With the chance to break a long standing record, Brighton walked into this match with an impressive eight match unbeaten league run against a Bolton side who have struggled so far this season. On paper, it was a bit of a mis-match but this is the Championship, and no game is ever decided on paper! With Hemed and LuaLua not featuring for the Albion, it was always going to be a challenge without two very impactful players. After an away hammering by Huddersfield last week, Bolton were looking to bounce back at home, and got off to a flying start with some excellent football with great chances created, first from Max Clayton who’s deflected, dipping effort was tipped over by the impressive David Stockdale. After a tight thirty minutes or so, Brighton took the lead after Bobby Zamora, making his second Albion debut, held the ball up well and laid Dale Stephens the ball for him to tuck away in the corner. Just four minutes later, the lead was doubled after Liam Rosenior ran down the right wing and sent in a low ball across the goal, for the simplest of finishes for Jamie Murphy to side foot the ball home. The goalscoring wasn’t over there, as Bolton managed to half the deficit when Neil Danns pinched the ball in midfield and hit a shot into Stockdale’s bottom right-hand corner. The second half didn’t have the same intensity or desire as the first as chances were at a premium, until what was the turning point in the game, when Murphy was shown a controversial straight red card for what seemed to be a lung on Danns. Replays clearly showed that Murphy had lost his footing before colliding with Danns, but referee Mark Heywood brandished the red, and Murphy was sent on his way back to the changing rooms. After this, Bolton piled the pressure on the Albion, with chances coming thick and fast; Gary Madine turned away from trouble and was only denied by the trailing leg of Stockdale. However, all the pressure paid off as in the ninety-fourth minute, Madine rose highest in a crowded penalty area to head the ball past the disparing Stockdale and earn a point for Bolton. So, Brighton come away with a point on two successive away games, which most thought they should of won. Last weeks result against Wolves was defiantly questionable, but this week there is no doubt that it was two points dropped, and should still be four points clear at the summit of the Championship. However, the positives to take away from this are that Brighton have had their best start to a season for sixty-two years! Not only that, but it’s the first time in Brighton history that an Albion team are unbeaten after the first nine league games! So it looks like Brighton are on the up, and with three home games coming up out of the next four, you would love to see that unbeaten record to be extended.
GK – David Stockdale (9); Kept busy for pretty much the whole afternoon and made some wonderful saves. Brought his ‘A’ game when it was needed otherwise Brighton could of taken nothing away from the Macron.
RB – Bruno (7); Not much chance to get forward having to keep tabs on the pacey Wellington Silva, but defensively sound.
CB – Gordon Greer (7); Had a tough day marking Madine, but did it well enough to limit his chances.
CB – Uwe Humemeier (6); Like Greer, had a hard day running after Madine with his tireless running, and lost the aerial battle with Madine to give them the equaliser.
LB – Gaetan Bong (7); With no LuaLua in the squad, his chances to get forward and offer support were limited, but kept Liam Feeney quiet for m ost of the game until Murphy’s red card.
RM – Liam Rosenior (8); Now a sure starter at right wing, he one again did brilliantly, more notably with his assist to Murphy and his constant chance creation, its hard to keep him out the squad.
CM – Dale Stephens (7); Scored the opener and kept things tight in midfield didn’t let Danns have too much room to move in which hindered Bolton’s chance creation.
CM – Beram Kayal (6); After weeks of good games your bound to get a bad one, and this was it. At fault for Danns goal after being tackled too easily, and passing was off for most of the afternoon.
LM – Jamie Murphy (7); Mixed afternoon for the former Sheffield United player, scored his first Albion goal, the receives his first red card of his career. Other than the dubious red card, had a good day hassling Francesco Pisano at right-back.
ST – Bobby Zamora (8); His second debut for the Albion resulted in him getting an assist and a standing ovation from the travelling fans after being taken off on the hour. Linked up with Baldock very well, and has caused a selection headache for Hughton ahead of the visit of Cardiff next week.
ST – Sam Baldock (7); Returned to the starting eleven after his injury, and looked lively up top with Zamora, with some great link up play.
SUB – Rohan Ince (6); Replaced Zamora to sure up the midfield which he did nicely.
SUB – Solly March (6); Replaced the injured Bruno, didn’t have much time to make an impact and didn’t help the red card happened three minutes of him coming on.
SUB – Inigo Calderon (5); Replaced Baldock to protect the points after Murphy was sent off, which didn’t happen.
MOTM; David Stockdale