Wednesday 28 September 2011

Ouch, That Really Hurt!

Albion 1, Crystal Palace 3: Amex, 27th September

When the 2011 fixture list came out the one match that Albion fans were looking forward to the most, and the one they really, really wanted to win was the derby game against Crystal Palace. This was the most eagerly awaited home fixture of the entire season and after a promising start in the Championship, and with Palace not winning any of their last four games, the Albion fans were expecting (and demanding) a victory. Rivalry is fierce between both sets of fans and it's been a few years since we have met in the league but Albion are in the ascendancy, was this is to be our year? It really means a lot to Brighton fans who haven't seen their team beat Palace at home since the late eighties, surely tonight was going to be the night. Once again a packed Amex stadium had a fantastic atmosphere with lots of noise and expectation was high.

Brighton got off to a fantastic start and Craig Mackail-Smith scored early on in the 7th minute, now we wondered how many more could we score. For 20 minutes it was looking good, Albion were the superior side and played their normal free flowing game, then for some inexplicable reason it all stopped. It looked like the wheels were coming off the Gus Bus and suddenly Palace were beginning to take control and starting to press Albion back. Half time arrived and Albion fans were happy to be 1-0 up but there were warning signs that things were not going according to plan, if only we had bothered to take notice. 

The second half got underway and it was one way traffic, unfortunately it was all heading towards the Brighton defence. Palace had the lions share of possession and continued to press. Albion held out for 80 minutes and then it all went horribly wrong. The hard working and impressive Zaha scored the first for Palace, then a defensive muddle gifted substitute Ambrose a second goal in the 89th minute and finally to cap off a miserable night for Brighton former Albion striker Glenn Murray scored a third goal in the 91st minute.

It was a bad night to be a Brighton fan, losing to Crystal Palace really, really hurts. Albion were unbeaten in the league at the Amex until last night and it was certainly a reality check for the fans and the players. Expectations have been running a little high of late and talk of promotion is premature so Brighton fans need to keep their feet on the ground and continue to support the team, especially when things are not going the way they want. It's off to Ipswich on Saturday where the Albion players need to put this defeat behind them and try and get three points to consolidate their position in the top six. I'll be there, cheering on the Seagulls as I always have done, and always will do.

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