#60: Brighton 0-2 Watford 25/04/2015

#60 BRIGHTON 0-2 WATFORD Championship
Saturday 25th April 2015 Image result for

60WAT Titles.JPG

PRESENTER Simon Thomas GUEST Peter Beagrie
COMMENTATORS Daniel Mann & Don Goodman REPORTER Jonathan Oakes
12.15pm Kick Off; The Amex     12-2.30pm FL72 Live on Sky Sports 1

60WAT Intro

CONTEXT OF THE MATCH

The Albion were back Live on television two weeks after their last appearance. Similar to that night, Brighton took on one of the promotion candidates in a crucial end of season match. This was the last game at The Amex in what had been a season to forget. Having had so much success over the past four years since leaving Withdean with the League One title, it was probably inevitable that at some point things would catch up with the club.

Three different manages had taken permanent charge of the club since this time last year; Oscar Garcia, Sami Hyypia and now Chris Hughton. A lack of quality investment meant a whole host of loan players were brought in and a clear imbalance was on display. Chris Hughton’s stock was extremely high in the Championship, having gained promotion with Newcastle and Norwich before. His task was to stabilise a side that weren’t keeping clean sheets and lacked potency up top. He managed the first part, but goals were proving much harder to come by.

As we headed into this final home game of a miserable campaign, Brighton were six points above the bottom three with two matches remaining. It would take a miracle for Millwall or Wigan to overtake the Seagulls at this late stage, which was handy as the final two opponents were Middlesbrough next week after Watford today. Both of those were still fighting for the title and expecting wins. Safety could have been mathematically secured earlier and looked likely after a crucial victory at Blackburn back in March. But Brighton’s Easter period was dreadful, defeat at home to Norwich was followed on Monday by a desperate loss at fellow strugglers Rotherham. Suddenly, sixteenth place became nineteenth and Hughton’s men were looking over their shoulders again. Further defeat at Wigan last time out kept alive the Latics hopes of staying up and made sure it wouldn’t be a comfortable end of season on the South Coast.

Today’s visitors Watford were at the tail end of a magnificent run which saw them top the table in the race for promotion, destiny was in their own hands. Since December, the Hornets had played twenty-five, won eighteen, drawn just two and lost five. They picked up fifty-six points from a possible seventy-five. This was serious promotion form and probably would have run away with the title had it not been for a turbulent opening couple of months off the field. Head coach Slavisa Jokanovic was appointed in early October and guided the club to top spot with win in his opening League game. They remained in the top seven for the rest of the season and were now guaranteed top four at worst.

But Jokanovic was their fourth head coach of the season! Beppe Sannino took over in January 2014 and won four of the opening five matches of this campaign but shocked everyone by resigning at the end of August, citing he had taken the club ‘as far as he could’. Former Albion boss Oscar Garcia then made a surprise return to English football just weeks after exiting Sussex. But he stepped down from Watford after less than four weeks, taking charge of the solitary match – a defeat to Charlton. He quit for health reasons, having been hospitalised for a week owing to chest pains. It was a worrying time for the Spaniard, but when he left there were apparently no further fears for his health. Billy McKinlay took over for a week before Deportivo and Chelsea midfielder Slovisa Jokanovic was brought in and McKinlay reverted to assistant. What an achievement it would be to gain promotion in his first months in charge and it could be secured if results went their way today. The Sky Sports cameras were back in town to witness it Live.

 

THE TEAMS

60WAT Brighton

Chris Hughton was looking ahead to next season and the changes he’d be making and needing for his first full campaign with the blue and white stripes. Amongst those he wouldn’t be needing were Craig Mackail-Smith and Aaron Hughes, whose contracts were expiring and would not be offered a new one. Both were on the bench today for a farewell to The Amex. Also probably making his last bow was Mustapha Carayol. He moved on loan from next week’s opponents Middlesbrough at the end of March, the deadline for loan deals. He was moved up top alongside Chris O’Grady to provide more of an attacking threat. The lack of goals was probably the biggest weakness of the season; the tally of just forty-four was the fourth worst in the Division, only better than the bottom three. Of the strikers, Sam Baldock netted just four in all competitions whilst Chris O’Grady had three and Leon Best none. Departed pair Adrian Colunga had three and Darren Bent two. It was a huge let down in that department.

The club’s top scorer was centre back Lewis Dunk with seven in League and Cup. Going into this season he had never scored unless it was an own goal! He was part of a trial back three here, alongside captain Gordon Greer and Nottingham Forest’s Greg Halford. Regular full backs Bruno on the right and Joe Bennett on the left were pushed further forward to become wing backs in a three-five-two formation. Albion’s Young Player of the Year, Joao Teixeira, was missing from the middle after breaking his leg in the goalless draw with Huddersfield. The teenager impressed greatly, and it didn’t go unnoticed by parent club Liverpool, as he picked up their Academy Player of the Season for his performances on loan. The Seagulls Supporters Player of the Year was Inigo Calderon, who had enjoyed a new lease of life as a makeshift right midfielder. He was named on the bench today, as was Kazenga LuaLua and Rohan Ince. LuaLua missed two months of the season through injury, since returning to the squad in February he had only started three times was frequently utilised as a substitute.

60WAT Subs 60WAT Watford

Original Watford head coach for this season, Beppe Sannino, brought Brazilian goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes in from Tottenham on a free over the summer following the retirement of ex-Arsenal stopper Manuel Almunia. Craig Cathcart transferred from Blackpool. Watford were owned by Giampaolo Pozzo, who was also involved with Italian club Udinese and Spanish side Granada. As a result, several of their players spent time switching between the clubs. Strikers Matej Vydra and Odion Ighalo joined on loan from the Italian club, with Ighalo making it permanent back in October. Winger Juan Carlos Paredes came in from Granada over the summer whilst Ikechi Anya moved from Spain to Hertfordshire back in 2012. Closer to home, midfielder Adlene Guedioura was on loan from Crystal Palace.

Ben Watson, the man who scored Wigan’s winner in the FA Cup Final against Manchester City two years ago, joined from the Latics in January. Defender Matthew Connolly left Cardiff for a loan spell at Vicarage Road from mid-March until the end of the season. Captain Troy Deeney began his professional career with four seasons at Walsall before moving down to London in 2010. In June 2012 he was sentenced to ten months in prison for affray when he and a friend attacked a group of students. He was released after serving three months inside and went straight back into the Watford squad for the rest of the 2012/13 season. Since then he was most famously involved in the incredible dramatics which saw Anthony Knockaert miss a penalty for Leicester in the Play Off Semi Final Second Leg, where Watford then broke up the other end for Deeney to score with the last kick off the game to secure their place in the Final. It’s one of the most incredible Play Off moments of all time. Refereeing this afternoon’s clash was boyhood Luton fan – Watford’s famous rivals – little Keith Stroud.

 

PRESENTATION TEAM & COVERAGE

60WAT Ident 60WAT Thomas

Sky’s main Football League Live match each weekend was scheduled in the 12.15pm Saturday lunchtime slot. This was in a bid to deter viewers away from BT Sport’s Live top flight offering, which was regularly Saturdays at 12.45pm. This was not something new for the Football League. Ever since Sky encountered a rival in the Premier League market with Setanta in 2007, the lower League broadcasts were positioned directly against them on Sky, often pettily kicking off just minutes before in order to gain that little edge. As of last season, Sky branded their coverage of the Championship, Leagues One and Two as FL72; using that across the seventy-five Live games per season and the regular Thursday and Monday afternoon magazine programmes. Graphics and music for today remained as it had been all season.

60WAT Pitchside 60WAT Beagrie

FL72’s number one host Simon Thomas presented this afternoon’s coverage from The Amex, opening up the show with build-up done pitchside in front of the West Stand. Thomas was joined by his regular first choice pundit Peter Beagrie. Since hanging up his boots in 2006, the former Scunthorpe, Bradford, Manchester City and Middlesbrough winger forged a successful career in the media. He was paired with host David Jones for the 2007/08 season as Sky went for a new look, younger Football League presentation team and remained a constant ever since. As a player, he appeared in all four Divisions of English football and was still lacing up his boots at the age of forty. As a pundit, Beagrie read the game well and was a natural communicator. His North East accent was a mainstay of Sky’s FL72 coverage in the studio.

60WAT Race for Promotion 60WAT Split screen interview

Today’s broadcast began at midday, fifteen minutes prior to kick-off. On the penultimate round of Championship fixtures, the main focus for Sky was on who would make it up to the Premier League with still so much to be decided; what Sky were labelling the ‘Race for Promotion’. With previous leaders Bournemouth not playing until Monday, also Live on Sky, this was a chance for Watford to widen the gap to four points over the Cherries with a win, and if results went their way in the 3pm games, promotion could be secured on this day. Naturally then, Sky’s coverage reflected this battle, with little mention pre-match of Brighton. The Albion weren’t mathematically secure of their place in the Division again for next season, but a six point gap with two to play made life more comfortable; a point today or next week on the final day at Middlesbrough would be enough. After Thomas and Beagrie had briefly set the scene, we heard from Watford’s fourth manager of the season; Slavisa Jokanovic, in conversation with the main Football League reporter Jonathan Oakes.

Following the advert break and with the teams about to run out onto the turf, Oakes spoke with the Albion’s Chris Hughton for his pre-match thoughts. With not much left to play for other than pride, Brighton would have a greater say in how things panned out at the top in these last two matches and Hughton knew the importance of putting in a professional performance. “We want to finish this season as strong as we can. We also have a responsibility to this club and, of course, to the League to field as strong a side as we can in both games and to get as good a result as we can in both games.” The teams then left the tunnel to a live performance of Sussex By the Sea from soprano singer Donna-Marie Hughes to mark the final home game of the season. And it was up to the commentary box where Daniel Mann and Don Goodman were waiting, just as they were two weeks earlier. A new addition to the FL72 coverage today was a quick thirty second commercial immediately before the kick-off, known as a ‘turbo break’. It was more familiar to the Premier League coverage, where typically a betting ad with live odds was shown.

60WAT Studio 60WAT Interviews

Sky were increasingly presenting the Football League build up from the touchline, soaking in that atmosphere ahead of kick off, before moving up to the studio box for the rest of the show. That’s exactly what happened here, as the usual presentation area up in the back of the North Stand was utilised by Simon Thomas and Peter Beagrie from half time onwards. They reviewed the first period, in which Brighton found themselves unlucky to be behind. The stats backed this up, with the Albion enjoying nearly two-thirds of the possession and the greater number of corners and attempts on goal. The early pressure from the home side was highlighted, passing the ball quicker and getting more numbers in the box when attacking.

When the final whistle sounded, the Watford players and fans were full of celebration. In the middle of the pitch was reporter Jonathan Oakes who grabbed a quick word with the captain, goal scorer and Man of the Match, Troy Deeney, alongside defender Matthew Connolly. Watford did their part of the bargain. If results for the two teams outside the automatic places went the Hornets way, they would be promoted come five o’clock. We wouldn’t see that on this Live broadcast of course, but results did go their way! Middlesbrough lost to Fulham whilst Norwich could only draw at Rotherham. Supporters of both Brighton and Watford stayed behind in the various bars at The Amex to watch Gillette Soccer Saturday as the scores came in, which then led to a big party after full time to share in the achievement of a place up to the top flight. Congratulations to Watford Football Club.

60WAT Fixtures 60WAT Coming Up

Rewinding back a couple of hours and to the end of today’s Live match broadcast; after the break Thomas and Beagrie had only six minutes or so left to wrap everything up before coming off-air at half two. Oakes spoke with victorious manager Jokanovic, treating today as the ‘semi-final’ and next week the ‘final’ in his quest for promotion. The studio team gave an overview of the situation, with Bournemouth, Middlesbrough and Norwich all with two games remaining to chase Watford down. Sky were probably hoping things weren’t quite settled over this weekend, as the following Saturday they’d be showing two Live matches from the final day of the campaign, usually one of the highlights of the season. For Brighton, it was all pretty much done and dusted with six points clear of the drop zone and a superior goal difference. The team below, Rotherham, had been deducted three points for fielding an ineligible player, whilst the team in twenty-second, Millwall, had to work miracles. The bottom two – already relegated Blackpool and 2013 FA Cup winners Wigan – were too far away to catch the Albion. There was no time in the programme to hear the thoughts of Chris Hughton today but he knew that the primary task this season was to maintain Brighton’s Championship status, Big improvements were required next year to get the club back to where it ought to belong; competing for a place amongst England’s elite.

 

STORY OF THE MATCH

60WAT Kick Off 60WAT Comms

Prior to kick off, a minute’s silence was observed for the thirtieth anniversary of the tragic fire at Bradford’s Valley Parade, which killed fifty-six and injured many, many more. Football paid its respects to the victims of that dreadful incident on the 11th May 1985. The penultimate weekend of the Championship season then got underway at The Amex, with Watford shooting towards the North Stand in the first half.

Inside the opening minute Brighton twice went close to getting on the scoresheet, both times just unable to pull the trigger. Firstly, Chris O’Grady caught the Watford defence napping. Joe Bennett found the target man in space but his touch took him to the left where the covering defender was. That opportunity went begging but in the away team’s panic to clear, the ball broke for Dale Stephens on the edge of the penalty area. He dribbled past one then tried to take it beyond a second, the men in yellow were not having that and they kicked to safety. A frantic start to the match, backed by a vocal Seagulls support. Brighton had the lion’s share of the possession and enjoyed success with long, diagonal passes from the back to the wing, enabling the wide players to drive forward in this 3-5-2 formation. As a consequence, Watford brought off Ikechi Anya and replaced him with Daniel Tozser in a diamond midfield. That enabled others to realign to make a more solid back four shape, as opposed to the three, after twenty-five minutes.

Whether these adjustments had any bearing on the deadlock being broken just three minutes later, I don’t know. But that’s exactly what Watford did, as Troy Deeney pounced to make it one-nil. The ball came in from the left from Matthew Connolly, Greg Halford met with the header but mistimed it, sending the ball straight up in the air. Gordon Greer then tried to trap the dropping ball as it fell but only seemed to knock it into the path of his own goal. Ighalo picked it up with his back to goal six-yards out to flick it over to Deeney. His first touch took it past the despairing lunge of Greer before firing a shot past Stockdale and three Albion bodies into the back of the net from twelve yards. Of all the people for the ball to drop to in that position, Troy Deeney is amongst the last you’d want. It was a goal from almost nothing, Brighton had ample opportunity to clear their lines but failed to do so and fell behind in a match they had had the better of to that point.

Five minutes after the goal, Brighton had their first shot on target forcing Gomes into a good save. Chris O’Grady’s strength and power had caused Watford problems earlier in the half but here it was the strength of his shot that almost nabbed an equaliser. His effort from twenty-odd yards was bending and swerving but the Brazilian ‘keeper watched to slap behind. He almost went from hero to villain straight after when he flapped at a cross. but Brighton couldn’t quite force the ball home. The sides went into the break with Deeney’s strike separating them.

60WAT Deeney goal 60WAT Analysis

Watford began the second half well and almost doubled the lead within ten minutes. Again, Brighton failed to clear their lines, allowing Guedioura to try some trickery on the edge of the box. The ball found its way through to an unmarked Odion Ighalo six yards out. He tried to round Stockdale, in doing so Guedioura took over with the first time finish – the goalkeeper dived at his feet excellently to block for a corner. The Albion attempted to address this by bringing on a player for his Amex farewell, replacing one likely to be doing the same. Craig Mackail-Smith arrived with half an hour remaining to a fantastic reception, coming on for Middlesbrough loanee Mustapha Carayol. Watford, perhaps looking for a counter attacking opportunity, introduced the pace of striker Matej Vydra on for Ighalo with the result not yet secure.

The changes made some difference, with Brighton pushing for an equaliser. But they just weren’t getting enough bodies into the box. Substitute Inigo Calderon, on for the injured Bruno, produced a very good cross for Chris O’Grady. His powerful header landed just wide of the post. The replays showed it actually bobbled up off a bit of sand patching up the pitch in the goalmouth, causing the ball to head wide instead of in! One for the groundsman to reconsider. In previous games, the diagonal ball to switch play worked a treat for Brighton but was finding it harder to come by today. As the game approached the final few minutes, Lewis Dunk clipped a terrific pass out wide to Calderon. His cut back saw Dale Stephens free on the edge, but he didn’t quite catch the low shot right and Gomes was able to get down to collect the tame effort.

But Albion’s best chance fell to Mackail-Smith in stoppage time. With bodies in the box, Brighton’s cross was cleared out as far as sub LuaLua. He headed it up to Calderon on the edge, who cleverly chested the ball beyond the Hornets defence to find the striker. Mackail-Smith just waited that fraction too long as the ball wouldn’t settle, allowing Gomes to rush out of goal and bravely punch away as he was ready to pull the trigger, whilst the rebound came to nothing.

In the fifth of five minutes of injury time, Watford sealed the three points with a terrific counter attacking goal. With the Seagulls upfield chasing that equaliser, the visitors managed to clear the ball to the half way line. The pace and determination of Troy Deeney saw him gather the loose ball on the near touchline. Dribbling it forward, he looked up to see Matej Vydra the only person in the middle with no defender anywhere near him. Deeney found him with a good pass, Vydra controlled well with his chest as Gordon Greer sprinted back. It was to no avail though as Vydra’s second touch was a terrific finish into the bottom left-hand corner of Stockdale’s net. Co-commentator Don Goodman called it when Vydra was brought on, saying they’d be looking to counter with his pace. Watford secured all three points to put them within touching distance of the Premier League again.

60WAT Table top 60WAT Table bottom

BRIGHTON 0 WATFORD 2
Deeney, Vydra

60WAT Replay.JPG

PREVIOUS; #59 BRIGHTON 0-2 BOURNEMOUTH 10/04/2015

NEXT; #61 BRIGHTON 1-0 NOTTINGHAM FOREST 07/08/2015

#59: Brighton 0-2 Bournemouth 10/04/2015

#59 BRIGHTON 0-2 BOURNEMOUTH Championship
Friday 10th April 2015 Image result for

59BOU Titles

PRESENTER Simon Thomas GUEST Darren Anderton
COMMENTATORS Daniel Mann & Don Goodman REPORTER David Craig
7.45pm Kick Off; The Amex     7.30-10pm FL72 Live on Sky Sports 1

59BOU Ident 59BOU Sponsor 59BOU Intro

CONTEXT OF THE MATCH

Chris Hughton had been in charge of the Albion for three months by the time this televised clash at The Amex came around in early April. In that time he had made leaps in stabilising a hugely misfiring Brighton side. Hughton achieved six League victories, two more than Sami Hyypia did in the opening five months of the campaign.

On the back of the FA Cup Third Round win at Brentford in Hughton’s first match in charge, he followed it up with three points in the capital at Charlton the following Saturday. A first home win in six arrived when promotion chasing Ipswich were left empty handed towards the end of January. Form dipped after the televised Cup defeat at home to Arsenal, with two defeats and two draws, and the club found themselves back just one place above the Championship drop zone.

Back-to-back wins at The Amex with the first Saturday-Tuesday six points arrived as February drew to a close. Birmingham were edged by the odd goal in seven thanks to braces from Inigo Calderon and Joao Teixeira for a massive win. Three days later, Leeds were sent back to Yorkshire with their tails between their legs, losing two-nil to the Albion for the second time this season. This double celebration lifted Brighton to eighteenth, their highest position since September.

Defeat in a crunch game at the bottom at Bolton was swiftly forgotten with revenge over Derby, our conquerors in the Play Off Semis the year before. Two more vital points were picked up with draws at home to Wolves and away at Millwall in mid-November kept things ticking along. Then an absolutely vital win away at Blackburn thanks to a Matt Kilgallon own goal rocketed Brighton up to sixteenth ahead of the Easter period. More importantly, it put clear daylight between the club and the relegation zone with only a handful of matches to play.

Tonight’s visitors Bournemouth were enjoying one of their best ever seasons. They were firmly in the promotion picture having sat in the top four since October, following their record high eight-nil success at Birmingham. Now, they were going every step of the way with Norwich, Watford and Middlesbrough for the title. Bournemouth hadn’t lost since February, with just eight defeats all season. Between October and November, the Cherries went on an unbeaten sixteen match run – thirteen of which were victories. Eddie Howe was on the verge of guiding Bournemouth up to the Premier League for the very first time. The Sky cameras were in town to witness the next leg of their fantastic march from the bottom to the top. This was the one-hundredth League meeting between the two Meridian region clubs.

 

THE TEAMS

59BOU Brighton

A couple of new faces were brought in to the Albion during the January transfer window. The most notable addition was Israeli international midfielder Beram Kayal from Celtic. He spent four-and-a-half-years in Glasgow with mixed results. His debut got off to a cracker, winning Man of the Match and assisting one of the goals. But injury cost him three months of the season before it had barely got going. He went on to captain the Hoops for the occasional game, nabbed the League’s Player of the Month award for January 2011 and won the Premiership title in his first full season. But the following season was again blighted by injury, ankle ligaments ruling him out for the second half of the campaign. He lifted the SPL title a further three times before the move down South for an undisclosed fee.

Another addition to the line-up was Gambian winger Mustapha Carayol. He signed on loan from Middlesbrough at the end of March, making his first appearance in the disappointing defeat at Rotherham the following day. Tonight was his home debut. A ruptured ankle ligament a year earlier had kept him out of action and joined the Seagulls to gain match practice. Carayol joined ‘Boro in 2012 having previously been on the books of Torquay, Lincoln and Bristol Rovers. He was no stranger to Sussex, spending two-thirds of a season on loan at Crawley early in his career.

Alongside the new recruits in the midfield was the flair and excitement of Liverpool loanee Joao Teixeira, the club’s top scorer this season in the League with six. Dale Stephens was fully on the comeback trail having missed the first half of the campaign through injury sustained this time last year. Inigo Calderon continued to be deployed on the right wing, joining the attack as well as supporting fellow Spaniard Bruno behind him at full back. There was no Gordon Greer available so Greg Halford, on loan from Nottingham Forest, partnered one of our own, Lewis Dunk, at the heart of the defence.

Goals were still hard to come by and, having tried various options and combinations, a new face was being tried to see out the season. Leon Best transferred on loan to the Seagulls from the end of January. Himself a former Cherry, Best joined Brighton from Blackburn but also had a loan spell earlier in the year at Derby County. He was yet to score a goal for either us or Derby in almost thirty appearances. Whilst Darren Bent flourished on loan earlier on, Leon Best was really struggling. Options on the bench included goal scorer against Arsenal in the Cup, Chris O’Grady, and a man more used to coming off the bench this season than starting, Craig Mackail-Smith. Veteran Northern Irish defender Aaron Hughes was there if the back line needed shoring up.

59BOU Subs 59BOU Bournemouth

Championship Manager of the Month Eddie Howe was on the brink of guiding Bournemouth from the bottom Division in 2009/10 all the way up to the very top just five seasons later, with an eighteen-month break managing Burnley in the middle. He made one change from their Easter Monday win as Marc Pugh returned following an ankle knock. Pugh was amongst the scorers when Bournemouth won against Brighton in November. This was pretty much Howe’s strongest eleven. Only Yann Kermorgant didn’t begin the reverse fixture, but he did come off the bench to score the decisive penalty.

The heart of the defence was very much ‘made in Brighton’, with captain Tommy Elphick playing over a hundred-and-fifty League appearances for the Albion over a seven-year period after coming up through the youth system at his hometown club. Had it not been for injury in the final match of the League One title winning campaign of 2010/11, which sidelined him for the entirety of the following season, he could have been leading the Seagulls out now. Fellow centre-half Steve Cook too came up through the academy at Brighton, having been born in nearby Hastings. His first team career in Sussex was much less successful, beginning just seven matches for the Albion over a four-year period, four of which came in Cup competitions. After various loan spells with lower and non-League teams, he moved to Dean Court permanently in January 2012 for £150,000. Both Elphick and Cook played every match of this season.

They weren’t just solid at the back; Bournemouth were also the Division’s top scorers. Callum Wilson, in his first season at the club, scored in all three competitions totalling twenty to date. Strike partner Yann Kermorgant netted a further fifteen in his first full season on the South Coast. If they weren’t firing, options on the bench included Kenwyne Jones, signed a couple of weeks earlier on loan from Cardiff, and Brett Pitman, himself with fourteen goals to his name in League and Cup. Tonight’s referee was Mr Craig Pawson.

 

THE COVERAGE & PRESENTATION TEAM

59BOU Thomas 59BOU Anderton

Sky Sports’ Friday night presentation came on-air fifteen minutes before the usual 7.45pm kick off. Going under the FL72 branding and sponsored by Screwfix, Sky’s Football League programming used the same style graphics as the Premier League, but with a red background instead of a blue one. The theme tune was provided by Woodkid, with their track Run Boy Run. Number one FL72 host Simon Thomas anchored proceedings alongside his guest Darren Anderton. Thomas had been hosting Live League matches for Sky since for over five years, graduating from Sky Sports News and stepping up to be main host for 2011/12. Darren Anderton enjoyed success with Tottenham and England but was present tonight for his connection to Bournemouth, where he spent two seasons to see out his career. He was also the guest for the televised reverse fixture back in November, where he was alongside second choice host Natalie Sawyer.

59BOU Pitchside 59BOU Hughton split screen

Thomas and Anderton presented tonight’s build up from pitchside in front of the West Stand towards the South side of the stadium and were accompanied by the magnificent Championship trophy; the prize Bournemouth had firmly set their sights on. The Cherries were the main focus, understandably, what with them having probably their best ever season. They topped the table, a point above both Norwich in second and Watford in third. Middlesbrough came next, two points adrift. The most important point was it was all in their own hands now for Bournemouth. The pitchside team talked through their remarkable fightback from two-nil down at home to Birmingham on Easter Monday to turn it around with four goals. Reporter David Craig, a regular in the Championship this season and last, spoke with their manager Eddie Howe in the first portion of the show.

Brighton’s position was this; nine points clear of the relegation zone. The club sat in nineteenth ahead of this match, with Fulham and Rotherham below and Millwall, Wigan and Blackpool occupying the three danger positions at the foot. Blackpool were already down, that was confirmed. Wigan were eight points off safety with five games to play, Millwall fared slightly better – seven points behind Rotherham and with a game in hand over the rest of the bottom six. The Albion’s position was looking alright for now, but it was still all to play for especially as tough fixtures against teams vying for promotion were still to come.

After the pre-match advert break and with the teams waiting in the tunnel, we heard Chris Hughton’s thoughts in conversation with David Craig. Sky used the split-screen facility in order to show both, a feature of their FL72 coverage immediately before the kick off. Hughton was aware of Bournemouth’s attacking prowess but wanted his side to aim for similar; “We’ve gotta be a threat ourselves. We’ve been decent here, we’re on the back of a decent performance against Norwich. If you give away too much possession, you know they’re gonna hurt you.” Looking ahead beyond this season, he wanted the squad to use these final five matches to be positive, keep the gap between themselves and the relegation zone and make it a comfortable end rather than scrabbling around for points. As the teams emerged onto the field, it was time to hand up to the commentary pairing of Daniel Mann, second choice Football League voice, and Don Goodman, long serving analyst and ex-Wolves and Walsall forward.

59BOU Carayol 59BOU Studio

In the moments before the start, the commentary team picked out a couple of players to watch out for. For the Albion, Mustapha Carayol was fighting for a future as parent club Middlesbrough were unlikely to be offering him a new deal once it runs out in the summer. During the half time break, the presentation team moved up from pitchside to the usual studio box within the right side of the North Stand. Thankfully, the Championship trophy went with them as there was little else to talk about at the interval as neither side had mustered a shot on target! It was one of those halves. Having to talk over replays of a Brighton corner which nobody touched in the box spoke volumes.

As usual, after the full time whistle we heard some immediate reaction on the pitch from a couple of the key men speaking with reporter David Craig; tonight, Tommy Elphick and Man of the Match Yann Kermorgant from Bournemouth. The studio team moved back to their pitchside position for the ten minutes or so left of post-match analysis, where they were joined for the majority of it by winning manager Eddie Howe. He was rather disappointed with his side’s effort, perhaps credit to Brighton for neutralising their threats for such a long time. The trio reviewed the second half goals, with two very good finishes the difference. The season’s achievements were touched upon, with tonight’s goals taking Bournemouth’s tally to eighty-nine, overtaking their previous best in the old Division Three South back in 1956/57.

59BOU Match Stats 59BOU Coming Up

The match stats showed that Brighton created a few chances, more than their opponents, but just a solitary effort on target summed up the failures of the season. Bournemouth’s tally of two shots on target was “their joint lowest this season”, according to host Simon Thomas. Crucially though, they scored with both. When Eddie Howe was done playing the pundit role, we heard from his opposite number Chris Hughton, in conversation with reporter David Craig. Hughton said the result was “hard to take” given the performance up until the opening goal. “We’re playing a team that’s in great form, that are not top of the Division by coincidence. And I thought in most aspects of that seventy minutes I thought we were the better side. But that’s why they are where they are – because they’ve got that little bit of quality when it counts.” He acknowledged mistakes were made, both in not taking chances up front and errors leading to opportunities at the back. The areas for improvement over next season were obvious. One other result came from the evening, affecting the bottom of the table, as Fulham and Wigan drew. That kept Fulham below the Albion in the table, now just on goal difference, whilst Wigan leapfrogged Millwall into twenty-second, still seven points from safety. With just four matches remaining for Brighton, safety looked pretty secure if not yet mathematically. As the clock approached 10pm, it was time to say goodbye as another Live broadcast concluded.

 

STORY OF THE MATCH

59BOU Kick Off 59BOU Comms

The Championship title hunters kicked off tonight’s clash at The Amex, shooting towards the North Stand in the first half. Brighton had proved to be a more solid outfit under Chris Hughton than before and the game plan here was more than likely to be about cancelling Bournemouth’s threat above providing our own attacking impetus. Midfielder Dale Stephens set the early tempo with a crunching tackle six minutes in, lunging to win the loose ball against Matt Ritchie. Upon further inspection on the replay, he was fortunate to get away with it. His studs were showing, sliding through Ritchie to send the ball spinning elsewhere. Referee Craig Pawson was right on the spot just yards away with a perfect view and gave nothing, so the game continued but it was a dangerous challenge that really should have been punished with a yellow. Brighton didn’t allow their visitors to settle down in the opening exchanges, winning the ball back quickly and moving forward with more of a purpose than we had seen for patches this season.

The Albion pushed forward, earning a couple of corners. The presence of top scorer Lewis Dunk and six-foot defender Greg Halford were the target men from set pieces, but they couldn’t quite be found. Joao Teixeira had an opportunity when he created a couple of yards of space in the box, his strike firing just too high from a difficult angle. But this was exactly what the Seagulls supporters were crying out for, taking the game to their opponents. Co-commentator Don Goodman though summed up the situation when he said; “The only thing missing is that goal, really. For all of the good play and all of the good work they’ve done, Artur Boruc in the goal hasn’t had a save to make.” The key stat showed Brighton with more first half attempts but none of them on target. The sides went into the break goalless. A creditable, if not memorable, first forty-five for the Albion.

59BOU Kermorgant goal 59BOU Wilson goal

The second half began with a familiar pattern, as Brighton were urged forward by the supporters. Dale Stephens, in the thick of things once more, had a decent opportunity when the ball was won back just outside the Bournemouth box. Joao Teixeira tried to trick his way past the defence, they stood firm and the loose ball was latched onto by Stephens. His first-time shot flew just too high. A similar chance fell his way minutes later. This time on his weaker left with bodies charging him down. The result went the same way as before. Spells such as this needed to be capitalised on. Leon Best got the game’s first shot on target just before the hour mark, though in truth it was weaker than a backpass. The sort of effort from a man lacking in confidence and without a goal all season for two different clubs.

With around twenty minutes remaining, Bournemouth had their first shot on target. And what a shot, it provided the breakthrough to give the visitors the lead. Lewis Dunk’s late challenge gave Bournemouth a free kick twenty-five yards out, providing Dunk with his eleventh booking of the season. Co-commentator Goodman prophesised before the kick, “On a night where it hasn’t flowed for them, they are capable of the spectacular from situations like this.” Yann Kermorgant took the free kick with his right, as David Stockdale took two mini-steps to his left. That little movement was crucial as the goalkeeper was then committed one way before having to dive the other. Stockdale at full stretch couldn’t get there and the ball curled into the top right-hand corner of his net for a wonderful goal.

The result was sealed with ten minutes remaining as Bournemouth doubled their lead through Callum Wilson. Yann Kermorgant won the ball back in the middle of the park and played a terrific lobbed through ball from the centre circle towards Wilson just outside the box. He brought the ball down on the turn, managing to get behind his marker Greg Halford. Wilson tried to cut inside on his left by which time Halford was back in position. The striker patiently held it up, this time cutting the other way and skipping past his man. Before left back Joe Bennett could charge in the way, Wilson unleashed his strike past Stockdale and in for two-nil. Brighton had to make them wait for a long time, but two clinical finishes for Bournemouth’s only two shots on target in the match ensured the three points were heading back up along the Coast.

59BOU Top 59BOU Bottom

BRIGHTON 0 BOURNEMOUTH 2
Kermorgant, Wilson

59BOU Replay

PREVIOUS; #58 BRIGHTON 2-3 ARSENAL 25/01/2015

NEXT; #60 BRIGHTON 0-2 WATFORD 25/04/2015

#57: Brighton 0-1 Millwall 12/12/2014

#57 BRIGHTON 0-1 MILLWALL Championship
Friday 12th December 2014 Image result for

57MIL Titles

PRESENTER Natalie Sawyer GUESTS David Prutton & Keith Andrews
COMMENTATORS Daniel Mann & Garry Birtles REPORTER David Craig
7.45pm Kick Off; The Amex     7.30-10pm FL72 Live on Sky Sports 1

57MIL Intro

CONTEXT OF THE MATCH

It was proving to be a very difficult introduction to Sami Hyypia’s managerial career in England. Back-to-back Championship defeat sent the Seagulls into the drop zone in the opening weeks but had plateaued to just above there after that. However, defeat at home to Fulham at the end of November saw the team sink back into the red again where they sat ahead of tonight’s crunch clash with fellow strugglers Millwall. Time and patience were wearing incredibly thin, with supporters already calling for the manager’s head. Hyypia had just three League victories in the campaign to his name; away at Leeds and home to Bolton back in August was followed by an eleven-match winless streak.

A one-nil defeat of Wigan Athletic in the first midweek of November, thanks to a first-minute Gary Gardner strike, provided three absolutely vital points but five weeks later and it hadn’t been matched. Two draws and two abject defeats followed to place Brighton in twenty-second. The problem wasn’t necessarily losing matches, it was the sheer number of draws which hampered progress. Nine of the last sixteen fixtures ended all square, with a real lack of potency in the final third clear to see. The club didn’t replace Leonardo Ulloa when he was sold up to Leicester in pre-season, instead investing the £8million fee somewhat cheaply on unproven Championship strikers Sam Baldock, Adrian Colunga and Chris O’Grady. Between them the trio had scored just three goals, whilst centre back Lewis Dunk led the way on five in all competitions.

A whole host of loan players were brought in as a bid to improve performances, but the rules stated a maximum of five were allowed in the matchday squad at any one time, forcing certain players to miss out. The combination of not owning much of your squad with a huge number of injuries spelt trouble for a club that went so close to the Premier League in each of the previous two campaigns. Not many had anticipated such a drop in results.

Tonight’s opposition Millwall however, were far more used to this. They only narrowly survived the drop last time, changing managers half way through in the process. The 2014/15 season began far brighter with three wins in the opening five games, and progression to the Second Round of the League Cup. Form dropped off completely in September, losing four out of five. Going into the clash at The Amex, Millwall were in a dreadful run of form having won just once in fifteen. Sky Sports, perhaps in gallows humour, selected this fixture for Live broadcast on a cold, Friday night in December.

 

THE TEAMS

57MIL Brighton

Goalkeeper David Stockdale transferred from Fulham over the summer to come straight in as first choice following the release of Tomasz Kuszczak. However, he was forced to miss much of last month through injury. Spanish right-back Bruno missed even longer, as injury set him back six weeks but was fighting fit again. Today’s captain Lewis Dunk was partnered by former Colchester and Portsmouth centre-half Greg Halford. He was drafted in on loan from Nottingham Forest and made his Albion starting debut tonight covering in Gordon Greer’s absence. Left-back Adam Chicksen made the move from MK Dons eighteen months ago but struggled to maintain a first team place; behind Stephen Ward last season and Joe Bennett this. Chicksen went out on loan to Gillingham to gain playing minutes but was recalled prematurely just the day before tonight’s clash. With the maximum of five loan players in the starting line-up, Joe Bennett had to be left out.

Jake Forster-Caskey only missed one League match thus far in the middle of the park, whilst Liverpool loanee Joao Teixeira hadn’t started since the last win; against Wigan in the first week of November. Elliott Bennett won the League One title with the Albion back in 2011, earning himself a place in the Divisional Team of the Season en route, but then left Sussex for Premier League Norwich. After initial success there, injuries impacted his place; starting just twice during the Canaries relegation season in 2014. With spots limited, he re-joined Brighton on loan after the televised Bournemouth defeat. Winger Solly March started half of last season’s League games but didn’t feature in the side this campaign until last time out in the defeat to Derby due to a back injury.

The man charged with stopping the Seagulls rot in front of goal was the experienced Darren Bent. The Villa forward came in on a month’s loan and scored on debut in the defeat at Fulham two weeks ago. His top flight experience with the likes of Ipswich, Charlton, Tottenham and Sunderland, as well as thirteen senior England caps, provided contrast to a fairly youthful side. The bench included Adrian Colunga, who had just two goals to his name to date, and Paddy McCourt, a summer transfer from relegated Barnsley.

57MIL Millwall 57MIL Subs

Ian Holloway returned to The Amex for the first time as a manager since that disastrous Play Off Semi Final in 2013, having taken over at Millwall in January. He guided the Lions to Championship safety in nineteenth, four points above the drop. He brought in striker Lee Gregory from Halifax and Everton midfielder Magaye Gueye over the break. Goalkeeper David Forde became the Republic of Ireland’s oldest ever debutant when he started in a goalless draw at Sweden in 2013, aged thirty-three.

Defender Danny Shittu won promotion to this Division under Ian Holloway in 2004, the year when Albion joined them via the Play Offs. Centre back partner Mark Beevers was targeted by Rotherham over the summer but their bid was rejected. Martyn Woolford was a regular in the middle having joined eighteen months ago from Bristol City. Spanish midfielder Angel Martinez was at Blackpool with Holloway and the pair were reunited at Millwall for his debut tonight. Substitute options included former Yeovil midfielder Ed Upson and Jamaican international striker Ricardo Fuller. Refereeing the contest was James Linington.

 

PRESENTATION TEAM

57MIL Sawyer 57MIL Studio

Natalie Sawyer was once again at the helm for Brighton’s Live Championship match, following her first Seagulls game last month. Having begun hosting Leagues 1 and 2 and the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy coverage last season, her role expanded to include some Championship games this season as number two behind Simon Thomas. This was previously the job of George Gavin, who very occasionally still covered Live matches, but was more regularly used to voice round-ups and present FL72 Preview and Review programming.

Joining Sawyer in the studio at The Amex was David Prutton and Keith Andrews. Prutton was Sky’s new signing this season, having retired from playing following a short spell with Coventry. The midfielder began at Nottingham Forest, coming through the youth system, spending five years in the East Midlands before moving up to the Premier League at Southampton. He spent three years at both Leeds and Sheffield Wednesday, amongst other Football League teams, before bringing his career to a close over the summer. As well as punditing on Sky’s FL72 Live and magazine programming, he was an in-vision reporter on Gillette Soccer Saturday travelling around the country covering the lower Leagues.

Keith Andrews spent the whole of last season on loan with Brighton under Oscar Garcia, making thirty-five appearances. His solitary Albion goal came against Sheffield Wednesday in October 2013. He returned to parent club Bolton following our Play Offs defeat to Derby, but with first team opportunities looking unlikely, Andrews joined Championship side Watford on loan towards the end of July. The Republic of Ireland midfielder earned thirty-five caps for his country, including all three matches at Euro 2012 before being sent off in the defeat to Italy. Despite this, he was named Ireland’s Player of the Year for 2012. The 2014/15 campaign would be his final one before retirement.

57MIL Andrews 57MIL Prutton

In the commentary box were Daniel Mann and Garry Birtles. Mann was firmly second choice in the Football League behind Bill Leslie, but with Leslie also covering some top flight Live action, Mann’s opportunities increased each season. He was Sky’s voice of 3D commentaries for the previous four years, but the project was quietly dropped by Sky now due to a lack of uptake. Garry Birtles had been involved in Sky’s League commentaries for over a decade, dating back to the opening day of the 2003/04 season. Whilst he had been overtaken by the likes of Don Goodman and Andy Hinchcliffe in recent seasons, Birtles still did a wide range of football including Premier League 3pm world feed matches, La Liga and international matches. He also was a regular in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy and Leagues 1 & 2.

The final member of the on-air team for tonight’s clash was reporter David Craig. He was a long-standing part of Sky’s reporting roster, primarily for Sky Sports News. This expanded to Live match interviewing as of last season, reporting on Johnstone’s Paint Trophy and under-16 international Victory Shield games, as well as the second choice on the Football League.

 

THE COVERAGE

57MIL Ident 57MIL Sponsor

Friday nights were a regular slot for Live FL72 action, as well as Saturday 12.15pm to go head-to-head with BT Sport’s top flight lunchtime games. The programme began fifteen minutes prior to the 7.45pm kick-off, hosted from the stadium studio at The Amex towards the corner of the North Stand. Throughout the month of December, Sky Sports used special Christmas themed idents, as was now tradition for them. The famous animated snowmen of yesteryear were a distant memory, instead focussing now on snow-topped streets with the logo prominently place and commentary from a classic match over the top. Lights displayed the message “Merry Christmas”. After the Screwfix sponsor bumpers and the “Run Boy Run” title sequence, new for this season, the programme was underway.

Host Natalie Sawyer emphasised the contrast in fortunes for supporters of the Seagulls who, for the past two seasons, were more used to the battle at the top than avoiding the drop. Millwall, on the other hand, had appointed a manager more used to getting teams out of this Division but were desperately fighting just to stay in it this time. A glance at the League table showed the precarious positions for both, with Albion in the drop zone in twenty-second place and two points from safety. Millwall had twenty points from twenty games, sitting prettier in twentieth spot. “This time last season, Brighton were thirteen points better off and just outside of the top six,” Sawyer compared.

She was joined in the box by guests Keith Andrews and David Prutton. Andrews experienced the Albion during the previous campaign, reaching the Championship Play Offs. The current Watford man was asked what the downturn in form could be attributed to; “You can bring it back to a few seasons of turbulence off the pitch – managerial changes for the last three summers. There’s huge ambition at this football club and it is set up for success and long-term sustainability, but I just think it’s caught up with them a little bit.”

57MIL Bent 57MIL Split screen interview

The studio team picked out a couple of key players to watch out for, including Brighton’s newest striking option Darren Bent. Keith Andrews was expecting Bent to do well at the club, citing “wherever he’s been he has got goals”. David Prutton believed the Albion were “in essence a great team”, with decent possession stats and passing football. Due to the amount of loan signings, they were needing players who could gel quickly. As for Millwall, their key man was signed out of non-League; Lee Gregory from Halifax. The question of if he could make it in the Football League out of the National League was answered using examples that had gone on to better things; Andre Gray at Brentford and Jamie Vardy at Leicester, who also came from Halifax to move up. The pundits both expected the home side to be a threat and have enough to defeat Millwall tonight. With the previewing done, it was time for a quick ad break before the teams were in the tunnel and raring to go.

Just before kick-off, both managers were interviewed by reporter David Craig. Sami Hyypia was asked about the expectation of the job after such a poor start to his reign; “In my playing career, you play under pressure. I think pressure is good to be there.” Ian Holloway explained he made five changes to freshen the squad up after a humiliating defeat the previous week; one which Holloway described as his “worst day in football”. Then it was over the commentary team of Daniel Mann and Garry Birtles to talk us through the first half action, with ‘Sussex By the Sea’ ringing round as the teams walked onto the pitch.

57MIL Coming Up 57MIL Proposal

The half time analysis centred around the goal from Lee Gregory. Pundit David Prutton pointed out the number of players Millwall were getting forward was much greater than when Brighton attacked. When Gregory struck for the goal, there were an additional five yellow shirts in the penalty area. There was praise for Lewis Dunk from Keith Andrews, blocking shots and being “a real leader at the back”. The only success for Brighton probably came away from the game, as a half time proposal from one of the fans made it onto the Sky coverage. Natalie Sawyer name checked them as Kristina Sinclair and Jamie Howell, so congratulations to them. She did say “yes”, by the way.

Straight after the final whistle, reporter David Craig was on the pitch speaking with Man of the Match and Millwall captain, Danny Shittu, alongside goalscorer Lee Gregory. “That’s what this League’s all about. You’ve gotta fight!” said Shittu. After the adverts, around eight minutes or so of the programme were left to wrap things up. The stats presented a slightly different picture than what the scoreline did, with Brighton having more possession, attempts and shots on target. But the lack of bodies in the box and clear-cut chances cost the Albion. The studio team spoke over a montage of half-chances created, with Keith Andrews adding “they lack real clinicalness and ruthlessness. They did create some decent chances, but the confidence is clearly low.”

During his interview with David Craig, Millwall boss Ian Holloway echoed the point about confidence; “It’s all about believing and your performances are what you work for. The last one was awful but we’ve got massive character at this football club, let’s keep going.” Once again, there wasn’t time during the Live broadcast to hear from Sami Hyypia, with Natalie Sawyer directing us towards Sky Sports News for that later on. That is where the broadcast concluded, on a very bleak evening for the Albion. Change was needed. Change would arrive very shortly.

57MIL Stats

 

STORY OF THE MATCH

57MIL Kick Off 57MIL Comms

The visitors, in their change kit of all yellow, kicked off playing from right to left in the first half. Darren Bent was quickly showing what a good player he was, better than this level of football, with intelligent flick ons and lay offs. Unfortunately, a nice move down the left grounded to a halt when it was played back inside to Solly March, who opted for the wrong man in trying to loop it over the defence for Teixeira. Millwall enjoyed a couple of good moves of their own early on too, forcing the defence to work hard to clear the danger. Just before the quarter-hour mark, the Lions broke the deadlock to take a deserved lead through Lee Gregory. Brighton struggled to properly clear from Malone’s cross on the left. It eventually went to Gueye who shaped to shoot on the edge of the box. He got into a tangle and dragged it but it fell kindly into the path of Gregory. With his marker Dunk on his backside, space opened up for Gregory on the right of the six-yard line to just lift it over David Stockdale charging out and nestle into the corner (below left image). Millwall had their opener as the boos began to creep in at The Amex.

The atmosphere worsened as the game went on. Misplaced passes were booed, groans were very audible and patience was wearing thin. Brighton were shading the possession but there was nothing to show for it. Ten minutes after the goal, the Albion tested Millwall ‘keeper David Forde twice in quick succession. Jake Forster-Caskey hit a low drive from almost thirty yards to force Forde into palming away down to his left. The rebound saw Bruno’s cross along the ground couldn’t quite reach Darren Bent, as Forde again got there to deny Brighton. It was the first sign of any intent. Much of the Albion joy was coming from the left, with Teixeira key and Adam Chicksen supporting well. But finding Bent was proving difficult. Indeed, it was the Portuguese winger who made Forde produce another save, stopping his shot from the right this time. Real clear-cut chances were few and far between and at the break, it remained one-nil Millwall.

57MIL Goal 57MIL Sub

A chorus of booing greeted the half-time whistle, whilst a banner was unfurled suggesting Hyypia’s time was up. It also criticised the role of David Burke, the ‘head of football operations, who had been at the club for three years. He had been tasked with recruiting players and his results were, at best, mixed. Under both Hyypia and previous coach Oscar Garcia, high profile stars had been sold on but these were not adequately replaced, consequently making the squad worse. If Brighton had overachieved last season, the reality under Burke was hitting hard this time. Burke was dismissed from his role less than two weeks after this match. The booing continued into the second half, whenever the ball went out of play and Sami Hyypia touched it. Certain sections of the home support wanted their dissatisfaction to be heard. Loudly.

Having been warned about taking his time very early on, Millwall goalie David Forde was booked for timewasting ten minutes after the restart. But it was he who was keeping the Lions in the lead. Brighton’s best chance so far though, a couple of minutes later, required no action from Forde as Solly March blazed a brilliant opportunity high and wide. Adam Chicksen put in a terrific first time cross from the left. It found March unmarked twelve yards out, in line with the near post. He got his shot all wrong as he leant back and allowed it to cannon off his calf to sail over. The England under-21 international really should have done better with that. After sixty-five minutes, March was replaced by Adrian Colunga, back following suspension for his sending off in the defeat here to Fulham.

57MIL Banner

Millwall had very little by way of attack in the final third throughout the second half. They did muster a tame shot with twenty minutes remaining which should have been easy for Stockdale to gather. But, perhaps due to the lack of confidence around the team, he spilled it and had to be quick to gather the loose ball. Albion made a second change, bringing on, according to commentator Daniel Mann, “the maverick talents” of Paddy McCourt, replacing Elliott Bennett in midfield. Within minutes he almost assisted an equaliser. McCourt’s free kick was sent in dangerously towards the back stick. Gary Gardner got his head to it to float it towards the other post but Beevers was there for Millwall to clear in front of the goal line as Bent was waiting for the tap in. The possession was again edged by Brighton, much like in the first half, but that was not being converted to the scoreline. The chants of “We want Sami out!” were audible over the television pictures.

Five minutes were added on at the end of the ninety. A corner presented an opportunity for everyone, including goalie David Stockdale, to get in the box and apply the pressure. Teixeira’s kick woefully didn’t get above waste height and was cleared by the first man. A crossing chance for Adrian Colunga arrived a minute later, with five in blue and white waiting. The cross was too deep and alluded everyone. Frustrations were clear for all to see and hear. It petered out into a sorry, one-nil defeat. The final whistle blew, the boos rang louder than before. “More anguish at The Amex for Brighton”, said Daniel Mann.

57MIL Table

BRIGHTON 0 MILLWALL 1
Gregory

57MIL Replay.JPG

PREVIOUS; #56 BOURNEMOUTH 3-2 BRIGHTON 01/11/2014

NEXT; #58 BRIGHTON 2-3 ARSENAL 25/01/2015

#53: Nottingham Forest 1-2 Brighton 03/05/2014

#53 NOTTINGHAM FOREST 1-2 BRIGHTON Championship
Saturday 3rd May 2014 Image result for

FOR Titles

PRESENTER George Gavin GUEST Nicky Forster
COMMENTATORS Daniel Mann & Andy Hinchcliffe REPORTER David Craig
12.15pm Kick Off; City Ground, Nottingham     12-2.30pm FL72 Live on Sky Sports 2

FOR Ident FOR Sponsor FOR Intro

Context of the Match: The final match of the Championship season saw Brighton in with a shout of making the Play Offs for the second successive season. In Oscar Garcia’s first season in charge, taking over in acrimonious circumstances from Gus Poyet and having lost key players in the January transfer window, to reach the additional stages would be quite the achievement in his first managerial spell in England. The Albion sat outside the top six for the vast majority of the campaign, only moving close in recent weeks. Having overtaken their rivals to fill one of the cherished spots in April, a home draw with relegation candidates Blackpool on Easter Monday saw Brighton slip into seventh – the spot occupied going into this Final Day clash. If they were to stake a claim for promotion, Brighton would have to do it the hard way. Reading occupied sixth place, a point clear of Brighton and three clear of Blackburn in eighth. Any of the three could join Derby, Queens Park Rangers and Wigan if results went their way. Reading were in the driving seat as they hosted already-promoted Burnley at the Madejski Stadium. A win for the Royals would be enough regardless of what anyone else did. A draw would open the door for Brighton to steal, providing the Albion won away at mid-table Nottingham Forest. The Seagulls knew they had to better Reading’s result so realistically it was win or bust. Defeat for both Reading and Brighton would enable Blackburn to complete the most unlikely of turnarounds. Rovers simply had to beat Wigan, the Latics already guaranteed at least two further games as they had sealed fifth spot, and overturn a seven goal swing. Nevertheless, anything could happen in football and you’d have been foolish to rule them out. Elsewhere in the Championship with one game to go, Leicester had sealed the title and promotion above Burnley. Whilst at the bottom, Yeovil were relegated by the Albion last week, Barnsley followed. The final relegation spot was between Blackpool, Millwall, Birmingham and Doncaster. Donny needed to avoid defeat at the Champions in order to secure their status. Should Rovers lose, a point would be enough for Birmingham to survive on goal difference. An unlikely but still possible situation could see Blackpool sent down owing to their dreadful goal difference; but only if they lost, the other two won and Millwall didn’t lose. The South Londoners would be relegated if they lost, Doncaster didn’t and Birmingham won. There was so much to play for as the regular season came to a dramatic conclusion. Rights holder Sky Sports selected two matches to be broadcast Live, with all twelve fixtures being played simultaneously at 12.15pm on the Saturday lunchtime. Sky elected to focus on the race for the final Play Off place, meaning Reading versus Burnley and Nottingham Forest against Brighton would both be beamed to the viewing public Live. Hold onto your hats, it was sure to be a rollercoaster ride.

FOR Forest FOR Subs FOR Brighton

The Teams: Oscar Garcia changed three men from last week’s home victory that confirmed Yeovil’s relegation. Player of the Year Matt Upson recovered from an ankle injury to return at the heart of the back line. Inigo Calderon came in for Spanish counterpart Bruno at right back, part of the defence which conceded the second lowest number of goals in the Division, behind only promoted Burnley. The final change saw midfielder Jake Forster-Caskey selected ahead of Dale Stephens. Tomasz Kuszczak collected the highest number of clean sheets in the League but was pipped to the PFA Team of the Season by Kasper Schmeichel of the Champions. Stephen Ward’s season long loan deal could conclude here unless the Albion make the Play Offs, as could Manchester United’s young starlet Jesse Lingard. His Man of the Match performance against Yeovil was capped off with the second goal. Leo Ulloa would once again be relied upon to add to his fifteen goal tally so far this campaign, with support from Will Buckley and Andrea Orlandi. Craig Mackail-Smith hadn’t made a start all season through injury but was beginning to get back to match fitness with substitute appearances. He was on the bench today alongside the club’s Young Player of the Season in midfield Rohan Ince and goalscorer last week Kazenga LuaLua. Nottingham Forest were between managers, with Stuart Pearce set to come in for next season to replace Billy Davies who was sacked at the end of March. Gary Brazil was placed in caretaker charge concluding with this match. Forest were in the midst of a defensive crisis. Greg Halford was suspended after seeing red last week at Bournemouth, Jamie Mackie had to slot in as a makeshift right back. Highly rated centre back Jamaal Lascelles was absent through injury so Lee Peltier was in the middle with captain for the day Danny Collins. Viewers would know whenever left back Dan Harding was on the ball, the away supporters would boo every touch, still not forgiven for his departure to Leeds back in 2005. Up front Marcus Tudgay made his first start of the season. Partnering him was former Blackburn and Olympiakos forward Matt Derbyshire. Winger Andy Reid was named in the PFA Team of the Season but wasn’t fit enough to feature. On the bench was Darius Henderson, who had a loan spell with Brighton eleven years prior. The referee for this all important fixture was Keith Stroud.

FOR Gavin FOR Forster FOR Split Coverage

Presentation Team: With two Live matches on Sky taking place simultaneously, there was a requirement here for two separate broadcast teams. With Reading in the driving seat in the race for the Play Offs, Sky’s main team were based at the Madejski Stadium. Number one team Simon Thomas and pundit Peter Beagrie presented coverage of that match from pitchside before moving upstairs to the studio box. Commentary on Reading versus Burnley was provided by the main Football League pairing of Bill Leslie and Don Goodman, with first choice reporter Jonathan Oakes doing the interviews. Meanwhile at the City Ground in Nottingham, magazine programme host George Gavin was at the helm for Nottingham Forest against Brighton. Having rarely done any Live matches this season, this was the second in just over a week for Gavin, having also covered our match against Yeovil last Friday. Today he was joined by occasional Sky pundit and former Albion striker Nicky Forster. After retiring from the professional game in 2011, Forster became a semi-regular on Sky’s Football League preview programmes reporting around the country and appearing in the studio on punditry duties. Forster spent three years with the Albion playing over one hundred games and scored his 250th career goal whilst Live on the TV in a JPT match at Luton. In the commentary box were Sky’s second choice duo of Daniel Mann and Andy Hinchcliffe. Both had covered Brighton matches this season and in previous years and were well established as broadcasters having been involved for a little while on the Football League now. Reporting pitchside was David Craig, appointed at the start of this season as the secondary reporter.

FOR 3 Key Games FOR Race for the Play Offs FOR Score Update FOR Next Season

The Coverage: With two matches shown Live simultaneously, Sky’s resources were split between both the Madejski Stadium and the City Ground. Both broadcasts began at midday, fifteen minutes before the kick off, and the build up was simulcast for the first part of the programme. This meant Simon Thomas and Peter Beagrie in Reading were previewing both games from pitchside, indeed with so much going on at both ends of the Championship table they took a general overview of the Division. Pundit Peter Beagrie argued that Brighton may even be slight favourites, as Reading’s home form was patchy, Burnley under Sean Dyche would not let up and Nottingham Forest had nothing much to play for but pride today. Around four minutes into the show, Thomas crossed over to the City Ground where our host George Gavin was standing by pitchside with his guest Nicky Forster to preview their match coming up on Sky Sports 2. Forster emphasised the importance of Brighton’s ability to keep their heads; “They’ve got to approach it in the way they approach every game, they cannot let their concentration fail.” And back we went to the Madejski for Thomas and Beagrie to continue the build up looking at the rest of the fixtures. The Final Day programmes are usually full of excitement and chaos, with so much going on. Sky do a brilliant job of hyping it up and maintaining the intensity and energy, the Final Day always makes for great television. After the advert break it was decision time; Sky Sports 1 for Reading’s match where Simon Thomas was or Sky Sports 2 for the Brighton game. This is the point where George Gavin took over for the rest of the broadcast, with Forster’s assistance, voicing over the pictures of the players ready in the tunnel ahead of kick off. As they emerged, time to hand over to match commentators Daniel Mann and Andy Hinchcliffe who would be in for a busy afternoon talking us through this game as well as keeping us up to date with all the other goings on. With separate presentation teams at both matches it did put an end, for today at least, to the absolute joy of the commentary team presenting the half-time segment in-vision. A chance to put a face to the voice you so often hear but wouldn’t recognise if they walked past you in the street. During the match, scores would flash up in the bottom left hand corner of the screen whilst goals from Reading and Blackburn’s matches would be shown moments after they scored, using a split screen facility. It was a day where multiple devices would be utilised by all involved!

FOR Goal Split Screen FOR Coming Up FOR Garcia FOR Analysis

At half time George Gavin and Nicky Forster brought us up to date with the state of play in the Championship at both ends of the League. Birmingham were set to go down whilst Reading were in the driving seat for the Play Offs, meaning it was pretty much as you were at the start of the day. Concentrating on the match at the City Ground, Forster described the away side as being “as poor today as I’ve seen them, giving the possession away far too easily. You’d expect the senior pros, the experienced boys, to hold the team together but they haven’t.” He was critical of many involved in the goal, with Andrews giving the ball away cheaply, marking lapse and Kuszczak nervy. The goals from the Reading game were also shown during the break, as Burnley were keeping their part of the deal up. During the half time coverage on Sky Sports 1, Thomas and Beagrie did the same for their game, analysing Reading before viewing the goals from Nottingham. During the second half, goals from the games affecting the final relegation place were shown on the split-screen, with twists and turns as Birmingham seemed doomed before staging their own late, late rescue mission. Somewhat lost amongst the drama unfolding in our own game, the Blues came from two down at Bolton to equalise in the last-minute and keep themselves in the Division at the expense of Doncaster who lost at Leicester. Stoppage time jubilation for both Brighton and Birmingham as decision day came to an end. On Sky Sports 2, with the celebrations in full swing in the stands and on the pitch, reporter David Craig caught up with winning goalscorer Leo Ulloa and assister Craig Mackail-Smith in the centre circle. Ulloa was named Man of the Match and spoke of how happy he was for himself, the team and the supporters as they’ve worked hard for this all year. When asked if they could go all the way through the Play Offs this time, CMS responded; “Yeah, the confidence we’ve got from this is fantastic. We’re gonna work hard over the next few weeks and get ready for the game.” The League table made for excellent viewing for Albion fans, as they nicked sixth place and would go on to face Derby in the Play Offs next Thursday. After the break, both channels reverted back to their separate presentation teams for the final nine minutes or so of coverage, as Thomas and Beagrie wrapped up Reading’s story and the rest of the Division whilst Gavin and Forster revelled in Brighton’s joy. David Craig was with Oscar Garcia with the fans as the backdrop. He said he didn’t want to know what was going on at Reading during the game but had a feeling due to the crowd reactions, his main job was to win. He wasn’t looking too far ahead, preferring to savour the moment before turning attention to Derby; “At home and away we lost against them but we will be prepared. Now we are full of confidence and first of all we have to enjoy today.” Forster reviewed both the Albion goals, impressed by Ward’s finish with his weaker foot. He remarked that, although it hadn’t been his day for much of the match, “In Ulloa they have got a player with quality, real Premier League quality I think. And you give him a chance and he’ll score.” In his view it would be a tough ask for Brighton to prevail in the Play Offs. The pair whizzed through the goals from the key games at Reading and Bolton, where Birmingham survived in the final moments, before confirming once and for all everybody’s placings in the final Championship table for this season. “What a day!” exclaimed our host and you could not argue with that.

FOR Kick Off FOR Comms FOR Ward FOR CMS Sub

Story of the Match: The Seagulls got the game underway on a beautifully sunny day in the East Midlands, wearing the change kit of yellow defending the goal in front of the travelling supporters. The first opportunity went the way of the visitors, as Leo Ulloa was in behind the defence following a long pass forward from Greer. Ulloa’s shot trickled just wide of the post as the ball almost got stuck under his feet. As Nottingham Forest started to get back in the game, goals were going in elsewhere which did not make good reading for Brighton. Reading took the lead at Burnley through an own goal from Kieran Trippier and Blackburn twice took the lead at home to Wigan inside the first twenty minutes. How quickly games could turn though. Moments after Burnley got an equaliser at Reading, Nottingham Forest took the lead here through Matt Derbyshire. Tomasz Kuszczak in-goal made a mess of the header, allowing the ball to fumble into the net to break the deadlock. He appeared to move past the flight of the ball, causing it to bounce off his hip and in. After twenty-six minutes of the match Brighton thought they’d found the equaliser only for the linesman’s flag to deny. A quickly taken free kick allowed Calderon space on the far side of the penalty area. His cross over the face of goal was tapped home by Ulloa but he was in an offside position, called correctly by the official. At the same time, Burnley were doing their bit for the Albion cause; Danny Ings turned the game on its head to put the Clarets two-one up. An equaliser for Brighton now would see them overtake the Royals into sixth as things stood. As the goals were flying in around the country, there weren’t any further forthcoming in the first half in Nottingham. There was little in the way of chances created too. The facts remained that Brighton needed to do their job before even thinking about any of the other sides, and at the halfway point they hadn’t done so. A better second half was in dire need.

FOR Ulloa Goal FOR Celebrations FOR As It Stands FOR MOTM

Seven minutes into the second period the breakthrough occurred. Andrea Orlandi’s in-swinging corner was headed across the box by the defence. It fell to Ulloa who had a swing and a miss before it scrambled its way to Stephen Ward waiting in front of the penalty spot. He took a touch to control with his chest before striking with his unfavoured right. The connection was true, the ball was driven low into the goalkeeper’s left hand corner, through the legs of Derbyshire on the way in, and Brighton had the equaliser through a most unlikely source! Ward netting his fourth goal for the Albion, game on again. At this point in the day, Brighton were in the Play Off places. As we approached the hour mark, Garcia made his first substitution as LuaLua replaced Jesse Lingard. As that was happening, a goal in the other game changed the complexion once more. Reading equalised through a fantastic volley from Gareth McCleary, meaning they were back in pole position. Only an Albion win would do now. And Nottingham Forest were certainly going to make us work for that. A terrific strike on the edge of the box from McLaughlin kept Kuszczak alive and alert. Further fresh legs were applied for Brighton with twenty-five to go as Solly March replaced Andrea Orlandi. It was LuaLua who went extremely close to giving his side the lead with a wonderful fizzing effort with the outside of his right boot from some twenty-five yards. Time was ticking away rapidly. The final throw of the dice came with less than four minutes on the clock as Will Buckley made way for Craig Mackail-Smith for his fifth sub appearance since the achilles injury which blighted him for over a year. The pressure was being piled on the Forest back line, even Inigo Calderon was taking a shot. But in true, hardcore Albion style they made you wait. And sweat. And panic. Until deep into stoppage time, the moment came. LuaLua drove forward from ten yards inside his own half charging towards the Forest area. He played it wide on the left to Mackail-Smith, himself having come on just minutes earlier. He took two touches to settle himself before whipping a cross in to the box. It was inch-perfect for the darting run of Leonardo Ulloa, you couldn’t have asked for a better delivery. All the Argentinian needed to do was connect well and it was a goal. The scenes of absolute pandemonium in the away end behind that net told you everything you needed to know. Ulloa connected brilliantly, powering a header straight through de Vries in-goal to make it two-one Brighton. “In towards ULLOA! Incredible! In stoppage time, Brighton on the brink of the Play Offs. They prised open the door to the Premier League” was the call from commentator Daniel Mann as just about everybody in that away section leapt up and down like a madman. Co-commentator Andy Hinchcliffe was quick to praise the ‘outstanding quality’ of the cross from Mackail-Smith. The celebrations from the usually calm and reserved Oscar Garcia were a joy to watch as he ran around unsure what to do with himself. LuaLua grabbed the camera and pressed his face towards it, audibly cheering. The delight was clear for all concerned with the club.

FOR Readings Premature Pitch Invasion FOR Upset Child FOR Play Off Race FOR Full Times

There was still two minutes or so for Brighton left to play, just needing to hold on to that lead. The match at the Madejski was due to finish a couple of minutes before ours and that caused complete confusion amongst the Reading fans. Some were aware of the situation, desperately trying to communicate the need for a late, late winner of their own. As the clock reached 92 minutes in Reading, the split screen on Sky Sports 1 showed Leo Ulloa heading Brighton in the lead, as commentator Bill Leslie reacted Live to what he was witnessing from afar; “We’ll bring you everything from up there. Brighton coming forward, that’s Ulloa, THAT’S TWO-ONE! Brighton look like they’ve snatched it in the final knockings of the season.” Not often you get to commentate on a goal from a game you’re not even watching but he called it well. At the same time Reading had a corner. Their manager Nigel Adkins perhaps had just heard the news and sent his goalkeeper up to force everybody into the penalty area. It almost worked as the delivery caused panic. The cross came off the head of Royals defender Morrison and but for the fantastic reactions of ‘keeper Tom Heaton, Reading would’ve regained that crucial lead. Instead Burnley cleared and there were less than sixty seconds to go there. And that did for them, as there were no further chances and it finished Reading 2-2 Burnley. With the match still going on for a couple of minutes longer at the City Ground, both Sky Sports channels were showing Live pictures until the conclusion. False word had clearly spread to Berkshire though as some Reading fans invaded the pitch in celebration, despite play ongoing in the East Midlands. They were both incorrect and short-lived, as when the final whistles blew all around the country it was Brighton’s day, climbing up to sixth at Reading’s expense. So it would be the Albion marching onwards, to face third placed Derby to kick off the Play Offs at The Amex in just five days time. Between this and then, a well deserved lie down was overdue.

FOR Table Top FOR Table Bottom

NOTTINGHAM FOREST 1 BRIGHTON 2
Derbyshire Ward, Ulloa

FOR Replay FOR Goal

EXTRA; Sky’s Thursday evening magazine programme FL72 Preview did exactly that ahead of the Final Day of the Championship season. Host Simon Thomas alongside regular pundit Peter Beagrie discussed all the possible permutations of promotion and relegation with just one match remaining. Situated in the cafe of Sky Studios in Isleworth, the pair looked ahead to the two Live matches; Reading against Burnley and Nottingham Forest taking on Brighton. Brighton just had to better Reading’s result to give themselves a chance of reaching that dream. Beagrie believed the Seagulls had missed a little bit of an opportunity, given the fixtures and position the club was in around six weeks ago, but to reach the Play Offs this year given all that had happened since last May would arguably be a better achievement, in his view.

PRE Studio PRE Permutations

The usual mix of chat, goals and interviews were on the programme. Albion goalkeeper Tomasz Kuszczak was our feature, as he spoke to the Sky cameras during a community event at The Amex. He was concentrating on the task ahead; “First of all we have to think of our game, our football and do our job on the pitch.” He spoke highly of the facilities at the club, which surprised him when he first joined; “Definitely this club is preparing to be one of the Premier League teams in the future. When? We will see!” And Kuszczak’s dad would be pleased that the match in Nottingham would be Live; “I want my father to see me every week on Sky Sports. Because, obviously, not many games in the Championship are on TV.” Luckily for him then, this one would be.

PRE Kuszczak PRE Coming Up

PREVIOUS; #52 BRIGHTON 2-0 YEOVIL 25/04/2014

NEXT; #54 BRIGHTON 1-2 DERBY 08/05/2014

#52: Brighton 2-0 Yeovil 25/04/2014

#52 BRIGHTON 2-0 YEOVIL Championship
Friday 25th April 2014 Image result for

YEO Titles

PRESENTER George Gavin GUEST Adam Virgo
COMMENTATORS Daniel Mann & Don Goodman REPORTER David Craig
Delayed 8pm Kick Off; Amex Stadium     7.30-10pm FL72 Live on Sky Sports 1 [Extended to 10.15pm]

YEO Ident YEO Sponsor YEO Intro

Context of the Match: Brighton’s quest for a spot in the Championship Play Offs for the second season running had hit a bit of a blip over the Easter period and now would have to rely on other results in order to sneak in. The Albion had only sat within the top six once all season – back in January – before an excellent rout at Champions-elect Leicester at the start of April was coupled with a fine three-nil victory over Charlton. That catapulted Brighton in but a draw on Good Friday at Huddersfield followed by another stalemate at home to relegation candidates Blackpool here on Easter Monday edged them down to seventh. Nigel Adkins’ Reading were the beneficiaries taking over sixth, one point better off with two games each to play. The first of which was selected for Live broadcast by Sky Sports to kick-start the weekend on Friday night. Our opponents were bottom of the table Yeovil Town, in their debut season at this level. Gary Johnson’s men were all but down, needing to overturn a thirteen goal swing from Birmingham in just two matches. Defeat tonight would confirm it, mathematically speaking. It would actually be Yeovil’s first relegation in the Football League whilst simultaneously being their highest ever finish, such is the way the game works. Brighton’s injury list was steadily decreasing, long-term absentees were on their way, or almost, back and the addition on loan of young Manchester United winger Jesse Lingard was proving dividends in attack. The reverse fixture this campaign ended in a disappointing goalless draw back in October. All three points tonight would be absolutely vital. The Friday night kick off was delayed by fifteen minutes owing to traffic problems caused by two crashes in the local area. With The Amex boasting the largest average attendance of any in the Division, and indeed whole Football League, time was afforded to make sure every single person could get in to witness the final scheduled home match of the season. If results went well, they’d also be coming back here one last time in the Play Offs too.

YEO Brighton YEO Yeovil YEO Subs

The Teams: Brighton’s defence was the best in the Championship having kept nineteen clean sheets thus far, carrying on from the outstanding records of the past couple of years. A huge part of that has been Matthew Upson but he was absent through injury for this match, allowing Lewis Dunk to step in alongside the captain Gordon Greer. Dunk had a month with Bristol City back in October in a bid to get more first team football, unable to depose the Albion’s first choice centre backs. Andrea Orlandi had been missing for the previous twelve due to a thigh problem but returned to the starting XI. Injuries have plagued winger Will Buckley numerous times during his career but was fit enough for this one. Providing attacking support on the other flank was 21-year-old winger Jesse Lingard. He joined on loan from Manchester United at the end of February and has started every game since, netting twice in the process including one during an amazing four-one victory at Champions Leicester. Stephen Ward from left-back and Leo Ulloa up top with a brace were the other scorers that night. Last season’s top scorer Craig Mackail-Smith had missed the entire season through injury though of late was taking his place as a substitute and started to regain his fitness and be match sharp. Dale Stephens got the Albion’s goal last time out against Blackpool. He was alongside Keith Andrews in the middle of the park. Other options on the bench included Solly March, Kazenga LuaLua and David Rodriguez. Gary Johnson’s Yeovil were favourites for relegation at the beginning of the campaign and that’s confirmed with a defeat here. He made a solitary change from their last outing – a two-one defeat at home to Huddersfield. Sam Hoskins replaced Kevin Dawson up front. Partnering Hoskins was James Hayter, a familiar name on the South Coast for his decade at Bournemouth, which was followed up by five years with Doncaster. Top scorer Ishmael Miller, another play borrowed this time from Nottingham Forest, hasn’t played since the start of April due to a bust up with the manager. In midfield Tom Lawrence is a loanee from Manchester United. Luke Ayling at right back began his career at Arsenal before joining the Glovers in 2010. 22-year-old Irishman Shane Duffy had been on loan since September from Everton and started again at the heart of defence. The match referee was Andy Madley.

YEO Gavin YEO Virgo YEO Kick Off YEO Comms

The Coverage & Presentation Team: Tonight saw a rare Live match appearance for George Gavin in the hosts chair, and a welcome one at that. Having been the regular number one in the Football League for five seasons from 2002, he had slowly been phased out as his years advanced and mostly spent the past couple of seasons presenting the preview and review programmes in the Sky Studios. He was at the helm inside The Amex’s North Stand studio alongside Adam Virgo. The former defender-turned-emergency-striker played for both Brighton and Yeovil and was well placed to call this match. Virgo made his Albion debut in 2001 at the age of eighteen and played a big part in the successful Championship season on 2004/05, where he was the club’s top scorer having also headed the last-minute equaliser in the Play Off Semi Final to get us to that point the previous year. He was sold to Celtic before returning to Brighton for two further seasons in 2008. Following that he spent a year with tonight’s visitors where he was a regular in the heart of the defence also netting five League goals. Since retiring in October 2013 he’s been working for various media outlets, including covering our Live matches against Hull in the Cup for BT Sport and Watford in the League for Sky. He’s grown in the role already and is now BT’s regular National League co-commentator. It was a little surprise to see him crop up on Sky given his numerous appearances for their new rivals, but one which was welcomed. Gavin and Virgo came on air at 7.30pm, originally fifteen minutes before kick off but with the traffic problems in Sussex causing delays getting to the match on time, kick off was put back to 8pm. This gave our studio team a bit longer to build up to the clash. The programme began by explaining about the delay and we heard from Brighton’s Events Safety Officer Chris Baker, who confirmed the reasoning; “We had a major road closure on the seafront earlier on today and we’ve just had a major accident on the A27.” He spoke to David Craig, the reporter making his first appearance on a televised Seagulls match. Craig has been a long servant for Sky going back almost two decades as a reporter. He began on Sky Sports News and for a long time was their North East correspondent, documenting Newcastle, Sunderland and Middlesbrough. He would occasionally be touchline on Live matches for all sorts of competitions such as Youth football, Cup matches, the lower Leagues and any odds and ends that wouldn’t have a regular team in place. He was a regular on Soccer Saturday for many years, appearing both in and out of vision at grounds up and down the country providing updates for Jeff Stelling and co. He occasionally still does that in addition to, as of the start of this season, a regular, higher profile role as number two reporter on the Football League coverage behind Jonathan Oakes. Sky are coming towards the end of the second in a three-year contract to broadcast rights exclusively Live, which incorporates 75 regular League games as well as every Play Off match, fifteen League Cup games and selected Johntsone’s Paint Trophy ties. With two Live matches on most weekends from the Divisions, it made sense to utilise an experienced reporter such as Craig to share duties.

YEO Delay YEO Baker YEO Team YEO Match Stats

The now-extended build up gave George Gavin and Adam Virgo time to examine the teams in more depth and look at recent results, which saw Brighton’s grip on the Play Off places slip out of their own hands over the Easter period. The top of the Championship table was very tight, with six teams all in with a realistic shout of joining Leicester, Burnley, Derby and QPR in the top six. The two goals from the draw with Blackpool on Monday were shown, the result which saw the Albion drop to seventh as Stephen Dobbie came back to haunt his former side. David Craig spoke with both managers ahead of the game, with both dismissing the impact the delay would have on their side. Adam Virgo’s tactical assessment of Oscar Garcia’s season so far centred on being a bit too cautious; “Sometimes he has gone too defensive. I think the two wide players especially, they don’t attack enough, they don’t get beyond Leonardo Ulloa enough to get bodies into the box. They haven’t scored enough but defensively they’ve been very, very good.” Talking us through the match were commentators Daniel Mann and Don Goodman. Mann was firmly number two behind Bill Leslie, whilst Don Goodman continued to pick up the first choice matches. During the half time analysis Adam Virgo called for Oscar Garcia to make a change to shift Brighton up a gear in their quest for the win; “He might have to swallow his pride a little bit and maybe bring on Craig Mackail-Smith, LuaLua, Solly March. Cos they’re the players that have got pace and Yeovil’s back four will be suspect to that.” Club ambassador Alan Mullery, the last Albion manager to take the team to the top flight, was presented to the fans during the break ahead of the second forty-five. Brighton got the goals they needed to claim the points, however late they may have come, and one of the scorers was awarded Man of the Match; Jesse Lingard. He and Gordon Greer spoke to David Craig soon after the final whistle. The prize this season was an old-fashioned brown leather ball in a presentation case, owing to this being the 125th year since the beginning of the Football League in 1888. The various permutations and clubs involved seemed to have host George Gavin confused slightly straight after the break as he referred to Brighton as Reading – the team that occupied 6th place prior to kick off. Just a momentary blip for our experienced host! During the post match analysis in the studio box, you could see the players and staff making their way around the pitch for the lap of honour being the final home match of the regular campaign. David Craig caught up with Oscar Garcia during this to obtain his assessment. “It has been a fantastic season because we have been managing a lot of problems from the start. With the injuries, with a disappointing transfer window. I think we are the only team in the Championship to become weaker in the transfer window but I want to give all the credit to the players.” When asked if he’d be watching the scores go in from the rivals tomorrow he declined, saying he’d be spending time with the family instead. He’s a very cool, calm customer. Before the programme finished, there was just time to have a quick look at the race for the Play Offs and the fixtures Brighton and their rivals had to play. All Albion eyes would be on Nottingham Forest next Saturday but more immediately Reading’s match at Doncaster this Saturday. It was all set for a thrilling finale, as George Gavin bid us goodbye for tonight and Kenny Loggins’ ‘Danger Zone’ closed the broadcast.

YEO Mullery YEO Yellow YEO LuaLua YEO Lingard

Story of the Match: The two sides came out the blocks with a fast tempo start, eager to get underway following the delay. Despite this, there were very few attempts on goal let alone on target. This changed in the eighteenth minute when Yeovil’s Ruben Palazuelos cracked the crossbar from twenty-five yards out. His shot flew high up off the bar and when the ball eventually landed back down it needed to be headed off the line by Lewis Dunk as Brighton cleared their lines. The Albion were sparked into life by the scare and had their own opportunity less than ten minutes later. A low cross from Lingard on the right of the box was cleared by the defence only as far as Orlandi. His shot was weak and off target on his unfavoured right foot, as Ulloa lay on the ground he almost nicked the ball in but knew little of it. Orlandi immediately followed this up with another decent chance, this time with his head from a Buckley ball in on the left. The connection wasn’t the best and the direction was worse but chances were being carved out. Unfortunately it was a bit of a case of ‘right place, wrong man’, as pointed out in commentary. Ten minutes before the break, Tomasz Kuszczak almost embarrassed himself to gift Yeovil the lead, with Lewis Dunk coming to the rescue to clear his lines. A free kick was floated in from the half way line which Kuszczak decided to claim, however he got nowhere near due to the bodies in front. The ball sailed past him, over the intended targets and would have bounced into the empty net had Dunk not read the path and retreated accordingly. You sensed a momentary lapse of concentration like that could be the difference as the game wore on as a stalemate. The Seagulls cranked up the pressure in the early stages of the second half as chances started to fall. Lingard crossed a ball for an unmarked Ulloa at the back post but he headed it down into the ground instead of powering past the bodies on the line, as Stech in goal managed to claw over the bar. For all the chances at one end not being taken, it was Yeovil who reminded us that it only takes one to score. After the hour mark they hit the bar again, this time through Joe Edwards. A ball across goal found its way to the midfielder twelve yards out. He had to hurry to get the effort away before Keith Andrews could slide in, the shot clipping the top of the woodwork. The introduction of substitutes Solly March and then Kazenga LuaLua helped pile the pressure back on the away side. As the clock ticked to twelve minutes remaining, it was LuaLua who came up with the goods. Standing on the near touchline, he fired in a cross to the centre which didn’t get a touch off anybody to go all the way through. The ‘keeper couldn’t gamble in case Ulloa got a touch and when he didn’t, the pace of the ball gathered momentum as it skipped up off the turf and past the outstretched arms of Stech for one-nil. The final ten minutes were nervy and not entirely comfortable but the fears were alleviated in stoppage time by Jesse Lingard nabbing a second. Solly March was played in down the right, jinked past his defender to get a low cross to an unmarked Lingard ten yards out. He made no mistake with a fine first time finish to wrap it all up with virtually the final kick of the match. They got their in the end as the Play Off hopes would go down to the final day of the season next week away at Nottingham Forest. Yeovil’s fate was precarious before kick off and nailed on after, as they were relegated to League One. Would the Albion also exit the Division, in the opposite direction?

YEO Garcia YEO Table YEO Race for the Play Offs

BRIGHTON 2 YEOVIL 0
LuaLua, Lingard

YEO Replay YEO Goal

PREVIOUS; #51 HULL 2-1 BRIGHTON 24/02/2014

NEXT; #53 NOTTINGHAM FOREST 1-2 BRIGHTON 03/05/2014

#41: Brighton 2-2 Leeds 02/11/2012

#41 BRIGHTON 2-2 LEEDS Championship
Friday 2nd November 2012 Image result for

LEE Titles

PRESENTER Simon Thomas GUEST Nicky Forster
COMMENTATORS Daniel Mann & Don Goodman REPORTER Paul Gilmour
7.45pm Kick Off; Amex Stadium     7.30-10pm Football League Live on Sky Sports 1

LEE Ident LEE Bet365 LEE Intro

Context of the Match: Brighton began their second season back in the Championship well, topping the table in September. However, form of late had slumped to the third worst in the Division with no wins in the last six matches. Worryingly, the goals were drying up to; the club not scoring in four matches. Goals were guaranteed though whenever Leeds United were in town; the Yorkshiremen had scored and conceded in every match on the road thus far. The stadium’s biggest crowd to date was expected for their visit this Friday night, Live in front of the Sky Sports cameras. Over the summer building work was completed to add a second tier to the East Stand bringing the capacity up past 26,500. Further increases were in the pipelines, with all four corners set to be filled in to allow more than 30,000 supporters in. Exciting times were ahead. Despite the recent blip, the Seagulls were only a couple of points off a Play Off place. Tonight’s clash saw tenth versus eleventh, both on nineteen points. Last season’s fixture was also televised on a Friday night, ending in a thrilling three-three draw. What would the rematch have in store?

LEE Brighton LEE Leeds LEE Subs

The Teams: Brighton’s recent goal-shy attack meant last season’s top scorer Ashley Barnes had only scored four this term and record signing Craig Mackail-Smith had six. One thing going in his favour though was that Mackail-Smith had scored on all four occasions he had faced Leeds in his career. The energetic Will Buckley would hope to be crafting the assists tonight. Former captain Dean Hammond re-joined the club on a season-long loan at the end of August from Southampton. He cited the Albion’s ambitions as a reason for leaving first time round in 2008, there was no doubting that now. Also joining at the end of the transfer window were Spanish midfield duo Andrea Orlandi, moving from Swansea, and David Lopez, signed on a free from Athletic Bilbao. In a bid to bolster the attack, Scottish striker Stephen Dobbie also left the Swans and began on the bench here. Whilst the goals were lacking up front, they were also being kept out at the back with Brighton boasting the best defence in the entire Football League this season; conceding just nine goals in fourteen League matches. Former Manchester United ‘keeper Tomasz Kuszczak, centre-half Adam El-Abd, captain Gordon Greer and ex-England international Wayne Bridge were all ever presents. As was holding midfielder Liam Bridcutt but he was on four cautions, one more and he’d be forced to miss the next game. For Neil Warnock’s Leeds, Luke Varney was Man of the Match during their midweek Capital One Cup victory against Southampton. One change was made from that win as Paddy Kenny returned in-goal. The striker all opposing fans love to hate, summer signing El Hadji Diouf was in the starting XI, whilst on the bench sat Luciano Becchio & Danny Pugh. Refereeing was Lee Mason.

LEE Thomas LEE Forster LEE Studio

Presentation Team: Simon Thomas was lead Football League presenter for the second season running. Having worked his way up from hosting youth matches and pretty much any low-key football they could throw at him, he progressed onto secondary Football League broadcasts before landing the main gig when David Jones was promoted to Sky’s Premier League coverage hosting the Saturday games. This all followed the reshuffle at the start of 2011 when Richard Keys resigned. Alongside Thomas at The Amex was former Brighton striker Nicky Forster. He spent three seasons at Withdean, making over a century of appearances. He scored his 200th career goal during a televised Football League Trophy match as the Albion lost out on a place at Wembley to Luton. Since retiring from the professional game in 2011 he joined Sky Sports as part of the Football League coverage. He filed regular reports for the preview programme last season, including ahead of the opening Amex match, and has appeared as a pundit across the Leagues. He returned to playing, albeit on a semi-professional basis, for first Lingfield then Dover when he took over as player-manager last year in the Conference South. He combined this with his media role. In the commentary box were Daniel Mann and Don Goodman, neither were strangers to this stadium. They both covered this fixture last season although not together; Mann did the 3D commentary whilst Goodman was heard by everybody else. With tonight’s match not broadcast in 3D, and Sky seeming to scale back the amount of games covered after not enjoying too much uptake, Daniel Mann was free to cover the game for the wider audience. He’s behind Bill Leslie in the Football League pecking order but with an increased broadcast rights deal with the League from this season, more matches were available to cover. Don Goodman was also behind the mic when the Seagulls crashed out of the Capital One Cup in August at Swindon, before a League football had even been kicked. Reporting at The Amex was Paul Gilmour, covering his first Live Albion match. He joined Sky Sports in April of this year, working predominantly for Sky Sports News during the week as well as reporting on the handful of Live Northern Ireland internationals and Irish League football. He was formerly a commentator for BBC Northern Ireland.

LEE Opener LEE Action Areas LEE Coming Up LEE Gilmour

The Coverage: Sky came on-air at the usual Friday night time of 7.30pm for kick-off fifteen minutes later. A new broadcasting rights deal kicked from this season, increasing the amount of Football League games Sky could show seventy-five regular season matches, all fifteen Play Off games and fifteen Capital One Cup ties exclusively Live. This brought an end to the BBC’s ten Championship Live games after three seasons but they still held the highlights rights. The graphics and titles remained as they were last season – Candi Staton’s ‘You Got The Love’ the soundtrack – with bet365 still sponsoring the programming. The idents in 2011 were all about twenty years of Sky Sports, from 2012 onwards they had a “Home of Sport” theme, adapted to ‘Your home of Football / Cricket / Goals’ etc when appropriate. Simon Thomas hosted the match from the glass box studio located permanently within the North Stand. Development work had been going on over the summer to increase the capacity of The Amex with the corners beginning to be filled in. The space where the studio position was last season – between the South and East stands – was being rebuilt to house fans below so television hosts were shifted to the opposite side this year. He previewed the big match with studio guest Nicky Forster. The introduction VT showed clips of Brighton’s past superimposed onto the Amex Stadium, in an attempt to show how far we’ve come, as Fatboy Slim’s “Praise You” played. It is such a great tune and so appropriate for this club. In his pre-match interview with Paul Gilmour, Gus Poyet spoke of his frustration at the lack of goals recently despite creating good chances; “We’ve been performing, not scoring.” The programme format now took the pre-match advert break before the teams emerged from the tunnel, thus not giving the pundits too much time to chat uninterrupted. A slight tweak to the scoreboard was made this season, as it moved outside 4×3 safe zone to sit in the corner of the screen and looked better for it. At half time Nicky Forster was adamant that Brighton should’ve been ahead and the Leeds penalty was very soft; “For me, anywhere else that’s not a foul.” Straight after the final whistle, Gilmour spoke with Man of the Match Will Buckley, who ran the show in the first half, alongside Leeds midfielder Michael Brown in the centre circle. Opposition manager Neil Warnock gave a rare bit of praise to referee Lee Mason for his handling, allowing play to continue and not issue unnecessary cards. In the studio Nicky Forster thought Warnock would be the happier of the two managers given Brighton’s dominance in periods throughout. Poyet’s assessment was “one team playing football, one team going forward and another team getting lucky.” He said Varney dived for the Leeds penalty and Michael Brown should have been sent off for an accumulation of yellow cards, so understandably Poyet was frustrated with the result. Forster and Simon Thomas wrapped up the story of the rest of the game in the ten minutes of time given to analysis before signing off from The Amex.

LEE Kick Off LEE Comms LEE Celebration LEE Penalty

Story of the Match: Led out by Pudsey the Bear to publicise the upcoming BBC Children in Need fundraiser in two weeks time, the teams left the tunnel to a rapturous reception in anticipation of another Friday night thriller with Leeds. Referee Lee Mason set his stall out early on with Buckley booked inside the first ninety seconds for a late lunge, whilst Michael Brown did the same in the tenth for the away side. The game flew out the traps with end-to-end football early on. Buckley burst through the Leeds defenders and his cross/shot was deflected to bounce just wide of the post. Wayne Bridge used his energy to run half the length of the pitch to cross to Barnes who couldn’t quite wrap his foot round the shot to get it on target. The home side were rampant. They were rewarded after a quarter of an hour via a penalty kick. The lively Will Buckley nipped in ahead of captain Peltier who could only stick a leg out to trip him up. Up stepped Craig Mackail-Smith to blast it down the middle for one-nil Brighton. The man can’t stop scoring against Leeds! He almost got a second after another Buckley surge, chipping the ball over his marker before outpacing him to reach the loose ball. He found Mackail-Smith who smacked the post with his effort. Andrea Orlandi then had a fantastic opportunity off a Bruno cross. Orlandi was unmarked six yards out but miss hit it down into the ground instead of hitting the back of the net. Leeds could’ve been out of sight within the first half an hour. However out of nowhere Leeds won themselves a penalty ten minutes before the break after Varney clashed with Bruno, appearing to push the attacker who went down very dramatically. It seemed a harsh penalty to give. Pantomime villain El Hadji Diouf squeezed the spot kick past Kuszczak’s diving hand to level it up. Just before the break Mackail-Smith went close again, his half-volley from the edge of the box only centimetres wide. How Brighton went into the dressing room level was a mystery.

LEE Yellow LEE MOTM

The lead was restored just three minutes into the second half, following a nice reverse pass from Orlandi to set Buckley racing to the byline. He cut it back to Mackail-Smith ten yards in front of goal whose shot took a nick off the defender on its way past Paddy Kenny. The movement and awareness from all three Albion players was excellent. Much like the first half, this was all Brighton until Leeds got their equaliser. The defence limited Leeds to long-range efforts only but Michael Brown’s shot from just outside the D got the better of Kuszczak this time. It came from a simple ball rolled across from the edge of the area for Brown to hit it first time, it took a slight touch from sub striker Becchio on the way through but it would still be claimed as the midfielder’s goal. Twenty-five minutes were left to find a winner. Not long after drawing level, a cross to Becchio’s head almost turned the match around. His glancing header fell just inches wide. Brighton were then handed a golden chance to re-take the lead when Mackail-Smith was bundled over by Byram waiting for Bruno’s deep cross in. The striker got up to take it for his hat-trick but Kenny ruined that with a good save to his right. Leeds were not made to pay the penalty on a night of kicks from twelve yards; two converted, one missed. The final quarter of an hour went by without incident, with substitute Andrew Crofts having the only good chance with almost the last kick of the match, his shot though well kept out by Kenny once more. It ended in an entertaining two-two draw. Brighton could take many positives from the match, most prominently that they created more than enough to win comfortably and goals did start to come after a drought. The point kept the Albion in the chasing pack just outside the Play Off places.

LEE Table

BRIGHTON 2 LEEDS 2
Mackail-Smith (2) Diouf, Brown

LEE Replay LEE Goal

PREVIOUS; #40 SWINDON 3-0 BRIGHTON 14/08/2012

NEXT; #42 BRIGHTON 1-3 WATFORD 29/12/2012

#36: Brighton 0-1 West Ham 24/10/2011

#36 BRIGHTON 0-1 WEST HAM Championship
Monday 24th October 2011 Image result for

WHAM Titles

PRESENTER Simon Thomas GUESTS Peter Beagrie & Alan Curbishley
COMMENTATORS Daniel Mann & Don Goodman REPORTER Patrick Davison
7.45pm Kick Off; Amex Stadium     7.30-10.15pm Football League Live on Sky Sports 1

Promo WHAM Sponsor WHAM Intro

Context of the Match: After a fairytale start to life at The Amex, with that late, late comeback against Doncaster on the opening day, Brighton’s form in the Championship had really slipped lately. Having had the opportunity to go top of the table with a win in the last televised match at home to Leeds, the draw that night was followed by no wins in four including losing to rivals Crystal Palace in a terrible night in Sussex. Bristol City away was the last victory back at the start of September. The Albion fell from third in the table down to twelfth ahead of another televised match; at home to Sam Allardyce’s much-fancied West Ham this Monday evening. The Hammers were relegated from the Premier League last season finishing bottom of the table. They sacked manager Avram Grant immediately after and had started this campaign well under their new boss, currently sat fourth and would climb to second with a win. Southampton, who went up behind Brighton last time, led the way top of the table and had beaten West Ham last week. Despite the eight League places between tonight’s sides, there were only two points separating them. When Brighton last met the East Londoners it was the FA Cup tie at Upton Park four years ago, with the home side easing through three-nil. Tonight, the Amex under the lights continued to impress, we hoped the players could do so too Live in front of the Sky Sports cameras.

WHAM Brighton WHAM West Ham WHAM Subs

The Teams: Albion’s line-up included two new faces to the team making their debuts. Experienced goalkeeper Steve Harper was signed on a one-month loan deal earlier today and went straight into the starting eleven. He’d been at Premier League Newcastle since 1993 but mainly as reserve ‘keeper to the likes of Shaka Hislop, Pavel Srnicek and Shay Given so had various loan spells over the years before finally getting a regular first-team opportunity at St James’ Park two years ago but injury and then being dropped had kept him out of the side more recently. He took Casper Ankergren’s place in the team tonight. The other new signing was also a loanee, Gonzalo Jara Reyes, a right-back from West Brom. He joined initially until January and brought with him international experience having played in the 2010 World Cup and Copa Americas for Chile. He joined the regular defensive unit this season of Gordon Greer, Lewis Dunk and Marcos Painter. The midfield trio of Dicker, Bridcutt and Sparrow helped bring the League One title to Withdean and showed no signs of decline making the step up. Both Ashley Barnes and Craig Mackail-Smith had been linked with moves to West Ham previously but were very much Albion strikers tonight. On the bench for the Seagulls were recent captures Will Hoskins and Ryan Harley, who scored a great free-kick on his League debut in the win against Peterborough in August. Hoskins had also been on the score sheet for us on his debut in the fantastic three-one away win in Cardiff. The Hammers made three changes to their side from the defeat at League leaders Southampton last time out. Joey O’Brien came in for his 100th game for the club, midfield general Mark Noble returned as did Jack Collison up front. Future Albion striker Sam Baldock dropped down to the bench. Big John Carew spearheaded the attack, he scored for Stoke in Brighton’s FA Cup defeat there back in February. Taking charge of the match was Kevin Friend.

WHAM Thomas WHAM Curbishley WHAM Beagrie WHAM Studio

Presentation Team: Simon Thomas was growing into his role as main Football League host. He had absolutely tons of Live experience, in fact most of his career had been in Live television. At Sky he hosted Cricket AM, a Live Saturday morning entertainment show similar in style to Soccer AM running during the summer, alongside first Anita Rani then Sarah-Jane Mee for several seasons. For Sky Sports News he was at the 2010 South Africa World Cup hosting the daily reports as well as swathes of minor football and international cricket. In the studio with him tonight were Peter Beagrie and Alan Curbishley. Beagrie continued to appear on the majority of Football League broadcasts and could always be counted on to be well researched and good for reading the game. Alan Curbishley had links to both clubs, playing for the two as well as managing West Ham between 2006 and 2008 rescuing them from Premier League relegation. He’d been out of the game since then but regularly appeared on punditry duties across a variety of broadcasters at home and abroad. When playing for Brighton between 1987 and 1990 he won promotion in his first season up from the third tier under Barry Lloyd’s stewardship. Curbishley is probably most revered now by Charlton fans after managing them for fifteen years, finishing as high as 7th in the top Division and being linked to the Liverpool and England jobs, the latter going to Steve McClaren. In the commentary box were Daniel Mann and Don Goodman. Mann was mostly heard by Sky 3D viewers of late, covering the vast majority of the three-dimensional broadcasts as they required separate commentary. He’d actually covered Albion’s last two Live matches for the 3D channel, alongside Tony Gale. With tonight’s being a traditional 2D affair, he was called upon so everyone could hear him. Don Goodman covered the Leeds match a month ago and was now familiar with the stadium, the style and the Brighton personnel so could give an informed commentary. He’s Sky’s number one and even did a couple of Premier League commentaries for them, but he’s mainly found in the Football League. On the touchline was number one League reporter Patrick Davison, again he also did the Leeds match and has covered us a few times over the past couple of years including the gutting penalty shoot-out defeat at Luton where we were spot-kicks away from a first Wembley appearance since the 1991 Play Off Final.

WHAM Kick Off WHAM Comms

The Coverage: Sky Sports broadcast regular matches from the Championship this season with typically two from the following slots; Friday night, Sunday lunchtime before the 4pm Premier League fixture, Saturday evening to go head-to-head with the top-flight ESPN clash or Monday night. The West Ham fixture was the latter, giving fifteen minutes pre-match build up but longer post-match. As with their previous two visits Sky presented from the glass box in the South Stand, giving a view of the West Stand over the pundits shoulders and the North Stand behind our host, Simon Thomas. He was joined by Peter Beagrie and Alan Curbishley, with the studio decked out in Sky’s Football League colours; red desk with the white crowd background used as a wallpaper like they have in their Isleworth base for the magazine programme. They began by discussing the big news from the Division that Leicester had sacked former England manager Sven Goran Eriksson today after just over a year in charge due to their disappointing start to the season. Incredibly he was already the fifth manager in this League to have departed and we were only an unlucky thirteen games in. The final straw was a three-nil home defeat to Millwall. A glance at the table saw Leicester in thirteenth position, level on points with the Albion a place above. Guest Alan Curbishley’s name was quoted as being in the running for the vacant job at the King Power Stadium, with odds of 12/1. Although he had been linked to pretty much any and every job going in recent years. The focus then switched to tonight’s clash, where Curbishley had been impressed with Brighton this term and pondered why they couldn’t think about emulating what Norwich achieved the year before; successive promotions up to the top-level. Reporter Patrick Davison spoke with both managers ahead of kick-off, asking them about Eriksson’s departure firstly. Poyet couldn’t understand why he’d been sacked when the club were only in the position they were. If things were going “bad, bad, bad we need to accept it” but it didn’t seem that was the case at Leicester. He added that his two new signings would add “experience, knowledge of the game, they understand the way we need to defend”. Allardyce thought his team would be in for a tough evening, having been at the opening match here he saw how well Brighton played. Back in the studio, Alan Curbishley was the latest in a long list of people to be impressed by the new stadium. He’d seen it all through the years playing at the Goldstone then watching at Withdean, making his first trip to Falmer for this match. Commentator Daniel Mann brought us the team news on those shiny graphics with the players mugshots before it was time for kick off.

WHAM Line Up WHAM Fatboy Slim
WHAM Corners WHAM Poyet

The half-time analysis focussed on the solitary goal and was briefer than usual, barely three minutes between ad breaks. Just before the second half began Norman Cook, standing pitchside, had a link-up with the studio to chat about the team and stadium as well as the news he’d be playing a gig here the following summer. The crowd had flags promoting Fatboy Slim given out before the game. Straight after the large amount of stoppage time added at the end of the match, Patrick Davison spoke to Craig Noone and Kevin Nolan for immediate reaction. Nolan gave credit to Brighton and said they’d cause a lot of teams problems like they caused his side tonight. Noone was awarded the Man of the Match champagne bottle and said there’s no reason why they can’t turn this current mini-slump around for the rest of the season. The table confirmed West Ham’s move up to second whilst the Albion remained in the middle. After the break around twenty minutes were given over to wrapping up the match. With chances not that forthcoming, the goal was reviewed once again from many angles, each one highlighting just how avoidable it was from a defensive perspective. Sam Allardyce, in his post match interview, gave credit to the Albion fans for their noise and said that despite the dominating possession Brighton had, there was only really one clear-cut chance which Almunia had to deal with; the Mackail-Smith volley in the first half. Poyet’s interview was more positive than in recent ones; “I’m proud. We are back. Brighton is back to his best. Brighton is back to playing against a Premiership club and don’t let them touch the ball for I don’t know how long. Which is good, good for football.” The pundits believed the penalty claims for Brighton were all correct not to given, praising the referee’s performance and decision-making. They were critical of the passing play not being quick enough, with West Ham putting on that typical ‘professional’ performance that gets you results in this League. And after more Sven Goran Eriksson chat the programme was over as Simon Thomas signed off from The Amex.

WHAM Action Areas WHAM Zamora

Story of the Match: Once again the atmosphere was excellent from the home supporters, really getting behind the team on a rainy October evening. Debutant Gonzalo Jara Reyes could perhaps (harshly) be summed up by his first play in an Albion shirt; he nutmegged his opponent with one touch then, as the ball got away from him, arrived late to roll his studs on the ankle of Papa Bouba Diop seconds later. The intent wasn’t there, no card was given but it was a little wild to say the least. He did the same to Mark Noble after thirteen minutes, this time he did earn himself a caution. West Ham liked to press high up the pitch so Brighton had to be spot on with their passing, particularly at the back. A warning came in the first couple of minutes when a loose Lewis Dunk ball was immediately intercepted in front of goal, the move coming to nothing. The warning wasn’t heeded though as Liam Bridcutt was caught dwelling on the ball by Kevin Nolan around thirty-five yards out. Nolan burst forward with a large gap in the Brighton defence now exposed and hit it from twenty yards. Steve Harper was hugely out of position in-goal, caught out by the quick dispossession, with Nolan given a big target to shoot at. Harper got hands to it but was standing virtually in line with his post, losing his bearings totally. It was a defensively poor goal to concede and from nothing West Ham had an eighteenth minute lead. As you’d expect from a team managed by Big Sam, they were physical, tactically aware and didn’t let Brighton enjoy too much all evening as the rain lashed down heavily. The game was scrappy and niggly. Chances were at a premium for both sides, with the first corner not even coming until seven minutes before the break, though Albio then had several in quick succession. Liam Bridcutt had a long-range effort which was headed wide by Carew on its way through, and Craig Mackail-Smith had appeals for handball and a penalty only to be ignored by the referee. The final action of the first period saw an outstretched Barnes leg flick it up for Mackail-Smith to volley, calling Almunia in-goal into a decent save. The Seagulls ended the half on the front foot but still went in one-nil down.

WHAM Injury WHAM Noone

Brighton continued to put the pressure on at the start of the second period but it wasn’t bringing the goal. A change was made before the hour was up, with Will Hoskins replacing Barnes. Graphics popped up showing the home side were dominating corners and possession but it’s goals that win football matches and they were elusive. The second half fightbacks that we’d seen against Liverpool and Leeds in the previous Live matches were similar but they provided four goals. A lovely ball in the danger zone between ‘keeper and last defender was searching for Mackail-Smith from Gary Dicker, the striker couldn’t quite reach as he slid in, ending up clattering into Almunia. A further throw of the dice saw Buckley replace Sparrow with twenty minutes to rescue something. The closest we came to a goal was the memories brought to mind seeing former Seagull and West Ham striker Bobby Zamora when he was shown in the crowd. After a challenge in midfield, there was real concern for midfielder Gary Dicker when he had to be stretchered off. It turned out that he’d fractured his leg and would be out for several months. In a rare second half burst forward West Ham could have doubled their advantage after another interception near goal saw Julien Faubert through. He sliced his shot wide but Greer was in its path anyway for the first Hammers corner in the 88th minute. A heap of added-on time came due to the unfortunate injury, eight minutes of it. The frustrations were clear from the Seagulls, not managing to get that vital equaliser and losing the match by Kevin Nolan’s goal to nil. Defeat to West Ham was by no means a disaster, they would be near the top of the table all season. Brighton needed to remain focussed and get back to how they like to play under the Gus Poyet era and things would start going their way again soon.

WHAM Table

BRIGHTON 0 WEST HAM 1
Nolan

WHAM Replay

PREVIOUS; #35 BRIGHTON 3-3 LEEDS 23/09/2011 

NEXT; #37 WREXHAM 1-1 BRIGHTON 18/01/2012

#30: Brighton 1-1 Bournemouth 09/10/2010

#30 BRIGHTON 1-1 BOURNEMOUTH League One
Saturday 9th October 2010 Image result for

BOU Titles

PRESENTER David Jones GUEST Dion Dublin
COMMENTATORS Daniel Mann & Garry Birtles REPORTER Greg Whelan
12.15pm Kick Off; Withdean Stadium     12-2.30pm Football League Live on Sky Sports 2

SS2 Ident BOU Bet365 BOU Intro

Context of the Match: With Gus Poyet taking charge of Brighton eleven months ago he had transformed the team from relegation candidates to promotion pushers. He won the Manager of the Month award for September and after ten League games the Albion sat top of the League One table. A win here would represent our best start for 57 years. The squad was improved further over the summer with several signings in each position to complement the existing core of Glenn Murray, Elliott Bennett and Tommy Elphick. The opponents for this Saturday lunchtime clash were fellow seaside club Bournemouth. The Cherries were promoted last season under 32-year-old manager Eddie Howe. Their good form had continued into the early stages of this campaign, sitting in 3rd place. Pre-season Southampton were the best placed South Coast team to go for promotion but they’re languishing in 13th whilst these two flew. It had been over twenty years since Bournemouth won in the League in Brighton, back when Harry Redknapp was the gaffer. Albion’s home form this campaign had been excellent, unbeaten so far. With the new stadium in Falmer on the way next season it was all starting to take shape. The area was now far less of a building site, tantalisingly within touching distance. Could the Seagulls start life in their new home in a new League and continue this fine form so far? This afternoon would mark the last ever Live televised match from our ‘temporary’ Withdean home of eleven seasons, a place which had served us so well for much of that time.

BOU Brighton

BOU Bournemouth BOU Subs

The Teams: Table-topping Brighton made three changes from a battling draw at Tranmere. Adam El Abd returned after a ban. 36-year-old Radostin Kishishev, who played at Euro 96 and the 1998 World Cup for Bulgaria, joined the Albion in the summer and came into the line-up. And finally Kazenga LuaLua, as with the end of last season, was back on loan from Newcastle. Other summer signings had quickly established their places as regular starters; experienced goalkeeper Casper Ankergren, who joined from Leeds, and Ashley Barnes up front, who came in on loan for the final few matches of last season before soon making it permanent. Captain Gordon Greer was recovering from a calf injury and named as a substitute. He joined in the summer from Swindon but was sent off on his debut for an off the ball incident at home to Rochdale. Matt Sparrow, Liam Bridcutt, Toby Agdestein, Agustin Battipiedi and Cristian Baz were all new names on the Brighton bench since the summer. Elsewhere Gus Poyet stuck by much of the same core that survived and flourished last season. For Eddie Howe’s impressive Bournemouth, Shwan Jalal in-goal had a spell at Brighton as a youngster. Familiar Football League name Lee Bradbury began his career as a striker but now in his final playing season was starting at right back. Michael Symes up front is a graduate from the Everton youth team where Wayne Rooney was his partner before hitting the big time. Marc Pugh joined the Cherries in July for a £100,000 nominal ‘tribunal fee’, which was in place partly due to their transfer embargo owing to debt, which had been in place for around eighteen months before being lifted somewhat in the close season. Veteran hero Steve Fletcher, who must be one of the only players to have a stand at his club’s stadium named after him whilst still competing in said ground, was listed as a substitute. Darren Sheldrake was the (indecisive) man in the middle.

BOU Jones BOU Dublin BOU Studio BOU Voice of Whelan

Presentation Team: David Jones was at the helm under the guise of Sky’s Football League main presenter. He was joined by Dion Dublin, who had the Sky Sports logo on his name strap but the reality is slightly curious. He was signed, to small fanfare, by Sky Sports ahead of the 2008 Championship Play Off Final between Hull and Bristol City as a full-time pundit. At this time Sky had very few contracted pundits; Andy Gray and Jamie Redknapp on the Premier League and Peter Beagrie on the Football League were about it, with the likes of Graeme Souness, David Platt, Glenn Hoddle and Ruud Gullit frequently appearing across the biggest matches. At the time of Dublin’s arrival he stated, “Sky Sports have given me the chance to air my views on something that I love. I’m going to be working a lot with Jamie Redknapp who I know very well – he’s helped me before when I’ve been on TV.” Yet since covering that Play Off Final, in the two seasons between then and today’s match he hadn’t featured that much at all, to the point where you’d forgotten he was even a full-time Sky man, whereas the likes of Redknapp and Beagrie were on most weeks. Towards the end of this season, Dublin would begin working for others including ESPN and then BBC Sport on Football Focus, Final Score and the occasional Match of the Day, before going on to be part of their international tournament coverage. As of 2015 he joined long-running BBC daytime property show Homes Under the Hammer in a hugely surprising career move. On the touchline at Withdean was Greg Whelan in his role as the senior Football League Live reporter, this the seventh successive season doing so. In the commentary box were Daniel Mann and Garry Birtles. Former Nottingham Forest striker Birtles is no stranger to Brighton matches, having co-commentated on our Play Off Final victory in 2004, the dramatic penalty shoot-outs against Swindon, Luton and Shrewsbury as well as our previous two Live matches, amongst others. By contrast, this was Daniel Mann’s first Brighton commentary. He joined the Sky Sports Live staff roster at the start of this season, as second choice on the Football League matches behind Bill Leslie. Mann had been working freelance for Sky since 2006 on Premiership 3pm Football First highlights as well as regularly covering red button Champions League games. In addition, from April 2010 Sky began showing selected matches in 3D and, owing to the different camera angles used compared with the regular broadcast, required a separate commentary team of which Daniel Mann was given Live experience on. He then went to the 2010 World Cup in the summer doing the 3D commentaries for the world feed. His distinctive, rather old-school voice and excellent all-round broadcasting skills, particularly for such a young commentator, means he is quickly becoming one of the best in the business already. He would surely be destined for the top so it was great to have him on an Albion game.

BOU Team BOU Zamora BOU Stadium BOU Stadium 2

The Coverage: This season the Football League was sponsored by nPower, taking over from Coca-Cola after six seasons, which in turn brought in a new design for the League One and Two trophies, as well as the Play Offs. These were reflected at the end of the updated title sequence this season, and the replay transitions were the shiny new prizes with a yellow hue background. I always prefer the flying trophy to be used as the replay over generic wipes or League logos. The theme tune and much of the rest of the look remained as you were last year; with Candi Staton’s excellent ‘You Got the Love’ chiming out to open the shows. The Premier League graphics were overhauled at the beginning of the season, keeping their blue and black backgrounds but with a 3D effect and sleek wipe animations central of the screen rather than extending all the way across. The Football League coverage unusually didn’t follow suit this season and kept the same look as previous years. Coverage today was hosted from the ground, behind the goal towards the corner where South stand met West. This is where Sky always plonk their portable box studio but this time it was glass-fronted, keeping the pundits warm and background sound away. Not that any of our fans could get anywhere near there as it’s at the back of the athletics track! David Jones and Dion Dublin came on-air fifteen minutes before the kick-off. After chatting through the line-ups and giving their overall opinions we saw recent footage of the stadium build at Falmer. The new ground had long been a feature of pre-match build-ups and reports across multiple Sky Sports broadcasts, with them playing a role in publicising the Albion cause over the years. The site was getting oh-so nearer to completion with the moving date set for the end of the season. Reporter Greg Whelan spoke to both managers prior to kick-off. Poyet believed consistency was the key to the club’s successful start, with his passing philosophy paying dividends already. He admitted it was a risk introducing that when the team were at the wrong end of the table when he arrived. Fulham striker and Albion hero Bobby Zamora was present at the match, with him a long-term absentee due to a broken leg. He was also interviewed before the game, heaping praise on his former side. He played with both Poyet and Taricco at Tottenham and said he perhaps foresaw Gus going into management but not Mauricio so much.

BOU Kick Off BOU Comms BOU Poyet BOU Analysis

After a little more chat, Jones handed over to our commentator Daniel Mann to relay the teams to us. When the game started he was joined by Garry Birtles for an entertaining commentary. At half time Dion Dublin’s assessment was that whilst Brighton’s play was very good, they were just perhaps a little too long on the ball instead of cutting it back and playing round the opposition quicker. He also thought Symes should’ve seen red during the first half for his elbow on Elphick. Owing to the extensive injury time at the end of both the first and second halves, there was very limited time for any post match coverage. Once the whistle finally went and we’d come back after the ad break there was only around five minutes to review the match, which sparked into life in the second forty-five. As a result we didn’t get to hear on the Live programme from any of the personnel involved, with Jones and Dublin just reviewing the goals and incidents. Dion’s view was that Bournemouth “nicked a point on that decision” from the referee’s assistant to flag for a penalty when it should’ve been a free-kick. He conceded it was “handball without a doubt” but the contact was not in the penalty area and had no idea why the linesman felt he needed to get involved, especially as it was some ten seconds after the incident. He thought it was definitely two points dropped for Brighton. The ex-Villa forward described LuaLua’s opener as a fantastic strike, highlighting the bends and swerves on its way through. He concluded that he believed Brighton could go the distance this season, as Poyet liked “to play the game in the right way” and had “lots of attributes in their side.” And that’s all we had room for at Withdean, as David Jones signed off from the athletics ground for one final time.

BOU Ankergren BOU Goal BOU Sub BOU Handball

 

Story of the Match: The spectators could bask in the early October sunshine for this lunchtime fixture on the South Coast. Early pressure came from the home side with Kazenga LuaLua lively and shooting whenever he got sight of goal. His blast in the third minute almost beat a wall which contained the majority of the rest of the players, instead hitting his own man yet being given the corner. The resulting kick found Murray’s head but couldn’t direct it like he’d prefer. Albion goalkeeper Casper Ankergren was in the wars in the seventeenth minute when he slid in low to claim the loose ball. Bournemouth striker Symes was chasing it down and caught the ‘keeper full in the face with his boot; causing a lot of blood to pour from his head and the game to be stopped for several minutes before Ankergren could carry on after patchwork bunging of the nose. “It’s amazing what you can do with marshmallows now, isn’t it” joked Garry Birtles. We later heard from reporter Greg Whelan that Ankergren had actually broken his nose and the medical staff popped it back into place in order for him to continue. Whilst Brighton were in control of the half possession-wise, chances were at a premium. The ball was getting into good wide areas but crosses were cut out well. The first opening had to wait until after the half hour mark when Bennett won a 50:50 in midfield allowing Calderon to run into space on the right. He played it on nicely for Murray to take a touch and, almost facing away from goal, unleash a low shot which needed to be turned round the post. Michael Symes was involved again ten minutes before the break when he flung an elbow during an aerial battle with Tommy Elphick. The referee was in a good enough position to see this but after consulting with his linesman he decided only a yellow card was the punishment. The Brighton players were furious, as were the commentators, nobody quite believing the referee didn’t give a red. Indecision was the order of the day for our official on-field. A goal almost fell Ashley Barnes’ way in stoppage time with a half-volley but it went wide. Bournemouth enjoyed a little spell of possession on half-time but nothing was coming from it and the game was goalless at the break, following six minutes of added time thanks to that injury. Early in the second half Elliott Bennett forced Jalal into a neat save direct from a wide free-kick. The deadlock was finally broken on the hour mark. Glenn Murray was fouled for a free-kick about thirty yards from goal. Gary Dicker took it by simply squaring the ball a few yards to Kazenga LuaLua, once the referee had hurdled the pass. LuaLua took one touch to steady himself before unleashing a ferocious shot which moved and spun viciously on its way into the back of the net, flying past the ‘keeper for what Garry Birtles described as “an absolute rocket.” What a goal from the winger, only bettered by his trademark multi-backflip celebration. Brighton looked comfortable and almost doubled their lead in comical circumstances with twenty minutes remaining. A hopeful cross forward looked food and drink for defender Bradbury to head back to the ‘keeper, but he got too much loop on it and, coupled with Jalal rushing out, the ball sailed over the head but managing fingertips on it to very fortunately see the post come to his rescue. The match carried along a similar vein of form and was in danger of fizzling out until the very last-minute where one incident changed the entire feel. Referee Darren Sheldrake gave a free-kick to Bournemouth on the edge of the box, penalising Tommy Elphick’s handball in an aerial challenge. Some thirty seconds or more later went by before the referee was called over by his assistant who persuaded him to give a penalty instead. The Brighton players and fans were furious, the commentators couldn’t believe it and replays showed that the handball was unequivocally outside of the area. The referee was a matter of ten or eleven yards away, the assistant was all the way over the other side of the pitch with several players in the way, how he gave that decision with the confidence, arrogance, to overturn the referee is anybody’s guess. It was the wrong decision and cost Brighton the three points. Marc Pugh stepped up and, after some delay due to protests from the Albion players, he slotted the spot kick home very coolly to equalise. So that was that, a game which Brighton had the majority of the play and all the decent chances ended up being a draw due to a referee’s inability to make up his own mind. When the final whistle blew he was surrounded by players arguing the toss but it was too little, too late. The match had ended all square, with the Seagulls sitting pretty at the top of the League One table. It would take a lot to dislodge them this time round.

BOU Table

BRIGHTON 1 BOURNEMOUTH 1
LuaLua Pugh

BOU Replay

EXTRA; Goals on Sunday showed highlights and all the key moments from Saturday’s match action from the Premier League and Football Leagues each and every Sunday morning on Sky Sports 1. It’d been running in a couple of different formats since the beginning of Sky’s Premiership coverage, initially as a desk-based presenter and guest goal show on a Sunday night before moving to the early morning sofa format it’s most associated with. The current theme tune reflected its timeslot; Commodores – Easy (Like Sunday morning). The graphics were similar to the Live broadcast ones, just with a light blue and white colour scheme as opposed to the red and black on the Football League and dark blue and black on the Premier League.

GOS Titles GOS Presenters

On Sunday 10th October, presenters Ben Shephard and Chris Kamara had highlights of Brighton’s Live game against Bournemouth from the afternoon before, featuring Daniel Mann and Garry Birtles’ commentary on the edit. Chris Kamara had been hosting the show alongside Rob McCaffrey since 2000, then for a season with Clare Tomlinson when McCaffrey moved to Dubai in 2007. Latterly Ian Payne was in the seat between 2008 and last season before Ben Shephard took over when he joined Sky to host Live matches and Goals on Sunday at the beginning of the 2010/11 campaign.

GOS Goal GOS Studio

Guests on this edition were former Leeds manager Howard Wilkinson, who spent five years playing for Brighton in the late 1960’s, and ex ‘Crazy Gang’ Wimbledon and Cardiff boss Bobby Gould. Gould was at Withdean covering the game for Talksport and believed “the referee would not take any responsibility in that game yesterday.” Wilkinson agreed stating “the referee was in a far better position than the linesman. If the linesman’s dead in line, fine, but the referee could see where the linesman was. He never moved after he went over to him, so his perspective, distance was not as good as the referee’s.” After the chat about the match, as with all Goals on Sunday guests, the pair told of stories from their career interjected with the rest of yesterday’s goals.

GOS Wilkinson GOS Gould

 

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