After a tough opening fixture, Brighton were back at home again for the visit of Nottingham Forest in front of the SKY camera, for what is going to seem the first of many live games Brighton will be involved in. While the stadium may not have been at full capacity, the place still had the previous season’s feel about it, and the players seemed to use that in their performance out on the pitch.
A fast start from both teams carved out opportunities early on, firstly from Brighton after an Anthony Knockaert corner was diverted narrowly wide by Damien Perquis’s defensive header, but the referee gave a goal kick thinking it had come off the head of Lewis Dunk. Ollie Burke should have put the visitors in front after Steve Sidwell gave the ball away cheaply, and after a great run Burke dragged his shot just wide of David Stockdale’s post after he had beaten Dunk in the foot race. Brighton’s presistance grew, and they were rewarded with a goal on the 36th minute through Knockaert; a good bit of wing play from Jiri Skalak help hold the ball up, before a pass to Gatean Bong in which the fullback sent in a great-looking ball, for the French winger to tap the ball home. Pastime Kasami hit the side netting from a free-kick on the edge of the Brighton penalty area, while Bruno’s tasty volley hit the side-netting too just before half-time. Dunk had a good opportunity to double the lead when a corner from Knockaert went through the defenders in the box, but Dunk missed the vital touch which would of seen the ball go in, while Glenn Murray picked up the loose ball, and curled a shot just over the bar. Murray did get his goal though not soon after, after a superb free kick from Skalak found Tomer Hemed completly open at the back post, his headed knock down allowed Murray to tap the ball home for the easiest goal. The game was wrapped up in devastating fashion, after Brighton scored on a lethal counter-attack. Knockaert drove at eh Forest defense after picking up a loose clearence from Dunk, and a good pass down the wing to sub Sam Baldock allowed Murray to pick his position in the box, and Baldock put it on a plate for him to bag a brace. He could of had a hat-trick if it wasn’t for a fine save from Stephen Henderson.
Stockdale (6); Hardly anything to do all game, and unfortunalty went off with an injury which will likely keep him out of the game Tuesday.
Rosenior (7); Lots of good link-up play with Knockaert down the right, but not quite the Bruno-Knockaert partnership just yet.
Dunk (7); Good solid display at the back, other than losing out in the foot race to Burke.
Bruno (7); Rarely in trouble throughout the evening, and looked in total control.
Bong (7); Wonderful cross for Knockaert’s goal, and good general all-round display.
Knockaert (9); Teased and prodded the forest defense all night with his movement; his goal was good but his ability to make chances from nothing is right up there with the best I’ve seen.
Kayal (7); Had a little trouble getting into the game to start with, but got on top and never looked down from then on.
SIdwell (7); Little patchy in places, notably his touches in and around the middle of the park, but a composed display nonetheless.
Skalak (8); Had Pereira in his pocket all night, and resorted in him to keep fouling the Czech. His cross from the free-kick was nothing short of superb.
Murray (9); A fine 2nd home debut; both goals may have been easy to score, but only a good striker can get into those positions to take them.
Hemed (7); Quite all night except for his knock down to Murray for the 2nd goal.
Baldock (7); Livened the team up with his introduction, and got the assist for Murray’s 2nd.
Stephens (6); On for Kayal just to ease himself back into action.
Norwood (N/A); A quick cameo appearance, more likely to get minutes on Tuesday night.
BHAFC - NFFC; Knockaert (36), Murray (68)(82);