of note came in the 27th minute. Jiri Skalak whipping the ball into the six yard box (aka. the corridor of uncertainty) where Lewis Dunk touched it into the net via Danny Fox. Another great delivery from Brighton’s set piece maestro and another assist! 1-0 Albion.

That was the only real chance before half time. A controversial incident where the referee failed to stop the play to allow Goldson to be treated by medical staff, allowing Forest to have a decent chance in the process. What I thought was quite wonderful from the incident was the fact that every Albion player ran over to question the decision (or lack there-of). It really showed the spirit and ‘togetherness’ of this squad.

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Dunk headers to make it 1-0.

 

The second half was completely different. Nottingham came out a side determined to score. Unfortunately, the Albion defence succumbed to the pressure. A Forest free kick was glanced on by substitute Dexter Blackstock. The goal would have been prevented by man marking and having someone on the post. Zonal marking fails us again!

Forest almost made it 2-1 after Blackstock dispossessed Goldson and slotted it through to Lansbury who put it just over the bar. The defence could count themselves lucky.

 

A rare break from Forest’s pressure saw a cross to the unmarked Tomer Hemed who somehow put the ball inches wide from about 3 yards out! However a similar situation manifested up the other end as Blackstock also managed to header a ball wide from a similar distance. Both teams fortunate not to concede.

The game started to even out towards the latter stages. However this was not good. Anything less than a win was disastrous for Albion’s promotion hopes. On comes Sidwell. Looking at Twitter, a fair amount of fans were moaning and groaning about bringing Sidwell on. However he would deny and prove the haters wrong. A twisting run from Knockaert who somehow managed to get the ball through about six Forest players landed at the feet of ‘the ginger Pele’ who smashed the ball into the bottom corner and realed away towards the bench/ stampede of Albion substitutes and coaches. An injury time winner away at Forest sounds so familiar doesn’t it?

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Verdict:

A tense encounter where Brighton were strong for the majority of the game. However complacency prevailed and once again a preventable set piece led to them almost drawing the game. However thanks to the wizard-like powers of Knockaert and cool-head of Sidwell, the Albion were able to leave Nottingham with a relieved smile on their face and of course, the three points.

Article by George Carden (@George_Carden)

 

 

Match Review – Bristol City vs BHAFC – ‘Seagulls take their chances’

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“It was as complete a performance as we have put in all season. We are not a team who scores a lot of goals so to get four was very pleasing.” -Chris Hughton

The Albion proved doubters wrong with an emphatic 4-0 away win at Bristol City’s Ashton Gate. Brighton proved that they can still beat teams when playing badly which is seen in the remarkable statistic that they only completed 65.8% of their passes.

Bristol City applied some decent early pressure on the Brighton defence however it was the Seagulls who took an early lead when Tomer Hemed slotted through a wonderful back-heel pass into the path of Jamie Murphy who ran into the box and calmly placed the ball passed the onrushing O’Donnell.

Things got even more exciting when former Bristol City talisman, Sam Baldock picked up another beautiful Hemed backheel, ran across the 18-yard box and drove the ball into the bottom left-hand corner. 2-0 Brighton.

The game evened out for the remainder of the first half, however Bristol showed a constant threat which meant Stockdale had to keep on his toes to make a handful of solid saves.

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After the break, it took just eleven minutes for Brighton to get their third of the evening. Tomer Hemed latching onto a wonderful Kayal through ball and slotting into the bottom corner. A thoroughly deserved goal for the striker who had already grabbed himself two assists.

Bristol applied constant pressure, however the majority of their attempts were outside the box. No doubt down to the solid defensive work of Dunk, Goldson, Calderon, and Rosenior.

A looping free kick from Kayal was met by midfield partner, Dale Stephens who got his head to it, however unfortunately for Bristol a deflection sent the ball past the helpless O’Donnell. 4-0 Brighton.

Bristol had a chance to take away Stockdale’s deserved clean sheet with a penalty. Kieran Agard blazed the ball onto the crossbar to keep the score at 4-0.


 

BHAFC Supporters Man of the Match:

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Tomer Hemed for playing a pivotal role in the victory. 2 assists and a deserved goal. Well done Tomer!


 

Overall:

A very solid defensive display denied Bristol from getting into the Albion box very often. Furthermore Brighton were very clinical with three smart goals from Murphy, Hemed, and Baldock. A great team effort and performance to beat a team who don’t deserve to be 21st.

Most importantly, Brighton showed they can beat teams even when not playing at their best. It is also very nice to see a wider range of players start to hit form. Hemed and Murphy have really stepped up of late and continued brilliant midfield performances from Knockaert, Kayal, and Stephens mean we have a really solid backbone.

Chris Hughton’s men now have a 6 day break to rest and prepare for a tough but winnable home fixture vs Leeds on the 29th February.


Player Ratings:

                                                                      Stockdale: 8

Calderon: 7                    Goldson: 7                                          Dunk: 7                           Rosenior: 7

Knockaert: 7                 Stephens: 8                                        Kayal: 7                            Murphy: 8

                                          Baldock: 8                                         Hemed: 9  (MOTM)

Match Review – QPR 2 BHAFC 2 – 15 December 2015

It’s disappointing but, if we get three points against Middlesbrough, it’s a nice run – Bruno Saltor

The night started off not too well. Signalling problems meant reasonably large delays. Despite this we managed to get up to Westfield shopping centre via overground train (10 minutes from Loftus Road). The next issue was the constant downpour and humongous puddles lining the London pavements. Luckily Google maps bailed us out and gave us plenty of time before kick off to admire the ‘wonderful’ box-like structure that is Loftus Road.

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There is an uncanny similarity between the two images!

Anyway enough of that lets talk about the match. Pretty much all sensible fans would admit that QPR were the much more dangerous-looking side in the first half. Shots from Austin and Phillips were brilliantly saved by in form keeper, David Stockdale. QPR got unlucky when the man himself, Inigo Calderon blocked the ball off the line – giving the Albion another chance. After a bright start, the game started to level out and the first half finished a reasonably fair 0-0. The Albion fans were in full voice and singing for the majority of the first half. Y

To summarise the performance, we were solid and consistent enough in defence but showed no cutting edge in attack. The second half started very brightly. Just seven minutes after the restart, a cross from Inigo Calderon was met by the stretching Dunk who looped the ball back into the six yard box for Dale Stephens to perform a brilliantly strange overhead kick from about two feet off the ground – great improvisation from the midfielder! Also QPR fans who think that Sandro was fouled by Stephens need to realise that a 6’2″ defensive midfielder needs to be stronger than that (basically man up and don’t dive!) Our goal seemed against the run of play but it shows that in football, you need to take your chances.

 To add insult to injury, on-loan Wolves winger, Rajiv Van La Parra thundered home a lovely driven shot from what must of been 35 yards out. QPR seemed to be in shock from the first goal – this lapse of concentration allowed Rajiv the time and space to turn and calmly smash the ball into the bottom corner. Admittedly QPR fans will feel like Green should have done better as the ball went under him but all credit to Van La Parra… it was a powerful unexpected shot that a lot of keepers would struggle to save. image

I thought that goal was the final nail in the coffin, that got us the three points… However Albion seemed to have their own fatal lapse of concentration. A driven Phillips cross landed to star-striker Charlie Austin who seemed to lose the ball however a fortunate rebound allowed him to tuck the ball past Stockdale into the top corner (an exquisite finish by the striker). Matters only got worse as Lewis Dunk over-committed for a ball and nailed Faurlin with the high foot. I don’t think it was intentional however the referee was completely right to send him off, a silly thing for our centre back to do when we are trying to maintain 3 points.

After this, QPR really turned the pressure up and this payed dividends after a Bobby Zamora handball led to a free kick which was turned behind for a corner. Inevitably, Austin flicked the ball into the back of the net. Two things that we could have done to prevent this goal… Have someone bigger marking Austin (not Bruno!) and put someone on the line to block the header!

The 4th official somehow came up with the magic number of 7 minutes added time – definitely a QPR fan! Phillips nearly made it 3-2 with a driven strike which skimmed the post to almost replicate our 3-2 comeback vs Charlton.


 

Summary

Overall I believe that it was a fair result, QPR were the stronger team in the first half. We started very brightly in the second half, prevailing with two quick fire goals however after their first goal our performance went completely downhill. However we did well considering we had 10 men for 15 minutes. However we should never have let the 2-0 lead slip. But like Bruno said these two draws will be completely worth it if we win on Saturday. Another result where before the match I would have been happy with a draw but also feel disappointed because we could have easily won the match after being 2-0 up!

Match Review – BHAFC 3 – 2 Charlton – 05 December 2015

They’ve showed it in abundance all season but you are going to have to show some character and how badly you don’t want to lose this game.  – Chris Hughton

I had football deja vu of Cardiff’s opener this season. Charlton made a break on the counter as Demola Lookman made a speedy run to recieve Reza Ghoochannejhad’s pass (try saying that after a few drinks!) and then calmly slotted the ball into the roof of the net. 1-0 Charlton.

Brighton’s quarrels were then worsened after a virtually identical counter attack led to Johann Berg Gudmundsson driving a low cross through the Albion defence for the unmarked Ghoochannejhad who drilled the ball over a helpless Stockdale to make it 2-0.

Charlton could have made it 3-0 when Ricardo Vaz Te’s cross was met by Iran international Ghoochannejhad. Thankfully Albion saviour David Stockdale clawed it off the line, keeping Brighton in the game.

A Dunk mistake led to Gudmundsson being through in what looked to be a certain goal but once again shotstopper Stockdale used his body effectively to stop any ball getting past him.

At half time Stockdale recieved a standing ovation from Albion fans for his terrific performance in at least keeping Brighton’s hopes alive.

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Just 5 minutes after the break James Wilson scored a sensational solo goal, leaving three Charlton players in the dust after winding around them to then slot the ball in-between Henderson’s legs. Talk about a composed finish! What a brilliant way to get off the mark! Here is the highlights… Wilson’s goal is at 1:36.

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Solly March came very close with a 25 yard thunderbolt which was denied by Henderson who tipped it onto the woodwork. Personally I think March is our most improved player this season. His ability to beat players has drastically improved.

Charlton’s defender was sent off after wiping out good old Bobby who was destined to score an equaliser. However this chance didn’t matter as Zamora slotted home in the 84th minute and once again was in the right place at the right time… talk about a natural poacher!

Every person was going mental… the Brighton fans, the players, the Charlton fans… maybe not the latter.

Just 2 minutes later Hemed’s powerful header was saved by Henderson, I personally thought the ball was going out but it looped up and over the helpless goalkeeper and over the line to cap off the windy afternoon with a tough but deserved victory. Everyone loves a comeback! Also I can’t tell you how happy and relieved I was for Tomer to score. Lets hope that his sixth of the season will one of many more to come. hemed celebration

Verdict

Albion showed brilliant character and fight to overcome the 2 goal deficit made by Charlton. Stockdale showed why he is the best goalie in the league with a handful of great saves to give Brighton a fighting chance. Wilson showed he is the real deal with a beautiful solo goal. Zamora used his poacher presence that only a Premier League striker can have. And Hemed relieved the pressure off of him with the decisive winner to grab the Albion the 3 points ahead of a tough month.

Personally my Man of the Match is David Stockdale. A handful of super saves denied Charlton a greater lead and helped give Brighton the spirit to fight back. Well done Stocko!

-George (Twitter: @George_Carden)