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.
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