Sunday 25 November 2012

The Late, Late Show

Albion 1, Bolton Wanderers 1
The Amex Stadium
Saturday 24th November

Last Saturday Bolton Wanderers were the visitors to Brighton’s Amex stadium. In appalling weather it was a game that Albion dominated from start to almost finish, however a late 95th minute equaliser proved to be a cruel ending to a match that the home team had plenty of chances to kill off early on.  Yet again a penalty opportunity was squandered when Ashley Barnes failed to convert in the 14th minute and then missed what looked like an easy chance to make amends on the rebound. In the first half Orlandi in midfield for Albion was inspiring and the industrious Liam Bridcut sitting in his usual role in front of the back four was winning every tackle. Bolton’s goal certainly led a charmed life as Albion hit the woodwork three times and the ex Premiership side hardly had a chance worth mentioning.
Somehow the teams went in level at half time but Albion’s early second half pressure paid off when full back and man of the match Bruno Salter scored an unstoppable cracker from 35 yards out.  It was no less than the home side deserved and they continued to press and came close to increasing their score on several occasions. Those misses were to prove costly when the referee gave five minutes added time and Bolton took full advantage with literally the very last kick of the match as David Ngog scored that late, late equaliser in front of their jubilant fans. It was a result that a poor Bolton side did not deserve and for the third game running Albion had conceded a last minute goal. Sometimes football just isn’t fair but Albion really do need to learn how to close a game out and they must make the most of every goal scoring opportunity, including any penalty decisions that come their way.

Brighton fans shouldn’t be too disappointed though as Albion completely outplayed and outclassed an ex Premiership side for 94 minutes and even Bolton manager Dougie Freedman conceded that Brighton were fantastic and looked a class act. If Albion keep playing this way and learn how to finish teams off they look like they may do rather well this season. The team are stronger than this time last year and they look much more solid defensively but they do need to convert the opportunities that are presented to them up front.
As I write this, Tuesday night's home game with Bristol City has yet to take place but Albion currently sit just outside the top six with the biggest match of the season coming up this Saturday as Albion take on table topping Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park. That game is the one that every Albion fan wants to win and should prove if their team are real contenders or not this campaign.

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