Saturday 20 August 2011

Late Goal Stuns Albion

Albion 2, Blackpool 2 - Saturday 20th August:

Albion hosted former Premiership side Blackpool at the Amex and with three straight league wins under the Albions belt they were seeking a fourth. With Will Hoskins and Will Buckley both injured Craig Noone got his first league start and Kasenga Lua Lua was on the bench. Albion got off to a bright and confident start with the energetic Noone impressing yet again on the wing. A perfect cross in the 27th minute found Craig Mackail-Smith in the penalty area and the striker headed the ball fiercely into the net giving Matt Gilks, the Blackpool keeper, no chance.

Albion doubled their score early on in the second half when Ashley Barnes scored from close in. Two nil up and cruising, or so we thought. A triple substitution by Blackpool's manager Ian Holloway seemed to inspire his team who slowly began to take charge and started to to gain more possession. The response was quick and Blackpool's first goal was scored by the most experienced player on the pitch. Kevin Phillips, who very nearly joined Albion in the summer, scored a terrific header and Brighton started to feel a little uncomfortable. As Albion tried to get back into the game there was a good penalty shout as it clearly looked like Barnes was fouled in the area but this was turned down by the referee. Substitute Lua Lua came on for Noone in a like for like swap but his introduction didn't really change the flow of the game and he made no real impact in my opinion, although he did manage a couple of decent crosses into the box. As the game wore on Blackpool's second half pressure finally told in the dying minutes as Phillips scored yet again, this time from his right foot in the penalty area. A full in depth match report is available here at the Seagulls official web site.

Perhaps one could be critical and say that there was some poor defending by Albion who really should have been more alive to the threat that Phillips posed but let's not deny that Blackpool deserved their point. On reflection a draw was probably a fair result on the day. I think most Albion fans would have settled for ten points out of twelve before the season started and let's not forget that the opposition was playing at the highest level last season. Next up at the Amex is Premiership outfit Sunderland on Tuesday in the Carling Cup before Brighton return to league action next Saturday for their third home match in a week as they meet Peterborough (who scored seven on Saturday!). The season is young but Albion are still in the top six having made a good start, let's hope it continues.

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