Wednesday 24 August 2011

Sunderland Crash Out To Albion

Albion 1, Sunderland 0 - Tuesday 23rd August
Carling Cup, Round 2:

Premiership Sunderland went crashing out of the Carling Cup last night to Championship high flyers Brighton. The Albion were outstanding and deserved their victory. Star of the show was Albion winger Craig Noone who ran rings around the Sunderland defenders for most of the evening. Don't underestimate this win against a team in the top flight, Brighton's football was fantastic to watch and the Seagull fans who were in full voice throughout are convinced that their team is going places, and they're not wrong.

Albion started with new signing Ryan Harley playing in midfield and got off to a confident early start with their usual stylish flowing football. They were using the full width of the enormous Amex pitch and passing the ball around nicely. Ashley Barnes missed a good opportunity after the opposition keeper Keiren Westwood spilled a fierce shot from Craig Mackail-Smith. Sunderland then came back into the game for the last 25 minutes of the first half and had several attempts towards goal themselves, with wide player Kieran Richardson looking very dangerous at times. However it was to be a false dawn for them and their near full strength side.

The second half saw Albion storm into Sunderland territory, dominating the play at times and defending well when they needed to. Craig Mackail-Smith, who was chasing everything, was desperately unlucky when his shot rebounded off the post only to run along the goal line and go agonisingly out of play. Craig Noone was outstanding throughout and clearly deserved his man of the match award. What a player this boy is, okay he sometimes hangs on to the ball a little too long and may try to take on one too many when heading towards goal but he is such an exciting player to watch. He creates so much and never, ever gives up the chase. Everything that Albion did going forward came through him and he was a constant thorn in the side of the black cats defence. At the back homegrown 19 year old centre half Lewis Dunk looked like a giant in the heart of Albion's defence and is learning and getting better with every game, a real prospect for the future. Liam Bridcut, who was as industrious as ever, broke up the play and sprayed the ball around in midfield while Harley had a very good debut with some nice touches. After 90 minutes the match was level at 0-0 so we went into extra time. Would we be fit & strong enough? Yes. Would Sunderland raise their game and get an equaliser? No.

Extra time got under way and in the first period Mackail-Smith got his just reward for all his hard work. The impressive Alan Navarro put in a perfect cross for the prolific striker to head home the winner from close in. An unstoppable header that sent the Seagull fans into raptures of delight. The songs and chanting between the West Stand and the North Stand got even more vociferous as the fans sung their team on towards a famous victory. It was a terrific game to watch and the atmosphere and noise at the Amex is incredible, it's truly a world away from the roofless Withdean years.

The only dampener on an otherwise joyful evening was the injury list which seems to be getting a little bit too long for comfort. Skipper Gordon Greer took a knock and had to leave the pitch at half time and was replaced after the interval by Romain Vincelot, who himself had to be replaced 30 minutes later after dislocating his shoulder in a nasty looking fall. Assistant manager Mauricio Taricco and Kasenga Lua Lua came on as replacements and the change seemed seamless as Albion forged on and played their own brand of unique football. It was yet another great night of entertainment at the American Express Community Stadium.

A full match report can be seen here at the official Seagulls web site.

No comments:

Post a Comment