It is times like this as a fan that you want to curl up into a corner and rock yourself back and forth, or bang your head against a wall, and I’m sure that most Brighton fans would of done one or the other on the last few games, as they slipped up once again away at Rotherham. While Rotherham were well deserved winners, it should of been made much harder for a side really struggling this season, who at the start of play were only just above the relegation places, and with the mentality of being automatic promotion contenders, this was a game Brighton would of ear-marked for 3 points. But with Brighton’s confidence at rock-bottom, it’s the oppositions chance to collect 3 points. Brighton’s winless run is now extended to 8 games, while their scoreless run is now at 6! So when are the horrible streaks going to end? If I knew I would give you an exact answer right now, but unfortunatly I don’t hold that power. For me, Hughton still needs to do some January shopping; the squad just hasn’t got the depth as the likes of Derby or Middlesbrough, even with the likes of Gaetan Bong and Solly March out injured. A new centre back is definatly required and so too might a creative central midfielder, as Beram Kayal and Dale Stephens are being played pretty much every game without a rest. Anyway on to the game.
Brighton started slow and sluggish, but did have the first chance; new signing Anthony Knockaert crossed the ball towards James Wilson, but Kirk Broadfoot headed clear only to Knockaert, his shot then flashed across the goal when he might of been better to square the ball. Rotherham had the next chance; a cross from Grant Ward was met by Danny Ward, but his looping header was wide of David Stockdale’s goal, and was able to see it out. The 2 Ward’s linked up again; a deep cross from Grant towards Danny was headed towards goal, but Stockdale was easily able to gather it. A genius piece of play from D.Ward allowed G.Ward a chance; after a bit of pinball on the edge of the Albion box, a reverse back heel from Danny into the path of Grant allowed him a chance at goal, but instead tried to be unselfish and cross the ball, but no teammates had made the run thinking that he would take it on himself. Rotherham did score on their next chance though; Joe Mattock’s cross wasn’t delt with by Lewis Dunk, who slipped over while trying to clear the ball, with Dunk kicking it into the path of D.Ward, who volleyed the ball past Stockdale’s near post and into the net to give the Millers a deserved lead. Brighton should of been level moments into the second half; Wilson played a lovely ball through the Rotherham defence for Stephens, but with him 1-on-1 he fluffed his shot and went well wide of the goal, much to the relief of the Rotherham defence who were convinced he was offside (he wasn’t though). With a few half-chances here and there, the game was there for the taking for Rotherham and they did just that, but the did have some help again from the Albion defence; a cross from G.Ward was met by Bruno, but the defenders header was headed straight into the path of Matt Derbyshire, who half-volleyed the ball into the top left-hand corner. Brighton had 2 late chances, the first from Bobby Zamora; after a corner, the ball pinged around the box and after Zamora had finally got the ball under control, he tried to cross the ball towards the back post, but came off as a shot, which had Lee Camp back-peddling to tip the ball over. The second came from a Knockaert free-kick; a beautiful cross from the Frenchman was met by Kayal, but his header cannoned back of the post with Camp stranded, before finally ricocheting off Tomer Hemed for a goal-kick. The final whistle was met with cheers in the home ends, but huge disappointment from the brave 375 travelling Brighton fan’s, who were expecting to see their team come away with something.
As I wasn’t their last night, I can only review on what I have been told by friends who did go.
Stockdale (6); Did the basics well, but didn’t have that much to do. Couldn’t do anything with their goals, but will be disappointed to be beaten at his near post.
Bruno (6); didn’t have much to do for a lot of the game, but his header to Crofts/Dunk was atrocious and gifted them their second goal.
Greer (6); Back from injury, but might be going straight back on the treatment table after coming off. Did well in defending in the air, but when the ball was on the ground found it hard to contain D.Ward.
Dunk (6); He may of slipped, but he still gave the goal away; maybe a few games rest just to bet his head right might do him some good. Other than that he did quite well, and didn’t have too many problems
Ridgewell (6); Had the hardest job of the night trying to keep G.Ward quiet, which he found hard to do; pretty much everything came through him.
Knockaert (8); A great debut from the Frenchman, created a couple of decent chances, including the injury time free-kick; definatly a lot more to come.
Kayal (6); Looked sluggish in the first half, but picked it up in the second half with some nice passing and chance creation
Stephens (6); Like Kayal, he was slow on the ball and passes went astray. Improved in the second half, but should of levelled the tie when 1-0 down.
Murphy (6); Very quiet in the first half, barely involved in the game. Improved the second half, but taken off for LuaLua.
Wilson (5); Not his fault, but had no chances what so ever; bit hard for a striker to score with no chances being created.
Hemed (5); Had the same problem as Wilson, no chance creation means no goals; he needs the service for him to score the goals, just like at the start of the season.
Zamora (5); Barely involved in the game, only his cross/shot was his real contribution to the game.
LuaLua (5); On for Murphy, and looked livelier than him, but still didn’t get involved in the game too much.
Crofts (N/A); Came on for Greer, may of been at fault for not getting to Bruno’s header.
Rotherham  –  Brighton; D.Ward (45), Derbyshire (86);
Att; 9,295 (375 Brighton)