Saturday 25 August 2012

It's High Fives at the Amex

Albion 5, Barnsley 1
Championship, Amex Stadium
Saturday 25th August

Three games into the new season and Albion finally hit form as they smashed five goals past an inept Barnsley side. It's true that Barnsley had many first team regulars missing so they were fielding a weakened side but you still have to beat whatever is put in front of you and Albion certainly did that this afternoon in front of a 25,000 crowd at the newly expanded Amex.

It became apparent as early as the third minute when Ashley Barnes capitalised on a horrendous bit of ball fumbling by the Barnsley keeper Gonzalez that there was only going to be one outcome in this game, it was just a case of how many goals the Seagulls were going to score. For once Albion went for the jugular and didn't let up for the entire 90 minutes. Goals from the very impressive Wayne Bridge (another bit of poor goalkeeping), a rewarding brace from the hard working man of the match Craig Mackail-Smith and finally another from Ashley Barnes in the 81st minute capped off a wonderful and powerful footballing display by the Albion.

Albion seem to have found a formula that works with the new defensive back line particularly impressive. Albion now have a decent goalkeeper at long last in Kuszczak and for me the best player on the pitch was once again Wayne Bridge who oozed class at left back. The skillful adventurous right back Bruno seemed to be absolutely everywhere, except right back. Mind you, he didn't need to be defending too deeply as the reds offered very little threat. The 35th penalty awarded to Barnsley for a trip by Andrew Crofts on Jacob Mellis was fair and temporarily bought the visitors back into the game at 2-1. This proved to be just a minor blip however as Albion immediately cruised straight down the other end for Mackail-Smith to score a third to make it 3-1.

The second half started as the first ended with Albion being absolutely dominant and threatening to score more goals. When the lively Craig Noone was replaced by the speedy Kasenga Lua Lua the afternoon did not get any easier for the Barnsley defence, he tore the left back to shreds on more than one occasion  The midfield and attack were rampant and believe me when I tell you that the final scoreline did not flatter them. Albion could have had seven or eight goals on an afternoon when everything went right for them. I wondered if Brighton would miss the creativity in midfield of the absent and somewhat injury prone Vicente, but they did not.

It's always best to keep things in perspective and let's be honest this was a poor and weakened Barnsley side, there will no doubt be teams in this division who pose much more of a threat. Sadly I think the Yorkshire side will struggle this season unless they can get their first eleven fully fit soon and buy some much needed additions to a squad that, on this showing, desperately needs it. Things are looking much better for the Albion though and if they continue to show this kind of form then they will be looking to challenge for a play off place at the end of what is a very long season. As they say, it's a marathon not a sprint and there will no  doubt be twists and turns along the way but one thing's for sure, life is never dull with Gus Poyet around.

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

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