#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

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

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

#20: Brighton 0-1 Reading 21/03/2005

#20 BRIGHTON 0-1 READING Championship
Monday 21st March 2005 Image result for

REA Titles

PRESENTER George Gavin GUEST Micky Adams
COMMENTATORS Ian Crocker & Garry Birtles REPORTER Greg Whelan
7.45pm Kick Off; Withdean Stadium     7.30-10pm Football League Live on Sky Sports 1

REA Promo REA Sponsor REA Intro

Context of the Match: With the Albion’s fight for Falmer dragging on and no fixed date in sight, budgetary constraints forced the chairman’s hand in selling the best assets. Impressive summer transfer Darren Currie didn’t hang around long on the South Coast, as promotion-chasing Ipswich snapped him up for a £250,000 December transfer whilst captain Danny Cullip also headed out of the club. Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott was due to make a decision on the planning permission for the site in October 2005. To ramp up the pressure on Prescott and keep the cause in the public conscience, the club released a version of 1950’s original song, but later made most famous by The Piranhas, Tom Hark. The 80s version gained notoriety amongst the football community by being used as goal music by a number of League clubs. Brighton fan John Baine, AKA Attila the Stockbroker, reworded the lyrics to fit with the Albion’s chant of “We Want Falmer”, and the song was a big success. It reached number seventeen in the UK charts outselling Robbie Williams and Elvis Presley. On the pitch goals were hard to come by. To counter the lack of end product, various strikers were tried. Veteran Football League journeyman Steve Claridge spent a month here but failed to find the back of the net before moving on to Brentford. Maheta Molango fell out with manager Mark McGhee and rarely featured before being shipped out on loan to Lincoln. Albert Jarrett was another who didn’t find his feet and was also sent on loan, to non-League Stevenage. The club were going through a difficult spell of results, with five defeats in seven. However, consecutive wins over table-topping Sunderland and top-half Millwall dragged Brighton to within reach of surviving the drop but it would be a close one. This was aided by a very promising Christmas, unbeaten in the Championship from Boxing Day through to the end of January. With a bit of a makeshift squad and disruption in goal due to injuries, the Albion had shipped nine goals in the past two matches including a humiliation at fellow strugglers Plymouth five-one in which Richard Carpenter saw red. Tonight’s match against Reading was the last before the Easter international break. Managed by our former gaffer Steve Coppell, the Royals had their eyes on a Play Off place. They defeated the Albion in the reverse fixture on the opening day of the season, with goals from Molango after just twelve seconds and academy star Jake Robinson not enough to prevent a three-two loss. Crunch time in the second tier required cool heads and hard work as the Sky Sports cameras came to town.

REA Brighton REA Reading REA Formation

The Teams: Brighton approached the final stages of the season with a much changed side from that which began life in the Championship. Battling midfielder Charlie Oatway was made captain following the sale of Danny Cullip for a quarter of a million back in December. Brighton’s cult hero joined the top end of the Division, moving to Sheffield United after rejecting a new deal at Withdean. His time with the Blades was unsuccessful after a promising start, as he joined Watford on loan earlier this month. Adam Hinshelwood filled Cullip’s place next to Guy Butters at the back. Right sided Paul Reid and midfielder John Piercy both came off the bench in last year’s Play Off Final victory but had suffered contrasting fortunes since. Piercy was forced in retirement at just twenty-five in November suffering from the illness colitis. He made just two appearances this season. Reid though flourished in the Championship after making his move permanent, becoming a regular figure in defence and midfield. Kerry Mayo continued on the opposite flank combining with Dan Harding playing further forward. The midfield area continued to be a work in progress, with Adam Virgo now filling in after a spell up front. Leon Knight continued to struggle for form in the higher League, with just four goals to his name. A good sign though was that when he did score this season, Brighton did not lose; three wins and a draw. McGhee turned to former club Millwall for an answer, with Mark McCammon coming on loan in December before making the switch permanent in February. The twenty-six-year-old was prevented from making a huge impact due to first a back injury then illness but netted thrice including a crucial winner against League leaders Sunderland. On the touchline, stalwarts of previous promotions, Paul Watson and Nathan Jones, made only a handful of starts between them this term as their time with club was coming towards the end. Former trainee Chris McPhee burst into the first team squad last season but starts were now rare, as he once again occupied the Seagulls bench. Keeping nets was Swedish goalie Rami Shaaban who signed in February until the end of the season following his release from Arsenal. He joined to alleviate the goalkeeping crisis which saw injuries to Ben Roberts and Michel Kuipers with only inexperienced teenager Chris May on the books. Tonight’s fixture saw former boss Steve Coppell return to Withdean with the Reading side he left us for in October 2003 following relegation from the second tier, citing the lack of finances at the club for his departure. Another who left Brighton for Reading was midfielder Steve Sidwell, who chose to leave Arsenal for the Royals in 2003 after an impressive loan spell with which we wanted to make permanent. Ivar Ingimarsson played for Brighton fifteen times in the League on loan from Wolves but found his way along the Meridian region at Reading shortly after. Two further Albion connections were on the bench with Paul Brooker and Martin Keown. The latter spent a few months on loan at the Goldstone in the beginning of his career and now sat on the bench to see it out. Midfielder Paul Brooker was at Withdean when the back to back titles saw the Seagulls fly up the Leagues but was poached by Micky Adams at Leicester before Reading. The experienced Nicky Forster was an option up front if Dave Kitson or Dean Morgan needed assistance. Refereeing was Kevin Friend.

REA Gavin REA Adams REA Studio REA Whelan

Presentation Team: Regular Football League presenter George Gavin was once again at the helm for this clash between two Meridian region teams. Joining him in the scaffolding-clad studio at Withdean was Micky Adams. He made a return to his former home on a scouting mission for current club Coventry City, with the Seagulls travelling to the Sky Blues in their next fixture in two weeks’ time. Adams was in charge of the Albion between April 1999 and October 2001, guiding us to the Division Three title in the process and laying the foundations for much of the side which continued in the Championship here. Having spent three years at Leicester he resigned in October of this season after a poor start to life back in the second tier following relegation. Brighton’s last Live television match was against Adams’ Foxes, where Adam Virgo’s strike stole the three points back in August. In January 2005 Coventry appointed Adams as manager following a short-lived Peter Reid reign and sat a couple of places and points below Brighton in the Championship table, battling to avoid the drop. In the commentary box in the open air of Withdean were Ian Crocker and Garry Birtles. The pair were in the same spot less than twelve months earlier to witness one of the most remarkable moments of Play Off drama there’s been, when Virgo again cropped up to net the equaliser against Swindon to take the match to a penalty shoot-out. The rest, of course, is history. This was Garry Birtles’ second season regularly commentating on the lower Leagues for Sky Sports, having made his name in local radio in the Midlands. Ian Crocker was a near ever-present again this season for all things Football League, combining that with Scotland internationals and Champions League ties. Completing Sky’s line up was number one reporter Greg Whelan, in his first season promoted to Football League duties from the Conference and Soccer Saturday. His distinctive Midlands accent and confident line of questioning saw him instantly take to his new role and covered the vast majority of League games on Sky’s nationwide roadshow. All this season he regularly appeared in-vision during the build up to relay the team news as viewers became very familiar with the newest member of the broadcast squad.

REA Build Up Transition REA Mobile Shop REA Ref REA Prescott

The Coverage: A brand new title sequence was also in use for the first time on an Albion match. Out went The Skids and in came The Farm with their classic track All Together Now. The song was re-released for England’s Euro 2004 campaign the previous summer and must have caught the eye of the bosses at Sky but presumably too late to get it up and running for the start of the campaign. The new titles came in after the Christmas period rather than the beginning of the season which I’d not seen happen before. The ribbons of the Coca Cola Leagues now flew into the screen as we saw the contrast between how the Football League used to be, with old black and white footage, being replaced with how it is now; advanced technology, current players, stadiums and goals. It’s a very nice intro and the music soundtracks it superbly. Similarly, Sky’s coverage was now sponsored by Powerade, part of Coca Cola, who replaced Sky Bet at the same time. This came with new sponsorship bumpers involving West Ham’s Nigel Reo-Coker and other young England prospects. The rest was pretty much as you were when we were Live previously in August, only with a slight tweak to animate some, but not all, of the graphics for the studio portions of the show mainly. Host George Gavin introduced the programme by stating the Albion’s clear aim; “After four seasons of ups and downs, Mark McGhee’s mission is simple: keep the Seagulls up at all costs.” He was exactly right, Brighton got themselves into a decent position which included an excellent win over title-chasing Sunderland recently and survival was in their grasp. The last man to manage the club in the same Division for two consecutive seasons was tonight’s studio guest; Micky Adams. The pair came on air from behind the goal, and indeed behind the track, in the South West corner of Withdean Stadium in their lofty gantry perch. The programme began fifteen minutes before the 7.45pm kick off, giving enough time to run through the Championship standings and preview both teams. Comment was made about the surroundings, with Adams saying “Withdean is an unusual stadium, as you rightly say. I think there’s a better atmosphere for night games but having said that it takes teams by surprise.” He went on to say he wasn’t expecting Reading to be too bewildered owing to some of the players links to Brighton and, of course, Steve Coppell returning as manager. Reporter Greg Whelan brought the all-important team news from the touchline.

REA Sidwell REA Virgo REA Coming Up 2 REA Coming Up 

Micky Adams discussed some of the key men involved for both sides, with Dave Kitson’s recent goalscoring form a key for the Royals. The wingers would look to cross the ball into the box for the target man at all opportunities. Midfielder Steve Sidwell was another star player, with Seagulls supporters remembering him well for his loan spell here and his goal for Brentford against us Live on the ITV Sport Channel three years earlier. For the home side, Adam Virgo was once again highlighted in the build-up as being crucial. Having played at the back and up front this season, he was starting in midfield tonight. We saw some of his goals so far and Adams praised his tenacity, putting defenders under pressure and ability to come up with goods at the right time. He admitted when he was in charge he never saw Virgo as being a free-scoring centre forward but has impressed in the role. Greg Whelan spoke with both Coppell and McGhee in the interview area. The Brighton boss said he thought probably two more wins from the eight games remaining would secure survival now; “Prior to the games on Saturday I was starting to think it might be three wins, but when you look at the fixtures – everyone’s playing each other – I think it’ll come to fifty, fifty-one points.” Steve Coppell called for his Reading side to get back on track after a patchy run, with poor goalscoring form since Christmas time and wanted players other than the strikers to start contributing on the scoresheet. With that, the fifteen minutes were up and George Gavin handed over to commentators Ian Crocker and Garry Birtles as the teams ran out of the tunnel, with no pre match advert break. At half time Micky Adams was critical of Brighton’s play, allowing Reading to dominate possession. He thought the penalty for the foul on Kitson early on should have been given but could see why the referee and his assistants did not give it. They reviewed what little chances there were in the first half, which didn’t really take long. After the post-match break, the studio team returned to close the show with around ten or so minutes of the programme left. Reporter Greg Whelan spoke with Powerade Man of the Match from Reading, Ibrahima Sonko, and goalscorer Nicky Forster. In studio, the result would have pleased Coventry manager Micky Adams to ease the pressure on his side despite his Albion connections. He disagreed that Reading were good for the three points, praising Brighton’s second half fight back. Of the goal he said it should have been ruled out for handball from Nicky Forster and thought the officials between them could have done more to have a clearer view. He and Gavin talked through the rest of the key chances in the game from both sides, interspersed by interviews with the managers. Mark McGhee said “We’re disappointed to have lost the game but, you know, we’re fighting. We’ve got seven more games to compete with these other teams around us and I think we’ve shown we can compete.” After hearing from Steve Coppell and taking another look at the Championship table, it was time to say bye for now as Brighton headed into the international break with four straight defeats. The survival battle would go down to the wire.

REA Kick Off REA Comms

Story of the Match: Steve Coppell was reunited with his former chairman Dick Knight as they sat alongside each other in the Withdean stands at the beginning of the match, Coppell choosing a higher vantage point for the first half. A lively start saw action at either end within seconds of each other. Mark McCammon’s drive forward gave Gary Hart a crossing opportunity which Reading were able to deal with. They broke on the counter right up the other end, with Glen Little setting Dave Kitson through. The striker sprung the offside trap but was thwarted by Rami Shaaban who appeared to bring Kitson down with his hands. The applause from the home crowd drowned out any, if at all, away appeals with the referee confidently pointing for a corner. On closer inspection it should have been a penalty after just four minutes but the Albion got away with one, finding a Friend in referee Kevin. Shortly after, the goalkeeper got into all sorts of trouble again when trying and failing to claim on the edge of his box. His defence came to the rescue on that occasion. Reading began to dominate and Steve Sidwell came close with a diving header from a Nicky Shorey cross, the effort going wide. The goalkeeping errors weren’t confined to the Albion box though, as McCammon was presented with a chance by Marcus Hahnemann out of nothing when he slid to keep a backpass in play only to give it straight to the Brighton forward, via a deflection off Sonko, on the edge of the area. The first time effort was poor and in fact going wide of the open goal by which time Hahnemann got back to it. There was a lack of composure from Brighton perhaps due to the recent bad spell. After a collision with Hughes by the far corner flag, Adam Hinshelwood’s match was over a quarter of the way into it thanks to a jarred knee. His replacement Dean Hammond forced a tactical re-jig in the midfield, where Sidwell was restricting Albion to scraps. Adam Virgo dropped back to his more regular defensive role to compensate. After the early exchanges there was nothing by way of goalmouth action until just before half time. Sonko’s glancing header narrowly went wide and the teams went in level.

REA Coppell REA Stretcher

At half time Mark McCammon was seen being stretchered off around the athletics track. He had been suffering from flu in previous days and was clearly struggling today, going down for rest a couple of times and signalled to the bench for assistance. He was replaced by youngster Chris McPhee. With half an hour to go Reading tried to force something to happen as Nicky Forster replaced Dean Morgan up top. He made an immediate impact as within three minutes of his arrival, Forster broke the deadlock. Little’s cross on the near side went over Kitson to the back post where Forster was waiting. His initial header was parried by Shaaban but, like all good strikers, he was in the right place at the right time as it rebounded off him to sneak home. It appeared to go off his head and onto his arm for the initial contact but there was no chance of the referee spotting that. Despite the Albion looking better in the second half, going forward more and enjoying spells with the ball, there was just no attacking threat there. An equaliser looked hard to come by until the game was raised in the closing stages. With ten minutes to go a fierce half-volley from Virgo on the edge of the box needed to be palmed away by the ‘keeper. Five minutes later Brighton’s fans felt aggrieved by the lack of a penalty from the officials after McPhee appeared to be shoved over by Sonko, alas nothing was given. With just two minutes of the ninety to go, a corner from Knight was headed forward by Hammond with Charlie Oatway getting the final contact. His hook a couple of yards from goal went wide when he perhaps should have done better. The last chance saloon gave Leon Knight a free kick opportunity on the edge of the area. His strike flew over the wall and into the side netting. The resulting goal kick was the final touch of the match as Reading secured the three points and Brighton’s survival story would need a couple more exciting chapters to be written.

REA Table

BRIGHTON 0 READING 1
Forster

REA Replay REA Replay 2

PREVIOUS; #19 LEICESTER 0-1 BRIGHTON 30/08/2004

NEXT; #21 BRIGHTON 1-1 IPSWICH 08/05/2005

#18: Brighton 1-0 Bristol City 30/05/2004

#18 BRIGHTON 1-0 BRISTOL CITY Division Two Play Off FINAL
Sunday 30th May 2004 Image result for

POF Titles

PRESENTER George Gavin GUESTS Chris Kamara & Gordon Strachan
COMMENTATORS Ian Crocker & Garry Birtles REPORTERS Fraser Robertson & Guy Havord
3pm Kick Off; Millennium Stadium, Cardiff     2-6pm Football League Live on Sky Sports 1

swi ident sky bet sponsor POF Intro

Context of the Match: The big day had arrived. Sunday 30th May 2004 saw the teams of Brighton and Bristol City meet in a one-off match at Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium to determine who would be joining Queens Park Rangers and Plymouth in gaining promotion to the second tier of English football. It was a beautiful sunny Sunday in the Welsh capital for the Division Two Play Off Final. The end of season Play Offs were introduced in 1987 and have become one of the highlights of the domestic calendar, with nerves, tension, excitement, glory and despair all rolled into one. Brighton’s only prior foray into this stage came in 1991 when they were ninety minutes away from the top flight. Having defeated Millwall in the Semi Finals that year home and away, a Wembley showdown with Notts County ended with the Magpies victorious by three goals to one. The Albion’s fate had plummeted since then, dropping down the Divisions to almost slipping out of the League altogether a couple of times in the nineties. More recently, back to back title wins in 2001 and 2002 saw the club rise to the second tier, only to be relegated on the final day last season. An immediate bounce back up was on the cards today if the Seagulls could beat the Robins. During the regular season, City got the better of Brighton, winning four-one at Withdean in November and holding us to a stalemate at Ashton Gate five weeks ago. To reach this point, the Albion finished in fourth place in the Second Division. They were six points off the automatic promotion places and five behind today’s opponents who ended in third. After a forgettable Semi Final First Leg at the County Ground where Richard Carpenter’s goal separated Brighton and Swindon, the Second Leg was an incredible spectacle of drama as Swindon scored late to level on aggregate and force Extra Time. When Rory Fallon put them two up it looked like being all over, but for Adam Virgo’s last-minute diving header to take it to penalties. The Albion converted all four of their spot-kicks and when Andy Gurney struck the post it was all over; Brighton were going to the Final! Bristol City avoided having to go into overtime however their two-legged affair with Hartlepool also contained much drama. The first match at Victoria Park ended all square, with Pool equalising late in the second half. The rematch in Bristol was going the way of the away side after the hour mark when Antony Sweeney put them ahead. But Bristol City would not suffer Play Off Semi Final heartbreak for the second season running, as two goals in the final two minutes of the match overturned that advantage and sent the Robins down the M4 and over the border into Cardiff. Both teams enjoyed some late fortune in their respective matches and this Final would be decided on the day; with the potential for Extra Time and Penalties if required. Indeed, four of the last five Second Division Finals had gone beyond the ninety minutes, the exception being Stoke City in 2002. Sky Sports broadcast all three Divisional Play Off Finals Live from the Millennium Stadium across this weekend. After Crystal Palace’s victory over West Ham on the Saturday, could the Seagulls follow the Eagles in gaining promotion?

POF Brighton POF Bristol City POF Formation

The Teams: Mark McGhee’s Brighton made one change from the starting line-up from the Second Leg of the Semi Final at Withdean. Gary Hart was favoured over Paul Reid on the right of midfield. Hart was infamously signed for £1000 and a set of tracksuits from non-League Stansted in 1998 and had seen two promotions already at his time here. Originally a striker, Hart became more of a utility player as his career progressed – filling in at the back as well as in midfield. Reid joined from Bradford with a few games to go before the end of the season and started both legs of the Semi Finals. In goal, former Middlesbrough ‘keeper Ben Roberts was the first choice. He played the majority of this campaign having joined last year and previously started for Boro in FA and League Cup Finals at Wembley, losing on both occasions. Captain Danny Cullip – named in the PFA Division Two Team of the Year – partnered the fans Player of the Year Guy Butters in the centre of defence, with Second Leg hero Adam Virgo on the right and academy graduate Dan Harding on the left. The midfield core of Carpenter, Oatway and Jones had been with the Seagulls since the start of the Withdean era. Carpenter had won five promotions in his career and hoping for a sixth. The striking options were top-scorer Leon Knight – twenty-five goals thus far, the join best in the Division earning himself a place in the PFA Team of the Year – and Scotsman Chris Iwelumo. He was in the Stoke side that won this match two years ago and joined us from them on loan back in March. He was the only Albion player to have featured at the Millennium Stadium before, whilst he and Guy Butters had won this Final previously. With a lack of forward options in the squad, no strikers were on the bench. Former Tottenham youth midfielder John Piercy was named as substitute, with Reid, Adam Hinshelwood, goalkeeper Michel Kuipers and longest serving current player Kerry Mayo. Mayo scored the own goal in the draw at Hereford which kept Albion in the Football League seven years ago but had since gone on to play regularly at left-back. Bristol City manager Danny Wilson had the longest spell of his playing career at Brighton, in the heart of the midfield for four years. He named a side which included three players named in the PFA Team of the Year. Goalkeeper Steve Phillips, defender Louis Carey and midfielder Brian Tinnion, getting the accolade for the second time in four seasons. Tony Rougier had a short loan spell with the Albion at the back end of last season, starting five times and scoring twice. Striker Cristian Roberts was born in the host city Cardiff and began his career in the Welsh capital. This was Bristol City’s second appearance at the Millennium Stadium, having won the LDV Vans Trophy Final in 2003 beating Carlisle with goals from Lee Peacock and Liam Rosenior; neither of whom were involved today, the latter having left the club after that match. The attacking option on the bench was Scott Murray, who rejoined the club in March after less than a season away. He previously spent six years at City. Refereeing was Richard Beeby.

POF Gavin POF Kamara POF Strachan POF Studio

Presentation Team: This was host George Gavin’s second season presenting the Play Off Finals and his second match this weekend following the Division One Final the previous day. That saw Crystal Palace defeat West Ham during a mammoth five hour Live broadcast. Gavin had been at the helm during the regular season, travelling the length and breadth of the country to bring us Live Football League games, other than the Saturday lunchtime kick offs that Ian Payne covered this year. During the Play Off Semi Finals he was based at Sky’s Isleworth studio in order to cover the lot but was back in the stadium for the Finals. Keeping Gavin company in the studio was regular Football League number one co-commentator and co-host of Sunday morning review programme Goals on Sunday, Chris Kamara. Kamara would be involved in all three Finals this weekend, having commentated on yesterday’s match, in the studio today and reporting on tomorrow’s Division Three clash. And this is the third Play Off Finals campaign that Kamara has covered for Sky, having taken over from Alan Brazil as co-commentator on the 2001 Division One Final, reprising his role when the rights were regained from ITV last year. Kammy was joined in the studio, eventually, by Gordon Strachan. I say eventually, as he missed the first part of the programme due to being stuck in traffic! Strachan had been out of work since leaving Southampton back in February, somewhat earlier than anticipated. He was due to quit the club when his contract concluded this summer, wanting to take a break from the game having been in permanent employment as a manager for more than eight years on the back of a successful playing career. However, news of his plan was leaked and the club took action to replace him immediately. It was clear Strachan’s next move during this ‘break’ would be in the media and his appearance in the studio today was an indication of that. He would be signed up by BBC Sport to lead their revamped Premiership highlights punditry when rights returned for next season, joining Adrian Chiles on the new Match of the Day 2 on Sunday nights. Strachan’s humour and straight-talking won him plaudits from supporters during press conferences and interviews, known for answering silly questions with silly answers, so his presence on television would be a welcomed addition.

POF Robertson POF Havord

In the commentary box were the regular partnership of Ian Crocker and Garry Birtles. Crocker had been the voice of Sky’s Football League games since the beginning of last season and combined this with Scotland international matches. With today’s Final taking place just weeks before a major tournament, international fixtures took place across the same weekend and thus meant Crocker had to miss his first Scottish international for many years in order to commentate in Cardiff. Rob Hawthorne took his place in Edinburgh. Commentating with Crocker was Garry Birtles who was working on his first Play Off Final for Sky having joined at the beginning of the campaign, taking over from Alvin Martin who did this fixture a year ago. Birtles quickly established himself as a key part of Sky’s coverage of the Football League and Champions League, with his distinctive Nottingham accent and strong opinions. Prior to Sky he worked for local radio in his hometown for many years. As is tradition for major Finals, Sky deployed two pitchside reporters; broadly covering one team each although this wasn’t strictly adhered to 100%. Generally, Guy Havord was with the Bristol City team whilst Fraser Robertson interviewed Brighton. Havord and Robertson would do all three Finals this weekend, just as they did last year. Robertson covered the majority of the Division One matches this season, whilst Havord was Sky’s man on the sidelines for the ten Division Two and Three broadcasts as well as deputising for Robertson in the big League.

POF Graphic POF Crests

Pre-Match Coverage: This four hour broadcast would be the most comprehensively covered match the Albion had enjoyed since the first Live game back in 1983. Whilst we didn’t quite get build up from 11am today like at Wembley, we did receive Sky’s full treatment of this Division Two Play Off Final at the Millennium Stadium. Coverage came on-air at 2pm, an hour before kick-off, as the stadium began to fill up. Host George Gavin and pundit Chris Kamara were based in the corner of the ground in their glass box, a familiar location for Sky viewers over the past three seasons for showpiece events. The title sequence was a specially adapted Play Offs edition, with the usual theme tune of The Skids’ Into the Valley accompanying shots of classic action from yesteryear including the likes of Martin O’Neill and Peter Reid managing, and Paul Dickov and Steve Fletcher scoring, in past Finals. The introduction VT was very dramatic, the usual set piece from Sky’s top level coverage, in which the voice of the channel Bruce Hammal threw out emotive language to stir the emotions. “Fear me, my foe, for I know the ways of this chequered battle field!” This was followed by shots of the players arriving at the ground, making their way up the famous Millennium Stadium corridor, before we saw huge crowds gathering outside waiting for the gates to open in the glorious sunshine. “Brighton have sold more than 25,000 tickets. Their temporary home is the 7,000 capacity Withdean. They’re making a huge point about the need for a new stadium by arriving in so many numbers here today,” commented host Gavin. The stadium campaign was a huge part of today for the supporters and was long a feature of the television coverage which would continue in years to come. Sky Sports adopted flashy new 3D graphics for their Premiership and Cup coverage back in February but so far that hadn’t filtered down to the Football League which continued with last season’s set. However, an exception was made for this Finals weekend, which meant we got the full animations and flying name astons which were a marked improvement on the basic graphics of old. The blue and red backgrounds remained but didn’t quite cover up the entire length of the screen, instead animating in and out via a whooshing laser-like line. The trophy accompanied our hosts in the studio for the first part of the show.

POF Oatway POF Suits

As the players were taking a walk round the pitch to check out the conditions, reporters Fraser Robertson and Guy Havord caught up with a few of the players. Charlie Oatway told of how he was present this time last season as a fan, watching the club after he was named; QPR. They lost that day and he was hoping to be a bit luckier this time with the Albion. We also saw shots of Danny Cullip and Richard Carpenter getting fitted for their Cup Final suits in town, with the Albion opting for the smart wear in contrast to Bristol City’s tracksuits. A recap of the Semi Finals followed, with plenty of late drama across both ties as City overcame Hartlepool and the Seagulls swooped on Swindon via the shoot-out. Fraser Robertson brought us the team line up for the Albion whilst Guy Havord delivered the Bristol City news, which was dissected by Kamara in the studio. Of Leon Knight his criticism centred around the lack of consistency and enthusiasm, saying if he was up for it more often he’d still have been playing at the higher level where his career began. After the break, our other studio guest was able to make it through the crowds as Gordon Strachan joined the team. He opened with stating this is “the most exciting weekend of the season, ‘cos the League’s been boring, Arsenal won that… even the Cup Final last week, that was boring!” He started as he meant to go on.

POF Two Shot POF Little and Large

Brighton’s striking duo, Leon Knight and Chris Iwelumo, were granted a VT feature together sat on the beach as they discussed their ‘little and large’ partnership, each other’s strengths and the Albion in general. Iwelumo, on loan from Stoke, was keen on extending his stay; “It’s been brilliant, it’s been such a good time for me just to play first team football again… Great bunch of lads, accepted me from the minute I walked in and I’d love to stay here.” To really emphasise the height difference, they pair went head to head on the seafront basketball court; Knight emerging the victor. Gordon Strachan is good friends with Mark McGhee and has kept an eye out for the club in recent times. “Speaking to him this morning, I got a hint of why they play the way they do. First of all, the two strikers are good so get the ball up to them. I think the midfield as a unit defensively are great, but as an attacking unit not that great at all.” He told of how his other teams have been more passing based and attractive due to the better players they had in midfield. We then heard from the man himself, Mark McGhee in conversation with Fraser Robertson in the tunnel. He emphasised the importance of concentration during this match after a hard slog of a year; “We’ve got young players who have had a long season, been introduced at this level, and they’re gonna be tested in that respect. They’re gonna be asked questions of their concentration, I think, that they’ve not been asked so far.”

POF Iwelumo Stats POF Coming Up POF Albion Support POF Tunnel

After the break the attention turned to Bristol City, whose fans were interviewed outside the ground in very confident mood. Their striker Christian Roberts recorded a VT in and around Cardiff, as he looked back on their LDV Vans Trophy Final victory at the Millennium Stadium last season and, perched in front of the castle, reviewed his winning goal in the Semi Finals a couple of weeks ago. He had to choose club or country for today’s fixture, with Wales facing Canada in Wrexham at the same time. Club won out and he started up front for Bristol City, particularly important for them given the absence of Lee Peacock through injury. Former Albion midfielder Danny Wilson was in charge of City, spending four years with us and now in his fourth year as their manager. We heard from him in the tunnel with Guy Havord. As we neared closer to kick off, the crowd filtered in and created an excellent pre-match atmosphere. The studio team commented on how good the stadium looked and what a great set of supporters both sides brought along with them. Host George Gavin asked for his pundits’ final predictions. Kamara went with Bristol City as they’re “the best footballing side and if Brighton play too direct, they’ll lose.” Strachan was more cautious, hoping for “a tight game, hopefully exciting and I don’t know what to say because they’re too terrific fellas.” He then joked “I’d like to get Mark through obviously, but I’m scared for his weight ‘cos every time he gets successful his weight balloons up!” And the scene was set, after the adverts the teams would emerge from the tunnel to the theme tune from Kill Bill and it would be time for our commentary team of Ian Crocker and Garry Birtles to take the reins.

POF National Anthem POF Referee POF Kick Off POF Comms

Story of the Match: With a sea of blue and white to the left of camera, the Albion supporters made themselves heard. The players were introduced to the dignitaries consisting of Football League Chairman Sir Brian Mawhinney, and representatives of the outgoing title sponsors Nationwide. The National Anthem was performed by Laurence Robinson. Brighton got the match off and underway kicking from right to left in the first half in their traditional blue and white stripes up against the red of Bristol City. “Stand up if you want Falmer!” rang around the ground in the early stages of the match, the Seagulls supporters aware they had their own job to do today in front of the cameras; to really hammer home that need for planning permission to be granted by John Prescott MP. Nathan Jones showed he was up for the match taking place in his home country, as he burst half the length of the pitch after some neat skill to drive the Albion forward. His frustrations at the lack of end product got him involved in a shoving match with opposition defender Louis Carey, with the City man raising his hands towards Jones and perhaps fortunate to escape a card. In goal Ben Roberts enjoyed a couple of early routine catches to give him confidence and get a feel for the match. He was present when City put four past us at Withdean back in November. The sun had the potential to cause problems for him and the players on the far side of the pitch, with the near side covered by the shadow of the retractable roof. “It takes a while for teams to settle in these games”, remarked commentator Ian Crocker inside the opening quarter of an hour. The opening half was marred by several late sliding tackles which culminated in Adam Virgo receiving the first yellow card of the match thirty-three minutes in. The resulting free kick came to nothing and this was typical of the football as a whole; extremely little in terms of goalmouth action with chances even rarer. It was tense, it was fraught and it was too close to call. The lack of quality was typified when Tony Butler, City’s defender up for a set piece, hooked his shot high and wide from just a few yards out. Even though it wouldn’t have stood due to a foul on Ben Roberts, it was still a terrible miss. Shortly before the whistle, the breakthrough so nearly came with the first real bit of quality. Leon Knight struck a superb free kick from the far edge outside the penalty box which cannoned off the crossbar and had the goalkeeper scrambling all ends up. Brighton couldn’t muster much with the follow up but what an effort from Knight, who had been quiet thus far. The teams went in goalless. The stats during the half-time coverage showed Bristol City to have edged it, with 56% possession, but perhaps with that warning sign from Knight, Brighton were in the ascendancy.

POF Virgo Yellow POF Substitution

Bristol City were slightly delayed making their way out for the second period as captain Tommy Doherty was being sick in the dressing room. He continued to play on. And Leon Knight wasn’t feeling too bright within the opening couple of minutes after a very heavy collision with Danny Coles left him requiring treatment from physio Malcolm Stuart. He too played on. The Robins were the first to make a change, as Scott Murray replaced Lee Miller up top on the hour mark. This was followed by an Albion substitution as Australian Paul Reid took Richard Carpenter’s place after a knock. Brighton were trying to push forward with Iwelumo leading various charges, but the final ball was really lacking from the Scotsman. A free kick from the half way line almost went all the way through but for the hands of City’s ‘keeper. The flick on nearly found Iwelumo in its path but the pace just beat him on. A further change for the Albion was made for the final quarter of an hour as Nathan Jones came off slightly surprisingly, and on ran John Piercy, a former Tottenham graduate. Piercy had been in and out of the side all season due to injury but was there when it mattered, scoring in the shoot-out win against Swindon to get to this point. He almost made an immediate impact in this match, floating in a cross from the left touchline. Iwelumo’s head met it but the power was lacking and the effort landed just the wrong side of the post. The crowd made their voices heard again and could sense Brighton grow in confidence and belief. With seven minutes remaining they were proved correct. Chris Iwelumo held the ball up on the right wing but with few options close to him he decided to attack the space in front. A ten yard dribble took him past one City defender before playing it on towards Knight, which displaced two more. Last man Danny Coles was vying for the loose ball with Knight, with neither able to get it under control. It left an opportunity for Iwelumo to pick it back up as he charged into the box. As Coles got up off the turf he swung a leg to boot the ball away but in doing so only whacked the leg of the striker and clipped his heels to bring him down. Penalty! Referee Richard Beeby was right on the spot, giving the signal for the foul. The pressure kick fell to top scorer Leon Knight. He did his familiar stutter before taking the kick, which was very well placed into Phillips’ bottom-right hand corner of the net. Goal for the Albion! Commentator Crocker called it; “Here he comes… and Leon Knight fires Brighton in front and fires the dream! The dream of promotion to Division One!” Summariser Birtles praised the striker; “As cool as you like there… Tremendous penalty.” It was penalties that got us to this point and it was now a penalty which looked like taking us up, Knight’s eighth successful spot kick out of eight this season – a remarkable record. The crowd of 65,167 watched on as the final few minutes ticked by all too quickly from the red side’s point of view. And they ticked by without incident, which meant Brighton were the winners. Brighton had won promotion to Division One. Brighton had done it via the Play Offs for the first time. It was a Knight to remember!

POF Goal POF Knight aston POF Goal Replay

BRIGHTON 1 BRISTOL CITY 0
Knight

POF Replay 1 POF Replay 2

Post Match Coverage: “They’ve got what they hoped for. They’ve got what they prayed for. They’ve got what they came for. Brighton are promoted to the First Division, up, up and away!” were the words from Ian Crocker upon hearing the full time whistle. It was the cue for the players and coaching staff to rush onto the pitch to celebrate and congratulate the men in blue and white. They say promotion via the Play Offs is the best way to do it, and at that moment nobody with any connection to Brighton and Hove Albion would disagree with you. Just shy of an hour remained of the programme after full time, which gave plenty of opportunity to hear from the squad, analyse the key moments and bask in the Albion’s glory. The first player up for questioning was Chris Iwelumo with reporter Guy Havord. The striker was in his element; “Just look at this. This is what it’s all about. This is why you play football, for days like this. Unbelievable, I’ll remember this for the rest of my life.” Up next was the goalscorer, with reporter Fraser Robertson, in a humble mood; “I’m not a hero, it took eleven men out there plus the subs, the backroom staff. There’s no heroes in this team, we’re all heroes today!” Charlie Oatway was high on emotions but remembered the key message about Falmer; “It just shows you what we can get and it’s a shame that we haven’t got the ground and hopefully the decision’ll go for us and we’ll get this regularly, I’m sure we will.” The manager was collared by Havord for a brief chat before he had to be called away to collect the trophy. “It’s not a day for me,” he began, “it’s a day for the players, for the supporters. I’m thrilled for them, delighted obviously for myself, they’ve worked hard for it.” Whilst all this was going on, the stage was being set on the pitch for the presentation of the prize, with no steps to climb like at the old Wembley it was all done on the field of play.

POF Iwelumo POF McGhee POF Man of the Match POF Going Up

Mark McGhee led the squad up to collect their winners medals, each and every one of them. There are no losers medals in the Play Offs, only losers. With everybody in place, it was just left for captain Danny Cullip to go last and collect his before moving across to be front and centre for the big moment. “On the wings of a Seagull, Brighton are promoted to Division One!” The fireworks began to go off, the music started to blare out and the celebrations with the trophy could really get going. Champagne all round soundtracked by Sussex by the Sea. Ian Crocker once again summed it up perfectly by saying, “By no means a classic match, but a classic day and a day that will go down in Brighton and Hove Albion’s history.” The skipper Cullip was named the Man of the Match and made a direct appeal to John Prescott to listen to the people and grant planning permission for the stadium, with centre back partner Guy Butters following suit. Chairman Dick Knight was in amongst all the celebrations, getting his hands on the trophy as Havord interviewed him. Knight was an old pro at getting the message across in impassioned speeches and creative campaigning; “I feel so proud to be the chairman, what a wonderful day. Our fans have been brilliant, 30,000 people here today, the team were even better. They fought and they won the game and they deserved to win the game.” He continued “Brighton is on the football map, Brighton should have a stadium.” Nathan Jones’ interview was interrupted by jubilant players jumping in to celebrate with a very proud Welshman in Cardiff. What an incredible day to be a Seagulls supporter.

POF Trophy Lift POF Crowd POF Knight Trophy POF Chairman Trophy

Full credit to Sky for staying with the extended celebrations and not rushing off for an advert break, having gone uninterrupted from the start of the second half some seventy-odd minutes earlier. The scenes were unique for the Albion and those of us in the stadium wanted to savour every second of it and try to translate that back to the watching world. Voicing the pictures were now the studio team of George Gavin, Chris Kamara and Gordon Strachan. The latter was fully supportive of the Albion’s stadium bid in his own inimitable way; “You’re there to serve the community and the community are shouting ‘Give us a stadium’. OK there’s fifty people that might wanna save the greenback frog or whatever it is, or a couple of weeds, you know, for the green belt. But who cares about two frogs and a couple of weeds?!” And as the players inched towards the tunnel area on their half-lap of honour, it was time for Sky to take that advert break. Upon our return, cameras followed Mark McGhee and co into the dressing room whilst the players tucked into pizza and plenty of alcohol. An attempt was made to speak with Adam Virgo inside the dressing room but that was only ever going to begin one way; covered in champagne and food! When it had calmed down slightly, Fraser Robertson noticed the trophy had been slightly bent out of shape! Virgo saying, “I think Guy [Butters] sat on it, to be honest.”

POF Dressing Room POF Bent Trophy POF Link Up

The closing portion of the programme was largely studio based, as the trio analysed the goal and got further reaction from both clubs. Praise was heaped on the supporters with Kamara saying; “The fans were the winners today, we were sat out there and it was a really great atmosphere.” The stats scrawled across the bottom of the screen to highlight just how tight the match was, with just a single shot on target for each side and possession shaded by the defeated team 53% to 47%. Gordon Strachan told of the huge importance of set pieces and good set piece takers. He praised Knight’s coolness and technique for the winning penalty as well as his free kick which crashed the crossbar. Mark McGhee joined the boys via an earpiece link-up from the tunnel, all in good spirits. The gaffer spoke highly of Iwelumo’s performance; “As a centre forward, Chris Iwelumo gives us something that we didn’t have all season. I said I think if we had had Chris, we’d be up automatically because I think we have a lot more to come.” He revealed the tactics used in the dressing room before the match to inspire the players, with a list of desired venues next season in Division One – Stadium of Light, Molineux, Upton Park – alongside a list of other names that were less desirable, and it was up to them as to where they would end up next year. After the final advert break of the day, attention turned to the Play Off Finals as a whole, with Mansfield against Huddersfield to come the following afternoon. We also heard from Danny Wilson, ever gracious in defeat but clearly heartbroken that he’s been denied in the Play Offs for the second year in a row and would go on to leave the club over the summer. And so, it was also time for us to leave as this fantastic programme concluded. This day, the memories, the penalty and the celebrations would live forever in the minds of Seagulls fans. How does flying high in the second tier again sound?

POF Trophy Winners

EXTRA; For coverage of the ITV Meridian Soccer Night Play Off Final highlights programme click HERE

PREVIOUS; #17 BRIGHTON 0-1 SWINDON 20/05/2004

NEXT; #19 LEICESTER 0-1 BRIGHTON 30/08/2004

#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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

 

PREVIOUS; #29 COLCHESTER 0-0 BRIGHTON 08/03/2010

NEXT; #31 WOKING 1-1 BRIGHTON 16/11/2010

#29: Colchester 0-0 Brighton 08/03/2010

#29 COLCHESTER 0-0 BRIGHTON League One
Monday 8th March 2010 Image result for

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PRESENTER David Jones GUESTS Phil Parkinson & Adam Virgo
COMMENTATORS Bill Leslie & Garry Birtles REPORTER Patrick Davison
7.45pm Kick Off; Weston Homes Stadium, Colchester     7.30-10pm Monday Night Live on Sky Sports 1

2010 ident 365 sponsor col intro

Context of the Match: Gus Poyet arrived in Brighton back in November with the aim of moving the club away from the relegation zone and to start climbing up the League One ladder. His improving team visited a Colchester side bang in form and chasing for promotion out of the Division. They sat in fourth place ahead of this match, winning their last four home games in a row. Brighton’s form was improving too, having beaten Charlton and drew at Leeds in the last two away matches and won the previous weekend at home to Exeter. In fact the Seagulls had lost just twice in the League since Christmas and had enjoyed an extended FA Cup run which saw them knock out Wycombe, Rushden & Diamonds and Torquay before losing 3-2 at Premier League Aston Villa. As we entered the business end of the season, Brighton were five points clear of the drop zone and just about able to look over their shoulders without too much panic. Colchester moved into their new stadium here at the beginning of last season, something which Brighton were looking to do the season after next with the long-running public battle for a ground nearing its long conclusion. They would hope for a better playing surface than what tonight’s hosts have been used to of late, with very muddy patches and bare, patchy grass causing issues in previous matches. Brighton would go into the match confident of getting a result here, boasting the fourth best away record in the Division.

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The Teams: Consistency is key for the Albion at the moment, with the side unchanged for the third time in a row. With Michel Kuipers an absentee until next season due to injury, Slovakian Peter Brezovan kept goal again. He’s supported by full-backs brought to the club in the January transfer window; Inigo Calderon, signed from Alaves, and Marcos Painter on loan from Championship Swansea. The midfield core of Elliott Bennett, Gary Dicker and skipper Andrew Crofts were mainstays under Poyet so far, boosted by Alan Navarro and loanee winger Kazenga LuaLua. Glenn Murray was the solitary striker in a familiar 4-5-1 formation, keeping out top scorer Nicky Forster. Among those on the subs bench, long-serving Gary Hart, youth graduate Mitch Walker as back up goalkeeper and defender Jim McNulty. Seb Carole returned to Brighton in January for a third short-term spell having previously spent the 2005/06 season here and a six month contract at the beginning of 2009. For Colchester, they made three changes from their last match – a defeat at Bristol Rovers. In came defender Magnus Okuonghae, Kemal Izzet and Kayode Odejayi up front. Former Southampton, Leeds and Nottingham Forest midfielder David Prutton joined in January until the end of the season. The experienced Clive Platt played up top, supported from attacking midfield by John-Joe O’Toole and youth team graduate Anthony Wordsworth. Their top scorer was also on the bench in the shape of Kevin Lisbie. Refereeing tonight; Tony Bates.

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Presentation Team: Coverage was presented from the studio inside Colchester’s nice new stadium by Sky’s first choice Football League host David Jones. He’s been a regular on the broadcasts since 2007 and currently hosts both Saturday Night Football and Monday Night Live. Jones’s stock has been rising ever since and does the vast majority of the League matches. Joining him in the studio were Charlton manager Phil Parkinson and current Albion defender Adam Virgo, who also had a loan spell with Colchester for the 2007/08 season. Parkinson had a vested interest in the match with his Charlton side flying high and chasing for promotion, with his former side Colchester amongst the chasing pack. Virgo was three games into his four match suspension for the Albion, having been sent off for the second time this season. Tonight’s appearance was clearly to test the waters for a future career in the media for the Brighton man, going on several years later after retirement to become a very successful co-commentator and pundit for BT Sport amongst others. That broadcaster didn’t even exist when tonight’s match took place of course. Commentating on the match were Bill Leslie and Garry Birtles. Leslie was the outright number one, having been so since Ian Crocker departed for Setanta back in 2006. Since then, Setanta went bust with their portfolio of football rights being divided up. This included some Scottish Premier League rights ending up back with Sky Sports so Crocker followed suit to become SPL lead commentator like he was for Sky up until 2002. Garry Birtles was once again behind the microphone as co-commentator for tonight’s fixture. He’s covered a lot of Brighton down the years, including earlier this season when the Southampton away match was televised Live. He knows League One inside out. Reporting on the touchline was Patrick Davison. He’d previously covered our JPT match at Luton last year and by now was regularly the second choice Football League reporter, deputising for Greg Whelan upon absence.

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The Coverage: Tonight’s programme began fifteen minutes before the 7.45pm kick off, Live from the Weston Homes Stadium. It went under the banner of “Monday Night Live”, which was a new initiative which encompassed all sports broadcast Live around this time on a Monday; lower league football, speedway, tennis, all sorts. There was a short uniformed title sequence which reflected the multi-sport aspect, culminating in a voiceover stating “Tonight; football from the Coca-Cola Football League”. It was a shame the usual title sequence wasn’t used with the ‘You’ve got the Love’ theme tune as that’s excellent. Apart from this all other aspects of the coverage was as it was for any other day of the week, with the red and black graphics and the flying trophy transition for all replays. There was a clear emphasis from Sky Sports towards promoting High Definition coverage and pushing us towards the HD version of the channel. This came with a slight change to their logo, with the Sky part now all in lower case rather than all upper like it has been throughout their history. The colouring had slightly changed too, with a darker red background and a glassy effect. Bet365 were the coverage sponsors this season, as they were for so many football shows in recent years. Hosting the show was David Jones alongside guest pundits Phil Parkinson and Adam Virgo. Virgo spoke well in the build up of both sides, showing knowledge of both teams and the League as a whole. The build up included a word with both managers; Gus Poyet and Aidy Boothroyd. Poyet spoke of Brighton’s more clinical edge away from home, stating that the football is the same but the reason for the impressive away record was simply due to chances being taken. He also confirmed it had been agreed with Newcastle that Kazenga LuaLua would be extending his loan spell until the end of the season. Reporter Patrick Davison brought up the recent sight of Boothroyd’s United side walking over hot coals, which the United manager explained as trying to unfreeze the pitch as well as freshening things up and forcing players outside of their comfort zone.

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The pitch was highlighted by Jones and his pundits for being patchy and a poor surface to play on; notably in a Live televised match a few weeks back where a comical goal was scored when the defender on the line was unable to clear the ball as his foot was stuck in the mud. The surface had improved since then but was still pretty bare in places. After commentator Bill Leslie talked us through the team news there was time for a quick break before coming back to join a minute’s silence for the much-loved Macclesfield manager and friend of Sky Sports Football League coverage down the years, Keith Alexander, who died last week at the age of just 53. At half time the boys reviewed the best of the first forty-five, with Brighton having more of the opportunities for the breakthrough. Virgo pleasingly referred to Albion as “us” and “we”, saying the game was going to plan so far for Poyet and more of the same please in the second. After the game there was around ten minutes or so to review a match low on chances but Adam and Phil did their best in the studio. Virgo stating he was “very proud of them, they’ve done very, very well tonight”, whilst Parkinson believed it was probably a fair result. Patrick Davison caught up with Glenn Murray and Man of the Match Tommy Elphick, with Murray adamant he should have had a first half penalty. Our reporter got the views of the home manager; Boothroyd joking the viewers probably switched over to EastEnders instead. And that was that, another Live match done.

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Story of the Match: It was very nearly the perfect start for the Albion side in their red and black change strip with Glenn Murray’s header from a free kick going just wide, beating the keeper all ends up. Colchester’s first sign of danger came after a jinking run from David Prutton found Platt wide. His first time cross was towards his strike partner but Adam El-Abd was in the right place at the right time to cut the ball out for a corner. Chances were at a premium during this match, with Brighton’s passing play meaning they dominated a lot of the ball but lacked a killer instinct to get in behind the defence. A chance did fall to the Seagulls when a thirty-third minute free kick from twenty-five yards was floated into the back post where El-Abd’s header was unfortunately straight where Williams was waiting in-goal to parry away. The passing game was paying off and with seven minutes to go before the break Brighton had another good chance. Andrew Crofts found Gary Dicker whose patient play waited for Calderon to run on the overlap. His shot was well saved again by Williams who was keeping the home side in it by now. They went in level at the break but the Albion were looking the more threatening. It was Colchester who enjoyed the early possession in the second half but the first opportunity came from another Brighton dead ball. Elliott Bennett’s excellent corner was just over the head of Murray and met firmly by Crofts but his effort flew wide of the target. Set pieces were the key for the Albion here. Peter Brezovan in the Brighton goal had a solid game all night, commanding from crosses and always in the right place. The one time he was caught out he was fouled. With fifteen minutes remaining a couple of hopeful balls into the box from the visitors caused a bit of a problem for the United defence but still nothing forthcoming in the way of a goal. Further danger occurred five minutes later as a ball across the box from Murray found Bennett lurking to touch back towards goal. Substitute Chris Holroyd couldn’t get a touch nor stay on his feet and the ball was scrambled clear. And so for the first time since 1968, or sixteen meetings, there was a goalless draw between Colchester and Brighton. The Seagulls played with confidence and cleverness, utilising set pieces and trying to make Poyet’s passing plan work on slightly bobbly conditions. There were clear signs that the lowly place in the table was undeserved and better things would come. They saw out the rest of the season losing just three more times and climbing up the table to 13th. By contrast, Colchester seriously derailed their promotion bid winning on just two more occasions in the run-in and missed out on the Play Offs by eight points in 8th place. After a worrying couple of years in Sussex, Brighton would go into their final season at Withdean with renewed hope under a positive, progressive manager and a decent squad.

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COLCHESTER 0 BRIGHTON 0

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

NEXT; #30 BRIGHTON 1-1 BOURNEMOUTH 09/10/2010

#28: Southampton 1-3 Brighton 15/11/2009

#28 SOUTHAMPTON 1-3 BRIGHTON League One
Sunday 15th November 2009 Sky 2007

Titles

PRESENTER George Gavin GUEST Peter Beagrie
COMMENTATORS Martin Tyler & Garry Birtles REPORTER Greg Whelan
4.30pm Kick Off; St Mary’s, Southampton     4.15-7pm Football League Live on Sky Sports 1

SOU Intro

Context of the Match: This match kick started a whole new era for Brighton and Hove Albion, Live in front of the Sky Sports cameras. The club were languishing near the bottom of the League One table, starting the season as poorly as the previous campaign had. With Micky Adams departing just a couple of days after our last televised match – the JPT Area Final defeat to Luton – Russell Slade was brought in to rescue the club from relegation. He did so on the final day by beating Stockport which earned him a two-year contract. However his initial success was temporary and a poor start to this year saw Slade sacked with the club just one place above the relegation zone. Slade was in charge for little under eight months whilst his assistants Dean White and Bob Booker also left the club after a long spell working alongside several different managers. The final straw was a three-all home draw with Hartlepool at the end of October. Martin Hinshelwood took charge temporarily until today where the Albion had somehow managed to convince former Chelsea and Uruguay midfielder Gus Poyet to join. This was his first job as manager having worked as assistant at Leeds, Tottenham and Swindon in recent seasons. He brought with him former Spurs left back Mauricio Taricco as number two and former Seagulls midfield battler Charlie Oatway. Today also marked his 42nd birthday and what better way to spend it than to take charge of a new club Live in front of the nation. No pressure, Gus. Southampton were starting to hit form this season having dropped down to the third tier for the first time since 1960. They were hampered with a ten-point deduction due to going into administration towards the end of the last campaign but were unbeaten in their last eight matches and could finally move out of the relegation zone for the first time this season with a win today. For the away side, the appointment of a big name like Poyet, albeit untested in management, was a huge statement to make and a big departure from the likes of the older British managers of recent times – Peter Taylor, Micky Adams, Russell Slade.

SOU Southampton SOU Subs SOU Brighton

The Teams: Brighton went into this fixture having won just one of the last ten so Gus Poyet immediately made three changes here. Long-serving ‘keeper Michel Kuipers was restored in place of Graeme Smith who made his debut as substitute earlier this season in the 7-1 humiliation at Huddersfield. Arsenal loanee Gavin Hoyte was suspended for Andrew Whing came in at right back. The final change saw youngster James Tunnicliffe, signed in the summer from Stockport, take captain Adam Virgo’s place in defence. Other new faces brought in to the squad over the summer included winger Elliott Bennett and midfielders Gary Dicker and Andrew Crofts. The attacking trio of Dean Cox, Nicky Forster and Glenn Murray were key to survival. Local lads Tommy Elphick and Adam El-Abd came through the youth system and had been enjoying regular football for the past couple of seasons. Southampton’s side was packed full of quality that really shouldn’t have been at this level. Former Premier League goalkeeper Kelvin Davis returned to the side after being rested. Dan Harding left the Albion in the summer of 2005 following his desires to be playing at a high level; just four years on he’s back in League One now with the Saints. Dean Hammond spent eight years playing for the Seagulls until joining Colchester last year and now the home side today. Despite being made captain towards the end of his time at Withdean, he refused to sign a new contract unless the club showed ‘Championship ambitions’. Glenn Murray was brought in for 300k but this wasn’t enough, Hammond was sent off on his final Brighton appearance and moved to Colchester in January of last year for a quarter of a million pounds. Youngsters Adam Lallana, Michail Antonio and Morgan Schneiderlin would all go on to enjoy Premier League football. Rickie Lambert up front was vastly experienced in the lower leagues with Stockport, Rochdale and Bristol Rovers but it was at Southampton that his career was really beginning to move up, joining earlier this season. David Connolly had also enjoyed a terrific career thus far, for the likes of Wimbledon and West Ham in the top flight, and had joined Alan Pardew’s men just a month earlier. Watching on from the sidelines as Saints assistant manager was ex-Brighton player, youth coach and manager Dean Wilkins. Taking charge of the match was Kevin Friend.

SOU Gavin SOU Beagrie SOU Studio

Presentation Team: George Gavin presented from St Mary’s stadium alongside Football League number one pundit Peter Beagrie. Gavin’s Live appearances are mainly lower league games and Cup competitions, with particular emphasis on games over the international break when regular staff often appear elsewhere. This is highlighted in the commentary box with an extremely rare appearance from Sky’s number one Martin Tyler on the Football League as a whole let alone the Third Tier. His only previous match for Sky as far as I can recall was a Championship tie in August 2006 though he would go onto cover the League One Play Off Semi Finals at the end of this 2009/10 season too. Even so, extremely rare appearance for him so it was a delight that it was for an Albion match. He of course reported on our first ever Live televised home game; FA Cup 4th Round win over Liverpool on ITV in 1984, as well as working for the local ITV region Southern during that period. He joined Sky as their lead commentator at the start of the 1990s and has been the undisputed number one pretty much ever since (barring a small period in 2005 when games began to be shared around between Ian Darke and Rob Hawthorne more). The more familiar voice of Garry Birtles to League One action was alongside Tyler. He was second choice to Don Goodman in the pecking order. Reporting on the touchline was Greg Whelan, having been the number one reporter for the Leagues ever since Coca Cola took over the branding of the Divisions in 2004.

SOU Pre match3 SOU Pre match4 SOU Kick Off SOU Comms

The Coverage: This season Sky Sports changed their Football League titles and theme tune from the previous All Together Now (January 2005-May 2009) to Candi Staton’s You Got The Love, across Live and magazine programming. The song is a belter, particularly this New Voyager mix, and the instrumental used as backing music just before and after the breaks is very nice. This coincided with George Gavin moving away from more Live matches in favour of David Jones who had become number one increasingly over the past year or so. Gavin did all preview and review shows Football League Weekend and occasional lower League matches such as today’s third tier clash so still remained prominent. Also from this season, terrestrial highlights rights transferred from ITV to the BBC in the form of Saturday night post-MOTD slot The Football League Show hosted by Manish Bhasin with former Sky pundit Steve Claridge. The contract also incorporated ten Live matches for the Beeb, bringing free Championship games for the first time since the ITV regions in 2002. The graphics on Sky’s coverage hadn’t changed from last season, with the familiar red and black astons and trophy replay transitions we’ve seen before.

SOU Pre match1 SOU Pre match2 SOU Coming Up SOU Analysis

Coverage began fifteen minutes before the unusual 4.30pm kick off. This was international break weekend hence highlighting a Live match from League One. Gavin hosted alongside regular pundit Peter Beagrie from the stands at St Mary’s. They spoke about Southampton’s excellent form and Brighton’s ambition by appointing Gus Poyet. He was interviewed before the game by Greg Whelan who began by asking how much he was looking forward to his first managerial match; “I’ve been looking for ten, eleven months… we had a very good day today, we’ve done everything possible because it’s only three days – normally you have a month or pre-season.” His early assessment of the side was there was ‘talent, quality’ and goals up front but poor defensively, something he wanted to address immediately. The studio team backed this up by highlighting the goal threat Nicky Forster possessed. Beagrie believed that the future was certainly going to be bright for Brighton after some tough times of late. Ricky Lambert was the player in the spotlight for the home side before hearing from their boss Alan Pardew. Our commentator Martin Tyler took over to talk us through the teams before they emerged from the tunnel and a chance for him to use his famous catchphrase “And it’s Live!” A quick break was squeezed in before a minute’s silence to honour those who passed away over the last twelve months. When the match got underway it was Garry Birtles alongside Tyler in the box. Once the ninety minutes were over, Gavin and Beagrie had around twenty-five minutes or so to wrap things up and analyse the game. Man of the Match Glenn Murray and goalkeeper Michel Kuipers were interviewed together by Greg Whelan. Both players were quick to praise the efforts of the team as a whole, all wanting to prove themselves in front of the new manager. After reviewing the goals and key incidents in the studio, we heard from birthday boy Poyet himself. He was particularly pleased that, despite the limited preparation time, the players listened to his instructions, applied them and kept strong throughout the match. After hearing from Saints boss Pardew, Beagrie and Gavin talked us through selected highlights of some of the other League One action from the weekend and looking at the table before signing off.

SOU Stats SOU Table SOU Round Up SOU Top of Table

Story of the Match: The early stages of the match were lively with both sides posing an attacking threat. Michail Antonio in particular down the right wing was causing all sorts of problems with his pace and power. Nicky Forster was leading the charge for Brighton with a couple of half-chances he created from nothing, neither too threatening for Davis though. The breakthrough came in the sixteenth minute from Glenn Murray. Dean Cox worked his way into a good crossing position on the right, outrunning Dan Harding, before delivering for Murray waiting around the penalty spot. He just guided the ball into the net with a lovely cushioned volley into the corner for the perfect start to the Poyet regime. Murray continued to be a threat all afternoon and just five minutes later he doubled the lead. A throw from El-Abd on the far touchline was flicked on by Murray to Forster. He held the ball up, turned and found the path of his strike partner to burst into the box. He needed just one touch to set himself before shooting ahead of the onrushing Harding. Davis got a touch to deflect it onto the post but it rebounded right into Glenn Murray’s path to volley into the empty net from six yards out for two-nil. What a fantastic five minutes for the 3,000 travelling supporters. Southampton were shell-shocked. The onslaught continued and Nicky Forster could have grabbed a goal himself just minutes later when he was sent clear by Murray, Forster’s touch and pace letting him down as he was forced wide and dragged his shot with his weaker left. And again just afterwards he found himself with an opportunity to lob Davis from twenty yards or so, not getting the connection quite right. Brighton were creating so many chances it was difficult to keep up in that opening half hour.

SOU Poyet SOU Man of the Match SOU Interviews

Slowly Southampton were creeping back into the game, enjoying more and more possession, with the early tempo inevitably dropping from the Albion. Rickie Lambert had a free kick central about twenty-five yards out which forced Kuipers into a low save ten minutes before the break. Four minutes later a volley from Lambert in the box had to be kept out again as the entire match was being played in the Brighton half. The pressure paid off just a minute later when Andy Whing dragged Adam Lallana down in the area defending a cross, giving the home team a lifeline. Lambert smashed his penalty home to the goalkeeper’s left and into the corner. The power behind the shot gave Kuipers no chance and right on half time it was game on again. The whistle came at the right time for Brighton, giving Poyet a chance to calm his team down and regroup after such a fantastic start for the team in yellow and blue. It seemed to do the trick as they were on the front foot again at the start of the second half. Nicky Forster’s high chipped cross from the near side turned into more of a shot, even if he didn’t mean it to be, as it sailed over Davis to clip the far post. Southampton then went straight up the other end and forged a decent chance themselves from a long throw. The resulting scramble fell to Dean Hammond who leaned back and shanked it high over the bar, later on Adam Lallana had a good chance too but his header went wide. Long throws were causing all sorts of panic in the Albion defence with Whing’s header away coming dangerously close to an equalising own-goal. Andrew Crofts had Brighton’s best real chance during this spell, when the ball broke loose his way twelve yards out. His low drive was kept out well but the captain was not to be denied later on. With five minutes remaining substitute Liam Dickinson was found running in behind, he cut it back to the incoming Crofts on the edge of the box who slid in as he launched a fierce drive low to the ‘keeper’s left and beat him for pace. “Crofts! It’s in the bag for Brighton” was the call from Martin Tyler. After having to soak up so much second half pressure the defence which had been so leaky so far in the League held strong and Brighton had the three vital points. “A new regime at the club has got off to a tremendous beginning; Southampton one, Brighton three” Tyler closed his commentary with.

SOUTHAMPTON 1 BRIGHTON 3
Lambert Murray (2), Crofts

SOU Replay SOU Replay2

PREVIOUS; #27 LUTON 1-1 BRIGHTON 17/02/2009

NEXT; #29 COLCHESTER 0-0 BRIGHTON 08/03/2010

#17: Brighton 0-1 Swindon 20/05/2004

#17 BRIGHTON 0-1 SWINDON (1-2 AET, BRI win 4-3 on pens) Division Two Play Off Semi Final 2nd Leg
Thursday 20th May 2004 Image result for

Alt Titles

PRESENTER George Gavin GUEST Ian Holloway
COMMENTATORS Ian Crocker & Garry Birtles REPORTER Guy Havord
7.45pm Kick Off; Withdean Stadium  7.30-10.15pm Football League Live Sky Sports 1 (Extended to 10.50pm)

swi ident sky bet sponsor swi intro

Context of the Match: If last Sunday was Brighton’s biggest match of the season so far then this match went one step further; the Albion were now one result away from the Play Off Final and a first trip to the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff. After an extremely tense and close fought First Leg at the County Ground, tonight was likely to be no different. Brighton held the advantage thanks to Richard Carpenter’s goal with twenty minutes remaining but Swindon warning shots were fired when both Igoe and Mooney hit the woodwork. The Robins were unbeaten in eight visits to Sussex prior to tonight, this was the 100th meeting between the two. Seagulls supporters would feel safer in the knowledge that this defence hadn’t conceded a goal for over nine hours and counting. Boss Mark McGhee was celebrating his 47th birthday this very day. Away goals did not count double in the Play Offs so if Swindon won tonight’s game by a one goal margin, extra time and, if necessary, the dreaded penalty shoot-out would be called upon. The victor knew they would go on to face Bristol City in the Final, after they overcame Hartlepool the previous night. It would be a famous Withdean night under the lights and full in the glare of the Sky Sports Live cameras. The Play Off Semi Finals drew to a close in Sussex, but only once a downpour of rain had begun around an hour prior to kick off. Would Brighton weather the storm?

swih brighton swih swindon swih formation

The Teams: Brighton kept the same starting line up and five substitutes from the victory away at Swindon last Sunday. That meant goalkeeper Ben Roberts was aiming for a club record-equalling seven clean sheets in a row, with protection provided by 1st Leg Man of the Match Danny Cullip and Play Off Finalist for Gillingham in 1999 Guy Butters. Indeed at home Brighton have only conceded two goals since Christmas. Local graduates Adam Virgo and Dan Harding were at full-back. In midfield Richard Carpenter’s goal decided the first match. The little and large duo of Leon Knight and Chris Iwelumo continued to forge a strike partnership since the latter’s transfer here a couple of months ago. Adam Hinshelwood (son of Director of Football Martin) and John Piercy were on the bench should the Albion require youthful legs, whilst the experience of Gary Hart, Michel Kuipers and particularly Kerry Mayo had seen this sort of big game pressure all before at the club. Swindon made two changes from their home defeat, with Grant Smith impressing as a substitute enough to start this one. He’s the son of Scottish striker Gordon, famous for his “And Smith must score!” moment in the 1983 FA Cup Final. The other switch was in midfield as Miglioranzi came in to replace David Duke who dropped out of the squad entirely due to injury. Although they were kept to minimal efforts on target on Sunday, the prolific strike force of Sam Parkin and Tommy Mooney would be the biggest dangers for Andy King’s men. The man with the whistle was the appropriately named Graham Laws.

swih gavin swih holloway swih studio swih commentary team

Presentation Team: As with Sunday and indeed all the Football League matches broadcast Live this season, George Gavin was at the helm. This was his final shift of a seven day consecutive run covering the Division One and Two Play Offs. His guest tonight was Queen’s Park Rangers boss Ian Holloway. His side was promoted in 2nd place in Division Two this season after missing out in the Play Off Final last time to Cardiff. Like with Tranmere’s Brian Little punditing on the First Leg, Holloway’s QPR had faced both Brighton and Swindon this season so was very well placed to call it. Brighton beat QPR at Withdean at the start of the season in front of the Sky Sports cameras but lost 2-1 to them at Loftus Road, whilst Swindon drew one-all with Rangers at home and also lost on their travels. This was around the time Holloway was first beginning to gain notoriety on programmes such as Soccer AM for his humour in press conferences and interviews and he would go on to feature heavily across multiple broadcasters down the years. In the commentary box at a rainy Withdean tonight were Ian Crocker and Garry Birtles. Crocker covered the First Leg alongside Tony Gale. Garry Birtles was on the First Leg of the other Division Two Semi Final – between Hartlepool and Bristol City. He was Sky’s second choice co-commentator and would be expected to cover the Division Two Final so it made sense for him to check out all four potential teams ahead of that fixture. Reporting on the touchline was Guy Havord. After a season commentating for the ITV Sport Channel, Havord rejoined Sky Sports as a reporter in 2002 and has been regular second choice on the Football League behind Fraser Robertson. During the regular season, Guy Havord covered all Division Two and Three Live matches and provided occasional cover for Robertson in the First Division. The pair of them shared out the Play Off Semis and both would be covering all Three Finals later this month.

swi changing room swih paint swih kick off swih comms

The Coverage: Tonight’s broadcast began fifteen minutes prior to kick off with George Gavin hosting again from Sky Studios in Isleworth, with QPR boss Ian Holloway as pundit. The build up was uninterrupted by adverts so there was plenty to get in before crossing to our commentary team. Gavin opened the show by explaining “It’s the last night of the Play Off Semi Finals. The biggest winning overall margin so far has been just one goal and that’s exactly the slender lead Brighton have over Swindon after their 1st Leg.” We were in for a close encounter. After a quick recap of that match, the other Semi Final in the Division – Bristol City v Hartlepool – was highlighted. We now knew the winners of tonight’s game would go on to face the Robins of Bristol in ten days time. We got a rare look insight the portakabin changing rooms at Withdean, which were leaking slightly due to the torrential rain in the hour or so before the match. The open surroundings for fans and players alike were going to add an extra element. Ian Holloway described his relief at not having to take part in these games this season, already sat waiting for the third team to join him up in Division One next time. He also discussed the terrible Withdean setting, having never won there, over shots of staff repainting the touchlines and digging as much water out of the muddy goalmouths as possible. In his interview with Guy Havord before the game, Mark McGhee used the conditions as a further reminder as to why the new stadium site in Falmer is so needed; “We’ve got thousands of supporters sitting over there in the open, and it highlights again the ludicrous circumstances we find ourselves in.” He also confirmed the approach would be to go out and play Swindon rather than sit back from the off. Swindon manager Andy King highlighted the importance of the first goal and signed off by giving a shout-out to a couple of serving soldiers in Afghanistan whom he spoke to before the match. The fans were also interviewed outside the ground, both sets in confident mood that their team would progress. The build up was complete so just before the teams came out our commentators were seen in-vision – a rarity on League coverage – to show the ‘glamour’ of the Withdean gantry.

swih ucl final swih sub

An addition to the graphics was the aggregate score tacked onto the scoreboard by the team names. As with Sunday, tonight there was a Division Three Play Off Semi Final match taking place at the same time; Mansfield v Northampton. Again, goals were shown during our match and at half time. The goals from that game gave the team something to chat about as there was extremely little to analyse from the first half in Brighton. There was a quick advert break in between the 2nd half and the start of extra time for viewers to regroup and calm those nerves. The scoreboard got extended further to add “ET” by the time. Once those additional thirty minutes were up we stayed with pictures from the stadium as our studio team talked us through until the penalty shoot-out could begin. Holloway did not want to call it either way. The game in Mansfield from Division Three was also going to penalties after they couldn’t be separated either, so we were informed of that result once our match had finally concluded. “It had to end like this didn’t it?! The incredibly dramatic week of Play Off Semi Finals that we’ve had,” said Ian Crocker. Once the spot kicks were taken and Andy Gurney’s decisive one crashed against the bar, our commentator cried “And Brighton held their nerve and against all odds there has been yet another twist in the tale in the Play Offs. They really do leave you breathless!” They sure do. The fans burst onto the pitch, leaving us with the great sight of Mark McGhee running towards the tunnel for dear life ushering supporters aside to no avail. And there it was confirmed on the graphics on the screen, it would be Brighton versus Bristol City Live on Sky Sports 1 from 2pm on Sunday 30th May 2004. All the Play Off reaction would come after a much-needed advert break. The concluding penalties from the Mansfield match were shown, despite a couple of technical issues, as they booked their place in the Division Three Final against Huddersfield at Northampton’s expense. Back in Brighton, Guy Havord grabbed a word with “speechless” winning manager Mark McGhee, admitting “we’ve mugged them completely.” We then heard from hero of the hour Adam Virgo, saying “I’m just in shock at the minute. A last-minute goal and win on penalties, it’s a dream come true really.” Ian Holloway talked us through the penalty misses and gave a rousing speech for the Swindon fans to regroup and take the positives for next season. The Albion fans were interviewed in buoyant mood. George Gavin reminded us of all three Finals to come as well as the weekend’s Cup Finals from England and Scotland and Sky’s first UEFA Champions League Final before pointing us towards the now-delayed FIFA Centenary Match which would follow this programme. He eventually was allowed to sign off, joking “I’m going away to lie down in a darkened room ’til the Play Off Finals in Cardiff! From all of us, bye for now.”

swih attendanceswih scoreline swih virgo

Story of the Match: Brighton nearly undid their hard work from the 1st Leg just four minutes in here when a deep cross was over Ben Roberts in-goal and put behind by Charlie Oatway but almost ended up putting it in the back of his own net. The wet conditions played a part, with passes getting stuck in the mud and loose balls having to be dealt with cautiously. The fans made sure “Stand up if you want Falmer” rang loudly at every and any opportunity and around the advertising hoardings various slogans and reasons for the stadium were addressed to Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott, who’d have the ultimate say on the matter. An almighty scramble in the box ensued in the seventeenth minute when a ball towards Parkin was half cut out by the defence, Roberts couldn’t get a safe pair of hands on it and the striker almost stabbed home. A couple of early warning signs for the Albion. Half chances fell for Adam Virgo at one end and Tommy Mooney at the other but the breakthrough was again proving elusive. Right on half time Matt Heywood had a header which seemed to go across the box rather than goalwards which caused a little concern but that was it for any goalmouth action here; nil-nil at the break. The second half was equally as tight, chances were virtually non-existent for so long. It wasn’t until the 70th minute that Brighton really came close through substitute Adam Hinshelwood. Nathan Jones cross to the back stick found the Hinshelwood unmarked, his half-volley was well saved by Evans in goal to keep the score level, turning it round the post for a corner. Eight minutes later Tommy Mooney turned Virgo, swung a leg and smashed the bar from twenty yards out. Swindon were pushing and at long, long last their goal finally came. Mooney again had a long-range shot this time parried out by Roberts to Igoe. His cross/shot was parried out by Roberts again, opposing players both slid for the ball but it scrambled over to Sam Parkin who could bundle it past the defender on the line from just a couple of yards out. Breakthrough for Swindon with nine minutes remaining. And that’s how it remained for the remainder of the ninety; one-nil to Swindon.

swih penalties swih celebrations  swih mcghee swih adam virgo
After 180 minutes of football the scores were level on aggregate at one each, extra time was required in front of the highest Withdean attendance of the season. Both sides made a sub at the start to bring those all-important fresh legs on. A sub made during the ninety was to bring on Rory Fallon for the away side and after six minutes of extra time he had turned the tie around. Igoe won the ball back on the half way line and set Mooney free to charge forward. His angled pass found Fallon behind the defence who was able to lift it over the onrushing goalkeeper and in the goal for two-nil on the night and two-one on aggregate. Cue wild celebrations in the away end, once he’d got over the athletics track. The Albion’s fans thought the aggregate-equaliser had come just two minutes later through sub John Piercy’s drive from the edge of the box but he hit the side of the net rather than the back of it. Mooney had another chance just before the end of the half but his volley was straight at Ben Roberts. Swindon tried to waste time as early as the tenth minute of the extra period, and the match was held up further by injury to a key man in Sammy Igoe. Further half-chances fell for Chris Iwelumo, Adam Hinshelwood and Danny Cullip but time was running out for Brighton and quality as well as composure was lacking. The extra period was drawing to a close but, as commentator Ian Crocker noted, “The thirty minutes are almost up, Swindon fans. But you’re not there yet!” A long throw-in from Charlie Oatway was flicked on by Danny Cullip towards the penalty spot. There were four Swindon defenders nearby but it was Brighton-born Adam Virgo who showed the most determination, willingness and bravery to get there first. His diving header flew into the bottom right-hand corner of the net. A goal in the most dramatic of circumstances, added time of extra time after two legs couldn’t separate the sides. “In it goessss… oh it’s gone in! Brighton in added on time have snatched a goal through Virgo. Incredible!” was the cry from Crocker. And it was incredible! “Late, late, late drama” he went on to say as Adam Virgo’s equaliser on aggregate sent the game to a penalty shoot-out. Swindon would go first, with goalscorer Sam Parkin taking the opening spot kick, sending it high into the top corner for one-nil. Scorer of the only goal in the 1st Leg, Richard Carpenter, was first up for the Albion. He sent Evans the wrong way to level it up. Heywood was next, sending his kick down the middle with Roberts narrowly missing the block. With Leon Knight off the field after injury, the onus was on his fellow striker Chris Iwelumo to step up. His fine finish went above the ‘keeper to nestle in the corner for two-two. Tommy Mooney went next and having hit the bar in both matches, the pressure was on their Player of the Year. His penalty was excellently saved by a flying left arm to Ben Roberts’ right. Brighton would have the advantage if the next player scored. That’s exactly what young John Piercy did, driving it low and hard into the bottom right hand corner of Evans’ net. Rory Fallon levelled it up again for Swindon with the next kick but they were playing catch up now having gone first. Adam Virgo, the man who rescued the tie in the dying seconds just about ten minutes earlier, took Brighton’s fourth penalty. He smashed it in off the underside of the bar to put them in pole position. Swindon’s final penalty was to be taken by Andy Gurney. He stepped up to cries from the crowd of “Hit the bar, hit the bar, hit the bar!” He didn’t listen to that. He hit the post instead. It was all over, Brighton had prevailed. They had won their first ever Live televised shoot-out but much more importantly than that, they would be the ones to join Bristol City in the 2004 Division Two Play Off Final. A tie which swung both ways, twisting and turning, was eventually settled on spot kicks in a rain-soaked Withdean Stadium. Ten days from now it would be the Seagulls against the Robins in the Welsh capital. Next stop; the Millennium Stadium. All aboard!

swih coming up

BRIGHTON 0 SWINDON 1
Virgo

1-1 on Aggregate after 90 minutes1-2 After Extra Time (2-2 agg). Brighton win 4-3 on penalties

Parkin, Fallon

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PREVIOUS; #16 SWINDON 0-1 BRIGHTON 16/05/2004

NEXT; #18 BRIGHTON 1-0 BRISTOL CITY 30/05/2004

#27: Luton 1-1 Brighton 17/02/2009

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

SHR Titles

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

SS2 Ident Titles start LUT Intro

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

LUT Luton LUT Subs LUT Brighton

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

LUT Jones LUT Beagrie LUT Studio

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

LUT Table LUT Adams LUT Kick Off LUT Comms

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

LUT Goal LUT Red Card LUT Analysis LUT Coming Up 

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

LUT Penalties LUT Pen Save

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

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

LUT Replay

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

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

#26: Shrewsbury 0-0 Brighton 16/12/2008

#26 SHREWSBURY 0-0 BRIGHTON (BRI win 5-4 on pens) Johnstone’s Paint Trophy Southern Area Semi Final
Tuesday 16th December 2008 Sky 2007

SHR Titles

PRESENTER David Jones GUEST Peter Beagrie
COMMENTATORS Bill Leslie & Garry Birtles REPORTER Greg Whelan
7.45pm Kick Off; Prostar Stadium, Shrewsbury     7.30-10pm Live on Sky Sports 1 (Extended to 10.15pm)

Xmas Ident 1 Xmas Ident 2 Intro

Context of the Match: The Football League Trophy, known here as the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy, is a competition between teams from Leagues One and Two and for many represent their best chance of getting to Wembley Stadium and winning a trophy. Brighton had never really got very far in this competition since it began as the Associate Members Cup in the 1983/84 season. Tonight was the Southern Area semi final, meaning a win for the Albion would put them in a two-legged Area Final with the winner progressing to face the Northern Area winners in a one-off Final at the Home of English Football. The draw wasn’t too kind for Brighton, pitting them against League Two high-flyers Shrewsbury Town at their shiny new Prostar Stadium. It was fair to say Shrewsbury were favourites for this match, being at home, in-form and with Brighton struggling just seven places above them albeit in different Divisions. The Albion had changed managers in the summer, somewhat surprisingly given Dean Wilkins had steadied the ship and just missed out on a Play-Off place by one position, finishing seventh. This was largely thanks to captain Nicky Forster’s 15 goals. Nevertheless Wilkins was out and Micky Adams returned to the club. Adams guided Brighton to Division Three champions in the 2000/2001 season before leaving the following season for Premiership Leicester. Seven years down the line and after a spell with Coventry as manager and Colchester as assistant for a few months, he was reunited with Dick Knight back in charge of the Seagulls. Promotion was again the aim and the mood was positive with the good news about the stadium finally given the go-ahead, building work would begin with preparation the day following this match, and a successful former boss returning fans were optimistic going into the 2008/2009 campaign. It would not start well at all. Brighton were 20th in the table with just four League wins all season. The cups however provided much needed respite, having already knocked out Premier League moneybags Manchester City on penalties in the Carling Cup, and knocking out Northampton, Leyton Orient and Swindon to get to this stage of the JPT. Now the spotlight of the television cameras fell on the club for the first time in 2008. Brighton provided fans with free coach travel for this big occasion.

SHR Shrewsbury SHR Subs SHR Brighton

The Teams: Micky Adams’ Brighton side included captain Nicky Forster, Dean Cox, Adam El-Abd, Tommy Elphick and Andy Whing all featured in the last Live match the previous season. Kevin McLeod, not to be confused with his Grand Designs namesake, turned down a two-year contract extension with Colchester in the summer to join Brighton and got a goal in the JPT win over Northampton. Play Off hero from 2004 Adam Virgo returned to the club after an unsuccessful spell with Scottish champions Celtic which then followed loan spells with Coventry and Colchester before signing permanently again with the Albion. Goalscorer Glenn Murray was an absentee for Brighton having picked up an injury. Murray signed permanently from Rochdale at the end of January 2008. Irish midfielder Kevin Thornton was on a short-term loan from Adams’ former club Coventry. With Michel Kuipers again out injured, youth team graduate John Sullivan, not to be confused with his Only Fools and Horses writer namesake, kept goal after only making his professional debut at the end of October. Goalkeeping coach Paul Crichton came out of retirement at the age of 40 to make up the numbers on the substitute bench. The danger man for the homeside was undoubtedly Grant Holt up front alongside Richard Walker who won this competition in 2002 with Blackpool. The Shrews were the top scorers in the tournament with Holt netting seven goals in just two appearances so far! Goalkeeper Luke Daniels is on loan from West Brom and was one of three changes from their last match, with Walker and Hunt also coming in for Paul Simpson’s side. Brighton wore a special one-off all-white kit due to the other three all clashing. The last time we wore this was the famous Crystal Palace away win in 2005. Keith Hill was the man in black.

SHR Jones SHR Beagrie SHR Studio SHR Studio setting

Presentation Team: Saturday Night Live duo David Jones and Peter Beagrie hosted coverage of this Johnstone’s Paint Trophy semi final. The competition was rarely shown Live before the overall Final match under previous contracts, with the occasional regional Final Live and that’s about it. However under the latest contract there were a few more Live matches from this competition, seemingly on an ad-hoc basis. As of the beginning of last season, David Jones was the Football League number two sharing duties with George Gavin, back after his operation last season. Previously Jones was more familiar as a face of Sky Sports News and was pitchside reporter for Premiership Plus in their first two seasons before going full-circle and hosting the final handful of Live pay-per-view PremPlus matches before the venture closed down in 2007. Jones first experiences of anchoring Live matches came during the 2006/2007 season when he was one of a couple of new presenters given an opportunity to host the League Cup early rounds, as was Soccer AM’s Tim Lovejoy. Peter Beagrie became a regular full-time Sky Sports Live pundit at the same time as Jones, forming a regular partnership with Jones. In the commentary box were familiar Football League voices Bill Leslie and Garry Birtles. As number two co-commentator, Birtles covered the pick of the lower leagues, JPT and League One play-offs, as well as regular Championship matches. Bill Leslie was the number one League commentator and was making occasional Premier League, Scottish Cup and Scotland international commentaries as well as regular England under-21 and Champions League games. Greg Whelan was reporting once again as the League’s first choice.

SHR Adams SHR Interview SHR Kick Off SHR Comms

The Coverage: The programme came on-air fifteen minutes prior to kick-off from the studio next to the Brighton fans in the Prostar Stadium away end (where the Sky Sports 1 Live DOG is in the above screenshot). Amongst the fans were several Father Christmas suits, with the match taking place just nine days before the big day. This also meant we got to see Sky Sports’ Christmas presentation, with the snowmen idents and the frosty graphics. For the past few years, each December Sky Sports used special festive idents with sporting snowmen to introduce the programmes in a long-held television tradition. One of these features snowmen versions of Premier League hosts Richard Keys and Andy Gray using the touchscreen before their arrows crashed into snowmen playing football. As shown below, when advertising upcoming Live matches, frosted ice would form the background whilst an instrumental version of Christmas (Baby, please come home) rang out. The title sequence for the JPT was the generic one with library music Sky Sports used for any football match which didn’t have its own regular one; friendlies, youth games etc. The match graphics broadly the same as when they were introduced at the start of last season, with the red and black colours for the Football League, compared to the blue and black of the Premier League. The team line-ups though had been tweaked this year. The circles for the numbers replaced squares, the red pitch background had a cleaner, glassy effect, and the team name moved from the sides to the bottom. The player name would transition from a black to a white background when the commentator was highlighting a particular man. When changing from one team to the other, the darker part featuring the team name rotated round to clear the pitch nicely. The scorebar had also been tweaked to include the team colours, easily identifying who’s who. This became a trend across the rest of the broadcasters. Something which also came in, which I first saw on Channel 5’s UEFA Cup coverage in previous seasons, was the scorebar being introduced at the bottom of the screen during half time and full-time; helpful for those who had only just tuned in.

SHR Santa SHR Christmas graphics SHR Sub SHR Knight

For today’s programme, the build up centred around the two managers. Micky Adams was interviewed as normal, whilst Paul Simpson had a more in-depth chat with Greg Whelan situated in the home team dressing room. Shrewsbury moved into this ground for the start of this season so Sky built up the element of a team getting a new stadium versus a team longing for a new home after several seasons of temporary surroundings. This extended to the half-time break when Brighton chairman Dick Knight was interviewed pitchside to update us on Brighton’s battle, which Sky had followed closely every step of the way, and brought good news. The first steps would be taken the day after this match with preparation work on-site as the road-widening and initial stages begin. And Knight was beaming to tell us all, whilst praising the facilities he was standing on. The feature of many a pre-match VT over the past six years, a new stadium in Falmer, was finally becoming a reality in the morning. “Will the earth move for me tomorrow? Yes it will!” he said. The rest of the build up and half time was the studio team in discussion. With the match going to penalties, the programme was extended by an extra fifteen minutes to incorporate full post-match analysis. Interviews with Man of the Match John Sullivan alongside Dean Cox, as well as losing manager Paul Simpson. Sky also got to roll out their penalty shoot-out score graphics which you rarely see. After the interviews were concluded, the spot-kicks analysed and the results from the other area semi finals revealed, David Jones said his goodbyes on a chilly Shrewsbury night.

SHR Penalties SHR Save SHR Man of the Match SHR Analysis

Story of the Match: Shrewsbury started as favourites due to their excellent form and goalscoring ability and this showed in the early stages. Brighton were forced into an early change with Colin Hawkins picking up an injury. He was replaced by Adam Hinshelwood after just twelve minutes, Hinshelwood recalled from a loan spell with Crawley for this game to pad out the bench. It took until the half hour mark for the first real goalmouth action where John Sullivan was called into action. A long throw-in from the far touchline was inadvertently flicked towards his own goal by Virgo and Sullivan had to react quickly to get down low and keep it out. The resultant corner kick was whipped in furiously which everyone, including Sullivan, just missed. Other than a mini-scramble in the Brighton box right on half time there was not much action elsewhere in the first half barring a few dangerous looking crosses from either side. Referee Keith Hill went off at half time injured and was replaced by his fourth official Phil Gibbs. Brighton started on the front foot in the second half with Andy Whing bursting down the wing, he pulled it back for Dean Cox to fizz a shot narrowly past the post. The depleted squad had more injury woe with McLeod coming off after a knee problem with Jake Robinson coming on just before the hour point. Both teams were restricted mainly to long-range pot-shots or penalty box scrambles for much of the match. When John Sullivan was called into action though he was certainly alert. Shrewsbury had a great chance to take the lead when a cross found White six yards out, which perhaps even surprised himself as his shot was palmed away. And with Sullivan’s excellence through the game, it ended goalless and thus straight onto penalties. With his confidence high and Brighton knowing both penalty shoot-outs they’d been involved in so far this season they had won, surely this was only going to end one way. Brighton went first, with Nicky Forster making no mistake low to the keeper’s right. Ben Davies replied for Shrewsbury to the same side but up high for one-one. Adam Virgo restored Brighton’s lead with a copy of Davies’s. McIntyre followed suit to go back level. Tommy Elphick used Forster’s penalty for inspiration to give Brighton the advantage again. As did substitute Steve Leslie for three-three. Another substitute, Jake Robinson, became the first man to go the other side of the goal. His precise penalty flew past the keeper into his bottom-left hand corner. Shane Cansell-Sherriff did likewise to equalise for Shrewsbury. Brighton’s fifth penalty was taken by left-back Matt Richards who scored in the other corner despite Daniels getting a hand to it. Something had to give, and with the final penalty of the ten it was Shrewsbury star Grant Holt who gave it. His spot kick was poor, low and central and straight into John Sullivan’s diving arms to end it. Brighton had won with a perfect five out of five penalties converted. It was only right that Sullivan got to be the hero after such a solid performance during the ninety minutes. Up next for the Seagulls in this competition; Luton Town over a two-legged area Final. Bring it on!

SHREWSBURY 0 BRIGHTON 0
Brighton win 5-4 on penalties

SHR ResultsSHR Replay1 SHR Replay2

PREVIOUS; #25 LEYTON ORIENT 2-2 BRIGHTON 17/11/2007

NEXT; #27 LUTON 1-1 BRIGHTON 17/02/2009

#25: Leyton Orient 2-2 Brighton 17/11/2007

#25 LEYTON ORIENT 2-2 BRIGHTON League One
Saturday 17th November 2007 Sky 2007

LEY Titles

PRESENTER Rob Wotton GUESTS Peter Beagrie & Roberto Martinez
COMMENTATORS Ian Darke & Garry Birtles REPORTER Andy Burton
12.30pm Kick Off; Matchroom Stadium, Leyton Orient      12-2.30pm Football League Live on Sky Sports 1

Ident LEY Sponsors LEY Intro

Context of the Match: The Albion’s second season back in League One had started far better than the first. Ahead of today’s match Brighton were sitting in sixth place, in the play offs, with today’s hosts Leyton Orient in third. Dean Wilkins remained in charge hoping to improve on a disappointing yet transitional season last time. The aim is to be promoted to, or fighting for a place in, the Championship for when the new stadium in Falmer is due for completion in a couple of seasons time. Orient themselves haven’t moved stadium but the facilities were vastly improved since our last televised visit eleven years ago. Under the new name of the Matchroom Stadium, courtesy of chairman Barry Hearn’s sports company, the all-seater ground also had flats built into it as they too look to move into higher leagues. Brighton came into this game relieved to be playing someone other than Cheltenham! Having played them the previous weekend in the FA Cup 1st Round, there was a replay the midweek after this match and they also met in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy the midweek just gone. The squad has improved since we saw them Live last but the core team and the promotion of youth was still very much at the heart of it. This international break weekend for the top two tiers always puts the lower leagues in the spotlight, would we thrive or freeze under the microscope?

LEY Leyton Orient LEY Subs LEY Brighton

The Teams: Brighton added a couple of key players since last season, particularly up front where goals were a struggle. Moonwalking cult-hero Bas Savage came in on a free from Gillingham, gaining national attention for his Michael Jackson celebrations on Soccer AM. Experienced striker Nicky Forster was signed in the summer after an unsuccessful attempt to bring him in last January, costing £75,000 from Hull. Andrew Whing, signed permanently after loan spells last season, was missing today through suspension. George O’Callaghan and David Martot were loan transfers. The Dean Wilkins Youth influence is still going strong with thirteen players graduating involved in the first team this season. That includes Tommy Elphick at centre half, as well as substitutes John Sullivan and Tommy Fraser amongst others. Dean Hammond continued to skipper the side. Veteran defender Guy Butters is in his twentieth season as a professional. Matt Richards is on-loan from Championship Ipswich. Orient boss Martin Ling saw out his playing career at Brighton, whilst Dean Wilkins had a short spell at Leyton Orient during his pro days. Paul Terry is the brother of Chelsea and England captain John. Striker Wayne Gray had a loan spell with Brighton a few years ago. The impressive George Boyd was his partner up top. Tony Bates was the man in charge.

LEY Wotton  LEY Beagrie  LEY Martinez  LEY Studio

Presentation Team: This League One match was presented from a studio inside the Matchroom Stadium by Rob Wotton. We’d previously seen Wotton hosting the FA Cup Live match against Rushden and Diamonds six years earlier. In between that time he was a regular on Sky Sports News and had been promoted this season as cover for regular number one host George Gavin, who was undergoing several months recovery after a hip operation. Alongside him today were Peter Beagrie and Swansea manager Roberto Martinez. The Spaniard had been used for one-off appearances several times down the years on both ITV and Sky and is usually an interesting, thoughtful listen. Peter Beagrie had been appearing on phone-in You’re on Sky Sports alongside former Sky Football League pundit Steve Claridge but now he was their number one studio analyst, appearing most weekends from this season. Reporting pitchside for the majority of Saturday lunchtime matches this season was Andy Burton. He was better known as a Sky Sports News reporter, particularly around Transfer Deadline Day, as well as being a match commentator. He had been used on Football First 3pm broadcasts, Champions League red button on Sky as well as Football Italia on Bravo and the summer before last covered the World Cup Final Live for digital broadcaster UKTV G2 (latterly known as Dave). In the commentary box for his Brighton Live debut was Ian Darke. After launching his Sky career on Monday Night Football for the first three Premiership seasons, he became Sky’s chief big fight boxing commentator. He returned to football out of nowhere in January 2005 getting many of the big games as well as continuing with boxing, and is currently one of four commentators Sky use on their Premiership matches (with Martin Tyler, Rob Hawthorne and Alan Parry). He also provides back up to Bill Leslie on the Football League coverage, especially on international weekends when Leslie is with Scotland as Darke doesn’t cover a nation. Garry Birtles was alongside him today. Birtles remained one of three regulars used on the Leagues behind Don Goodman, who joined earlier this year as Chris Kamara moved away from co-commentary, and ahead of Tony Gale. Birtles commentary style is best described as critical.

LEY Kick Off LEY Comms LEY Sub LEY Coming Up

The Coverage: There were big changes to Sky’s Football League team this season. Saturday Night Football was re-introduced as a regular kick-off time as direct competition to newcomers to the English game – Setanta Sports – who had broken Sky’s Live monopoly on the top flight broadcasting 46 games a season with former Football League number one Ian Crocker among their regular voices. With their Saturday games kicking off at 5.30pm, Sky went all out to disrupt this by putting the main Football League Live game at 5.20pm, trying to gain that crucial head start. These games were hosted pitchside by newcomers to the coverage – David Jones and Peter Beagrie. George Gavin began the season by covering everything else from the preview and review shows to the non-Saturday Live games. However he’s a long-term absentee due to an operation and as mentioned before Rob Wotton took his place. Despite the personnel and graphics changes, the titles remained as ‘All Together Now’. The replay graphic was updated to the individual League trophies flying in from the top left towards the centre and out bottom left of the screen. This was used for all replays in the lower leagues including goals, sadly seeing the last of the 3D club crest crashing in which had survived the last four graphics sets. Other competitions did have a club badge appear for goals but this was a new design which was on a black disc, like shown in some of the screenshots above. Initially the score and clock were in the bottom left of the screen but that experiment was dropped after only a few weeks into the new season to sit in the more traditional top left. One new feature of this was the colour changing from black to white to indicate we were in additional time at the end of the half or match. Team graphics were also new and for Football League coverage only the formations were shown, with no analysis from the co-commentators anymore. This remained in the Premiership, where individual images were used for the main commentator’s intro before the co-commentator discussed the setup seeing a similar formation graphic to what we enjoyed here. In terms of the programme today, reporter Andy Burton was shown around the in-stadium flats by Barry Hearn as the key VT in the build-up, whilst the pundits picked out their key men and we heard from both managers. There were only a few seconds of post-match coverage, with Wotton talking through the updated League table without a word from his guests before handing over to a busy day of international football.

LEY Yellow LEY Stats

Story of the Match: The game began frantically with half-chances at either end of the field. Orient appeals for a penalty for shirtpulling were turned down. The game calmed down when interrupted by a streaker, or “exhibitionist” as Ian Darke described it in commentary. The first half continued to be very scrappy and tight, with neither team wanting to put a foot wrong. Consequently the teams seemed nervous and goalkeepers weren’t troubled much. The first shot on target resulted in the opening goal for Leyton Orient. Thornton and Boyd linked up nicely before setting up Wayne Gray on the edge of the area. He got the wrong side of the defence from Albion’s point of view and blasted the ball into the centre of the goal above Kuipers who had no chance against such power. Brighton started to come into the game more towards the end of the half, with danger from wide areas and corners. Irishman George O’Callaghan curled an effort towards the top right-hand corner, narrowly missing the target. On the stroke of half-time Brighton had an equaliser disallowed. Bas Savage did well on the left wing driving forward and pulling the ball back for Dean Cox to cross. It was met well by the head of Dean Hammond to direct goalwards and a bobble took it up over the ‘keeper and into the goal. Yet as he headed it, the whistle went. Quite why that was we’re still unsure. It wasn’t offside, it didn’t look like a foul so only the referee can be sure, as such it was still one-nil at the break.

LEY Forster LEY Table

The second half started livelier with Brighton looking more likely to trouble the goalkeeper and a defence having to throw bodies on the line. Then out of nowhere Nicky Forster levelled it up. He picked the ball up from a long pass, spun his defender and got a bit of a lucky break with a touch off another defender laying the ball back into Forster.s path. He just said ‘thankyou very much’, looked up and struck a fierce shot from more than twenty yards out at the far side of the area straight through Nelson’s outstretched arms and nestled into the inside of the net. A tremendous strike but the goalkeeper should be saving shots like that from that distance and angle. Take nothing away from Nicky Forster though, his goalscorer’s instinct and power behind the early shot foxed Stuart Nelson. Brighton were level for no more than about two minutes though. A run down the line from Melligan gave him a crossing opportunity which went all the way through in front of goal past the defence to the back post. Waiting there was Jason Demetriou unmarked and with lots of time and space. He was able to just pick the corner of the goal he wanted and expertly curled past Kuipers and two defenders on the line to restore the home side’s lead with twenty minutes remaining. A crazy seven minutes was completed when Brighton equalised for a second time. O’Callaghan and Savage combine nicely to get a crossing opportunity in towards Nicky Forster. His header hits the bar and bounces back out to Dean Cox waiting to calmly nod home from three yards out past the bodies on the line for a goal. The little man was in the right place at the right time to score his fourth this season. With ten minutes remaining Forster showed again how clever a footballer he is, manufacturing an instant chance from very little as he tried to lob the ‘keeper on the edge of the box which had Nelson scrambling across and relieved to see it land just wide. Seconds later substitute Jake Robinson shot from twenty-five yards just clipping the top of the bar. It seemed if anyone was going to win this late on it would be the away side. However with the last kick of the match Orient nearly stole it. A long ball in from Demetriou was flicked on by Terry to the back post where Gray was waiting unmarked. His half-volley was well saved with his body, legs and anything he could get to block it. Panic in the Brighton defence but the game ended all square.

LEYTON ORIENT 2 BRIGHTON 2
Gray, Demetriou Forster, Cox

LEY Replay

 

EXTRAS; This season Sky Sports Football League coverage included a regular Friday night preview programme and Monday night review programme; both named The Big League Weekend. Like with the Live coverage, Rob Wotton stepped into George Gavin’s shoes whilst he was recovering this year. His guests for this week’s preview show were Coventry manager Iain Dowie and ex-pro Scott Minto (who must’ve liked what he’d seen as he would later go on to host Sky’s Live Football League coverage). The show crammed lots into the hour, with interviews, midweek goals, analysis and reports from all three Divisions all hosted from Sky Studios, complete with the usual graphics and All Together Now title sequence.

BLW1 Titles BLW Wotton

The show crammed lots into the hour, with interviews, midweek goals, analysis and reports from all three Divisions all hosted from Sky Studios, complete with the usual graphics and All Together Now title sequence. Previewing the Leyton Orient versus Brighton match, O’s defender Tamika Mkandawire was interviewed by Guy Havord about his form so far this season and Orient’s flying start.

BLW Studio BLW1 Interview

On Big League Weekend 2 on Monday evening, Wotton was joined by Walsall striker Tommy Mooney to review the weekend’s matches. He’d faced both Orient and the Albion this season and praised Brighton’s footballing abilities and possession. Dean Wilkins singled out Nicky Forster post match and the studio team here focussed on the former Reading striker’s form this season. “He knows the right areas of the pitch to be in, and he can score goals from inside and outside of the box. Every team needs that one-off goalscorer, he can certainly be that man for Brighton” said Mooney.

BLW2 Studio BLW2 Result

 

Long-running Saturday morning football preview show Soccer AM crossed to the stadium ahead of the game to look ahead to the match with pundit Peter Beagrie. The Live broadcast was to follow Soccer AM at noon. Hosts Andy Goldstein and Helen Chamberlain, alongside today’s guests including Billy Sharp, Andy Keogh and Mark Watson, were in the studio whilst Beagrie was on the monitor and pitchside at the Matchroom Stadium.

Soccer AM preview Titles Soccer AM preview studio

Beagrie began by correctly predicting that there would be a few goals for both teams and the majority would come later on in the game. “You can nip out, make a cup of tea, have your dinner in the first half. The second half is gonna be an absolute glut of goals! 19 out of 23 for Leyton Orient have been scored in the second half and 12 out of 19 [for Brighton.]” He did go on to say Brighton would win 2-1 though so didn’t get it all spot on.

Soccer AM preview Beagrie Soccer AM preview Table

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