What was set to be a absolute blockbuster of a match, turned out to be a huge dissapointed as Newcastle eased to a victory over the very under par Seagulls. Brighton never turned up, and Newcastle took full advantage of that.
It was always going to be a difficult task for the Albion to get something from the game, and the way they started the game made it even harder for them; Newcastle controlling possession without any threat of losing it, and plenty of high pressure to regain the ball back quickly. The first chance of the game resulted in the first goal of the afternoon, when a Matt Ritchie freekick was sent into the Albion box and Jamaal Lascelles shrugged off his marker, to bullet home a header. Goan Gouffran rattled the bar with his venomous effort from 25+ yards out. Mohamed Diame won the ball in the Brighton penalty area, and cut the ball back to Ritchie who’s effort was parried wide by David Stockdale. From the resulting corner, Goufrran skied his shot over after a well worked corner between Jonjo Shelvey, Ritchie and Vurnon Anita. Brighton had their first shot test Matz Sels, when Anthony Knockaert cut back a ball to Sam Baldock on the edge of the box, which Sels parried away from goal. Second half started with an audacious half way shot from Baldock from the kick-off. Knockaert then hit the bar after Beram Kayal beat the offside trap, and Knockaert taking the shot after the Israeli had a heavy touch. Baldock saw his first red card of his career not soon after, after picking up a second yellow for clattering into Sels after he cleared the ball; it was a slightly harsh decision. Newcastle took advantage of the extra man, and doubled their lead when Shelvy scored from outside the box with a bending free-kick, which left Stockdale rooted to the spot. Shelvy could of had a second had it not been for the fingertips of Stockdale, to push away his low driving effort. Kazenga LuaLua’s introduction might have sparked a revival for the Seagulls, but his shot at goal was just wide. Kayal tested Sels with a well struck shot inside the box, but the Belgian got a big hand on it to deny an Albion goal. 2-0 the game finished, a result which ends Albion’s 18 game unbeaten league run.
Stockdale (6); Will be dissapointed with both goals; got a hand to Lascelles header but couldn’t keep it out, and never set up his wall right for Shelvy’s goal. Did make a couple of neat saves though from it being a bigger deficit.
Bruno (6); Was keen to get forward, but needed to do more defensive work with Goufrran always an attacking threat.
Duffy (6); Good debut from the Irish man, other than losing Lascelles for the opening goal, he didn’t put a foot wrong.
Dunk (7); Looked solid once again; didn’t let Perez into the game that much, and looked comfortable with Duffy partnering him.
Bong (5); Terrible game from the fullback; gave the ball away with some poor/heavy touches, and allowed Ritchie to walk all over him for a majority of the game.
Knockaert (7); Never fails to impress me, either with his skill, technique or work rate and this was no different; didn’t really have an end product though.
Kayal (6); Was outplayed by a blinding Shelvy performance; hard to control the midfield when the opposition continuously have the ball.
Sidwell (6); Like Kayal he found it hard to get into the game, was more a spectator in the 2nd half too.
Skalak (5); Probably his worst performance in a Brighton shirt; his movement was non existent, and his set pieces and crossing were dreadful.
Baldock (5); Might have been slightly harsh, but he knows he messed up Brighton’s chance of getting something from the game by having an early shower. The first yellow was unnecessary, and the 2nd was stupid even if it was an accident.
Murray (6); Don’t think I saw him on the pitch for large parts of the game, as he was so isolated; good hold up play when he had the ball, but not that much to offer especially when Baldock went off.
Hemed (6); No chances really well his way.
Norwood (6); A couple of testing passes, but nothing spectacular
LuaLua (6); Few good runs gave the Magpies defence a cause for concern, but no end product.
NUFC - BHAFC; Lascelles (15), Shelvy (63);
Att; 49,196 (Brighton – Figure unknown, reported 1,800)