#27: Luton 1-1 Brighton 17/02/2009

#27 LUTON 1-1 BRIGHTON (LUT win 4-3 on pens) Johnstone’s Paint Trophy Southern Area Final 2nd Leg
Tuesday 17th February 2009 Sky 2007

SHR Titles

PRESENTER David Jones GUEST Peter Beagrie
COMMENTATORS Ian Darke & Garry Birtles REPORTER Patrick Davison
7.45pm Kick Off; Kenilworth Road, Luton     7.30-10pm Live on Sky Sports 2 (Extended to 10.15pm)

SS2 Ident Titles start LUT Intro

Context of the Match: Luton and Brighton were now one match away from a trip to Wembley Stadium. It would’ve been Brighton’s first trip to the stadium since a Play Off Final defeat to Notts County in 1991. Both teams went into this match in the relegation zone in their respective Leagues; Brighton 21st in League One whilst Luton were cut adrift at the bottom of the entire Football League. The Albion were looking ahead to better times with the initial stages finally underway just before Christmas for the new stadium site in Falmer, expected in a couple of seasons time. Off the pitch things were finally looking up but on the pitch was a real struggle. Since Micky Adams returned to the club last summer the fortunes have been mixed; excelling in Cup competitions but not able to replicate that in the League with 28 points from 29 games. As we approached the final third of the season there was still a lot of work to be done to avoid relegation down to the fourth tier for the first time since 2001. Luton by contrast were already there and already pretty doomed. They suffered two successive relegations from the Championship down to here and began this season with a massive record 30 point deduction due to financial irregularities; 10 points deducted by the FA and 20 by the Football League for breaking the rules on exiting administration. Money problems had been going on for a couple of years, culminating with this. So the JPT was somewhat of a leveller, a chance to rectify a terrible season. The first leg at Withdean ended goalless, there would be no away goals rule or extra time. If it finished level on the night tonight then penalties would be required again. Brighton had been involved in three shootouts this season, winning all three and scoring fifteen out of fifteen taken. Like in the previous round, the club arranged for free coach travel to the match, ensuring around 1,500 Seagulls supporters were present.

LUT Luton LUT Subs LUT Brighton

The Teams: After the disappointing start to the season, Micky Adams tried to overhaul the side in the January transfer window. Brighton’s squad included a number of new faces including on-loan Calvin Andrew from Crystal Palace up top. Six changes were made from the previous match at the weekend, as out went penalty save hero John Sullivan for Michel Kuipers. Andy Whing and Dean Cox also returned due to a combination of tactical and enforced tinkering. Chris Birchall joined in January on a six-month contract and is perhaps most famous for somehow managing to sneak into the Trinidad and Tobago World Cup 2006 squad where he faced England in the group stages. Another on a six-month contract was Jason Jarrett, described by Adams as “an energetic box-to-box midfielder who can operate in either an attacking or defensive role anywhere across the middle.” Big things were hoped of him. 17 year-old Steve Cook was on the bench. Luton manager Mick Harford needed to practically rebuild his squad in the summer following another relegation but were faced with a transfer embargo until just 48 hours before the first match of the season, this on top of their points deduction. Their mix of youth and experience meant the likes of top-scorer Chris Martin, not his Coldplay frontman namesake, former Ipswich and Swindon striker Sam Parkin and player of the year Keith Keane all returned. Many January signings for both clubs were ineligible; Seb Carole, Jim McNulty and Craig Davies for the Albion, hence the high number of changes. Refereeing was former top flight official the dreadful Andy D’Urso.

LUT Jones LUT Beagrie LUT Studio

Presentation Team: As with the previous round of the JPT, Sky’s duo of David Jones and Peter Beagrie presented coverage from the corner of the stadium adjacent to the away fans. David Jones was fast rising up the pecking order in favour of established main Football League anchor George Gavin, picking up the Saturday Night 5.20pm slot and all the extras such as this competition. Peter Beagrie was his regular pundit and Sky’s firm number one on the League. In the commentary box were Garry Birtles and Ian Darke. Birtles had been on the coverage since 2003 and firmly second choice behind initially Chris Kamara, and now Don Goodman. With two Live Football League matches on most weekends, Birtles would usually pick up one of them. When it came to League One he was the voice, covering Play Offs and Finals as well as the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy. Ian Darke was in the near unique position of being a semi-regular voice on both Sky’s Premier League and Football League coverage. He was behind Martin Tyler, Rob Hawthorne and Alan Parry in the top flight, meaning sometimes there weren’t enough Live games to go round Sky’s big four commentators. As a result he would pick up Football League matches behind their number one Bill Leslie (who was on Scottish Cup duty this midweek), particularly around international break weekends as we saw last season with our Live Leyton Orient match. His enthusiasm and engaging style made it a pleasure to listen to and livened up even the poorest of matches. He perhaps deserved a bigger gig and in 2010 joined ESPN in America after a hugely successful World Cup, covering the top Premier League games for the US audience. The partnership with Darke and Birtles was amongst Sky’s most enjoyable. Reporting pitchside today was Patrick Davison, a new name to Brighton’s Live television coverage. Davison had begun reporting for preview programme Big League Weekend since the beginning of last season and was slowly gaining experience on Live matches of relatively low profile, such as in this competition and Leagues One and Two. He started off at Sky working behind the scenes on Sky Sports News.

LUT Table LUT Adams LUT Kick Off LUT Comms

The Coverage: Jones and Beagrie came on-air fifteen minutes before the kick-off at Kenilworth Road. This was just enough time to discuss the struggles of both clubs, look at their dismal League standings (Brighton 21st and Luton 24th in Leagues One and Two respectively). The second leg of both the Northern and Southern Area Finals were being played tonight and the goals from the first legs were shown pre-match. As Brighton v Luton was goalless that meant we just saw Scunthorpe’s two against Rotherham from January. Patrick Davison interviewed both managers in the tunnel, asking Harford and Adams about their preparation for penalties. It seemed many were expecting this to be a tight match. Commentator Ian Darke talked us through the starting line-ups before heading for a quick break before the kick-off. The title sequence and graphics remained as they were for the previous match in this competition, with the replay transition for everything including goals being the nice flying trophy from the top left into the middle of the screen and out again. The aggregate scoreline was added between the team names and the clock for clarification. One addition this season was the total number of cards earned that year when given a yellow or red, which helped highlight when a suspension would be due. Half time analysis centred on the two goals and of course the red card for David Livermore. When the second half concluded there was just a little bit of time to grab some reaction from Peter Beagrie before straight onto the penalties without a break, capturing the atmosphere and the nerves well. The programme was extended by fifteen minutes to account for the pens, and after the break Patrick Davison conducted interviews with the man of the match and the winning goalkeeper, as well as the victorious manager. Jones and Beagrie reviewed the goals again, rounded up the result from the other Area Final and analysed the penalties before closing the show and Brighton’s JPT campaign for another season.

LUT Goal LUT Red Card LUT Analysis LUT Coming Up 

Story of the Match: What is it they say ahead of a big match? Keep it tight early on, start brightly, be nice and sharp and switched on. Brighton certainly heard that. And proceeded to do the complete opposite as Luton took the lead within 60 seconds. A long ball forward from defence was headed on by Craddock to a seemingly innocuous enough position. Michel Kuipers came racing out of his goal to the edge of the area to clear but got in a complete tangle with Adam Virgo as both players had embarrassing air-shots. This left Tom Craddock to pick up the loose ball and calmly slot it into the empty net well to leave Micky Adams shaking his head in disbelief on the sidelines. The surface was rather bobbly but that was no excuse for the shambolic way the goal came about. Brighton didn’t let it affect them too much in a very open first quarter. In the fifth minute Nicky Forster burst down the right but his cross-shot narrowly alluded everyone. A quarter of an hour later he was in behind again with his shot rolling agonisingly just inches wide of the post. Forster wasn’t to be denied though as the skipper got the equaliser less than a minute later, deservedly so as he was everywhere early on. The resulting goal-kick went straight to Chris Burchill in the centre circle, he brought the ball forward ten yards before setting Forster through centrally behind the Luton defence. He took one touch to steady himself, with the ball hardly moving due to the poor pitch, before unleashing his fierce shot early from the edge of the box and low past the outstretched Price’s hand. The fact it was taken early was key, not giving the goalie or defender enough time to react. Forster’s celebration unveiled a t-shirt stating “Sorry but that’s 200” referring to his career goals tally, however commentator Ian Darke had been stating all evening that he was on 198 prior to tonight. The discrepancy arose because he was indeed on 198 club goals but had also scored once for the England under-21s. So technically both were correct and it wasn’t a case of the Ian Wrights about him by celebrating too early like Wright did wrongly when he thought he broke the Arsenal record. Michel Kuipers in the Brighton goal was having a nightmare return to the side and nearly made another fatal error 33 minutes in when a backpass to him was bizarrely underhit straight back into play as Kuipers was leaning back off-balance and narrowly missed Sam Parkin as the defence were able to pick up the pieces. All of Brighton’s hard work was undone a minute before the break with a red card for David Livermore. His interception sent the ball away from his control and he lunged in for a 50:50 challenge. He was too late and over the top as Spillane got the loose ball first, even though there didn’t seem a huge amount of actual contact it was still a dangerous tackle. After consulting with his linesman, referee Andy D’Urso sent the defender off and we went into the break level on goals but a man down. This forced Dean Cox to be sacrificed for Tommy Elphick to shore up the back line. The second half was equally as tense and as close with only half-chances being permitted for both sides. Brighton were happy to sit back and force Luton into bringing the game to them, the ten man having to concentrate for every moment. As an attacking force, the red card killed them off, with Nicky Forster having to feed off scraps all by himself. Brighton survived a last-minute scare when Kuipers was called into action to parry a shot and pounce on the rebound but that was about it. And so, inevitably, it went to penalties again, to be taken in front of the home end.

LUT Penalties LUT Pen Save

Forster was first up, scoring and sending the ‘keeper the wrong way. Chris Martin levelled it identically. Virgo was next, going the other way and still sending the ‘keeper the wrong way. Craddock made it two-two straight down the middle. Tommy Elphick just squeezed his penalty in despite a big hand from Price. Asa Hall equalised again. But the incredible run was to come to an end, Jason Jarrett the first man to miss a spot kick for Brighton in a shootout this year as his effort was saved onto the post. Ryan Charles put Luton ahead and it was all over when Birchall’s was saved brilliantly by Price as the Hatters fans poured onto the pitch to celebrate their 4-3 penalty win. Luton went on to face Scunthorpe in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy Final and lifted the trophy. They won a pulsating contest at Wembley by three goals to two in April in front of 55,000 people. The cup success wasn’t quite enough to save their League season. Despite a fantastic effort, they were relegated with several games to go and ended up fifteen points off safety. Had they not had the 30 points deducted their final League position would’ve been 15th. Brighton’s season would continue to be a struggle after this. Micky Adams lost his job and Russell Slade was appointed at the start of March until the end of the season. His task was simple – keep the club up. He managed to achieve the great escape thanks to a final day home win against Stockport. That win flew the Seagulls up the table, finishing 16th but would have been relegated on goal difference had they lost that match. Crazy, tense and all-too-close but Slade rescued a pretty dismal season after last year’s hope. A huge improvement was required if Brighton were to achieve their aim of being a Championship club when the move to Falmer commenced.

LUTON 1 BRIGHTON 1
Craddock. Luton win 4-3 on penalties Forster

LUT Replay

PREVIOUS; #26 SHREWSBURY 0-0 BRIGHTON 16/12/2008

NEXT; #28 SOUTHAMPTON 1-3 BRIGHTON 15/11/2009

About Mark O'MEARA
I am Mark O'MEARA.

3 Responses to #27: Luton 1-1 Brighton 17/02/2009

  1. Pingback: #26: Shrewsbury 0-0 Brighton 16/12/2008 | Mark O'MEARA

  2. Pingback: #28: Southampton 1-3 Brighton 15/11/2009 | Mark O'MEARA

  3. Pingback: Withdean on Screen; Milestone Matches part 2 | Mark O'MEARA

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