Bolton Wanderers v Brighton and Hove Albion (26/09/15) | Review

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.

Line-Up;

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

Wolverhampton Wanderers v Brighton and Hove Albion (19/09/15) | Review

With the eighth game in this season’s Championship season completed, hands up who thought that Brighton were still going to be unbeaten?? Not even the most optimistic fan would of banked on it!! However, that is exactly what is occurring right now, after Brighton made it eight game unbeaten in the Championship with a 0-0 draw away to Wolves on Saturday. Going into the game, Brighton were on a 4 game winning run which included wins against promotion rivals Ipswich and Hull, while Wolves had only managed one win in 4. On paper and statistics it seemed to be going one way, but as we all know, this is the Championship and anything can happen! Wolves had started the season slow, there is no disputing that but they have and always will be hard to beat especially at home. Going by previous encounters, it seemed that this game was going to be a low-scoring, and very evenly matched game based on the two 1-1 draws last season. And so it was, with not many clear-cut chances for either side to take all three points, one point seemed to be a fair result. But it wasn’t with out its fair share of refereeing decisions along the way. The first came when Jamie Murphy, who kept his starting place at the expense of the injured Sam Baldock, was bundled down inside the box by Wolves defender Scott Golbourne, with the referee making no hesitation but to point to the spot, and giving Brighton the chance to take a twenty-one minute lead. However, Tomer Hemed, who had converted his previous two penalties for Brighton, had this one saved by Emiliano Martinez and the resulting rebound. Martinez, who had been beaten twice from the penalty spot so far this season, got down quick enough to stop what was a weak penalty, and then had the desire to get out and block the rebound too, which denied Brighton what would of been a deserved lead based on the first twenty minutes of play. After the penalty save, Wolves grew into the game, and had chances themselves, one through a free kick from James Henry, which evaded everyone before Adam LeFondre’s effort was blocked by Hemed. After half-time, Wolves midfielder Conor Coady saw a straight red for a mis-timed tackle which lead Liam Rosenior to require extensive attention from the physio’s. After that, the game became stretched and chances were starting to come around with both teams creating opportunities, but nothing good nor clinical enough to see them take away all three points. All in all, some might say, it’s a point well-deserved, some might say it’s two points dropped. However, Rome wasn’t built in a day, and there is still thirty-eight games left of the season, and one point is better that none especially as you also keep your unbeaten league record, which only Brighton and Portsmouth now hold after the weekend’s games.

Line-up;

GK – David Stockdale (7); Didn’t have too much to do, but was confident with catching crosses from Wolves set-pieces.

RB – Bruno (7); Worked very well with Rosenior, created chances as well as keeping Sheyi Ojo quiet for most of the game, and can see a big partnership forming, just like the Bong/LuaLua one.

CB – Gordon Greer (8); Done exactly was was needed, kept Afobe quite all game, and when he did have a slight change, he snuffed it out and killed it before it could develop.

CB – Lewis Dunk (7); Re-called to the starting line-up in replace of Uwe Hunemeier, who missed the trip due to a hip injury, but commanded the area well, and limited LeFondre’s chances except for the one in the first half which was blocked by Hemed.

LB – Bong (7); Once again, he worked well with LuaLua down the left, but also managed to keep the always tricky James Henry quiet when Wolves broke out on attacks.

CDM – Kayal (7); As he has been since the start of the season, solid in midfield and didn’t look like losing many battles in the middle of the park. Job became easier when Coady was sent off, and had more room to roam.

CDM – Stephens (7); Created many problems in the first-half, faded away a little during the second half, but his set-pieces are becoming more dangerous as the season goes on.

RM – Rosenior (7); Linked up well with Bruno, and created enough chances, but with no reward. Can tell he is setteling in quick, and is fast-becoming a starter on the right wing.

LM – LuaLua (6); Re-called after his suspension, didn’t really get going though, as most of the time he was either being doubled or tripled up by Wolves defenders.

CAM: Murphy (8); Kept his starting place instead of the injured Baldock, and fitted very well in to a more central role. Won the penalty, but also caused problems for the Wolves back four.

ST: Hemed (6); Was kept quiet in the first-half before being taken off at half-time due to a hamstring injury, day made worse with the missed penalty and rebound.

SUB: Manu (7); First taste of English football, and looked comfortable. Caught offside a few times, but cause all sorts of problems when Wolves were reduced to ten men.

SUB: Zamora (6); Came on for the last twelve minutes as he nearer’s full fitness, held the ball up well, but nothing that could of changed the game.

MOTM: Jamie Murphy

Wolverhampton Wanderers v Brighton and Hove Albion (19/09/15) | Preview

Match Preview:

With the season now entering it’s eighth game, it’s safe to say that both these teams are causing shocks from pundits and supporters alike with their starts to the new season.

Wolves had had what seems to be a slow start with just seven points taken from a possible twenty one! Meanwhile, Brighton have had the perfect start winning six of their seven and drawing the other, meaning the sit top of the table with nineteen points, five in front of nearest rivals Middlesborough. Pre-season title favourites Wolves, had a decent start to the season winning away to Blackburn, before picking up just one point from the next three games just before the international break. A defeat away to Bolton following the international break has left most Wolves fans scratching their heads wondering ‘How have we started so badly, after such a good second half of the season last year’. In truth, I think that most are wondering the same thing, is it the fact they have just started slow? Or maybe the new signing haven’t settled yet and need time to adapt? We don’t know, but one thing is for sure Wolves are still too good to be underestimating considering the quality of their team, and their strong home record where they recorded thirteen victories last season and only four defeats, whilst scoring a head-turning fourty-two goals in the process. With the news that Adam Le Fondre looks set to miss the clash, Wolves have only Benik Afobe as their only recognized striker, which could well hinder their chances of scoring against a resolute Brighton defence, who have only conceded five goals this season, two of which came in an eleven minute onslaught at Ipswich.

In comparison Brighton have had a wondrous start to the campaign, claiming big victories at promotion hopefuls Ipswich and Hull, as well as play-off contenders Fulham, Blackburn and Nott’m Forest, with the midweek draw away to Huddersfield their only blip so far. Striker Tomer Hemed has fired five goals so far, netting in each of his last 3 games as he feels his way around English football after his move from Almeira. The midfield pairing of Beram Kayal and Dale Stephens has bought stability, hunger and goals to Brighton’s midfield, something which they lacked last season. Let’s not forget August’s player of the month Kazenga LuaLua will also be back in contention for a starting place fresh from his suspension for five yellow cards this season. All in all, the game in the Midlands tomorrow looks set to be a cracker, and is one not to be missed.

Likely Brighton Line-Up;

GK: Stockdale

D: Bruno, Greer, Hunemeier, Bong

M: Murphy, Kayal, Stephens, LuaLua

S: Baldock, Hemed

Prediction:

Wolves 0-1 Brighton