Small Screen Seagulls; FC United of Manchester (H) 27/11/2010

Small Screen Seagulls 2000sGus Poyet’s first full season in charge of Brighton had begun magnificently. The Uruguayan arrived in November 2009 with the club sat 20th in the third tier. His first task was to keep the club up and build from there. He achieved that and then some! Having lost just twice in the opening four months of the 2010/11 season, the Seagulls were flying high at the top of League One. In the final season at Withdean before moving at long, long last into a home they could call their own, promotion was in sight. As the highest ranked team currently in the FA Cup, the spotlight fell on Brighton when they were drawn with seventh tier breakaway club FC United of Manchester in Round Two. It took the Albion a penalty shoot-out replay to dispatch of non-League Woking in the First Round. With FC United defeating League opposition in the shape of Rochdale, they travelled to Withdean in buoyant mood. Waiting in the wings were the ITV cameras filming extended highlights.


Brighton 1-1 FC United, FA Cup R2; 3pm, Sat 27th Nov ’10

FCU Titles.JPG

ITV Sport regained terrestrial FA Cup broadcast rights from the BBC in 2008 after an absence of seven years. The entitled them to show Live matches from every round of the competition from the First to the Final, as well as comprehensive highlights programme. The traditional Saturday night slot was where the channel would schedule the main highlights action each round, with Sunday afternoons favoured for the Live match. Their satellite partners from this season were ESPN, who stepped in to replace Setanta when they went bust in 2009. That meant ITV had a season covering the whole thing on their own last year. With no Premier or Football League rights, ITV could devote their Saturday night schedule to the Cup. Ninety minutes of Second Round football came on-air just before eleven o’clock, hosted by Matt Smith in the South Bank Studio. Albion’s tie with non-League FC United of Manchester at Withdean was chosen to lead the programme, with Brighton firm favourites to progress to Round Three.


FA Cup Highlights, ITV1, 10.55pm (Saturday 27th November 2010)

FCU Ident FCU Sport Ident

The highlights show was the first chance to see any of the day’s FA Cup goals, with ITV1 making viewers wait until 10.55pm before coming on-air. As an ITV Sport production, their ident followed the main ITV1 sunflowers. Car company KIA sponsored the coverage, both Live and in highlight form, with three peculiar characters named Keith, Ian and Andy travelling across the country to get to their match. The title sequence was in the style of a comic book and really focussed on the famous giant-killing aspect of the old Cup. The music for the second season running was provided by Coventry band The Enemy and their hit single “Be Somebody”, whilst new graphics this season were similar in principle to their World Cup 2010 coverage. Freezing temperatures across the land put pay to two of Saturday’s Cup ties, but not at Withdean where extended highlights were on the way. Following our match, the best of the ties between AFC Wimbledon and Stevenage, Dover versus Aldershot, Crawley taking on Swindon Town whilst Swindon Supermarine went to Colchester, as well as every goal from every game. Matt Smith anchored proceedings from the ITV studio alongside his pundits John Scales and Gareth Southgate. Smith had been at ITV since 2001 and presented hundreds of hours of football, Live and highlights, for the broadcaster. He was behind Adrian Chiles in the pecking order and hosted secondary Live matches as well as the bulk of the Cup highlights.

FCU Sponsor FCU Smith FCU Studio

Gareth Southgate was one of ITV’s regulars having concentrated more on media work since leaving his role at manager of Middlesbrough in October 2009. He went to the 2010 World Cup as a star analyst and previously covered Euro 2004 and World Cup 2006 for them both in studio and latterly as England co-commentator. As a defender, he played for Crystal Palace, Aston Villa and Middlesbrough. He won the second tier with Palace and the League Cup with both other clubs. He was part of the Boro side which incredibly made it all the way through to the Final of the UEFA Cup in 2006 with some remarkable comebacks on the way, only to lose heavily to Sevilla at the last hurdle. He won 57 caps for England but probably is most famously remembered for missing the crucial penalty in the Semi Final shoot-out against Germany at Euro ’96. John Scales was less familiar with studio punditry, having only appeared a handful of times since ending his playing career in 2001. He played three times for his country in 1995 when at Liverpool. He also enjoyed spells at Tottenham, where he won the League Cup for a second time, Bristol Rovers and Ipswich. The defender is most remembered for his time at Wimbledon from 1987 to 1994, where he was part of one of the biggest Cup Final upsets of all time when his ‘Crazy Gang’ beat Liverpool’s ‘Culture Club’ one-nil in ’88. Commentating on the big match at Withdean was Jon Champion. He joined ITV in 2001 for the launch of their Premiership highlights as well as the ITV Sport Channel, having previously worked for BBC Match of the Day for six seasons. He combined his ITV work with leading Setanta’s Live Premier League commentaries for the two seasons they had English football rights from 2007 before doing the same role for ESPN from the start of last season. He has covered four World Cups and three European Championships for television to date and is one of the most recognisable voices in the country.


FCU Teams

Gus Poyet made seven changes to the Albion side that drew nil-nil at Southampton in midweek. In came Peter Brezovan in goal to replace Casper Ankergren, just as he had done in both previous FA Cup matches. Three of the back four were changed, with only Marcos Painter surviving. Out went Gordon Greer, Adam El-Abd and Inigo Calderon with Tommy Elphick, Lewis Dunk and 37-year-old assistant manager Mauricio Taricco in their places. Liam Bridcutt returned to the holding midfield role after three games out, no room for Gary Dicker. Elliott Bennett and Radostin Kishishev both missed the First Round home tie with Woking three weeks ago but began here. Cristian Baz came in for his third start of the season, all in Cup competitions, as Agustin Battipiedi dropped down. Loan striker Chris Wood was ineligible so Glenn Murray was in the starting XI to partner Ashley Barnes.

The visitors from the seventh tier of English football were set up in protest at the Glazer’s ownership of Manchester United in 2005. They plied their trade in the Evo Stik Northern Premier Division and were managed by Karl Marginson since formation. Jake Cottrell scored in the First Round against Rochdale to have reached this point, receiving the Player of the Round award in the process. Chris Ovington was the only player not to start that memorable night. Striker Michael Norton got the last-gasp winner. Nicky Platt was formerly on the books of Liverpool and Burnley. Goalkeeper Sam Ashton played for Sam Allardyce’s Bolton in an FA Cup tie as an emergency striker in the Third Round back in 2006 before joining United of Manchester later that summer. Refereeing was Chris Sarginson.

FCU Comm FCU Barnes header FCU Goal

Brighton dominated possession and chances early on. Ashley Barnes almost capitalised from weak defending after a long ball from Elphick over the top. Ashton saved low to his left. Cristian Baz then had an opportunity but headed down instead of goalwards. The best chance though went Barnes’ way but again the Albion couldn’t get their headers right (above, top right). He met Painter’s excellent cross from the left but Ashton again denied the number nine. Elliott Bennett got in on the act with a long-range shot moving on its way through, Ashton again called into action. So it came as quite the shock when the visitors took the lead seven minutes before the break with their only shot on goal. Some nice footwork on the near touchline from Carlos Roca enabled him to get a cross into the box. Michael Norton held up before laying it off to Nicky Platt around fifteen yards out. Platt ran onto it to strike first time low and hard into the far corner past Brezovan and FC United had the lead. “It couldn’t happen again, could it?” asked commentator Jon Champion.

FCU Second Half FCU Sub FCU Red Card

That’s the way it stayed at the break. Poyet changed things around at the start of the second half, with Spanish former Valencia B and Dundee United forward Fran Sandaza entering the fray. He joined on a free back in September. He made an immediate impact, finding two chances falling to him but unable to keep either of them below the bar. The equaliser seemed inevitable, with United unable to deal with Albion’s crossing. That was made even more likely when an off the ball incident, missed by the cameras, saw the away side reduced to ten men. Defender Scott McManus was shown a straight red card, seemingly caught out by the linesman, for a push on Gary Hart. They had twenty minutes in order to hang on to a famous victory and a place in Round Three. A chance to double the lead went to Munroe when his head met the corner from Roca. Thankfully for the Seagulls, it was straight down the throat of Brezovan.

FCU Equaliser FCU One all FCU Penalty saved

Seven minutes remained on the clock when, at last, Brighton bundled home an equaliser to the relief of a frustrated Withdean crowd. Mauricio Taricco was heavily involved but substitute Fran Sandaza got the decisive touch. Taricco initially crossed for Sandaza, who couldn’t quite steer it towards goal with his head. The ball went to the far side where Marcos Painter kept it alive by lobbing the ball back into the penalty area. Taricco headed it into the danger area and Sandaza stuck a leg out on the way to guide it home from just a few yards out (above, top left). One-one and Brighton sensed blood. Taricco nearly assisted again moments later when his shot was turned goalwards by the outstretched foot of Ashley Barnes. Munroe’s head on the goal line saved United. Then deep, deep into stoppage time Munroe turned from hero to villain when he bundled over Sandaza to concede a ninety-sixth minute penalty. He could have no qualms about the decision. Elliott Bennett stepped up to take the all-important spot kick to seal a place in Round Three and join the big boys of the Premier League. To his amazement, and the delight of the travelling support up the other end behind the running track, Bennett’s penalty was saved terrifically by Sam Ashton flying to his right (above central). And in doing so earned his side a replay at Gigg Lane as it finished Brighton one, FC United of Manchester one.


FCU Final Score FCU Marginson FCU Poyet

FC United’s only-ever manager Karl Marginson was honest in his post-match assessment, saying “I wouldn’t say we were unlucky because Brighton controlled long parts of the game. I think we only had one shot in the first half and got a goal from it.” Goalkeeping hero Sam Ashton told of the research they, and specifically assistant manager Roy Soule, put in regarding penalties. “Every penalty that they took, they hit down the right apart from one lad who’s hit ’em down the left.” Albion boss Gus Poyet was disappointed to have to play a replay, giving credit to his opponent, and admitted he would be looking to play a second string team for that match. “We respect the opposition, we respect the fans, we try to put a team in there to go and win the game it was superior to the opposition. We didn’t win it. I don’t want the second game to affect the position that we are in the League.”

FCU Southgate FCU Scales

Back in the studio, a few minutes were devoted to analysing the key moments of the match with pundits Gareth Southgate and John Scales. Southgate believed United “rode their luck at times today and they nearly cost themselves with some ill-discipline at the end. But a fantastic performance from the League they’re in to be in the Third Round draw.” Scales was quick to praise the performances of the United players and particularly goalkeeper Sam Ashton. He mentioned the unrest amongst the Seagulls supporters upon the final whistle, with boos and groans, noting Brighton had enough chances to have won the game. The pair then analysed the goals with Matt Smith. For the FC United goal, striker Norton was singled out for his tireless efforts and good hold up play to lay it off for Platt to strike. The arrival of Fran Sandaza (“playing more like a San-dancer than a Sandaza” quipped Southgate) swung the game in Albion’s favour and Southgate liked what he saw of the home side. “Brighton play some fabulous football, they really do. Gus Poyet’s got them playing it out from the back, they’re well ahead in their League at the moment and you thought it was just gonna be one of those days when it wouldn’t happen for them.” The pundits agreed it was a definite penalty at the end and gave full credit to Ashton for saving and the backroom team for their meticulous research in predicting he’d go that way. It was all set up for a cracking replay; one which would be televised by ESPN eleven days later.

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

One Response to Small Screen Seagulls; FC United of Manchester (H) 27/11/2010

  1. Pingback: #32: FC United of Manchester 0-4 Brighton 08/12/2010 | Mark O'MEARA

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