ITFC v BHAFC (27/9/16) | Match Review

It may not have been the most exhilarating game, but Brighton came away with a point from Ipswich, a point which could be crucial come the end of the season. In a game of few chances, neither team could take them when, and if they came, with both defences on top throughout.

Ipswich started off brightly, and had the first chance when Cole Skuse tested David Stockdale with a low effort, which the Albion keeper managed to parry away to safety before recovering to pick it up. Ipswich broke out quickly after Dale Stephens had been fouled, but the free-kick not given, and Jonas Knudsen’s effort hit the side netting of Stockdale’s goal; Stephens getting a yellow card for dissent soon after. Josh Emmanuel was in the thick of things, when he turned the ball around the post from a dangerous Bruno cross in the 2nd half. From the resulting corner, Shane Duffy blasted over when the ball feel to his feet after a bit of pinball in the box. Stephens was Mae to pay for his earlier actions, when he made a reckless challenge on Johnathan Douglas, and got himself a 2nd yellow card. After a spell of Ipswich pressure, Brighton’s defences held strong and managed to hold out to keep a fourth straight league clean sheet.

Line-Up;

Stockdale (7); Only real work was saving Skuse’s low driving shot in the first half, other than that it was business as usual for the Albion stopper.

Bruno (7); Rarely troubled and controlled the ball easily; had a solid game defensively too.

Duffy (8); Much more like the player from his Blackburn days. Completly smothered Best and anything that came within his vicinity.

Dunk (7); The partnership is starting to strike at the heart of oppositions attackers. Commanding performance again, against Best and Sears when he replaced the former midway through the 2nd half.

Pocognoli (7); Not a bad league debut for the on-loan West Brom man. Had a tricky evening against Emmanuel, but nothing he couldn’t handle.

Knockaert (6); Had a couple out-of-your-seat moments, but it was a generally frustrating evening for the Frenchman.

Stephens (6); Up until the 2nd yellow, he was probably one of the better players on the pitch. Moved the ball quickly and effectively, but will be dissapointed with both the yellows he received.

Norwood (6); Unlike Kayal, Norwood’s first instinct is to play forward, and in most games that would be enough to grab you a goal, but in a tight and defensively minded game, it didn’t play out for him. Will be interesting to see what he does on Saturday.

Skalak (5); Very quiet for most of the match, and rightly taken off with him sitting in Emmanuel’s pocket.

Murray (6); Involved in a few chances, but not enough for him to make an impact. Gave Bialkowski a scare early on with his dipping long-range volley in the first half.

Hemed (6); Not much was seen of him, but looked better in the 2nd half, and was at the heart of Brighon’s counter-attacks.

Subs;

Sidwell (6); Good performance from the veteran up top, before he was drafted into midfield with Stephens’s red card.

Murphy (6); Added a bit more energy to the team, and kept Emmanuel at bay better than Skalak, but not much to offer.

ITFC [0]-[0] BHAFC;

Att; 15,228 (568 Brighton)

MOTM; Duffy

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BHAFC v BFC (24/9/16) | Match Review

It’s the magical three; three straight league wins and three clean sheets to go with them, to put the Albion back on track in their promotion chase. After back-to-back losses against Newcastle and Brentford, the Seagulls have beaten 2 of their fellow promotion rivals, and have scooped up 3 massive points away at Burton.

Glenn Murray was added back into the starting XI, and was quick to show why, when he capitalised on a good through ball from Beram Kayal but his snapshot was deflected over the bar by Angus MacDonald. Barnsley were looking threatening early on, and a succession of corners was evident of that; but it was on the 2nd corner they found themselves exposed and vulnerable. After a big punt forward by Gaetan Bong fell kindly into the path of Anthony Knockaert, the little Frenchman galloped away Dow the right wing, before twisting in between 2 defenders and laying in Kayal, who squared the ball back across goal for Murray to prod the ball past Adam Davies. Murray was looking menacing every time, and should of had another when Bong slipped past his marker into the box, and as Davies came rushing out, Bong’s little dink into Murray was placed wide of the post by the Brighton forward. There was no sign of letting up from the on-loan Bournmouth striker, as he was on the end of a superb Jiri Skalak free-kick early into the second half, to make it 2-0 and put the Seagulls in full control of the game. Skalak laid Murray in for a chance at his hat-trick, but his effort was straight a Davies. Adam Armstrong, kept quiet for much of the game, had a glancing header drift just wide of David Stockdale’s goal. Shane Duffy almost broke his Albion duck, when he was on the receiving end of a good Skalak free-kick, but his header just wide of the post. Josh Scowen’s powerful, low strike was well saved by Stockdale, before his effort a few minutes later went just over the bar and onto the roof of the net. Another 3 points for their Seagulls, and hopefully they can take their form into the 2 tough away games which follow this week.

Line-Up;

Stockdale (7); Only the 1 save to make really from Scowen. Good with the ball at his feet too, and distribution was great.

Bruno (7); Was up against danger man Adam Hammil, lost the first battle against him when booked, but was significantly better against him when booked. Good attacking play as usual.

Duffy (7); Getting better game by game, and never looked troubled against Armstrong. almost got his first Albion goal too.

Dunk (7); Consistancy is the name of the game for Dunk. Another sured performance, only tarnished by a unnecessary yellow card early in the first half.

Bong (7); Has had a much better couple weeks that the previous weeks. Good ball forward for the first goal, and looked like a danger to Barnsley all afternoon.

Knockaert (8); What can you say about him? He steals the show pretty much every week and is just a joy to watch. Takes defenders on with ease, and his work rate is second to none.

Kayal (7); Really solid first half before he had to go off injured; two key passes to Murray, one which he managed to finish.

Stephens (7); It’s no coincidence that Brighton have played and defended much better with him back into the team. Composed in midfield and strangled Hourihane’s usual control on the game.

Skalak (7); Has had a bit of a slow start to the season, but is starting to pick it back up again. Set-pieces were on point, and could of had a couple more assists.

Murray (8); Back in the starting line-up, and was quick to repay Hughton’s faith with a goal. Good header for his second too, and his work rate was excellent. Should of had a couple more at least though.

Hemed (7); Seems to work better wth Murray playing alongside him; work rate was high and his touched in and around the Barnsley box was crisp.

Subs;

Norwood (6); Replaced Kayal at half-time and looked reletivly untroubled. Still more to come from him yet as well.

Baldock (6); Brought some extra late energy to the game when Barnsley were stretched.

Sidwell (6); On to help wrap up the points late on.

BHAFC [2]-[0] BFC; Murray (12), (48);

Att; 24,018

MOTM; Murray

BHAFC v RFC (20/9/16) | EFL Cup 3rd Round Match Review

A disappointing result, but it allows the Albion to souly focus on the league, well until January that is anyway. 

A bright start from the visitors resulted in their first chance; a poor cleared nice from Elvis Manu fell straight at Liam Kelly’s feet, and his long range effort testing the gloves of Niki Maenpaa. John Swifts corner wasn’t dealt with twice by Albion defenders, and it allowed Stephen Quinn to run in and hit a thunderous volley into the roof of the net, leaving Maenpaa rooted to the goal line. Tyler Blackett saw red 9 minutes later, after he lost the ball due to a bad touch, before lunging in on Sebastian Pocognoli. From the resulting free-kick, Glenn Murray’s header struck the bar after Connor Goldson knocked it back across goal. A swift counter-attacking move from Reading got them their second of the match. Quinn cut the ball back to John Swift on the edge of the area, and hit it first time, curling into the far corner; Maenpaa got a touch onto it, but not enough to keep it out. Swift slipped up inside his own penalty area to allow Murray a free shot at goal, which Anssi Jaakkola saved at the expense of a corner. After some ping pong in the area, Brighton finally got their goal. The ball was collected up by Sam Baldock, and with a first time cross, Jiri Skalak found Steve Sidwell at the far post, his header into Murray allowed the striker to lift the ball back across goal for Tomer Hemed to finish an easy chance. As Brighton pushed for the win, Skalak sent in another good looking ball, but Goldson could only put it straight at Jaakkola. Jamie Murphy had a final chance to salvage extra time, but his shot after a good solo run was just narrowly wide of the post. 2-1 the final score, and Brighton bow out of the cup and missed the chance on a trip to the Emirates in the next round.

Line-Up;

Maenpaa (6); A few good saves, dissapointed not to get more on the ball with Swift’s shot.

Hunt (8); Has had some solid appearances in the earlier rounds, and after his league debut on Saturday, he looked a class above most of the senior players on the pitch.

Goldson (7); A couple of nervy moments with Mendes baring down on him, but not much done wrong.

Hunemeier (6); Looks slightly rusty still, but that’s to be expected after being out for 8 months.

Pocognoli (6); A pretty good debut for the Belgian, still will need some time settling into the squad before challenging Bong for the starting position.

Sidwell (6); Not a commanding game like usual from him; Reading nullified his passing options early on and found it hard to keep possession with high pressing.

Ince (6); Big and strong in front of the centre-backs offering extra protection , but little protection in midfield where it could of been used more effectively.

Norwood (6); Good set-pieces, and a keen eye for a defence-splitting pass more often that not.

Baldock (6); Good energy from the stand-in captain, always looked to get in behind the Reading back 4.

Murray (6); Solid hold-up play, and when down to 10 men, it became easier for him to take on the defence

Manu (7); Looked buzzing, excellent running no wasn’t afraid to take on defenders, leaving them in his wake. Might have found a new winger.

Subs;

Hemed (7); Well-taken goal, and could of had some more if it wasn’t for resolute Reading defending.

Skalak (6); Excellent crosses from the right, but nobody could take a chance.

Murphy (6); Possibly the best chance of the 2nd half with his fine solo run, but snatched at the shot which pretty much ended all hopes of a draw.

BHAFC [1]-[2] RFC; Hemed (85); Quinn (31), Swift (54);

Att; 6,235

MOTM; Hunt

BAFC v BHAFC (17/9/16) | Match Review´╗┐

In the battle of the Albion, it was the south coast team which came away the happier, as they took all 3 points from Burton; only Nottingham Forest and Bristol City have achieved that before the game, with Sheffield Wednesday and Derby the victims of Burton’s only 2 wins. 

In a game much similar to Tuesday’s tight win against Huddersfield, Brighton dominated much of the game with their possession, but couldn’t fashion many chances which troubled Jon McLaughlin. Little chances in the first half, but it was Brighton who had the first chance, when Jiri Skalak’s curled cross missed Tomer Hemed in the box, but was touched just wide of the post by Tom Naylor. Jackson Irvine tested the hands of David Stockdale, after he picked the ball up inside the box, and hit a lethal shot low towards goal on the turn, but the Albion keeper kept it out. Skalak had the first chance in the second half, when a corner wasn’t cleared, Skalak reacted quickly enough to get a shot away, but it was just off target as it rustled the side netting. Skalak at the centre of another chance, this time his corner was met by Lewis Dunk, and the centre-back’s header cannoning off the woodwork. Burton defended resiliently for the whole match, but were undone by a quick bit of thinking by Knockaert and Skalak, as a sharp piece of intricate footwork from the French playmaker, slotted the ball through to Skalak before the Czech international was brought down, and a penalty awarded; it may have been a slightly soft decision, but Brighton will feel that they should of had a couple earlier in the game. Either way, Hemed stepped up, and sent McLaughlin the wrong way and gave Brighton the lead. After some little hits of pressure from Burton, Brighton were able to hang on and take away 3 points, which now leaves them just 3 points off the automatic promotion places.

Line-Up;

Stockdale (6); Not called into action much, and was a spectator for the 2nd half, but did well in saving Irvine’s low shot.

Bruno (7); Composed game from the captain, generally good all-round before being withdrawn for Hunt’s debut.

Duffy (7); The partnership with Dunk seems to be finally hitting off; hardly looked troubled other than a few ‘close’ passes in between Burton’s attackers.

Dunk (7); Another blinding game; had Ward on a string for much of the game, but will be disappointed he did try score with his header.

Bong (6); Seriously out of form, and if Pocognoli does a good job on Tuesday night, he could find himself on the bench come Saturday.

Knockaert (7); Quite possibly the trickiest winger in the league; never quite know what he is going to do (don’t think even he knows at time). Although he had a struggle getting into the game, he never gave up and his presistance paid off with a good through ball to Skalak.

Kayal (7); Tidy job in midfield; picked up loose balls when cleared and always looked to threaten when attacking.

Stephens (7); Much like Kayal, he was quick to collect loose balls, and did a sterling job marking in-form Irvine.

Skalak (8); Has been off the boil recently, but showed his class on Saturday. Never made the Burton defence feel comfortable, and won the game winning penalty after  picking up the ball in midfield, before running half the pitch to win the penalty.

Murphy (7); Looked OK in his new role just behind Hemed; supported the Israeli well and had good energy to get back and help defend.

Hemed (7); Cool composed penalty, but his general all-round play was good from holding the ball up to chasing the ball down.

Subs;

Murray (6); Good energy when he came on, although he didn’t really have many chances to grab his 4th of the season.

Hunt (6); Good little run out for the young right-back on his league debut. Not troubled too much, and was more than capable of getting forward.

Norwood (6); Quick 10 minute run out for Kayal, not involved in much though.

BAFC [0]-[1] BHAFC; Hemed (88pen);

Att; 4,756 (1,600 Brighton)

MOTM; Skalak

BHAFC v HTFC (13/9/16) | Match Review

It was by no means a clinical display, but Brighton earned all 3 points last night, and sent Huddersfield packing with their first league defeat of the season. 

In perhaps one of the dullest games to have been at The AMEX, neither team looked sharp or efficient enough to come away with maximum points, but all it takes is one mistake or a piece of magic to go your way. Fortunately  for the Seagulls, luck was in their favour as Terriers keeper Danny Ward fumbled the ball over his line from a deflected Anthony Knockaert shot, which sent the home fans into raptures, and left the Huddersfield players helplessly lying on the ground inside the box. In a game of few chances, Jamie Murphy had the first chance, and boy was it a glorious one. After Tomer Hemed played a delicate through ball to him, he ran from the half-way line unchallenged until the edge of the box, but he couldn’t take the chance, with Ward making an easy save after guessing right, which way the Scot will put his shot. Beram Kayal not soon after flashed a fierce shot just wide of the goal, which had Ward beat by a country mile. Jack Payne had a shot comfortably saved by David Stockdale, before Rajiv van La Parra’s curling effort went wide of the post. Little chances in the second half, a few half chances for both teams, but the only real chance was taken, as Knockaert’s effort was helped in by the hands of Ward. Huddersfield had only gone behind once this season, and managed to gain a point out of it, but they were unable to do it against a resilient Albion defence, who cleared every ball which came into the box. Game finished 1-0, and although it wasn’t the best game to watch, 3 points is 3 points no matter how you get them, especially after 2 straight losses.

Line-Up;

Stockdale (6); Much better distribution, not really tested by Huddersfield.

Bruno (6); More like it from the full-back, got forward to support Skalak and was solid defensively.

Duffy (7); Much more like the centre-back from last season; strong in the air and unlike Saturday, he wasn’t caught out of position.

Dunk (8); Another sterling performance from the young man; looks as if he has matured over the summer, and looks like the complete centre-back Brighton were crying out for.

Bong (5); Poor passing once again, and offered very little for Murphy. Although he did help make the goal with a good driving run.

Murphy (6); Should of scored the 1-on-1, but other than that it was a respectable effort out wide for the Scot.

Stephens (7); Sorely missed at the start of the season, and showed why he was such an asset last season with a top performance.

Kayal (7); A much better game from him, after being picked apart on Saturday. Good driving runs and crisp passing.

Skalak (6); Though he looked a little poorer on the right compared to the left, but nevertheless he had a good game with some good attacking moves.

Knockaert (7); Fortunate with the goal, but his constant persistence, maybe he was due a goal. Set-pieces were a little rusty.

Hemed (6); From going pointless on Saturday, to main man last night. Held the ball up well, and played some good looking balls forward, including Murphy’s chance.

Subs;

Murray (6); Good little run out, had a couple of strong runs which gave Huddersfield’s defence headaches.

Sidwell (6); Helped sure up the midfield as Huddersfield pressured for an equaliser.

Manu (N/A); Came on to help run down the clock.

BHAFC [1]-[0] HTFC; Knockaert (80);

Att; 24,166

MOTM; Dunk

BHAFC v BFC (10/9/16) | Match Review

Dismal, shambolic, poor, under-par are all just a few words which come to mind when I think of the Brighton performance from Saturday. Of course there are a few more words which come to mind, but those words shouldn’t and won’t be mentioned, but you can gather how poor of a display it was by the Seagulls. After an extremely lacklustre game away at Newcastle, not only fans, but Chris Hughton were expecting the team to play much better especially being at home, to what was a quite average Brentford side; average as they were missing key players, Lasse Vibe and Alan Judge to name a couple. Yet Brentford played like they were the side which finished 3rd last term, and narrowly missed out on promotion; Brighton were never in the game, and Brentford hardly got out of 2nd gear for the entire match.

With not many chances created during the first period ,the first chance took 29 minutes to come, and Scott Hogan Cooley dispatched the ball past David Stockdale, after Lewis McLeod lofted a through ball over the Albion defence; Shane Duffy caught napping which allowed Hogan an easy route to goal. Brighton had a goal-bound shot from Tomer Hemed cleared off the line, but that was a far as chances in the first half went. Brentford started off in the same fashion in the 2nd, and Hogan was soon through on goal again, after Duffy was caught out of position, but the Brentford striker fluffed his shot with Lewis Dunk and Stockdale bearing down on him. Hogan was at it again, after a terrific lofted ball over the Albioin back line, Hogan left Dunk for dead with a neat chop back inside, only for Stockdale to be on hand to save the shot, before Romaine Sawyers blasted wide after the ball was set up for him. Hogan grabbed his and Brentford’s second of the afternoon when Nico Yennaris played in the Brednford forward, and he struck it into the roof of the net, leaving Stockdale helpless and the Albion defence motionless. That’s how the game ended, little for the Albion fans to cheer about, and them wondering ‘what’s going on’ as the left the stadium.

Line-Up;

Stockdale (5); Made a couple of good saves, but generally quite a poor performance from the Albion stopper; wasn’t in the right position to narrow down the angle for the first, and beaten at the near post for the 2nd, although it was a well struck shot.

Bruno (4); Quite possibly his worst game in an Albion shirt, no attacking threat and his defensive capabilities were almost non-existent at times, didn’t help that Duffy wasn’t around to cover for him.

Duffy (4); Obviously he needs time to adjust to the team, but it was a shocking performance from the new man. Caught out of position multiple times by Hogan, and never looked like getting on top of Brentford attacks as they came.

Dunk (7); Possibly the only player in the team to come out of the game with his head held high, strong at the back when left vulnerable by Duffy and was quick to Block an Hogan attacks, which resulted in him moving across to Duffy.

Bong (4); Just like the Newcastle game, he wasn’t up to speed with the game at all, and the arrival of Pocognoli might be the end of Bong’s starting reign. He hasn’t been the same since the injury, lots of loose passing and not enough tracking back or getting forward.

Knockaert (5); Looked threatening enough in the first half with some nice mazy runs, but a subdued second half  perfomance much like the rest of the team.

Kayal (5); Bad day for a usually consistent performer; gaps left all over midfield which allowed Brentford time to pick out passes to Hogan and out wide.

Norwood (5); Some nice passes, but his lacks defensive duties to my liking, and doesn’t smell danger as much as Sidwell or Stephens does. Like most Reading fans said when we bought him, ‘He only has a good game when the rest of the team plays well’ might actually be true.

Murphy (5); Started off brightly, and had much more attacking intent than Skalak had in the previous game, but his levels dropped along with the team in the second, and offered nothing after that.

Murray (6); Job was made harder by a extremely frustrating performance by Hemed, but did well to win aerial duels and hold the ball up. Definatly looks as if Murray-Baldock partnership is the way to go.

Hemed (4); Extremly poor today, not said that much last season, but he was painful to watch at times. No attacking threat and was a waste of space on the pitch.

Subs;

Manu (5); Not much he could of done with Brtentford owning the ball, but gave good energy and should of had a free-kick/penalty instead of getting booked for a dive, when he was clearly fouled.

Stephens (5); Slighty improved when he came on; managed to hold onto the ball better and looked lively. A must starter on Tuesday for me.

Skalak (N/A); Not on for enough time to give a judgement.

BHAFC [0]-[2] BFC; Hogan (29), (70);

Att; 26,588

MOTM; Dunk