#14: Brighton 2-1 QPR 18/08/2003

#14 BRIGHTON 2-1 QPR Division Two
Monday 18th August 2003 Image result for

QPR Titles

PRESENTER George Gavin GUEST Peter Taylor
COMMENTATORS Ian Crocker & Chris Kamara REPORTER Guy Havord
8pm Kick Off; Withdean Stadium     7.55-10pm Football League Live on Sky Sports 1

2003 Ident QPR Promo QPR Intro

Context of the Match: The final day of last season away at Grimsby proved to be one dramatic hurdle too many as the Albion were unable to escape the drop. Back in Division Two after a year away, many people saw Brighton as being well-equipped to challenge for a promotion place once more. But they’d have to do it without star striker Bobby Zamora who, after speculation all season, transferred up to the Premiership with Glenn Hoddle’s Tottenham Hotspur in the summer. The fee of £1.5 million was a huge boost to the Albion coughers, but the loss of his eighty-three goals in one-hundred-and-thirty-six appearances was always going to be tough to replace. The first man tasked with getting the goals in Zamora’s absence was Leon Knight. The twenty-year-old signed on loan from Chelsea in July, which was made a permanent transfer in the days after tonight’s QPR match. Another front man brought in was Darius Henderson, on a two-month loan from Reading. 1997 FA Cup Final goalkeeper Ben Roberts returned to the club this season, joining permanently after a brief three match spell back in January during the ‘keeper crisis that eventually saw veteran Dave Beasant see out the season with us. Beasant played his last competitive match in that final day draw with Grimsby but did sign on the books of Premiership Fulham this campaign ‘just in case’. Possibly the most important summer signing was of the manager, Steve Coppell. When he came in during the lowest period last year, the club were rooted to the foot of Division One and seemingly cut adrift. He got the most out of a downbeat squad but had only signed on for a year. Chairman Dick Knight managed to extend that for a further year, despite offering a longer deal. The sticking point for him, and any manager, was always going to be the facilities, or lack of, with no good news on the Falmer front forthcoming. Withdean Stadium remained our makeshift home, entering its fifth season. The opening home game of the Division Two campaign pitted the Albion against last season’s beaten Play Off Finalists Queens Park Rangers. Ian Holloway’s side pushed Cardiff all the way to Extra Time in May but couldn’t quite get the breakthrough. They were strongly tipped to go again this time round so tonight saw an early opportunity for Brighton to test their mettle against leading opposition. The clash intrigued Sky Sports enough to shift the tie from Saturday to the Monday night, bringing with it more vital income for the public inquiry fund. The opening match saw a triumphant return to the League, leaving Oldham with three goals and three points. More of the same here, please.

QPR Brighton QPR Formation QPR QPR

The Teams: Steve Coppell was able to keep hold of the majority of the squad which dropped down from Division One, minus the glaring space left by talisman Zamora. His initial two replacements, Leon Knight and Darius Henderson, made the perfect start on the opening day. Both men scored in the three-one win away at Oldham, with Knight bagging a brace. The good start was followed up by a one-nil win away at Bristol Rovers in the League Cup First Round last Tuesday, with the majority of the line-up starting both. Young striker Chris McPhee scored the winner there and a bigger involvement was planned for him. He made his debut at the age of just sixteen back in December 1999 but had largely spent his time in the reserves and youth sides since. He was an option on the bench tonight. The return of Ben Roberts in goal this season resulted in just one conceded in two matches. He was protected by a back core that established itself throughout all three Divisions these past three years; Paul Watson, Danny Cullip and Kerry Mayo. Cullip’s centre-back partner had changed throughout, with Dean Blackwell fulfilling the role during occasions in Division One but injuries hampered that. Graduate Adam Hinshelwood, nephew of Martin, was the man filling the role in all three matches so far. In the middle of the park, Paul Brooker left after three seasons when his contract expired and linked up again with Micky Adams for a third time, now at Premiership Leicester. Simon Rodger and Nathan Jones played in the two previous matches and made it three in a row here. However Jones would be missing in future, after he picked up a red card in the Cup win. Charlie Oatway famously is named after all eleven players in the 1973 QPR first team but only made the bench tonight. Other Albion stalwarts, Gary Hart and Richard Carpenter, completed the first eleven. For Ian Holloways’ Rangers, their team began with seven of the eleven who started that unsuccessful Play Off Final back in May. This included defender Clarke Carlisle, who gained notoriety in January 2002 when he won ITV’s quiz show Britain’s Brainiest Footballer, competing against such renowned wise men as former Sky co-commentator Alan Brazil and England World Cup winner George Cohen! Cautious-when-naming Danny Shittu was solid at the back. Tom Williams, on loan again from Birmingham like last season, joined Marc Bircham in the middle. Experienced striker Paul Furlong enjoyed two loan spells with the Rs before moving permanently in 2002, having also started his career there was a youth player. Amongst the subs was former Everton trainee Kevin McLeod who made a permanent move to Loftus Road this week. Their opening result saw a five-nil victory over a Seaside team in Blackpool, hopefully this would not continue on the South Coast. Tonight’s referee was Mark Warren.

QPR Gavin QPR Taylor QPR Studio

Presentation Team: This was Sky’s second season back covering the Nationwide, and the team established then remained largely in place now, with one or two additions. George Gavin was very much Sky’s face of the League, hosting Live games and the Thursday evening Football League Review magazine show. He spent a greater time in the studio this year with the move of the Saturday evening kick offs to be hosted from Isleworth in order to incorporate the First Division goals at the end of the broadcast. Whereas last season, this didn’t tend to be the case and the majority of matches came from the stadium. His workload was reduced slightly with the arrival to the broadcaster of Ian Payne from BBC Radio 5 Live. He was drafted in to take some of the matches from chief football anchor Richard Keys given Sky now held Live rights to the UEFA Champions League. Therefore Payne did every Live English match on Saturday lunch time, whether that be Premier or Football League. In addition, he hosted the top flight Monday Night Football coverage in the studio with a panel of fans. Other than Saturday 12.30pm kick offs, George Gavin did the rest of the Football League. His guest tonight at Withdean was Peter Taylor. He left his post as Brighton manager in April 2002 after winning the Division Two title. By November of that year he was back in the game, taking the job at Hull City, just in time for the opening of their brand new stadium; a factor which proved the stumbling block in agreeing a new deal on the South Coast. His Hull side were currently competing in Division Three and hoped the new facilities would provide a boost to their bid in climbing the ladder. Taylor was also a pundit on the Seagulls Live televised match at Wolves last season. In the commentary box were Ian Crocker and Chris Kamara. They were Sky’s number one League pairing, with Crocker beginning that role with the new rights cycle in 2002. Kamara still managed his commentary commitments around his work on Sky’s other high-profile shows reporting on Gillette Soccer Saturday and co-hosting Goals on Sunday with Rob McCaffrey. Taking Kammy’s place on the gantry on Saturdays and Sundays were, from this season, Garry Birtles and Tony Gale, with occasional other guest co-commentators drafted in too. This pretty much signalled the end of Alvin Martin and Ray Houghton’s involvement on this coverage, though Houghton continued to cover Republic of Ireland games and Martin was heavily involved with Talksport radio. After being introduced to the coverage on the final day of last season, reporter Guy Havord was much more involved from this season. Fraser Robertson still did the bulk but Havord now did all Live Division Two and Three games as well as helping out in the First. He also reported on the top flight for pay-per-view channel Premiership Plus from this year. It was Havord on the Withdean touchline tonight, with it being a Second Division clash.

QPR New beginning QPR Tunnel

The Coverage: The broadcast was short and sweet, perhaps cautious of the huge problems experienced the one and only previous time Sky showed a match Live from Withdean back in 2001 against Rushden and Diamonds. That afternoon both pictures and sound were lost, with host Rob Wotton and guest John Byrne having to keep popping up to fill the dead air until normal service could be resumed. There hadn’t been a Live match at the athletics ground since until tonight. Host George Gavin and his pundit Peter Taylor were situated behind the goal, and therefore behind the athletics track, left of the open-air South Stand on a makeshift gantry. Coverage came on-air just five minutes before the 8pm kick off and finished almost as soon as the match was over. This was how the 5.35pm kick offs started off last season, before extending the post-match to include analysis, interviews and round ups after a couple of months. So it was disappointing that this top Division Two clash had reverted back to the basic coverage. Nevertheless, a Live match was definitely a bonus for Brighton and provided a much-needed cash injection. The programme was still sponsored by the flatmates at SkyBet, with the theme tune remaining as The Skids’ Into the Valley. The titles were basically the same, just using more up to date clips and action as you’d expect. The graphics were also as they were last season, with the red and blue astons flying in from the edges of the screen. The replay transition was still the respective competition’s trophy, which for us this year was that pretty Division Two silverware. The scorebar and clock though had evolved to look more like the Sky Sports logo, with straight, full blocks instead of a slanted translucent strap. All of it complete with those big whooshing noises. The programme began by reminding us of the two sides heartbreak in May; the Albion relegated and QPR losing in Extra Time of the Play Off Final, before a more uplifting message of ‘A New Beginning’. Host George Gavin billed it as “an early opportunity to assess the chances of two of the form teams.” He then introducing his guest, the last man to manage Brighton in this Division, Peter Taylor.

QPR Coming Up QPR Full Time stats

The set up was improved this season to include multiple cameras for the studio at the ground instead of the single-camera setup for our games last year. There was barely time to say anything other than reminding the neutrals that Bobby Zamora was no longer ours, before handing up to the gantry as the teams emerged from the tunnel over in the North East corner of Withdean by the away supporters. Up in the box were commentators Ian Crocker and Chris Kamara. Some kind words were said by the pair about the club and supporters ahead of kick off regarding the stadium situation, with a decision due. “All credit to the Brighton fans who have stayed faithful to their club and they’ve had to spend four years now here at the Withdean Stadium, which is never going to feel like a football ground. A decision is expected in October as to whether Brighton can build a new stadium, a 22,000 seater stadium, in Falmer. The ultimate decision lies with John Prescott and let’s hope they get that new stadium because they really need to move onwards”, said Crocker. Kamara added “Well it should be a foregone conclusion. Brighton’s a footballing town and let’s give them a new stadium!” At half time, the stats showed an equal amount of shots on target, with Brighton shading the corners, in what was an even contest. The studio team analysed the goals, with Taylor calling the conceding of the free kick for the opener “a really, really cheap foul… a nothing free kick.” Plaudits went the way of both Hart and Knight for Brighton’s equaliser, with Knight praised for his sharpness and movement, Hart for the excellent delivery. Reporter Guy Havord had a quick word with a few of the fans at the end of the half time segment, with Knight again singled out for good work. There was no time to wrap things up after the final whistle owing to the tight scheduling. Chris Kamara summarised that there were three deciding factors in the result; “Leon Knight probably the first one. Danny Cullip and his superb defensive play. But it’s the lad, Terrell Forbes, who’s the turning point in the game.” George Gavin ran through the full-time statistics, which reinforced the scoreline and Albion’s deserving win. They were the early season pacesetters at the top of the Division Two table. Just a brief sentence from guest Peter Taylor at the end to close before signing off for the evening from Withdean.

QPR Kick Off QPR Comms QPR Opening goal QPR Equaliser

Story of the Match: Rangers got the game underway kicking from left to right in the first half in the August late evening haze. The perimeters of Withdean were decorated with messages to deputy Prime Minister John Prescott asking him to “Listen to the people” with regards to the 60,000+ signatures petitioning for the stadium site to be approved. Paul Furlong smacked the post for QPR after three minutes but the linesman flagged for offside anyway, as the away side made themselves feel at home very early on. The crowd were buoyant, making lots of noise for the Albion’s return for the new campaign. But it was the visiting set of fans who were cheering loudest in the ninth minute. Gino Padula whipped in a free kick from the near side with his left foot. The QPR strikers couldn’t quite get their head on it but it didn’t matter as the bounce just before it reached Ben Roberts, together with the bend and pace, saw it skim off the surface and into the back of the net. Brighton fired back level within three minutes. Gary Hart delivered a fabulous cross on the far side towards the six yard area. Stretching, Leon Knight stooped to head home past Day for one-all. It was all about the delivery from Hart to enable Knight’s touch, a perfect response against a team high on confidence and goals after the early season form. Credit too must go to Knight’s movement, as highlighted on commentary by Chris Kamara; “Two great bits of quality. One is the cross to begin with but look at the movement of the little fella. He’s hovering around that eighteen yard box. As soon as it’s on its way, he knows that he’s just got to get the other side of the big centre half. Once he does that then he’s in with an opportunity.” The game continued in this end-to-end fashion. Roberts had to be alert and sensible when Danny Shittu sent through Sabin for QPR, the goalie off his line to smother well. The intensity dropped off from the halfway point of the first half, not helped by a couple of stoppages for injuries, and it fizzled out slightly to a draw at the break.

QPR Red Card QPR Forbes headbutt QPR Knight winner QPR Winner

The second period began a little brighter, with the Seagulls creating a flurry of half-chances in a row, first with Knight unable to connect with Henderson’s fine cross, then Hart’s effort blocked and Carpenter’s follow up volley saved by Chris Day. At the other end, substitute Kevin McLeod created his own chance with his pace. Picking up a loose ball after Hinshelwood slipped, McLeod skipped past him with ease into the near side of the penalty box. With Roberts rushing out, he jinked just wide of him to get the shot away, it lacked any sort of power from a very difficult angle and Hinshelwood got back to put it behind. On the hour mark, the match changed due to a moment of petulance from QPR defender Terrell Forbes. He received a straight red card for a headbutt on Kerry Mayo. The pair went in for a fifty-fifty challenge strongly, neither wanting to back out. Whilst both were getting up off the ground, Forbes kicked out at Mayo’s ankle. They then squared up to each other and that is when Forbes pushed his head onto the Albion number three, with the referee nearby he rightly received his marching orders and Rangers were down to ten needlessly. With the game more open, Brighton were finding a bit more space to get into and test Day further. Two shots in quick succession, firstly from Knight and then Henderson, forced the ‘keeper to dive around and stay alert. But, with twenty-two minutes to go, there was nothing he could do about Leon Knight’s next effort to put Brighton in the lead. Danny Cullip’s free kick on the half way line was launched up field. Darius Henderson flicked it on with his head from the edge of the area. It looped over Danny Shittu and Leon Knight stuck out a leg to toe-poke it towards goal just as it hit the ground. From seven yards or so out, any touch on target would beat Day, who could just scramble low to his left and see the ball sail past him into the corner. The Seagulls were confident. They were on top with both a man and a goal advantage. With a quarter of an hour to play, Leon Knight almost turned provider for Henderson, his header blocked by Clarke Carlisle. Nathan Jones picked it up from there and went past Carlisle who appeared to have caught the Welshman with his leg for a potential penalty. The referee wasn’t having it and replays seemed to show there wasn’t contact. Charlie Oatway got his chance to play against the team he grew up supporting, providing commentator Ian Crocker with the go-to line about the midfielder; rattling off all eleven of his given names! Three minutes of added time were played but, in truth, it was elementary. QPR never really threatened after the sending off and Brighton held firm to maintain the one-hundred-per-cent start to the season. Injury to Carlisle in the additional minutes meant we’d played ninety-six before full time was finally called, but joy at the whistle as Brighton got their home season off to a flyer.

QPR Table.JPG

BRIGHTON 2 QPR 1
Knight (2) Padula

QPR Replay QPR Goal

PREVIOUS; #13 GRIMSBY 2-2 BRIGHTON 04/05/2003

NEXT; #15 BRIGHTON 2-1 PLYMOUTH 31/01/2004

#11: Wolves 1-1 Brighton 11/11/2002

#11 WOLVES 1-1 BRIGHTON Division One
Monday 11th November 2002 Image result for

WOL Titles

PRESENTER George Gavin GUEST Peter Taylor
COMMENTATORS Ian Crocker & Chris Kamara REPORTER Bryn Law
7.45pm Kick Off; Molineux, Wolverhampton     7.30-10pm Football League Live on Sky Sports 1

WOL Promo WOL Sponsor WOL Intro

Context of the Match: Brighton competed in the second tier of English football for the first time since the 1991/92 season, following back to back title successes under first Micky Adams and then Peter Taylor last year. The recent promotions came after a decade of decline which stemmed from the Play Off Final defeat at Wembley to Notts County in ’91. Subsequent seasons saw the Albion sink down the Divisions and almost out of the Football League in 1997, finishing 91st out of the 92 teams then and again in 1998 amidst huge upheaval and uncertainty. The move to Withdean for some temporary respite coincided with a massive upturn in form which brought us to this point; going toe-to-toe with the big clubs of Nationwide Division One. Teams such as Nottingham Forest, Sheffield United and Leicester were all now in the same League as the Albion, as were recent top flight clubs like Ipswich, Coventry and Derby. If the Brighton supporters were excited about trips to Portman Road, The City Ground and Brammall Lane ahead of the new campaign, they were certainly brought crashing back down to Earth within a few weeks. Twelve League defeats in a row saw Brighton’s make a disastrous start to the campaign, including a humiliating five-nil scoreline at Selhurst Park. It had started so brightly with a terrific three-one win away at Burnley on the opening day, followed by a goalless draw at home to Coventry the following Tuesday. But the rest of August and the whole of September and October brought about no further points. The run came to an end with a hard fought three-two victory over Bradford in the rain at Withdean to avoid a club record thirteenth consecutive loss last week but the Albion remained rock-bottom and several points from safety. Seven points from fifteen games was dreadful and the manager paid the price. Peter Taylor left the club in the summer shortly after guiding us to the Division Two title, citing a lack of a clear future as the final straw. The issue of a permanent home, poor facilities and minimal finances forced his hand just when things were looking up. Chairman Dick Knight decided to promote Martin Hinshelwood from youth team coach to the main gig. He previously took caretaker charge when Micky Adams walked out a year earlier but now he had the job full time for the first time. Hinshelwood’s playing career was cut short by injury at a time when he was starring in Crystal Palace’s midfield during their FA Cup Semi Final run in 1976. He struggled to get fit again and had to call it a day the following year, where he moved into coaching roles at the club and in the non-Leagues. But his inexperience showed and Brighton’s dismal run saw Hinshelwood moved upstairs to a Director of Football role during the October international break. In a surprise move, the man that came in to replace him was another man very closely associated with arch-rivals Crystal Palace; Steve Coppell. The former Manchester United and England winger, another forced into early retirement due to injury in his late twenties, had four different spells in charge of Palace over a period of sixteen years. He was the subject of a derogatory chant still used by Albion supporters right up to the time he was appointed and was in charge of the club’s heaviest defeat of last season when his Brentford side thrashed Brighton four-nil Live on the ITV Sport Channel. It was a shock for the fans that he was brought in and even reportedly fell asleep during his job interview. His first two matches in charge here couldn’t stop the rot, losing to Sheffield United and Crystal Palace, before the vital win over Bradford finally brought a bit of cheer. Tonight’s fixture was a different test altogether though, as a trip to Molineux to face Play Off chasing Wolves was selected for Live television coverage by Sky Sports. On the 11th November, would it be a Monday night to remember?

WOL Wolves WOL Formation WOL Brighton

The Teams: New manager Steve Coppell’s reign at the Albion hadn’t got off to the best of starts. During his first and so far, only win, against Bradford last time out, goalkeeper Michel Kuipers received his marching orders for a professional foul. However, he was available for tonight, with suspension not due to begin until after this match. In any case, that card was overturned and reduced to a yellow on appeal meaning Australian back-up Andy Petterson would not add to his eight Albion starts. Having joined in the summer he replaced Kuipers briefly during the terrible run, before the Dutch stopper returned at the end of September. Right-back Paul Watson and midfield general Richard Carpenter started every match thus far. Coppell brought about a change in formation in an attempt to shore up the backline, switching to a three-five-two and bringing in Robbie Pethick after almost two months out. Dean Blackwell joined on an initial month contract in October to slot in alongside captain Danny Cullip. Long-serving left-back Kerry Mayo and Paul Watson were deployed in wing-back roles supporting the midfield. Striker Gary Hart dropped back to the middle whilst new signing Simon Rodger played on the left of Carpenter. Rodger spent almost twelve years at Crystal Palace and was reunited with former boss Coppell a couple of weeks back. Winger Paul Brooker was suspended after a red card during the Palace defeat, whilst Charlie Oatway found himself relegated to the bench under the new manager whilst former skipper Paul Rogers struggled to force his way off the bench this term. Star striker Bobby Zamora scored in the opening day win but was out for six weeks with injury. He scored a brace last time out and provides Albion with that much needed star quality, having caught the eye of many scouts during the two title winning seasons. He was supported by young Irish international forward Graham Barrett, on a season-long loan from Arsenal. He got off to the worst possible start, sent off on his debut away at Portsmouth for an off the ball scuffle and only returned to the starting XI in recent weeks. He scored his first goal for the club in the defeat at home to Sheffield United. Options on the subs bench included former manager Martin Hinshelwood’s nephew Adam, highly-rated midfielder Steve Sidwell – another loanee from Arsenal – and forward Daniel Webb, son of ex-Chelsea defender David, back on loan for a second spell after some success last year. Dave Jones’ Wolverhampton Wanderers really should have been promoted last season, after throwing away a spot in the top two very late on. They occupied the automatic promotion places along with Manchester City from the start for much of the campaign, but the wheels came off completely during the final two months, with just two wins from the final nine games dropping them agonisingly to third as fierce rivals West Brom took advantage. They then lost to sixth placed Norwich over two-legs in the Play Offs. Their summer spending was huge ahead of that year but brought in very little this summer, with the marquee signings being free transfers Paul Ince from Middlesbrough and his former Manchester United teammate Denis Irwin. This sort of experience perhaps was required last time to get them over the line, with the club strongly tipped to achieve it this term. Irwin started tonight alongside Young Player of the Year Joleon Lescott and ahead of young local lad Matt Murray in goal. Ivar Ingimarsson played and scored against the Albion for Steve Coppell’s Brentford in January’s thrashing and joined after being released in July. Player of the Year Alex Rae was a battling Scotsman in the middle of the park. Irishman Mark Kennedy could strike a ball so hard with his ferocious left foot and started for the first time since April. Up top Kenny Miller and Dean Sturridge were a deadly combination, with the latter netting twenty-one times last year. Sturridge enjoyed a cameo appearance in Sky One drama Dream Team back in 1998 as himself. Taking charge of the match was footballer-turned-referee Steve Baines.

WOL StudioWOL Kick Off WOL Comms

Presentation Team: The previous broadcast team Sky assembled had all moved on since they last held the rights so a hastily arranged squad was ushered in to launch the season in August after securing the contract on the back of the ITV Digital debacle. Previous host Marcus Buckland had moved across to front the new pay-per-view matches on PremiershipPlus alongside George Graham last year, so former touchline reporter George Gavin stepped in front of the cameras to lead the new era. Gavin joined Sky in the mid-90s working as a reporter on the Premiership and FA Cup matches taking over from Nick Collins. Gavin had previously presented and commentated on BRMB in the Midlands on some hugely famous nights for Birmingham and Aston Villa, he also chaired a famously feisty phone-in show which is still looked back on fondly by listeners. He has also turned his hand to hosting tennis and fishing, amongst other sports, for Sky during his career and is the consummate professional. His Football League role this season was expanded in October to include a new Football League Review programme on Thursday nights, rounding up the action and previewing the upcoming fixtures from Sky’s chairless studio in Isleworth. Gavin was joined on the Molineux gantry by last season’s Albion gaffer Peter Taylor for tonight’s broadcast. Taylor had years of television experience, regularly being called upon to provide punditry and sometimes co-commentate for Sky on League, Cup and England matches. With his various roles across football – managing in the Premiership with Leicester, internationally with the England under-21s right down to the lower Leagues with us and Gillingham – he’s often in a good position to cover a wide range of matches. Taylor was back in management when he took charge of Hull earlier this month. In the commentary box, Rob Hawthorne had also gained a promotion since he was last the voice of the Football League between 1996 and 2001. Last season he took over Alan Parry’s role on the Premiership’s Monday Night Football coverage alongside new signing Alan Smith, with Parry and former League co-commentator Brian Marwood joining Buckland on the PPV channel. After four seasons of Scottish Premier League games, the SFA bungled the contract by snubbing Sky’s renewal bid in the doomed hope of setting up their own channel (which never came to fruition and they had to go to BBC Scotland with their tail between their legs). This left Sky’s English voice of Scottish football, Ian Crocker, free to step across to the Football League main commentator role. He would be joined in the box by a rotating group of co-commentators including Chris Kamara, Alvin Martin, Ray Houghton and Bryan Hamilton this season. Chris Kamara was in the commentary box tonight and previously covered the competition back in the 2000/01 season. From 2001/02 he also co-presented magazine highlights programme Goals on Sunday alongside Rob McCaffrey, ruling him out of Sunday games. Kamara’s Saturdays were taken up by reporting for results service Soccer Saturday, where he pioneered the in-vision updates from the stadium to complement host Jeff Stelling’s studio pundits. The touchline role went to Sky Sports News reporter Bryn Law for the first four months of the campaign, as Sky’s core team were assembled. Law was positioned in the North West for the News channel, particularly focussing on Leeds and his native Wales.

WOL Sky Sports WOL Coming Up

The Coverage: The broadcast rights to the Football League should have remained on the ITV Sport Channel, as they were last season, for at least two further years but that all went horribly wrong. The £315 million three-year contract, which was a huge increase on the previous one Sky Sports agreed, unfortunately proved too costly to sustain a subscription channel with the lower Leagues as the main attraction and potential customer uptake was vastly overestimated. Rumours began circling less than halfway through the debut season that the channel was in trouble, with parent companies Carlton and Granada placing it into administration at the end of March 2002. This was as a result of a failure to renegotiate the Football League deal to reduce the costs, rejected by the League, and the channel shut down and handed back the rights in May. In July Sky Sports stepped in to pick up the broadcast rights for the three Divisions at a bargain price of £95 million for four seasons; that’s £10 million less than what one season on ITV was worth. It highlighted how desperate the League was, with almost half of their clubs facing a real prospect of bankruptcy having gambled on ITV’s money. It was dire times for football in this country. Sky’s new deal unexpectedly brought the League back to their screens after a season away, having previously covered it for five years in the late 1990s. The new deal permitted seventy-five Live matches per season, which broke down as fifty regular season fixtures from Division One, ten from Divisions Two and Three plus Play Off matches including all three Finals. Following ITV’s lead, Sky would present the vast majority of Football League matches from the ground instead of their Isleworth studios like before. George Gavin would be joined by a whole host of guests standing pitchside or up on the gantry initially in a single-camera setup. The regular kick-off time was 5.35pm on Saturday evenings, allowing them to come on-air with a five minute build up and longer time post-match to round up the entire day’s action. As well as the new Saturday evening slot, the more familiar Friday and Monday nights would also be utilised. The pre-match build up was often short, understandably so given the late addition of the contract to Sky’s schedules in these early stages of the season. For Saturday evenings you had five minutes before the kick-off, whilst night matches were afforded fifteen minutes to preview. Tonight’s broadcast began at 7.30pm ahead of the 7.45 KO.

WOL Live fixture WOL Zamora aston

The coverage was sponsored by Sky Bet, featuring a group of fans watching the TV in their living room and cutting to dream sequences of what they would do with the money they’d make from winning bets. The new broadcast contract gave Sky a chance to bring in a new title sequence and theme tune. They opted for an instrumental version of the Skids’ 1979 punk hit Into the Valley. Probably their best known track, it had football connotations as both Dunfermline (the Skids local team) and Charlton (appropriately named home ground, The Valley) played it in their stadium. The titles began with black and white shots of Nottingham Forest’s wonderful City Ground and featured goals and match action from previous games interspersed with flashes of a bright red and white scoreboard. The scoreboard showed the trophy and League logos as well as key introductory text such as ‘Three Divisions’ and the name of the programme; ‘Football League Live’. The scoreboard flashed red and white to black and red to end with the programme name again. It was short and sweet and the track was an unusual but iconic choice. Sky’s graphics for the Football League were very similar in style to the Premiership ones introduced this season, but with a subtly more basic animation. Whilst their main ones had blue and white astons flying in from the left and right, the lines of text also flew in from the opposite side to give it a sleek animation, before exiting in the same manner. The League graphics didn’t have the text fly in separately and either just faded out of flew back out with the text and aston grouped. There were also entry and exit swoosh noises to accompany both sets. It was Brighton fan and TV critic Mike Ward who described them as having “those Dolby Surroundsound whoosing noises that frighten the dog!” Since the turn of the century, Sky’s graphics had evolved to be more complex, more stylish and incorporated greater use of computer imagery. This extended to the replay transitions, which now had the competition trophy crash into the middle of the screen whilst rotating. When goals were scored, the 3D club crest would do the same and they both looked excellent; a class apart from anything rival broadcasters were doing at this time.

WOL Zamora stats WOL Head to Head

With the single-camera setup, host George Gavin and pundit Peter Taylor were in-vision together for the majority of the time so whilst one was speaking, the other could still be seen when normally there would be a cutaway to focus solely on the person talking. This meant that invariably both would look directly at, and address, the camera like they do on American sportscasts, something which pundits rarely did in this country outside of Andy Gray. This was fine when the likes of experienced TV pundits Tony Cottee, Brian Little, Chris Kamara and Taylor himself were used but for newer performers it looked a little awkward and Sky would eventually get a multi-camera setup on the gantry as their coverage got more refined towards the end of the campaign. They began by highlighting Brighton’s terrific record against tonight’s hosts, having won ten of the fourteen previous League meetings. Though tonight was their first clash since 1991. Attention then turned to some of the key prospects; Dean Sturridge and Mark Kennedy for the home side and, of course, Bobby Zamora for the Seagulls. Taylor commented; “Bobby Zamora is an outstanding talent. He’s a tremendous finisher, he’s a lovely lad, he’s a great professional that’s gonna get even better. I’m very confident he will score at whatever level he plays at.” High praise indeed from his former boss. The stats proved just how good his goalscoring record was with Brighton, averaging two goals every three matches. An array of Zamora’s goals were shown to highlight Taylor’s points, including his finish in our last Live Sky match; the FA Cup victory over Rushden and Diamonds last season. Reporter Bryn Law spoke with both managers in the tunnel for their pre-match thoughts. Steve Coppell spoke of how he wanted his team to thrive against the big boys with expectation levels at a low; “It’s one thing that I’ve stressed to the players over the last couple of games – nobody’s expecting anything from Brighton in the position we’re in. So in a way, that takes the pressure off.” He also praised the workrate and commitment of the players on a day to day basis despite the awful run of form. George Gavin’s final words before the advert break were to remind us that Brighton have never won a Live televised League game. Thanks George! When they came back, the teams were waiting to emerge from the tunnel so it was time to hand over to commentators Ian Crocker and Chris Kamara. At half time Peter Taylor thought the Seagulls were good value for their lead; stating they “thoroughly deserve it, I think Brighton have been absolutely outstanding and been very, very hard to play against.”

WOL Coppell WOL Man of the Match

That lead was not to last though and after the final whistle ad break, Gavin and Taylor analysed the match for the final ten minutes or so of the broadcast. The full time stats that flew in along the bottom of the screen highlighted how the home side had more chances – twenty-three attempts with fifteen on target to Brighton’s ten shots and five goal bound – but the most important piece showed one-one. There was high praise for Bobby Zamora’s excellent chip over the ‘keeper, which was shown from every angle at every opportunity. They explained how important he was to Brighton’s survival bid, with the lack of goals when he was out of the side and the extra quality he brings when he’s in the team. On Wolves, they admitted it was close but they did up their game in the second half to fight back well for the draw. Taylor believed one or two Albion defenders were “a touch too deep” for the equaliser with a stroke of fortune coming via Miller’s deflection onto Rae deceiving the outstanding Kuipers. Reporter Bryn Law spoke with Steve Coppell to gain his understanding of the play, with the Brighton manager calling it a “hard earned” point. “I thought in the first half we were excellent. We played some terrific football, we laid out our stall to play a certain way but we still showed an awful lot of composure when we had possession.” He was proud of the effort of his players, particularly in the second half when they knew they’d be under increased pressure. The studio team also poured plaudits on Michel Kuipers for his Man of the Match performance, especially his incredible double save in the second half to deny two Wolves efforts. The former Dutch marine was then interviewed by Bryn Law where he was presented with his bottle of celebratory Champagne. Wolves boss Dave Jones kept his players in the dressing room for a bit longer than usual so there was no time in the Live broadcast to get his thoughts. The round up was completed by taking a look at the table, with Brighton still rock bottom and eight points off safety but slowly closing that gap. Wanderers remained in ninth, three points off the Play Offs. With everything said and done, George Gavin signed off with his traditional catchphrase, “from all of us, bye for now”, before the credits rolled.

WOL Fireworks WOL Minute Silence WOL Zamora goal WOL Bored Coppell

Story of the Match: The two sides ran out of the tunnel to a firework display on this November night. And with tonight being the eleventh of said month, a minute’s silence preceded the action to remember the fallen heroes of war. Wolves also took this opportunity to pay tribute to two former players who recently passed away; Cliff Durandt and Ron Hindmarch. Wolves, in their famous old gold shirts, got the game underway kicking from left to right in the first half. “Many do see this as a home banker,” began commentator Ian Crocker, “but football is rarely so straightforward.” So it proved as it was Brighton who made the better start taking the game to their hosts. Graham Barrett had the first sight of goal after eleven minutes. The striker, called up to the Republic of Ireland squad earlier in the day, held off Joleon Lescott in the area and swivelled with his back to goal. He kept the ball close to his feet to ward off two further defenders before unleashing a left footed strike early which almost caught Matt Murray out. The ball brushed the side netting. But Brighton weren’t to be denied and struck a breakthrough three minutes later. A loose ball just inside his own half was gathered by Danny Cullip to launch it long and forward. Lescott headed it back whence it came from where Richard Carpenter was waiting inside the centre circle. His first time cushioned pass caught the Wolves defence out, namely Mark Clyde, which gave Bobby Zamora something to chase. The seemingly harmless ball completely deceived the defence, and the viewers, as suddenly Zamora was clean through on goal with only Murray to beat. As the ‘keeper rushed out of his goal, Zamora calmly and expertly chipped it over his diving body on the edge of the box and into the back of the net. It was a fantastic finish from the star man for his fifth of the season. And he almost grabbed a second not long after. A bodged attempt at a clearance saw the ball cannon off Lescott’s face into Zamora’s path. Thirty-seven-year-old Denis Irwin came to Wanderers rescue though as he just about got in quick enough on the edge of the box to prod it behind for a corner, just as the striker was shaping up to strike. It was a vital interception as Zamora ended up striking Irwin’s boot rather than a ball, which actually caused a bit of pain on and off for the rest of the half. Barrett couldn’t quite get to the loose ball quick enough for a tap in to an empty net as it trickled behind. The first proper goalmouth action for the home team came from a Mark Kennedy corner over on the far side. Icelandic midfielder Ivar Ingimarsson met it with a good header from eight yards, fortunately it hit his own player, Dean Sturridge, standing in the centre of the goal. The rebound fell to the feet of Ingimarsson this time but his shot was smothered by the alert Michel Kuipers, ably protected by Robbie Pethick. Brighton’s formation change seemed to be doing the job, as players were defending well but also getting forward in their numbers. Nevertheless, Steve Coppell looked considerably bored when the camera cut to him sitting in the stands midway through the first period, head slumped against his hand! He wouldn’t be taking anything for granted. Gary Hart had a header saved by Murray as Brighton continued to create chances and restricted Wolves to long-rangers.

WOL Kuipers first save WOL Kuipers double save WOL Double Sub WOL Added Time

It was a credit to the Albion’s first half performance that the Wolves fans grew evermore impatient as that period went on. They began the second half a goal down but determined to put that right. Kevin Cooper fired a warning shot after four minutes when he dispossessed Dean Blackwell ten yards inside the Brighton half and burst forward. His shot on the edge of the box went just shy of the near post. That’s not to say the Seagulls spent the rest of the time on the back foot. An opportunity went the unlikely way of a Kerry Mayo burst when the back line opened up for the local lad to run through. His shot took a big deflection outside the area off Lescott which wrongfooted Murray and could have spun in any direction. As it was, it clipped the outside of the netting as it went inches wide. The resulting corner kick eventually found its way to the head of Danny Cullip, whose brave header was creeping in and had to be helped over the crossbar, which was missed by the officials. At the other end, Kuipers had to be on red alert as he could be called into action at any point; such was the open, end-to-end nature of this match. Just before the hour mark he pulled off a remarkable double save to deny first Alex Rae then Kenny Miller in a frantic few seconds. Marc Edworthy’s ball in from the right alluded everyone until Rae struck in the area with a nice curler. That forced Kuipers to get down low to his left to parry away. The quickest to react to the loose ball was Miller who pinged an effort towards the upper reaches of the goal that surely couldn’t be saved. Yet up came the outstretched, upright arm of Kuipers to deny him with the save of the match. To top it all off the ball fell straight into his grateful arms, what a moment! And the big Dutchman had to stand firm again just a minute later when Sturridge showed great pace and strength to run the ball in from the left touchline. He made the chance all by himself, bringing it forward from near the halfway line and not letting Mayo get near the ball. It left him one on one with Kuipers but the goalie didn’t commit himself and blocked off the effort to keep it one-nil to the stripes. With twenty left on the clock Wolves made a double change, bringing on Shaun Newton and Keith Andrews in the middle. It took just five minutes for the goal to arrive, in scrappy circumstances as Wolves pressure finally paid dividends. Another good ball in from the right from Edworthy found an unmarked Kenny Miller on the penalty spot. His volley took a big deflection off Rae standing just a yard or two in front. The touch was enough to take it past a despairing Kuipers and into the corner of the net for one-one, as Miller wheeled away and sighs of relief were breathed around Molineux. Brighton immediately responded with a double substitution of their own in an attempt to consolidate the level scoreline as midfielders Sidwell and Oatway came on for the final quarter of an hour. Adam Hinshelwood came on for the closing minutes as the packed Albion defence stood firm and resolute for an excellent away point. Brighton looked a whole lot more confident under Coppell and gave glimmers of hope that all wasn’t lost in this campaign despite the start. Onwards and upwards for the Seagulls, we hoped!

WOL Table

WOLVES 1 BRIGHTON 1
Miller Zamora

WOL Replay WOL Goal

PREVIOUS; #10 STOKE CITY 3-1 BRIGHTON 01/03/2002

NEXT; #12 READING 1-2 BRIGHTON 04/04/2003

#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

#19: Leicester 0-1 Brighton 30/08/2004

#19 LEICESTER 0-1 BRIGHTON Championship
Monday 30th August 2004 Image result for

LEI Titles

PRESENTER George Gavin GUEST Neil Warnock
COMMENTATORS Ian Crocker & Tony Gale REPORTER Greg Whelan
12.30pm Kick Off; Walkers Stadium, Leicester     12-2.30pm Football League Live on Sky Sports 1

LEI Ident LEI Sponsor LEI Intro

Context of the Match: Brighton bounced back to the second tier at the first time of asking with the victory in the Play Off Final back in May. A solitary Leon Knight penalty beat Bristol City at Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium to enable Albion’s fourth change of Division in as many seasons. Amidst all the promotions and relegation in recent times, one constant has remained; the need for a new permanent home in Sussex. The team on the field were wildly outperforming the circumstances off it, with athletics ground Withdean continuing to house the club for the time being. With the running track pitchside and the leafy forest behind the South Stand, big clubs like Sunderland and Leeds were in for a shock travelling down. They could be forgiven for thinking they were on a pre-season friendly in Norway rather than vying for promotion to the Premiership. The fight for a new ground continued as we entered the 2004/05 season in the newly rebranded Coca-Cola Championship – the new name for the old Nationwide Division One. The Divisions below were also renamed; as Leagues One and Two, and received a shiny new trophy to compete for. Brighton’s early form in the new League hadn’t got off to the best of starts. The Seagulls lost three of the first four, including a home tie to fellow newly-promoted side Plymouth. Things were starting to pick up though, as the first win of the season came just two days before today’s clash, as Albion beat Preston at Withdean thanks to an own goal. Games were coming thick and fast as we travelled up to Leicester for an August Bank Holiday Monday fixture. The Foxes were relegated from the Premiership last season in eighteenth place under former Brighton gaffer Micky Adams. They too struggled to adjust immediately to the new League, also with just the one win thus far. They were defeated last time out at the Walkers Stadium, Watford winning one-zero. The squad wasn’t hugely different to that of the last campaign so bigger things were expecting of Leicester and Adams. All this garnered the interest of Football League rights holder Sky Sports, who selected the match to be broadcast Live at the earlier time of 12.30pm. Could Brighton get one over their old boss in front of the nation and secure a vital three points?

LEI Leicester LEI Brighton LEI Formation

The Teams: Goalkeeper Ben Roberts kept seven clean sheets out of eight to guide Brighton up to the Championship at the back end of last season, but a persistent back injury forced him out of this campaign and had to retire in 2005. Michel Kuipers returned to the first team in his place, having previously been number one for most of his time on the South Coast since joining in 2000. He spent time on loan at Hull last season where former Albion boss Peter Taylor was in charge, but a car crash put him out of action. On the bench today was local eighteen-year-old Chris May, a product of Martin Hinshelwood’s youth system. Hinshelwood’s nephew Adam was given his Albion debut two years ago, when we were last in this Division, making over twenty-five starts since and increasingly becoming a regular. Usually a defender, Hinshelwood played in the middle of the park alongside another youth product; Dean Hammond. Joining Brighton at the age of eleven, he first featured in an LDV Vans Trophy match in 2000 aged seventeen. Professional terms were agreed in 2002 but never really broke through consistently to the first team, spending time on loan at Aldershot and Leyton Orient before getting his chance in this midfield. This area was strengthened over the summer with two trialists signing on; former Wycombe playmaker Darren Currie, who was out of contract, and Chelsea youngster Alexis Nicolas on loan. The central defensive partnership of Danny Cullip and Guy Butters was so key to Albion’s rise up the table last season. Left back Dan Harding was sent off in the first home match in the League and had been out of the squad since, with long-serving Kerry Mayo keeping his spot. Adam Virgo was surprisingly being used as a makeshift striker, perhaps spurred on by his crucial headed goal in the Play Off Semi Final in May against Swindon. This opened up an opportunity for nineteen-year-old Adam El-Abd to come into the side for his first start this season at right back. Play Off Final hero Leon Knight was yet to get off the mark. New names on the subs bench since that Final included Maheta Molango – who scored just twelve seconds into his debut at Reading – and former Wimbledon winger Albert Jarrett. Mark McGhee took on Micky Adams, who left the Albion for Leicester in 2002. Following their relegation from the Premiership, there was much comings and goings in the transfer market. Former Aston Villa forward Dion Dublin, sent off on the opening day on his debut, partnered David Connolly, who lost in the Division One Play Off Final with West Ham in May. They had experience in ex-England goalie Ian Walker, European Championships winner with Greece, Nikos Dabizas, at the back, left-footer Danny Tiatto and Foxes favourite James Scowcroft. On the bench, defender Martin Keown and striker Trevor Benjamin both had loan spells with the Albion; Benjamin back at the beginning of the calendar year scoring five in ten before Chris Iwelumo joined, whilst Keown made his professional debut on loan with us twenty years ago before enjoying huge success at parent club Arsenal. Taking charge of this Bank Holiday clash was referee Keith Hill.

LEI Gavin LEI Warnock LEI Studio LEI Whelan

Presentation Team: George Gavin once again hosted Sky’s exclusively Live coverage of the Football League, with the Divisions now sponsored by Coca Cola instead of Nationwide. With Ian Payne no longer fronting Saturday lunchtime Football League kick offs, Gavin had pretty much a monopoly on the coverage this campaign as well as hosting the Thursday evening preview programme Football League Review from Sky’s studios. With the new branding to the Championship, a regular Sunday night edition was added, showing all the goals from all three Divisions linked by Gavin’s voiceover. This was Sky’s answer to the new networked ITV programme The Championship broadcast each Sunday morning replacing Football League Extra. Joining Gavin at Leicester’s Walkers Stadium today was Sheffield United manager Neil Warnock. The Blades weren’t in action until the following evening, giving Warnock the chance to scout the opposition as he’d be visiting here Leicester in two weeks’ time, and the Albion a further couple of weeks after. Due to his loud, brash character, Warnock found himself making regular television appearances throughout his career. He joined Sheffield United in 1999 and had since became the ‘nearly men’, taking them to an FA Cup and a League Cup semi-final and losing out to Wolves for Premiership promotion in 2003. He enjoyed Play Off success with an earlier club; Notts County, as Brighton fans remember all too well back in 1991 as we were defeated three-one at Wembley. In the commentary box were Ian Crocker and Tony Gale. This was the beginning of Crocker’s third season as the voice of the Football League, established when Sky regained control of the rights in 2002. At the same time, the Scottish Premier League contract was lost, of which Crocker had been lead commentator for four years. Last season he re-established his Scottish football credentials by commentating on Celtic and Rangers in the UEFA Champions League during Sky’s first year covering the competition. His co-commentator today was Tony Gale. During the course of last season, Gale became a regular voice on the Football League behind Chris Kamara and Garry Birtles. He covered the Division Three Play Off Final in May and was also behind the mic for our First Leg Semi Final one-nil win at Swindon. He won the Premiership with Blackburn in 1995 but is more remembered for his spell before that at West Ham. Reporting on the touchline was a new name to Sky’s Football League coverage, Greg Whelan. He joined the Live team at the start of the season taking over from Fraser Robertson. Whelan previously reported on Sky’s Live Conference football over the past three seasons. He also regularly featured in-vision on scores service Soccer Saturday providing updates on games around the country.

LEI Fixtures LEI Referee

The Coverage: The whole League rebrand to the Championship brought about new logos, which Sky incorporated into the same style title sequence from last year. The theme tune remained The Skids – Into the Valley with the flashing scoreboard end card, now featuring the words ‘Championship Live’ as opposed to Football League Live. The programme however was still referred to as the latter. Leon Knight’s celebration in the face of the camera during our Live match with Plymouth last season was now part of the opening sequence too. Coverage was sponsored by SkyBet, as before, with new sponsorship bumpers featuring an irate Alan Partridge style commentator who was voicing over real action as his bet lost. Host George Gavin and pundit Neil Warnock came on air at midday for this 12.30pm kick off, giving a full half an hour’s build up to set the scene for this match and all the other 3pm games. Coverage was hosted from within the Walkers Stadium. The top of the show told of the changes brought about at Leicester following the drop out of the Premiership; “Director of football Dave Bassett has helped Micky Adams bring in eleven players to Leicester but seventeen have gone since relegation.” Their form didn’t begin well in the new League either, with a very inconsistent start particularly at home. Speaking of inconsistency, the Albion haven’t played in the same Division two years in a row since the turn of the Millennium; “Brighton’s players have been either promoted or relegated in each of the last four seasons.” The new season brought about new graphics for Sky’s Football League broadcasts, adopting the same style red and blue 3D bars as the top flight coverage took back in February and which we enjoyed in the last Live game; the 2004 Play Off Final. However, this League set was more basic than then, with fades in and out as opposed to the stylish animation. The refresh was brought in at the beginning of the campaign when Leeds opened Sky’s Championship season against Derby three weeks earlier; the first of sixty regular season games to be broadcast Live in the third of a four year contract since regaining the rights in 2002. All graphics were now different to before apart from the scorebar which remained as last year. The replay transition had changed; still the beautiful Championship trophy but now ran diagonally and with a bright light glow. The club crests crashed in as before when a goal was shown. The main backing track when the table and fixtures were shown was now the excellent ‘Apache’ by Michael Viner’s Incredible Bongo Band.

LEI Baine & Samrah LEI Dick Knight LEI Division 3 Champions

Gavin and Warnock looked back over the best of the weekend’s action, with clubs doubling up playing Saturday and Monday over the Bank Holiday. This included showing the only goal of the game as Brighton secured their first win of the season at home to Craig Brown’s Preston. The former Scotland manager then got the boot after a poor start. There was also brief discussion about the news from the morning that Newcastle had sacked Sir Bobby Robson in what turned out to be his final managerial role. Attention turned to the Live match, as we crossed pitchside to reporter Greg Whelan who brought us the team news. One of the key stories over the past few years had of course been the Seagulls’ fight for a permanent home and Whelan compiled a report on the latest goings on in that long-running saga, which can be viewed at the bottom of the page. The piece linked Saturday’s win with a look back at the story of the pitch battles, with archive footage from 1996 and the invasion protest, through to the Gillingham years and now at Withdean. Amongst the most prominent supporters leading the charge for the new stadium were John Baine and Paul Samrah. They were both on the PA system at Withdean and gave their take to the Sky cameras, telling the grim reality of the situation. Chairman Dick Knight also gave his story, from taking over at the end of the Goldstone period right up to now. Today’s opposing manager, Micky Adams, began the resurgence by winning the fourth tier in 2001 and came in for high praise from Baine; “In my opinion Micky Adams is the best manager that this club has ever had and I’ve been watching the Albion since I was seven. Certainly the best manager that I’ve ever seen, I think given the restrictions, the team he put together – many of which are still the backbone of the team we’ve got now.” The VT took us right up to now and beyond, glimpsing the proposed Falmer site and the struggle manager Mark McGhee had to keep players with the limited budget and facilities. Back in July the man making the decision, deputy PM John Prescott, ordered another public inquiry into the new stadium to drag things on even further. On the back of the report we heard from some of the travelling supporters at today’s match, stressing how important the decision is. It was amplified by playing Leicester who themselves had fairly recently moved home.

LEI Leon Knight LEI McGhee LEI Infobar LEI Coming Up

The studio team took a closer look at some of the key men in this fixture. Leicester strikers Dion Dublin and David Connolly were expected to be in with chances today, whilst the Albion’s cause was represented by Leon Knight. Warnock questioned Knight’s attitude, speaking specifically about a loan spell at Sheffield Wednesday where he proved very inconsistent. The Sheffield United manager though also praised his ability on his day, with the goal tally last time round speaking for itself. Greg Whelan spoke with both managers ahead of kick off. Mark McGhee was taking all the positives out of the first win on Saturday; “The fact is we still don’t have some of our experienced players back fit and we’ve got four points. In many ways we look upon that as a bonus because we have been playing with a very young side.” The scene was set for the big match, an advert break separated the build up from the teams emerging from the tunnel for our commentary team of Ian Crocker and Tony Gale to take over. At half time, Neil Warnock’s tactical advice for Brighton was paying dividends, saying if they could hold out for twenty to twenty-five minutes and take their only chance they could cause an upset. The match facts running across the info-bar at the bottom of the screen showed a picture of domination from Leicester in the first period, having more shots and possession, even if it didn’t quite come across like that in reality. The replays also proved conclusively that Virgo was onside for the goal, with Warnock full of praise for the emergency striker’s tireless effort and work rate all match. The studio team didn’t have much time at all after the final whistle, with the off-air time due at 2.30pm it gave them just a couple of minutes to wrap things up. They analysed the decisive goal again and looked at the few chances which fell to Dion Dublin before he shifted to the defence. The table showed Brighton flying up from twenty-third before the match up to eleventh at full time, albeit before anybody else had played their sixth match. There wasn’t time to hear from the players or managers, with the final word going to Neil Warnock who wanted to praise the referee’s performance in a rare act of positivity towards officials. It was one of those days!

LEI Kick Off LEI Comms LEI Yellow LEI Onside

Story of the Match: Brighton started the better of the two teams, taking the game to Leicester in the opening minutes. The home side’s frustrations were evident, both in the stands and on the field. Frustrated with the start to this match and the entire campaign. The first flash point came after the quarter hour mark when David Connolly took a little off the ball swipe towards Adam El-Abd after he was blocked off during a long throw. Luckily for Connolly, his swinging leg didn’t connect too much with the Brighton defender or his yellow card could have been a lot worse. The Albion nearly opened the scoring five minutes later through a very dangerous free kick whipped across goal by Darren Currie. Dean Hammond was closest to getting the touch, any touch, which would have fired it past Ian Walker but couldn’t quite stretch long enough as it flew just wide of the post. The Foxes’ first real sight of goal came through a Dion Dublin header after half an hour. Danny Tiatto chipped the ball in from the near side of the penalty area, as Dublin leapt highest to meet it. The effort went wide of the target when he had done everything in the move correct until that point. This was followed up moments later by Connolly curling a first-time shot low and just wide of the near post, as Leicester finally began to crank up the pressure. So when the deadlock was broken with five minutes to go before half time it was with great relief that the goal went the way of Brighton. After Leon Knight made a nuisance of himself driving towards goal, Leicester were able to boot the ball upfield towards Dublin. After initially controlling it, the ball was nicked off him by Guy Butters on the half way line. Hammond touched it back to Cullip to launch a long ball forward where Knight was running back from. Knowing he was a long way offside, he made no attempt to interfere with play instead allowing makeshift striker Adam Virgo to run on. The home defence was caught out by Virgo’s run as he took the ball down from the sky well. Facing up against Matt Heath on the edge of the box, Virgo took a further touch to give a yard of space before unleashing a low drive towards goal. The quickly taken nature caught Walker out in goal as the ball found its way into the back of the net, squeezing just inside the post, to give Brighton the lead. Leicester were appealing for offside but with Knight not playing the ball and Virgo definitely level with his man the complaints were waived away. The Seagulls went in at half time in the lead with their only shot so far, to the boos of the home fans.

LEI Corner LEI Sub

Brighton in yellow kicked off the second half kicking right to left, after a false start. Michel Kuipers was forced into a smart stop early on to deny Connolly, the wide angle against the Irish striker. Dion Dublin then tried to catch the former Dutch marine off his line, lofting a shot from the half way line with Kuipers scrambling slightly. He did get back to cover it but in the end there was no need as it bounced over and wide. Warning shots were being fired. As the second period wore on, it was Leicester who were having all the creativity and the chances but without any joy or serious threat. The Albion defence stood strong. A tactical reshuffle for Leicester saw Dublin revert from centre forward to centre back, the opposite move from goalscorer Virgo who was now head to head with the ex-England man. A couple of clashes held up the game as it drew towards its final stages. A collision of heads meant Cullip required a new shirt without the blood spilt, as well as without a name or number, a rare sight in the modern game. A few minutes later James Scowcroft went studs first with a nasty looking leap towards the shin of Guy Butters, fortunately no injury was caused and a caution was collected. With Leicester’s lack of penetration and poor form, frustrations grew louder following substitute Keith Gillespie’s foul throw late on. There were half-hearted appeals for a Leicester penalty in stoppage time, as Adam Virgo’s hand was raised when trying to head the ball away from a free kick. It definitely hit his hand and should have been given but wasn’t spotted. Come the full-time whistle chants of “What a load of rubbish” rang round the East Midlands. So the Albion hung on for a famous away win to make it two victories on the bounce to close August out before the international break. A better start to life in the second tier here compared with two years ago was always going to be vital and the signs were positive as Brighton aimed to stay put in the Division for a bit longer. For this afternoon at least, the Seagulls were soaring into the top half of the Championship!

LEI Table

LEICESTER 0 BRIGHTON 1
Virgo

LEI Goal LEI Replay

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

NEXT; #20 BRIGHTON 0-1 READING 21/03/2005

#51: Hull 2-1 Brighton 24/02/2014

#51 HULL 2-1 BRIGHTON FA Cup Round Five Replay
Monday 24th February 2014 LIVE on itv4

HULR Titles

PRESENTER Matt Smith GUESTS Gordon Strachan & Phil Brown
COMMENTATORS Sam Matterface & Clarke Carlisle REPORTER Ned Boulting
7.45pm Kick Off; KC Stadium, Hull     7.30-10pm FA Cup Live on ITV4

HULR Ident HULR Sponsor HULR Intro

Context of the Match: Tonight’s FA Cup Fifth Round Replay came just a week after the original tie in Falmer. That night ended in a one-all draw, with Leo Ulloa opening the scoring finishing superbly to lift it over the goalkeeper. The Albion held out until five minutes to go when Yannick Sagbo slotted home the equaliser. The draw for the Quarter Finals meant Sunderland awaited the winners, and a chance for Brighton to reunite with last summer’s departed manager Gus Poyet. The additional fixture tonight was the last thing either side wanted, with Hull using all their resources to remain a Premier League club again next season whilst the Seagulls are in the midst of another slog towards a Play Off place in the Championship for the second season running. Forty-six  League games plus several Cup matches really do take it out of you. To make things more complicated, this midweek had Champions League and Europa League fixtures in place. An agreement between UEFA and the various Football Associations tries, where very possible, to avoid scheduling top-level domestic fixtures up against UEFA matches to avoid a television clash. Consequently it was agreed that, as it was to be broadcast Live by ITV, the game would take place on the Monday night – just as it was in the original tie seven days ago. This forced both sides into playing two games in just over forty-eight hours. The Albion lost two-one at home to fellow promotion chasers Wigan; the first loss in Falmer since the beginning of December. Hull fared a lot better, victorious at struggling Cardiff by four goals to nil. Having lost Liam Bridcutt and Ashley Barnes in the January transfer window and with several injuries affecting the wider squad, Brighton were fighting against the odds as the games came thick and fast.

HULR Hull HULR Brighton

The Teams: Brighton struggled to replace the big names lost in the January transfer window. David Rodriguez came in to today’s starting eleven up front on a free from Celta Vigo. He had spent his entire career in the Spanish leagues at the likes of Almeria and Salamanca before enjoying success at Vigo. Another striker came in on loan; Jonathan Obika. He spent his youth at Tottenham but first-team appearances for them were virtually non-existent. Instead he’s had several loan spells with lower League sides, including four separate spells at Yeovil, whilst we are the latest club for him to try his luck away from Spurs at. He scored against Port Vale in the Fourth Round of this competition. The most well-known perhaps of the window signings was central midfielder Dale Stephens, a regular in the highly rated Charlton side champions of League One in 2012. He came through the ranks at Bury before moving to Oldham early in his career. Having played for Charlton during their FA Cup campaign he would be unavailable for tonight’s match. Brighton made five changes from the weekend as regular first choice members Kuszczak, Bruno, Greer, Orlandi and Stephens made way. Coming in to the defence were Lewis Dunk and Inigo Calderon. Cup goalkeeper Peter Brezovan continued to deputise, whilst Jake Forster-Caskey and Keith Andrews were the options in midfield. LuaLua and Solly March were subs if required. Steve Bruce’s Hull City made even more changes to their line-up from Saturday, bringing in six new faces. This included goalkeeper Steve Harper, who played a handful of matches on-loan to the Albion early on in the first season at The Amex. Elsewhere Matty Fryatt returned to the side, as did Sone Aluko and Yannick Sagbo, who scored the equalising goal a week ago in Sussex to take this tie to tonight’s replay. Liam Rosenior and Tom Huddlestone warmed the bench. Refereeing was the Premier League’s Andre Marriner.

HULR Smith HULR Strachan HULR Brown HULR Studio

Presentation Team: ITV’s second choice host Matt Smith presented tonight’s Live Replay, continuing his long association with them stretching back to 2001 and the ITV Sport Channel. During his time with the commercial broadcaster he has hosted Live matches in the Champions League, FA Cup, international matches, Europa League, friendlies, World Cups and European Championships. He was the regular host of Football League highlights programme The Championship on Sunday mornings from its inception in 2004 to its demise in 2009 when rights moved to the BBC. Since 2008 he has been heavily involved in the FA Cup coverage, hosting Live games and doing the regular evening round ups and would be doing a lot for the upcoming 2014 World Cup. Alongside him in the studio were Gordon Strachan and Phil Brown. Strachan had formed a very good double act with Matt Smith from their coverage of the competition over the past couple of years and was a regular on the channel. The week after he last pundited on an Albion game, versus Newcastle in January 2013, Strachan secured the Scotland National Team managers job. They failed to secure qualification for the Brazil World Cup, but the Scotsman would be going with ITV instead. Being an international manager affords quite a lot of time spare during the season so he and Republic of Ireland boss Martin O’Neill often spent time in the studio, much to our enjoyment. Also on duty tonight was the former Hull gaffer Phil Brown. He gained notoriety as Sam Allardyce’s assistant during their successful Bolton Wanderers spell in the early noughties before becoming a number one in his own right at Derby. He joined the Tigers as Phil Parkinson’s coach before graduating to first team duties after Parkinson’s sacking. Brown kept Hull in the Championship in his first season and the following year won the Play Off Final at Wembley to rocket them into the Premier League for the first time. Life in the top Division began so well and avoided relegation on the final day of the season in 2009. The feat couldn’t be repeated the following campaign and he was placed on gardening leave before being sacked in the summer. A bad spell at Preston ended prematurely and he spent some time in the media on BBC Radio Five Live, Talksport and various magazine programmes on television to keep his profile up. He now was boss of League Two Southend enjoying happier times.

HULR Coming Next HULR Comms

In the commentary box were Sam Matterface and Clarke Carlisle, a relatively new pairing for ITV but due to circumstances were sat second in the pecking order going into the summer’s international tournament. Previous understudies to ITV number one Clive Tyldesley were Peter Drury and Jon Champion, were both offered better positions for international broadcasters for the World Cup and, understandably, prioritised that over picking up the scraps for the UK. Drury would be leading the world feed commentaries for the Host Broadcaster whilst Champion was snapped up with ESPN for America’s coverage behind Ian Darke. This lead to the rushed promotion of Sam Matterface this season having not had much television commentary experience. Prior to this point he was perhaps better known as a Sky Sports News presenter, which he did between 2007 and 2010 where he then moved to Talksport to voice their newly acquired Live radio commentary rights of the Premier League. From the 2011/12 season he started to pick up the odd commentary for ITV highlights on FA Cup and European matches. His regular partner of late was former Blackpool and Watford defender Clarke Carlisle. His playing career was mostly spent in the Football League where he achieved promotion with Queens Park Rangers and Burnley. However it was his work outside of the game which propelled him more into the public’s conscience, for good and bad reasons. The good reasons centred around his articulate speaking and media appearances. He famously won ITV’s Britain’s Brainiest Footballer and appeared as a contestant on three episodes of Countdown on Channel 4 and even BBC’s Question Time, all whilst still a player. Towards the end of his career he appeared more frequently as a pundit across various media outlets such as BBC’s Match of the Day 2 and Radio 5 Live, Sky Sports coverage of the Football League and on co-commentary for ITV. He also investigated racism in football for a BBC Three documentary and explored the taboo subject of men’s mental health, having suffered from depression himself and sadly attempted suicide. In 2010 he was announced as the new chairman of the Professional Footballers Association. After retirement in 2013 his appearances with ITV increased further. Completing the line-up was reporter Ned Boulting. He was ITV’s all-rounder, increasingly covering darts and cycling as well as the various football competitions. In addition he reported on the 2012 London Paralympics for Channel 4 and released cycling books based on his times at Le Tour de France.

HULR Garcia HULR Coming Up

The Coverage: Things had changed at ITV since our last appearance in January 2013. Firstly the logo had a major rebrand the week after that match to this joined-up curvy lettering across their family of channels. The ITV Sport logo became green and was added onto the scorebar for Live matches. The graphics hadn’t changed their look but there was no an additional entrance and exit sound which was akin to a loud paper tear, unfortunately. Enough to frighten the dog. The theme tune remained as Jim Copperthwaite’s ‘FA Cup’ track, especially composed for ITV. The big change was to come at the end of the season though as this would be the broadcaster’s last season of FA Cup coverage. The BBC would be taking over as terrestrial partner following this season’s climax. On top of this, the Champions League and Europa League would be moving to BT Sport on an exclusive basis from 2015, meaning that ITV would be left with no regular Live club football. They would still have European highlights and Live England international friendlies and qualifiers but these were sparse and irregular. With the contract coming towards its end, it was unsurprising that their obligation to cover a Live replay from this competition featuring two smaller sides would be shunted over to ITV4 rather than broadcast on the main channel. Hull versus Brighton was the only replay at this stage, meaning it automatically went to ITV as first choice. When the match would be played took some negotiating, with both sides in League action the previous Saturday and the midweek being a Champions League one, they were left with little option but to cram this one in on Monday night. This gave both sides only around fifty hours between matches. Matt Smith hosted from the in-stadium studio box at Hull’s Kingston Communications Stadium, with the coverage beginning fifteen minutes prior to kick-off. His pundits Gordon Strachan and Phil Brown were sat behind a high desk which slotted together so all three were in tandem, with a plasma screen covering their legs. With much talk being about both teams playing twice in three days, Gordon Strachan didn’t understand the complaints. “Top players get used to playing game after game after game. If you want to be a top player, you have to play a lot of games. If you want a lot of rest, play for a rubbish team, you’ll be fine, you’ll get loads of holidays.” Spoken with the trademark wit that has made him such an entertainer in press conferences and television studios over the years.

HULR Offside HULR Highlights

ITV crammed two short advert breaks into their fifteen minute build up, as they did with the Champions League coverage, meaning features and VTs were missing here and the pre-match was mostly chat. Reporter Ned Boulting interviewed both managers in the tunnel to hear their plans. Oscar Garcia told the style wouldn’t change despite playing away from home and to higher opposition; “We will try to play as we play every game. We want to keep the possession, to create chances and hopefully – we must – we have to be more clinical in front of goal.” With the teams starting to line-up in the tunnel, Smith got the final thoughts of his pundits before the second ad break, after which he handed to the commentary team of Sam Matterface and Clarke Carlisle with the referee set to kick things off. At half-time the focus was on the two Hull goals and how avoidable they were from Brighton’s perspective. Much of the blame for the pundits laid at Brezovan’s door for the first, whilst the second was shown to be offside using lines drawn on the pitch. At half-time and full-time, as well as score updates during the ninety minutes, we were kept abreast of the other FA Cup tie being played tonight; Sheffield Wednesday against Charlton which was postponed due to the weather on the original Fifth Round weekend. Just shy of fifteen minutes remained to get reaction and analysis from this replay. Ned Boulting spoke with the two Hull goalscorers in the tunnel; Curtis Davies and Robert Koren. Pundit Phil Brown bemoaned Brighton’s lack of urgency even when just one goal behind, not doing enough to threaten for an equaliser. The goals were all dissected, with a hint of offside on Brighton’s goal dismissed as it was Calderon rather than the scorer who was off. A further advert break came during the post match show, after which highlights of tonight’s other match – Sheffield Wednesday versus Charlton – were shown. Commentary on that edit was provided by Derek Rae, formerly of ESPN now of BT Sport and occasional ITV highlights commentaries. During that game a header was extremely close to crossing the line but was ruled not to. ITV applied their best graphics wizardry to clear it up in the style of the Hawkeye Goal Line Technology feature which was introduced in the Premier League at the beginning of the season, but not available to Football League teams. And we were done, as Matt Smith signed off from the KC Stadium around 10pm.

HULR Sub HULR Goal

Story of the Match: With the salmon ball on the centre spot, Brighton got the game underway kicking from left to right. Hull dominated the early stages and caused panic in the Albion defence on a few occasions within the opening quarter of an hour. Peter Brezovan in-goal seemed hesitant, his nerves spreading to the back four protecting him. The Tigers took the lead in the fourteenth minute. Captain Robert Koren floated in a corner from the near side and was headed back towards goal by Curtis Davies. His header looped up as Brezovan was scrambling to get across his line. Jake Forster-Caskey, under pressure from David Meyler, couldn’t leap high enough to help his goalkeeper out and the ball fell into the net via the post. Davies’ celebration summed it up, almost unsure if it was his and how that had gone in. It was his. After the goal Brighton grew into the match more without really looking too dangerous. Hull looked more likely to double their lead, particularly from set pieces. They did exactly that ten minutes before half-time when Koren’s free kick somehow found its way in. His shot from the edge of the D was low and looked to be heading straight into the arms of the goalkeeper before it got a little deflection right in front, four yards out. Brezovan had already committed himself down to his left, meaning the touch from Fryatt ricocheted off the Slovakian’s fist and bounced up over his line. Fryatt was actually in an offside position when the free kick was taken so the goal shouldn’t really have stood, but nonetheless it was another poor goal to concede. The wall didn’t do a particularly good job, the tracking for the second ball was slow and the spectacle as the ball crept in didn’t appear too clever. This was now a long way back for Brighton, both in terms of the match and geographically. Clarke Carlisle on co-commentary suggested pace was needed from the away team if they were to get back into this Cup tie. It was severely lacking. Kazenga LuaLua was brought on at half time to try to inject some pace and trickery into the Brighton side. Inside the first five minutes of the restart the away side hit the crossbar. Lewis Dunk was still forward following a cleared corner. Stephen Ward crossed from the left touchline to an area containing three blue and white stripes leaping for the same ball. It fell to the feet of Dunk to thunder a shot from ten yards with his left but the woodwork prevented the comeback. A quarter of an hour passed before Hull had a chance to really wrap things up through Sone Aluko. A poor touch from Calderon invited the Tigers to come forward in numbers, Hull played the ball nicely diagonally across the field where it eventually found Aluko on the near side in the penalty box. As he was preparing to shoot, Ward through his body full length to block for the corner. With a little over twenty minutes remaining, Brighton got their breakthrough. LuaLua was brought down by Meyler for a free kick on the near touchline. David Lopez whipped in a terrific ball, full of pace and curl. It only needed a glance on its way in from the head of Ulloa six yards out to take it past Harper in goal and bring Albion within one of an equaliser. It was the Argentinian striker’s fifth goal in as many games. Disappointingly though, a second never came. It never really looked like coming and the final twenty minutes weren’t too difficult for Hull to see out the tie. It would be the Premier League team who progressed by two goals to one. They would go all the way to the Final, where Arsenal needed Extra Time to overcome them. Brighton’s focus was now all about the League and up into a Play Off place.

HULR Full Time

HULL 2 BRIGHTON 1
Davies, Koren Ulloa

HULR Replay

PREVIOUS; #50 BRIGHTON 1-1 HULL 17/02/2014

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

#50: Brighton 1-1 Hull 17/02/2014

#50 BRIGHTON 1-1 HULL FA Cup Round Five
Monday 17th February 2014 Image result for bt sport logo

HUL Titles

PRESENTER Darrell Currie GUESTS David James & Jimmy Bullard
COMMENTATORS Ian Darke & Adam Virgo REPORTER Chris Hollins
7.45pm Kick Off; Amex Stadium     7-10pm FA Cup Live on BT Sport 1

HUL Promo HUL In Play Bet HUL Intro

Context of the Match: Brighton had started to find the consistency required if they were to make the top six in Oscar Garcia’s first season in charge. With two-thirds of the Championship campaign gone, the club were seventh in the table. A run of just two defeats in fourteen across all competitions saw the Seagulls cement their place as one of the contenders. The last three home matches were all settled by a solitary Brighton goal to nil, highlighting the defence’s solidity. With Gordon Greer and Matt Upson almost immoveable from the team sheet, 2011 Player of the Year Adam El-Abd wasn’t getting a look in so chose to depart for Bristol City in the January transfer window. He played his 300th, and final, League match for the Albion in the victory over Birmingham. Tonight ordinarily would have been an opportunity for him to have featured, being a Cup tie, as he did in the Third Round one-nil win over Reading at The Amex. Andrew Crofts got the only goal of that match. In Round Four the team beat League One Port Vale, managed for former Albion boss Micky Adams. Goals from Rohan Ince, Solly March and Jon Obika saw off the Valiants three-one to progress to this Fifth Round tie tonight. Newly promoted Premier League Hull City were drawn to come to The Amex. The Tigers went up as runners-up last year and were holding their own back in the top flight, sat thirteenth in the table. The last time they came to The Amex was a televised League match in which Vicente scored the only goal of the game almost a year ago. More recently, wins had been very hard to come by with just two in thirteen in the League. In the Cup they reached this stage by defeating Middlesbrough and Southend both by two goals to nil. Tonight’s Championship versus top Division clash attracted the attention of BT Sport, in their first season of broadcast, to elect to cover the game Live. The date was set for a Monday night fixture under the lights and in front of more than 21,000 spectators. The draw for the next round had already been done, with the winners due to host Sunderland. They of course were now managed by a certain Gus Poyet. Would the reunion be on or would it be Steve Bruce taking Hull to face his former club?

HUL Brighton HUL Hull HUL Formations

The Teams: Two key components of the League One title-winning squad left in the January transfer window. Midfielder Liam Bridcutt, pivotal to the Albion’s solid line and back-to-back Player of the Season in 2012 and 2013, was snapped up by his old boss Gus Poyet at Sunderland after weeks of speculation for around £3 million. This followed the news of striker Ashley Barnes move to Burnley after four years in Sussex. The Premier League was slowly picking apart the successful squad, a common theme during the Championship years. With Tomasz Kuszczak and Gordon Greer rested for the Cup and Adam El-Abd sold, Slovakian Peter Brezovan and academy graduate Lewis Dunk came into the starting eleven. With limited first-team football available this season for Dunk due to the experience of the regulars in his position, he joined Bristol City on loan for a month back in October. Previously he profited from injuries to Tommy Elphick and El-Abd by starting the early parts of the first season at The Amex back in 2011. Left-back Adam Chicksen had only started twice for the Albion before tonight; both in the FA Cup. Jake Forster-Caskey had featured in the majority of the League games so far but missed Rounds Three and Four. With Andrew Crofts out for the past month, midfielders Keith Andrews and Rohan Ince got more of a regular berth having featured on and off all campaign. Will Buckley had missed all of January through injury but returned to the bench last time out, graduating to a start tonight. Hampered by a lay-off mid-season, Kazenga LuaLua had only begun eight matches before this. Top scorer Leo Ulloa was back in goalscoring form, netting in both of Albion’s previous two matches. Local lad Solly March scored his first goal for the club during the Fourth Round victory at Port Vale and provided an option on the bench. For Hull and Steve Bruce, the squad was strengthened over the summer ahead of their step-up to the Premier League with goalkeeper Allan McGregor and defenders Maynor Figueroa and Curtis Davies all signing. Midfield duo Tom Huddlestone and Jake Livermore moved from Tottenham. Captain Robert Koren missed more than a month through injury earlier on in the year. On the bench was Steve Harper, who had a brief time at the Albion on loan in 2011. Refereeing was Lee Probert.

HUL Currie HUL James HUL Bullard HUL Pitchside

Presentation Team: A familiar name to Brighton’s FA Cup coverage from the past few years hosted tonight’s broadcast. Scotsman Darrell Currie joined BT Sport at launch to be their face of Scottish Football. He transferred from ESPN where he was the pitchside reporter and occasional presenter North of the border, as well as doing FA Cup and Europa League matches. A similar approach was taken here by BT but instead of interviewing, he was now front and centre as host of the various competitions. Joining him tonight was one of BT’s star pundit signings David James. The former England and Liverpool goalkeeper retired from the professional game a year ago and has since been on BT’s roster, rotating with the likes of Owen Hargreaves, Steve McManaman and Michael Owen. James had previous punditry experience having been a part of the BBC’s Euro 2012 line-up. During his playing career he lifted the League Cup with Liverpool and the FA Cup with Portsmouth and won over fifty caps for his country, including wearing the jersey at the 2010 World Cup. Alongside David James on analysis duties was former Hull midfielder Jimmy Bullard. He spent eighteen months with the Tigers, with perhaps his most infamous moment coming during a goal celebration which spoofed his manager Phil Brown’s on-field team talk from an earlier match. Bullard enjoyed greater success at Fulham, reaching the Europa League Final, and Wigan, League Cup runner-up. He came to the attention of Sky’s cult Saturday morning show Soccer AM where his personality and character shone through on funny clips and features. He retired from the game towards the end of 2012 having had several serious knee problems throughout his career. His profile remained high through various media appearances and occasional spells in non-League. On the touchline was reporter Chris Hollins. BT made a habit of sharing ‘talent’ with the BBC and employed many of their presenters across their sports coverage on an ad-hoc basis. This included the likes of Mark Clemmit and Helen Skelton on the National League, Clare Balding was given her own chat show, and Steve Bower and Darren Fletcher commentated for both. Hollins was more familiar on BBC light entertainment, hosting Watchdog and BBC Breakfast sport bulletins and even won the 2009 series of Strictly Come Dancing. I don’t think any of our other presenters on the Albion games could ever say they’ve achieved that! He’s the son of former Chelsea star John Hollins and even played a bit during his youth, featuring for Aldershot and Charlton. His appearances on BT were sporadic but mainly included youth internationals and lower-profile football and rugby but more often than not was in the studio for the daily news programme SportsHub (formerly BT Sport Live).

HUL Dugout HUL On Pitch

In the commentary box were two recognisable names from previous televised Albion matches, and both for different reasons, Ian Darke and Adam Virgo. Commentator Darke was, alongside Martin Tyler, the voice that launched Sky Sports coverage of the new Premier League back in 1992, covering their Monday Night Football strand for the first three years before moving across to boxing. He returned full-time to football in 2005 with Sky where he covered all the Leagues, including our match at Leyton Orient and the JPT defeat to Luton on penalties. He went to the 2010 World Cup for the American version of ESPN and viewers enjoyed his commentaries so much he joined the broadcaster permanently towards the end of that year, ending a long-running association with Sky and the UK. When BT launched at the start of this season, he was one of the first people snapped up, as lead commentator on Premier League and FA Cup duties. Sharing a gantry with him tonight was the former Albion defender-turned-emergency striker Adam Virgo. His playing career has been documented through previous posts here, most famously perhaps during the 2004 Division Two Play Off Semi Final 2nd Leg when his goal in the final minute of Extra Time against Swindon took the game to a penalty shoot-out where the rest, as they say, is history. He was forced into early retirement last October and has been appearing across a variety of media outlets. He covered our last Live Amex game for Sky Sports as a studio pundit – the draw with Watford. He’s also regularly heard on BBC Radio Sussex’s commentaries of the Seagulls at The Amex this year. His association with BT Sport began back in November when he was in the commentary box on their new National League (formerly Conference) broadcasts where he was since become their regular. He took over from James Beattie who struggled to get to grips with Live analysis having done BT’s early handful before Virgo joined and stayed pretty much since, in partnership with Steve Bower. Virgo has a good broadcast voice, provides strong analysis and works very well with whoever he’s paired up with; he clearly has a future in this line of work. It was a vote of confidence from his new employers at BT to give him a relatively high-profile Live match here tonight.

HUL Tunnel HUL VT StatsHUL Naylor HUL Back of the tunnel

The Coverage: BT Sport launched in August at the start of this season as the new direct rival to Sky Sports. In the Olympic summer of 2012 they surprisingly won the rights to broadcast 38 Premier League matches exclusively Live for three seasons from 2013, taking the place of then-holders ESPN, with Sky retaining the vast majority. ESPN was then incorporated into the BT Sport family and therefore many of their existing rights now belonged to BT, including Premiership Rugby and the FA Cup. BT’s move into the pay TV market seemed to come out of the blue, having previously been a leader in telecommunications mainly. Several channels launched from their hub at the former Olympic Park broadcast centre in Stratford, where three multi-purpose shiny studios were housed and the majority of their own programming derived. Key talent were signed up including Jake Humphrey, the face of the channel. Their Premier League offering was initially hosted from their studios, complete with a glass pitch and huge towering screens, however they moved to present from pitchside from November onwards. The regular kick off was Saturday 12.45pm before their Live Rugby Union action. The whole day had a sort of Grandstand feel to it, with the presenters handing over to the next set of hosts at the end of many of their broadcasts, treating the days like one big event. Consequently, full title sequences weren’t really a thing, they appeared more like break bumpers in the bottom left corner. They launched with much fanfare and intrigue and soon signalled their intentions by winning the star prize of exclusive Live UEFA Champions League broadcast rights from long-running partners Sky and ITV having only been on-air for a few months. The rights wouldn’t begin until 2015 but a huge buzz was around the new BT Sport group so early on in its existence. In terms of their FA Cup coverage, this was all presented pitchside from round one onwards, utilising their wider talent that covered both English and Scottish League football. The graphics were used across all their own programming, both Live and magazine formats. The BT logo – complete with their multi-coloured ‘connected globe’ – was key to this set, using it as the replay transition, the titles and the different coloured microphones for presenters. Whilst their Premier League theme tune was Primal Scream’s excellent ‘Come Together’, the FA Cup music was specially composed for them. The biggest change to the norm was moving the scorebar from the top to the bottom of the screen. It was something Sky trialled briefly for a few months in 2007 before viewer feedback led them to revert back, however BT persisted and it worked nicely with their graphics and on-screen channel logo. The in-game astons would peek out from the DOG in the bottom-right, to fill the screen across to the scorebar. They were black and slightly translucent, whilst the programme astons were on purple and grey backgrounds flying in from either side. They were nice and sleek, less flashy than their rivals at Sky.

HUL Ulloa pre match HUL View from the tunnel

Tonight’s broadcast began at 7pm, forty-five minutes before kick off, and was presented from pitchside, and indeed all around the Amex, as BT gained access all areas. Host Darrell Currie introduced the show walking across the pitch to meet his guests for the evening, Jimmy Bullard and David James, waiting in front of the tunnel. This allowed them to grab a quick word with players going out to warm up, first of whom was Hull’s captain Curtis Davies. The presentation team ran through the weekend’s other Fifth Round goals and talking points at the top of the show. After running through the team news, they then went for a little wander inside the tunnel, on the pitch, anywhere they could. These were the advantages of the access-all-areas coverage BT enjoyed and did so well. A VT outlined the differences and similarities between tonight’s two clubs and a potted history, including of course the 1983 Final. A further VT went a little bit more in-depth into the Albion’s past, with interviews with local press gurus Andy Naylor of The Argus and Ian Hart, formerly of BBC Radio Sussex and a fanzine editor, all voiced by reporter Alex Gordon-Martin. They spoke of Tony Bloom’s ownership, the conditions at Withdean in comparison to now, Gus Poyet and current head coach Oscar Garcia, who we also heard from during the piece. Garcia told how he learnt his philosophy at Barcelona; “I was very lucky to play with most of the best players around the world. I learned to be proactive and I like my team to be proactive as well. The first day I came here, I said I want to play for the fans, for the supporters.” The Premier League was the aim, a realistic one at that, no longer the dream, and that’s perhaps the biggest difference over the past few years. On the back of the report, Brighton’s chief executive Paul Barber and tonight’s co-commentator Adam Virgo joined Darrell Currie in the dugout to chat more about the current day club.

HUL BT Box HUL Possession HUL Upson HUL Lifes A Pitch

Adam Virgo stayed with the rest of the presentation team for a bit longer before heading up to the gantry. They kept the step count up by walking and talking on pitch, weaving around the warm ups as we watched desperate for someone nobody to get hit by a stray football. They highlighted Leonardo Ulloa – captioned as Jose as technically that is his real first name. After the break, reporter Chris Hollins picked the brains of both managers in the tunnel. Garcia explained the changes made to his starting XI, believing those selected would have enough to do the job; “I am only focussed on this game and I prepared a team to do everything we can to get through to the next round,” whilst acknowledging of course that he was expecting a tough game. As kick-off neared, we got a further glimpse inside the tunnel as they kept on the move. Currie handled proceedings seamlessly, with a few technical hiccups with lights and microphones unsuccessfully trying to throw him. A final pre-match prediction before handing up to the commentary team saw both James and Bullard predicting comfortable Hull wins. One feature of BT’s big match coverage saw a split-screen bet365 (them again!) advert with Ray Winstone offering odds to “bet in play now!”, becoming his trademark as the last thing before the game kicked off. This was around the period that advertisers could add live info over the top of commercials, betting companies suddenly exploded and were ubiquitous in football coverage. One of the innovations BT claimed was the ‘BT Box’; a small picture-in-picture video which showed another angle to the main coverage. It was particularly useful for showing Live events during a replay or if an off-the-ball incident was occurring. However it was mainly wasted on manager shots and close-ups of players unfortunately. The idea was good, the execution wasn’t quite right. Just after the final whistle, Man of the Match Matt Upson was interviewed in the tunnel by Currie with his pundits, stating it was “Quite an intense game, bit disappointed, feel a little bit down when you lose a goal so late on but we’re still in the round.” The half and full-time analysis came from the corner between the West and East Stands, one of the few areas of the stadium they didn’t visit during the build up. Around fifteen minutes were afforded after the game to wrap things up and review the goals with the pundits. As usual, Oscar Garcia wasn’t ready to be interviewed prior to the programme coming off-air, though we did hear from Steve Bruce just before closing time. When ten o’clock approached Currie handed over to the next programme, Life’s a Pitch, coming Live from BT’s Stratford hub presented by Des Kelly. This ran most weeknights, reviewing the day’s football news and results and gained notoriety in its early weeks for a rare interview with former Sky anchor Richard Keys, who added fuel to his own fire denouncing his sexist remarks as “just banter.”

HUL Kick Off HUL Comms  HUL Sub HUL Goal

Story of the Match: Immediately prior to the match getting underway, a minute’s applause was held following the death three days ago of Sir Tom Finney. He was acknowledged by many as one of the greatest to have ever played the game, capped 76 times for England and spent his entire professional career at Preston, Finney died at the age of 91. Brighton got the match underway with the FA Cup’s salmon pink ball used this season. The home side made the brighter start, with particular joy on the right hand side through today’s captain Inigo Calderon and Will Buckley. Leo Ulloa used his presence and power up front to cause problems for the Hull back line. It was Hull who went closest first, hitting the crossbar from an excellently improvised overhead kick by Sagbo. Elmohamady crossed in from the right to the edge of the six yard box where the striker was waiting. Having just got in front of the cross he flung his right leg up acrobatically to flick goalwards, crashing against the bar. Peter Brezovan in between the sticks could only look on, relieved the woodwork came to his rescue. But it was Brighton who struck first at the half hour point. Moving the ball from the back, Jake Forster-Caskey played it to Ulloa ten yards inside his own half. He back-heeled it first time to Will Buckley to drive into the Hull half. His through ball sent Ulloa running towards goal in the clear, taking two touches before dinking it over the onrushing goalkeeper for a lovely finish to a fantastic move. The Tigers came roaring back and almost equalised within two minutes. Tom Huddlestone’s corner was powerfully met by the head of Curtis Davies, this time the post came to the Albion’s rescue. The resulting scramble ended up flicking off the knee of Upson into the grateful arms of Brezovan. Warning signs either side of taking the lead had come. In first half stoppage time the Albion should have doubled their lead through Ulloa once more. Buckley’s cross on the right was perfect for the Argentinian to head home ten yards out. It appeared he had too much time and space to make up his mind as he sent his header just inches wide when the chance was crying out for someone with his talents to meet it.

HUL Yellow Card HUL Equaliser

Solly March replaced Buckley at the start of the second half as Albion freshened things up bringing on the teenager. Hull began brighter this time, taking the game to their hosts and controlling the possession. Adam Chicksen picked up a yellow card for a foul at left-back on his one hundredth career appearance. The resulting free-kick was driven across low and the touch could have gone anywhere, luckily for Brighton it skewed over the bar. A tactical change from Hull came with twenty-five minutes left, as striker George Boyd came on for defender Abdoulaye Faye. Steve Bruce was looking to avoid a similar outcome in a Cup tie to when his Sunderland team lost here in 2011, but clear-cut chances were few and far between. The game opened up in the final stages, with counter attacks from both sides. The patience of the Tigers finally paid off with five minutes left as Yannick Sagbo grabbed an equaliser with a well worked finish. Sone Aluko curled a ball towards the penalty spot where Sagbo was waiting. His first touch got in front of Dunk and took it past the defender who laid sprawled out on the floor. Sagbo then found himself one-on-one with Brezovan to calmly slot the ball between his legs and into the goal. Brighton had sat deep, too deep for co-commentator Adam Virgo’s liking, for much of the latter stages and were finally punished. The Albion weren’t too downbeat and with a minute to go almost regained the lead from a corner. Upson’s header on was headed up by Curtis Davies, just enough to creep over his own crossbar. At the other end in stoppage time David Meyler saw his header cleared off the line by Jake Forster-Caskey as neither side wanted to give in for a Replay. It remained one-all at the final whistle, meaning these two would have to have another attempt next week in their bid to join the rest of the Quarter Finalists.

HUL Quarter Finals

BRIGHTON 1 HULL 1
Ulloa Sagbo

HUL Replay HUL Replay Outro

PREVIOUS; #49 BOURNEMOUTH 1-1 BRIGHTON 30/11/2013

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

#48: Brighton 1-1 Watford 28/10/2013

#48 BRIGHTON 1-1 WATFORD Championship
Monday 28th October 2013 Image result for

WAT Titles

PRESENTER Simon Thomas GUEST Adam Virgo
COMMENTATORS Bill Leslie & Andy Hinchcliffe REPORTER Jonathan Oakes
Delayed 8pm Kick Off; Amex Stadium     7.30-10pm FL72 Live on Sky Sports 1 [Extended to 10.15pm]

WAT Ident WAT Sponsor WAT Intro

Context of the Match: Brighton were still finding their feet under new manager Oscar Garcia, with form best described as mixed. The club had won just three League matches out of the opening twelve, with just one in the last eight. Four defeats and five draws placed the club in sixteenth place in the Division. Goals were a problem with just eleven in twelve matches coming from only five different goalscorers. The top scorer Ulloa was out injured, leaving midfielder Andrew Crofts as the man with the most prolific record in the current squad. He had netted thrice before tonight. Striker Ashley Barnes was suffering from a lack of scoring which stretched as far back as April. Support was brought in up front in the form of loan signing Leroy Lita. Much was being heaped on the young shoulders of Jake Forster-Caskey to create openings. The defence remained solid, with the core of Bruno, Greer, Upson and Ward protecting Tomasz Kuszczak’s goal. Both the Albion and today’s opponents Watford had an unfortunate thing in common from last season; they were both defeated by Crystal Palace in May’s Championship Play Offs. Brighton lost in the semis whilst Watford went down in extra time. The Hornets had started well again this season, sitting in the top six. However their form had also suffered of late with two defeats in the last three, compounded by losing to promotion rivals Derby at home last week. If both sides were to repeat an extended season, consistency would be key. The corresponding fixture back in December 2012 was televised by Sky Sports in a post-Christmas Saturday evening kick-off, resulting in a three-one away win. Sky picked the match once more for Live broadcast, this time on a Monday night during half-term. Halloween was coming, Brighton were hoping to avoid a scare this time round.

WAT Brighton WAT Subs WAT Watford

The Teams: Brighton’s talented squad was being decimated by an ever-growing injury list, with several key players having lengthy spells on the sidelines. Among these include Liam Bridcutt, Craig Mackail-Smith, Andrea Orlandi, Kazenga LuaLua and Leonardo Ulloa. One change was made from the goalless draw last time out away to Yeovil, with Jake Forster-Caskey coming in for Rohan Ince. He grew up in the Chelsea academy, winning the FA Youth Cup in 2010 before turning professional. He joined the Albion initially with the development squad back in February before moving into the first team under Garcia. As the name suggests, he is related to former Manchester United and England midfielder Paul Ince, being his third cousin. Will Buckley made his 200th career appearance tonight, whilst Craig Conway started at The Amex for the first time. Among the substitutes were new loan signing Leroy Lita, who joined last week from Swansea until January. The striker enjoyed success at Bristol City and Reading early in his career and most recently at Middlesbrough. Also named as a substitute was 19-year-old winger Solly March. He grew up in Eastbourne and signed with the Albion in December 2011 but didn’t feature until earlier this campaign when he made a couple of appearances off the bench. Gianfranco Zola made four changes to his Watford side that lost three-two at home to Derby in their last game. Talisman striker Troy Deeney returned, with Sean Murray, Lloyd Doyley and Davide Faraoni all coming in. Fernando Forestieri would be one to watch up front for his trickery and ability. Last season they were a squad full on loanees with some fourteen players only temporary, this time round a lot of their key players had been signed to the club on permanent deals The biggest loss from the last campaign was striker Matej Vydra who was now a West Bromwich Albion player. Blowing the whistle for tonight’s clash was Keith Hill.

WAT Thomas WAT Virgo WAT Studio

The Coverage & Presentation Team: Sky hosted tonight’s match from the permanent studio within the North Stand, as was now the norm. Regular host Simon Thomas began coverage at 7.30pm, initially fifteen minutes before kick-off but this was pushed back to an 8pm start due to travel problems delaying supporters getting to the ground on time. So we got an extended build up with Thomas and his guest, the former Brighton defender Adam Virgo. He announced his retirement from the game last week after failing to recover from a knee injury at the age of just thirty. Virgo enjoyed two spells as a player with the Seagulls, either side of a move to Scottish champions Celtic in 2005. During his time with us he was used as both a defender and an emergency striker. Now he was in the process of completing his coaching badges and hoping to forge a career in the media. Once this season’s titles played out and the new-for-this-season graphics introduced the fixture, Thomas and Virgo previewed the game starting with a focus on the home team. Virgo explained the differences the club have faced from a couple of years ago to now, unluckily missing out in the Play Offs back in May. He also talked about the challenge Oscar Garcia faced taking over the club that had been shaped by Poyet, with him having a say in the stadium, the pitch and the training facilities and now all of a sudden a new man had to carry that forward. Owing to the various injury problems to the squad as a whole, Ashley Barnes was highlighted as a key man having to step up and play front and centre. FL72’s regular reporter Jonathan Oakes spoke with Garcia ahead of the delayed kick-off, who bigged up the opposition; “They are, for me, one of the three best squads in the Championship and all the players can be a threat for us.” An advert break was taken before attention switched to the away side, highlighting Troy Deeney’s return up front and speaking with manager Zola. The same fixture last season was recalled, as Watford’s devastating counter attack broke Brighton’s excellent home form that night. The scene was set on what the club designated as Halloween ‘Fright Night’, and after another break it was time to hand over to the gantry. Commentary was once again provided by Bill Leslie and Andy Hinchcliffe, who were both present on our previous Live match this campaign at Reading.

WAT Delay WAT Team   WAT Possession WAT Half Time Stats

The half time stats showed Brighton were dominant in terms of corners and edged the possession but the most important line showed Watford one-nil up. Pundit Adam Virgo commented that Stephen Ward lacked a bit of conviction in terms of fully closing down the shot, it was his deflection which broke the deadlock. He praised Will Buckley for getting in some good positions and delivering quality crosses, the finish just lacking from all in blue and white thus far. A clear direction Sky wanted to go in this season was hearing from one of the managers before the second half, we heard from Garcia in the last televised match at Reading and today Gianfranco Zola was interviewed briefly as the half got underway. This coincided with Watford almost doubling the lead so it was ill-advised to cross to him at that point but the goal wasn’t given. Goal line technology was introduced into the Premier League this season but not the Football League. This was discussed in the post-match analysis. Straight after full-time, Jonathan Oakes was on the pitch chatting to the Man of the Match Watford’s Manuel Almunia alongside our captain Gordon Greer. He was asked about the ghost-goal, describing it as “too close to tell. I just tried to get a touch on it and clear it. I knew it was close but I never knew how close it was!” Solid batting away of the question from the Scotsman. After the break, Thomas and Virgo rounded things up, with the show extended from 10pm until quarter-past owing to the delayed kick-off. Virgo believed Brighton would probably be the happier of the two, given their table positions, the threadbare squad and the current form. He agreed that the goal-that-wasn’t definitely should have been and could only suggest the referee just didn’t see it. Gianfranco Zola was interviewed in the tunnel and was shown the incident with Greer and the ball over the line. His reaction was to laugh, commenting “I think there’s no need to say anything… It was a goal, that’s for sure.” Whilst advocating goal line technology, he understood the costs involved which is why the Football League hasn’t gone the same way as the top flight yet. After a few more words from the studio, it was time to come off-air after another solid broadcast.

WAT No Goal WAT Greer

Story of the Match: When the kick off did arrive, fifteen minutes later than scheduled, it was the away side who began on the front foot with a goal inside four minutes. Sean Murray was given a lot of space to receive the ball around thirty yards out. He took just one touch before ambitiously striking for goal. His shot took a deflection off the head of Stephen Ward on the way through to deceive Kuszczak and put Watford one up. The touch didn’t really alter the direction of the ball too much, it appeared more to speed up the pace to take it into the corner of the net. Brighton were caught cold. They were caught in possession just minutes later, trying to be too clever near their own box. The ball found its way to Lewis McGugan whose shot curled just wide of the post. Brighton almost grabbed an equaliser after a quarter of an hour through the head of Ashley Barnes. He powered it towards Almunia’s goal from an inch perfect Will Buckley cross, the ‘keeper though managed to get a strong hand to palm it away. The rebound was volleyed into the side-netting. After Watford’s strong start, Brighton took the game to them after that. Another deep Buckley cross gave Craig Conway an opportunity, his header going wide despite timing the leap well. It was Buckley himself who had the next best chance a minute before the interval. Conway’s cross from the left alluded everyone to the back stick where Buckley met it on the half-volley. He put the ball back in the danger zone with a cross-come-shot which was begging to be tapped home, the Watford defence alive to it quicker. Oscar Garcia would go into the half time break disappointed to be behind having created a couple of good chances, work was required to improve the finishing. Watford began the second half lightning quick and actually should have been awarded a second goal within the first thirty seconds. Whilst Sky were chatting to Gianfranco Zola, we witnessed the Hornets get behind the Albion defence and Forestieri shoot for goal. He beat Kuszczak but not Gordon Greer who blocked the initial effort. Greer’s heavy touch though took the ball towards the line, and indeed about a yard over it, before booting it away. The refereeing team did not spot this and Brighton got away with one, it remained just a goal to nil. Replays confirmed it was a definite goal. Ten minutes into the second half Brighton found their equaliser. Craig Conway’s corner into the middle aimed for the head of Greer. The ball scrambled around before falling to Andrew Crofts side-on. It sat up nicely for him to improvise a fantastic half-volley on the turn which flew into the top corner. He used fantastic technique to adjust his position and execute a clean strike on goal which was never being saved, and Brighton were level. Bruno almost scuppered this five minutes later after a late lunge not only risked him a second yellow card but also a penalty, as the foul was right on the edge of the box on the far side. Fortunately neither occurred. The resulting free kick from McGugan needed to be tipped over the bar. Ashley Barnes led the Brighton attack gallantly but he was having to do everything himself, with little in the way of support. It was a thankless task, slightly alleviated by the introduction of recognised forward Leroy Lita, but chances were at a premium. Watford almost snatched a late winner after a terrific run from the halfway line from Faraoni to cross for Forestieri. His header back across goal bounced off the near post and cleared away by Upson. With less than five to play, Brighton forced Almunia into a save to prevent Crofts getting a brace. Lita crossed for Buckley to lay it off with a lovely cushioned touch. Crofts hit one on the half-volley which was always rising but remained on target. The defence had to be alert in the final few minutes but they held out for the draw which was a fair result overall and an improvement on the three-one defeat last time out at home to the Hornets. Onwards and upwards for Brighton.

WAT Table

BRIGHTON 1 WATFORD 1
Crofts Murray

WAT Replay WAT Goal

EXTRA; Sky Sports magazine programme FL72 Review was broadcast immediately prior to tonight’s Live show. Hosted from Sky Studios cafe, presenter George Gavin was joined by regular third choice co-commentator Garry Birtles to look back at all the weekend’s goals as well as a quick preview of the big match at The Amex. The cafe setting allowed for staff to mill around in the background as the hosts sat with a large coffee perched front and centre.

FL72 Titles FL72 Studio

George Gavin spoke with tonight’s co-commentator former England international Andy Hinchcliffe, who was standing by pitchside in Falmer. He mentioned Brighton’s injuries to five or six key players, giving hope to the side upon their eventual return; “Oscar Garcia will be desperate for those players to come back and come into the side, and when they do Brighton will be a very different team and I’m sure they’ll climb up the table very quickly.” We talked up Watford’s abilities, following on from going close last season they scored plenty of goals and played attractive, flowing football.

FL72 Split Screen FL72 Hinchcliffe

As there wasn’t time to hear from Oscar Garcia after the match, his interview was added to the highlights of the match shown throughout the night and on Sky Sports News. In his chat with Jonathan Oakes he said regarding his side’s reaction to the numerous injuries plaguing the team; “We had two options; to cry or to look forward. And we are looking forward, for this I am very proud of my players.” He also believed goal line technology would be a bonus, the more things to help improve the better.

WAT Garcia

PREVIOUS; #47 READING 0-0 BRIGHTON 15/09/2013

NEXT; #49 BOURNEMOUTH 1-1 BRIGHTON 30/11/2013

#46: Brighton 0-2 Crystal Palace 13/05/2013

#46 BRIGHTON 0-2 CRYSTAL PALACE Championship Play Off Semi Final 2nd Leg
Monday 13th May 2013 Image result for

PAL Titles

PRESENTER Simon Thomas GUEST Peter Beagrie
COMMENTATORS Bill Leslie & Don Goodman REPORTER Jonathan Oakes
7.45pm Kick Off; Amex Stadium     7.30-10pm Play Offs 2013 Live on Sky Sports 1

PAL Promo PAL Sponsor PAL Intro

Context of the Match: It was now a one game shoot-out to decide who would go to Wembley in a fortnight to contest the Championship Play Off Final. After the most dramatic of last gaps finishes the previous day saw Watford prevail over Leicester. Anthony Knockaert missed a penalty, had the rebound saved and then Watford dashed up the other end to score and seal their place in the one-off match. Brighton and Crystal Palace knew who they’d be facing, it was now just a case of getting through to it. Following on from the nil-nil draw in the First Leg, Brighton would probably be the happier of the two sides with the decider tonight at The Amex. The Albion hadn’t lost here in 2013 so far, whilst Palace’s overall form was the worst of any side going into the Play Offs at this level for six years. They had just one win in eleven, just two away from home since November and yet the joint-most prolific strike force in the League. A curious stat surrounded the first goal; Brighton hadn’t lost when scoring first however they’d not won after conceding first all season. In a contest as tight and as closely fought as these Play Offs would be, the opening goal was even more crucial following Friday’s stalemate. The Albion would probably have been feeling the more disappointed of the two sides having created a couple of absolutely great chances in the first half; particularly Speroni’s save from Dean Hammond’s point-blank header. That was closely battled as had been the battles with the rivals so far this campaign. The head-to-head records didn’t separate the pair either, with both sides winning by three goals to nil at home on each of the two fixtures. The goalless First Leg was Albion’s seventh stalemate of the campaign, perhaps highlighting how good the defence was compared with a similarly goal-shy attack. Prior to last season, this fierce rivalry had gone six years since the previous meeting so there was understandable nervousness and animosity for this winner-takes-all bonanza. Whilst Gus Poyet had never experienced the Play Offs, Brighton had; most recently gaining promotion to the second tier by beating Bristol City in the Division Two Final. Mark McGhee was in charge then, how would the Gus bus cope with the high-stakes contest now? Brighton were aiming to return to the top flight for the first time in thirty years after relegation in 1983 the week before the FA Cup Final. This was our Cup Final now.

PAL Brighton PAL Palace PAL Subs

The Teams: After a decent trip to Selhurst Park on Friday, Brighton were unchanged from the draw. The defence conceded just forty-three times in the League all year making them the most frugal in the Division. Calderon, Greer, Upson and Bridge all started in front of goalkeeper Tomasz Kuszczak. The Pole only missed three of the forty-six regular season matches since arriving from West Brom last summer. Wayne Bridge was named in the PFA Team of the Season after a wonderful campaign including three goals. Player of the Year Liam Bridcutt was once again in fine form and picked up the Man of the Match award for Friday’s performance. David Lopez scored a terrific free-kick during the Albion’s three-nil rout last time Palace played at The Amex in March. Leonardo Ulloa netted the other two in that match and would be looking to add to his tally of nine League and one FA Cup goals since arriving in January. With top-scorer Craig Mackail-Smith not likely to return until 2014, Ashley Barnes was the back-up option on the substitutes bench. Ian Holloway named one enforced change to his Crystal Palace line-up with Aaron Wilbraham coming in after the horrific innocuous injury to top-scorer Glenn Murray sustained to his knee ligaments on Friday. His thirty-one goals fired him into the PFA Team of the Season for the Division, alongside his teammate Yannick Bolasie who only made the bench again tonight. Jonny Williams in midfield was a doubt as he came off in the First Leg but recovered well enough to begin here. Wilfried Zaha looked lively in the final half hour at Selhurst, having switched wings to get the better of Calderon because he had no luck against Bridge. Julian Speroni made one or two good saves in-goal. Owen Garvan hadn’t featured much during the calendar year, missing twenty matches, but continued in the middle for the third time in a row. A big game required a big name, Mark Clattenburg got the refereeing gig.

PAL Thomas PAL Beagrie PAL Studio

The Coverage & Presentation Team: The Play Offs continued to be hosted Live from the stadium with main host Simon Thomas at the helm. He was joined in the Amex studio by the number one pundit Peter Beagrie for the duration. Once the Play Off specific titles had played out fifteen minutes before kick off, clips from Sunday’s incredible other Semi Final rolled as Watford defeated Leicester in the most dramatic of fashions. Bill Leslie’s commentary would live long in the memory; “DEENEY! Do not scratch your eyes, you are really seeing the most extraordinary finish here with the very last kick of this Play Off Semi Final, Troy Deeney wins it for Watford.” The best bits from Friday’s First Leg followed, backed by dramatic music. The regular duo of Thomas and Beagrie were joined by Watford manager Gianfranco Zola in the studio for the first portion of the programme, before he headed to his seat in the stands to witness his Final opponents. The trio talked us through those incredible scenes from the previous day, as Anthony Knockaert missed his last-minute penalty for Leicester, as well as the rebound, before Deeney punished them in the most dramatic style. It was a moment that would live forever in Play Off history. Due to Zola’s presence, much of the first part of the show was devoted to Watford and his thoughts on tonight’s clash. Both Beagrie and Zola knew we would be in for a very close, tense match tonight. After the commercials, the teams waited in the tunnel whilst reporter Jonathan Oakes’ interviews with the two managers were shown on a split-screen. Gus Poyet hoped playing at home would be the advantage for Brighton, with the wide pitch and the victory over Palace just two months earlier all helping. “We are ready and we know how to deal with different situations,” he said. Everything was set, time to hand over to Sky’s premier commentary team of Bill Leslie and Don Goodman.

PAL Zola PAL Split Screen PAL Lynam PAL Analysis

The stats at half-time showed Brighton on top in terms of possession – 59% to 41% – and attempts on goal – five to Palace’s two, however only two on target. Peter Beagrie was surprised how the first half turned out to go the opposite way to what was predicted, as Palace took the game to Brighton rather than soak up the pressure to counter attack. After the final whistle, with Crystal Palace players jubilant on the pitch in front of their supporters, the pictures stayed with them for immediate reaction. Jonathan Oakes spoke with Man of the Match Wilfried Zaha, goalkeeper Julian Speroni and manager Ian Holloway all together. After the break, less than ten minutes remained before the scheduled finish so Thomas and Beagrie had to be succinct in their analysis. They had praise for Holloway’s superior tactics and clinical finishing. Gus Poyet’s post-match interview was understandably downbeat, but also interesting in terms of his future. “There’s plenty of things to check. Where is the roof? Did we hit the roof today and there is nothing above? What is gonna be the situation next season but we got time for that?” Asked on his immediate future he responded “Well I’m under contract.. I need to analyse as well my personal diary.” As a supporter there was no doubt Poyet would be here again next season, he’d done a terrific job and probably got us to this position quicker than we should have. But suddenly there was talk about his future and about our club’s ambitions. His comments about ‘hitting the roof’ were rather inflammatory. Did he believe he couldn’t take the club any further? Was the club not equipped to go beyond the Championship? There were many, many questions but so little time. The Sky Sports programme came off-air shortly after the interview but the questions continued for supporters for a long time to come. The main thing was it would be Crystal Palace, and not Brighton, who would be Live on Sky for the Play Off Final in two weeks time. The final, and most sensible words, went to Peter Beagrie who said of Brighton’s season; “You’ve got progression. They’ve done fantastically well, he’s a fantastic manager and it’s a bit raw to discuss his future at this stage.” With that, the team said their goodbyes for another broadcast.

PAL Kick Off PAL Comms PAL Referee PAL Stand or Fall

Story of the Match: Soprano singer Donna-Marie Hughes sang a Live version of ‘Sussex by the Sea’ to lead the teams out ahead of this monumental clash, the biggest game at The Amex so far. She previously performed at the Wolves game on the final day. The crowd was also provided with clackers – which weren’t so popular in hindsight- but did create a fantastic picture of blue and white stripes around the ground. Supporters were really up for this one, an electric atmosphere was created. Leo Ulloa clashed with Julian Speroni in the fifth minute chasing a loose ball, both requiring minor treatment. The full-blooded nature had spilled from the crowds onto the pitch. Zaha was caught in possession just outside his own box by Will Buckley who was able to get a shot away low to Speroni’s right, the ‘keeper equal to it. The Palace forward was not having a good time in his own half, giving fouls and the ball away, yet looked a danger in his more natural attacking role. Inigo Calderon was coping better than he did during the latter part of the First Leg. As on several occasions on Friday, Dean Hammond was a goal threat, shots from long-range falling just wide. Brighton saw more of the ball, it was a trademark under Poyet, but the final delivery was missing. There was panic at the back five minutes before half time when Zaha’s cross from the left was almost sliced into his own net by Hammond; his connection weak enough to slow the ball down for Upson to clear. It was every bit as nervy, every bit as tense as you’d expect. The deadlock continued.

PAL Policing PAL Poyet

The game’s first clear chance went the way of Palace and Jonny Williams. A classic counter attack was led by Zaha who thread through a pass on the half-way line for Williams to bring it forward one-on-one. He reached the edge of the box where he took his shot across the goalie, missing the target in the process. It was a let off for Brighton, who were really struggling to break down the Crystal Palace shape. The rain fell harder as the match went on. Gus Poyet decided to change things up with twenty-five remaining, Ashley Barnes replaced Andrea Orlandi. With his first touch Barnes hit the crossbar. A long ball forward was flicked into the area by Ulloa standing on the edge. Barnes was coming in behind and stabbed it forward as Speroni charged out, the ‘keeper got the faintest of touches to tip it onto the bar before the defence put it behind. The resulting corner also went Barnes’ way, his header then cleared off the line by Dean Moxey as the game really burst into life. Then in the 70th minute, disaster struck. Yannick Bolasie chased down an overhit crossfield pass. He delivered a ball into the box where Wilfried Zaha had run free of his marker Wayne Bridge. Zaha’s header was six yards out and centre of goal, he couldn’t miss and Crystal Palace took the lead. Aaron Wilbraham squandered a couple of decent chances before the final nail in the coffin came from Zaha again with two minutes to go. With his back to goal he rolled Gordon Greer with ease to absolutely thunder home a second goal with his left foot in off the woodwork from ten yards out. It was all over, the fans poured out as the rain poured down. Crystal Palace would go to Wembley to face Watford. They’d win promotion to the Premier League thanks to an Extra Time penalty from 39-year-old Kevin Phillips. Brighton would press the self-destruct button in the immediate aftermath of this result, as Gus Poyet, Mauricio Taricco and Charlie Oatway would all lose their jobs following a suspension and an internal disciplinary investigation. The full details of this may never emerge from what happened that night but it was a terrible shame to end such an incredible reign in that way. The final match of the Gus Poyet era drew to a close, the hunt now began for a new manager to start again on the trail for that elusive Premier League place.

BRIGHTON 0 CRYSTAL PALACE 2
Zaha (2)

PAL Replay

PREVIOUS; #45 CRYSTAL PALACE 0-0 BRIGHTON 10/05/2013

NEXT; #47 READING 0-0 BRIGHTON 15/09/2013

#36: Brighton 0-1 West Ham 24/10/2011

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

WHAM Titles

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

Promo WHAM Sponsor WHAM Intro

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

WHAM Brighton WHAM West Ham WHAM Subs

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

WHAM Thomas WHAM Curbishley WHAM Beagrie WHAM Studio

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

WHAM Kick Off WHAM Comms

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

WHAM Line Up WHAM Fatboy Slim
WHAM Corners WHAM Poyet

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

WHAM Action Areas WHAM Zamora

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

WHAM Injury WHAM Noone

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

WHAM Table

BRIGHTON 0 WEST HAM 1
Nolan

WHAM Replay

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

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

#33: Colchester 1-1 Brighton 25/04/2011

#33 COLCHESTER 1-1 BRIGHTON League One
Monday 25th April 2011 Image result for

COLU Titles

PRESENTER Simon Thomas GUESTS Phil Parkinson & Mark McGhee
COMMENTATORS Gary Weaver & Andy Hinchcliffe REPORTER Patrick Davison
12.15pm Kick Off; Weston Homes Stadium, Colchester     12-2.30pm Football League Live on Sky Sports 1

COLU Ident COLU Sponsor COLU Intro

Context of the Match: Brighton and Hove Albion had done it. After narrowly avoiding relegation into League Two on the final day of the season under Russell Slade in 2009, climbing out of the relegation fight to finish 13th under Gus Poyet in 2010, the Seagulls secured promotion into the Championship in 2011 with a month of the campaign to spare. By the time this Easter Monday fixture arrived, we’d gone one better than promotion; we were the Champions! The Albion had achieved the fairytale story of arriving into our wonderful new home this summer in the best possible style. When today’s match away at Colchester was initially selected for Live coverage by Sky Sports, it was hoped that promotion could be secured in front of the television cameras, possibly even confirmation of the title. Poyet’s men were that good this season that we did it much earlier than that, so we could relax and enjoy a Bank Holiday stroll knowing the outcome really didn’t matter. Owing to the progress to Round Five of the FA Cup plus December postponements, the players had to get through eight games in twenty-nine days in March. The result; eight straight victories. Promotion was secured in early April at home to Dagenham before sealing the thoroughly deserved title away at Walsall. There was one little bit left to achieve, though. Including today’s fixture, three games remained of the season and Brighton were on an incredible 93 points. Could we reach that magical 100 point mark, becoming the first side since Wigan in 2003 to achieve it in this Division? The hosts Colchester had left it too late to have a serious crack at reaching the Play-Offs and for the second season running would have to sit a couple of places outside. The focus was all about the Albion today, enjoying somewhat of an early promotion party in the Easter sunshine.

COLU Colchester COLU Subs COLU Brighton

The Teams: Four changes were made to the Albion side which lost at home to Southampton on Saturday. Top scorer Glenn Murray injured himself so in came Chris Wood, who’d been on loan from West Brom since November. Local teenager Lewis Dunk started for only the second time in the League, with El-Abd dropping to the bench, as was Matt Sparrow. Liam Bridcutt scored a fabulous goal in the 4-3 win over Dagenham and Redbridge which secured promotion earlier in the month but he sat out this one with Alan Navarro coming in. Former roofer Craig Noone was signed from Plymouth in the January transfer window, having excelled during the first half of the season on the wing and returned to the line-up here. Left-back Marcos Painter was the only player to start every League match for the Albion this season, whilst midfielders Gary Dicker and Elliott Bennett also featured in all matches. PFA Team of the Season defender Inigo Calderon continued a fine run at right-back. John Ward’s Colchester were much changed from this fixture last season; with just four survivors from the starting XI thirteen months ago also starting today. They were Ben Williams in-goal, defender Matt Heath, and midfielders John-Joe O’Toole and Kemal Izzet. The U’s were without leading striker Steven Gillespie through injury. David Mooney scored thirteen goals for United, all of them coming at home. The man in black was little Keith Stroud.

COLU Thomas COLU Parkinson COLU McGhee COLU Studio

Presentation Team: Coverage was hosted by Simon Thomas, who had enjoyed a sharp rise into presenting Live football this season. Thomas was most associated with his six years and more than 550 episodes on iconic children’s BBC programme Blue Peter, where he completed London Marathons, climbed mountains, met the Queen, boxed with Amir Khan and all sorts of exciting adventures you associate with the long-running show. Upon leaving in 2005 he acknowledged that “whatever I go on to do now is not going to be a patch on what I’ve done. That’s one of the hardest things about leaving.” He outlined his intentions to go into sports reporting or presenting and that’s exactly what happened. Soon after leaving the BBC, and with their sports department not willing to take him on, Thomas joined Sky Sports News as a newsreader working regularly with Georgie Thompson in the afternoon slot. He hosted a number of Live shows for Sky Sports in the intervening years before getting the chance to host Live Football League broadcasts this season, deputising for number one host David Jones on lower League games. He benefitted greatly from the huge fallout in January 2011 when Sky’s Premier League faces, Richard Keys and Andy Gray, left after leaked sexist comments. This forced a major reshuffle of personnel for the rest of this season. Effectively four hosts auditioned to present their flagship Super Sunday and Monday Night Football programmes; Jeff Stelling, Ben Shephard, Ed Chamberlin and David Jones. With Jones stepping up to the top flight, Simon Thomas presented far more Championship matches, the vast majority in fact, with Jones returning for the bigger games. Thomas’ pundits for today’s game were Phil Parkinson and Mark McGhee. This very fixture was broadcast Live in March last season, with Parkinson a guest on that too, given his Colchester connections as manager between 2003 and 2006. Most recently, until January, he was the Charlton boss. Mark McGhee needs no introduction having achieved promotion with Brighton out of this League, the last Albion manager to do so, in 2004 via the Play Offs and then successfully keeping them in the Championship the following year. That survival was arguably a bigger achievement than the Play Offs owing to the vast differences in budget, stadium and players between McGhee’s Albion and the high-flyers like Sunderland, Leeds and West Ham. McGhee is remembered fondly by many Seagulls supporters for his part in bringing great success to the South Coast, and he still had a property locally long after he’d left the club. McGhee was in-between jobs after managing Motherwell and Aberdeen. In the commentary box were two newcomers to Brighton matches; Gary Weaver and Andy Hinchcliffe. Both men began appearing on Sky’s Live Football League matches this season in a big overhaul of the personnel. Bill Leslie and Don Goodman were the long-established number one pairing, with Weaver used when Leslie or Daniel Mann weren’t, and Hinchcliffe was third choice behind Goodman and Garry Birtles. Today was the perfect low-key opportunity to give the newbies some vital Live experience. On the touchline was Patrick Davison, now in his third season as number two reporter behind Greg Whelan. He also covered this fixture Live last year.

COLU Murray COLU Talent COLU Kick Off COLU Comms

The Coverage: All this year Sky Sports were celebrating 20 years of broadcasting, with special idents and anniversary programming such as the excellently nostalgic The Sky Sports Years, which looked back over Sky’s portfolio for each and every year since 1991. Coverage of the League remained sponsored by bet365, who had their animated logo splashed over so much football output across all the broadcasters around this time it seemed they sponsored everything outside the top flight. The title sequence continued to be soundtracked by Candi Staton’s “You Got the Love”. However the graphics had a slight tweak to them, with the ends effectively chopped off so they sat within the 4×3 aspect ratio ‘safe area’ rather than extended horizontally all the way across the screen. This was introduced around the turn of the year, in a slight effort to look more in-line with the new graphics the Premier League coverage had at the beginning of this season that the Football League wouldn’t adopt until next year. The replay transition was the beautiful trophy the Albion would get their hands on at the final home match of the season, and the last to be played at Withdean, against Huddersfield next Saturday. The show came on-air at noon, fifteen minutes before the early afternoon kick-off. Pre-match build up was presented from pitchside at the Weston Homes Community Stadium, Sky taking advantage of the hot weather. The atmosphere came across well, with Albion fans in full voice and a party mood. For the half and full-time analysis, the team moved up to a more familiar studio position in the corner of the stadium. During Gus Poyet’s pre-match interview he spoke of when he saw this fixture was to be broadcast “how nice it would be to get promoted or to win the League Live on TV. We were so good we done it before coming here so now it’s time to enjoy and to plan next season.” The PFA Team of the Season was announced earlier in the month, with the Seagulls having three representatives; Inigo Calderon, captain Gordon Greer and Elliott Bennett. Whilst former Brighton defender Dan Harding was in there for Southampton, and future signing Craig Mackail-Smith up front for Peterborough.

COLU Pitchside COLU Play Off COLU PFA Team COLU Coming Up

The coverage was all about the Champions, kicking off with a ‘Brighton’s Got Talent’ intro highlighting the individual stars the Seagulls had this season, taking inspiration from Britain’s Got Talent. Phil Parkinson noted of Brighton that “right from the word go they’ve been the best team in the Division. I think back in pre-season, no-one thought they’d have the season they’ve had but as soon as the season started they hit the ground running.” Mark McGhee spoke about the 2004 Play Off Final victory, saying the club had a better opportunity now than his side did what with the ground arriving, giving Albion “a new platform, a new revenue stream that we didn’t have then. A lot of what we earned then was sacrificed in the fight for the new stadium.” Whilst looking at the table it was noted how Brighton could reach the magical 100 points marker. In conversation with reporter Patrick Davison, Gus Poyet told what was left to achieve in the remaining three matches; “Keep the momentum, keep the identity, keep playing football. Keep enjoying, and making people enjoy watching us.” After previewing the game for around ten minutes or so it was time for commentator Gary Weaver to talk us through the team news before the pre-kick-off advert break. At half time the team analysed the first half chances from their studio position, looking at Ankergren’s injury and the Colchester goal as well as the half-chances the away side had mustered. They joked at one point Poyet shouted out to his players “You’re not in blue and white today, you’re in red!” Emphasising how un-Brighton like that first half was. Straight after the final whistle reporter Patrick Davison spoke to Man of the Match Craig Noone and Elliott Bennett. The latter was asked directly about his future, having previously handed a transfer request in. Brighton had rejected offers from a number of higher Division clubs. He responded to if he would be playing for the Albion in the Championship saying, “Yeah, definitely. What Gus Poyet’s created here is unbelievable and all the lads are pulling in the right direction. We play great football, a magnificent stadium to move into and Championship football so why would I want to move anywhere else?” Elliott Bennett joined Norwich in June. After the break the team had just under ten minutes to wrap the match up. Davison spoke with Poyet, who reminded us just what a slog it is in the Football League. “It’s difficult because it was a long season for us, very, very long. From September we were at the top under pressure, the effort and everything you have to do, you’ve done it for a long, long time,” he said before going on to bemoan the goal conceded as probably the worst of the season from a defensive point of view. Thomas, with Parkinson and McGhee, reviewed the goals and the key moments as well as highlighting a couple of players who might be making a case for the manager to include them more next season before it was time to sign off for the afternoon.

COLU Comedy goal COLU Substitute  COLU Stat COLU Yellow

Story of the Match: The glorious sunshine was beaming down in Essex as the Albion, in their change kit of red and black stripes, kicked off. Tactically both teams matched each other in a 4-3-3 formation, slightly different to how Sky had set the graphics up, as Craig Noone was playing much further forward with Bennett sitting in central midfield. Casper Ankergren broke his nose in the last televised League fixture, against Bournemouth back in October, and he was in the wars early on here. Whilst collecting a loose ball his left knee was caught by Henderson but hobbled on. Perhaps the niggle was playing on his mind as a couple of minutes later on the quarter-hour mark, Colchester took the lead after an almighty comedy of errors. John-Joe O’Toole’s effort was dragged somewhat but Ankergren was scrabbling around to get a hand to it, pushing the ball into the path of Tommy Elphick. He swiped at it, completely miscuing it back towards goal where Calderon was waiting. He then also miscued under pressure from the attack, with his attempted clearance across goal falling to the feet of Ian Henderson; presented with the easiest chance of his season to break the deadlock from six yards out. It was a terrible goal to concede and so unlike the solid Brighton defence which earned them twenty League clean sheets. The ‘keeper immediately signalled to the bench calling for a sub, as Peter Brezovan came on for his first League appearance this season. The Albion weren’t playing anywhere near as well as they had done this campaign, passes were sloppy and the defence was sitting deep allowing Colchester to control the ball and the midfield. The first chance came to Ashley Barnes six minutes before half-time with his header from a Calderon cross being simple for Williams in-goal. Bennett was booked a minute later for sarcastically applauding the referee, which for somebody as fussy as Keith Stroud was never a good idea. Colchester should have doubled their lead after James was allowed to run towards the Albion defence, his shot dragged towards the far post where an outstretched Henderson could only divert it over from six yards out.

COLU Barnes COLU Man of the Match

Ten minutes into the second half Peter Brezovan was called into action having to block with his chest and then leap to claw away a second effort. The half time break hadn’t done Brighton too much good as it was still Colchester who were enjoying the better of the play. The Albion’s best chance of the match thus far occurred in the 65th minute, following a quickly taken throw-in to set Marcos Painter free down the left. He pulled it back for Barnes to shoot with his left but inadvertently helped it on towards Chris Wood waiting at the back post. The goalkeeper palmed Barnes’ tame shot onto Wood as they both went for the ball, the ricochet taking it inches wide of the far post. The luck just not quite there for the Champions but the momentum began to swing their way. A couple of scrambles in the area followed in the next couple of minutes as Brighton really began to knock on the door for an equaliser. After a spell of domination, enjoying 74% of the possession, that goal finally arrived through Ashley Barnes. “A clinical finish. It’s the response of Champions!” cried commentator Gary Weaver as Barnes did the pregnant belly celebration. Elliott Bennett was found on the right-wing, turned back on his defender to swing in a cross on his weaker left-foot. It was a fantastic ball in to the right foot of Barnes to volley home on the edge of the six yard box, having ran in front of his marker to beat him to the ball for his eighteenth goal in all competitions this season. Brighton nearly completed the comeback with seven minutes to go when Elphick’s powerful header from an excellent Craig Noone cross was well tipped over by Williams. At the other end Brezovan had to remain alert with a couple of straightforward saves in the final few minutes. The last chance of the match was Chris Wood’s; his header from Bennett’s cross landed the wrong side of the post and the match ended all square at one-one. Brighton didn’t quite manage to reach the 100 point target, losing the final Withdean game against Huddersfield and drawing away at Notts County, but that barely mattered in the end. Promotion was achieved in the best way, as Champions, and second tier football would be played in Falmer come August. The football Brighton played this season was excellent, Poyet’s stock was extremely high and everybody couldn’t wait for the summer break to be over so we could take our seats in a place we could, finally, call home. What a time to be a Seagulls supporter.

COLU Table

COLCHESTER 1 BRIGHTON 1
Henderson Barnes

COLU Replay

PREVIOUS; #32 FC UNITED OF MANCHESTER 0-4 BRIGHTON 08/12/2010

NEXT; #34 BRIGHTON 1-2 LIVERPOOL 21/09/2011

2011 Champions

Brighton & Hove Albion League One Champions 2010/2011