Thursday 22 September 2011

Albion Go Out To Liverpool

Albion 1 - Liverpool 2: Carling Cup 3rd Round

Amex Stadium, Wednesday 21st September

Albion went out of the Carling Cup to Premiership side Liverpool but what a fabulous night it was at the Amex. The first sell out crowd at the new stadium was enthralled as the game ebbed and flowed. The first forty minutes were dominated by Liverpool's slick one touch pass and move play. An early goal in the 7th minute by the enigmatic Craig Bellamy meant Albion were left chasing the game for most of the first half. Truth be told Liverpool could have scored a hatful in the first half as they hit the woodwork three times. Suarez passing shot hit the post and Bellamy's absolutely stunning 35 yard free kick came off the crossbar. Bellamy on his first start for Liverpool is a bit of a moaner, he causes  trouble and wreaks havoc wherever he plays. He ruffles feathers and fans love to hate and bait him...and I would have him in my team tomorrow. Liverpool scorned more opportunities to score in the first half but it was Brighton who finished the half more strongly with a flurry of activity and a couple of half chances as they went in 0-1 down at the interval, however it could have been worse.

I don't know what manager Gus Poyet said to his team during the half time period but they came out a different side for the second half. They started pushing the ball around in the now familiar passing game that Albion fans have become used to. Bridcut was immense in midfield and star of the show was yet again winger Craig Noone. The young Liverpudlian who three years ago was playing non league football in Merseyside and earning a living by replacing tiles on Steven Gerrard's roof was again a revelation. Every time he got the ball you knew something exciting was going to happen. His pace and tricky wing play was causing Liverpool problems as Brighton pressed for an equaliser. Noone hit a thumping shot against the bar and Albion fans felt a goal was coming. Indeed it was, unfortunately it was Dirk Kuyt of Liverpool who scored it in the 81st minute. It was a classic counter attack and the Dutchman put the ball away in the far corner to kill off Albion's chances of winning the game.

Brighton's players didn't give up though, they never do. And in the 89th minute were awarded a penalty for a trip on Albion substitute Vicente. Up stepped Barnes and hammered the ball into the back of the net. Four minutes extra time was not enough and the Seagulls experienced their first home defeat in competitive football at the Amex.

No matter though, it was good experience for the players, especially the younger ones. Defenders Steve Cook & Romain Vincelot impressed at the heart of the Albion defence and Will Buckley's pacey play on the flank was terrific to watch. A brilliant atmosphere from the Seagulls fans made for a very enjoyable evening, even though the result didn't go our way. We now meet Leeds in a Championship match only two days after the Liverpool game so let's hope that the players are not too exhausted from their efforts in the Carling Cup. Coming up after Leeds is the BIG one, Crystal Palace at the Amex next Tuesday evening. This is the game every Albion fan wants to go to. Hope you can make it, it'll be a cracker.

A full match report can be found on the Seagulls official website here.

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