Small Screen Seagulls; 2011/12 Season part 2

Small Screen Seagulls LogoAfter a sensational start to the first campaign at our magnificent new home which saw Albion lead the Championship table in September, form dipped in the autumn with no wins in October. Following the Southampton defeat as featured in part one, Brighton won three League games in a row to send the Seagulls hovering around the edge of the Play Off places. A dreadful December saw four consecutive losses before a fantastic return to form in the New Year. This included knocking out Premier League Newcastle in Round Four of the FA Cup before bowing out to Liverpool for the second time in the Cups this season. As we entered the closing months, a place in the Play Offs was a real possibility. They couldn’t, could they?!

Here are snippets of some of the features and coverage of the Albion during that homecoming season. Screenshots are provided from various clips of coverage by BBC Sport and Sky Sports. This is part two, the first part is HERE.


Brighton 2-0 Portsmouth Highlights

The Football League Show, BBC One (10th March 2012); Championship

POR Titles POR Comm

Since the turn of the year, Brighton were unbeaten in eleven League games ahead of this clash with Portsmouth as the club climbed back up from mid-table to sit in seventh. Pompey however were having a terrible time. They were rock bottom of the Division and on the verge of financial ruin, thankfully granted a reprieve by the League in the days leading up to this match. BBC highlights programme The Football League Show chose the South Coast clash as one of the featured matches.

This edition was presented by the usual host, Manish Bhasin. He gave up the Football Focus gig to lead the BBC’s Football League coverage when they gained rights to the three Division in 2009, their first time broadcasting this level since 1991. Alongside him was Leroy Rosenior, the former West Ham striker turned pundit. He was a familiar face to fans of both Brighton and Portsmouth with his work on magazine show Late Kick Off in the BBC South region. Commentating on the match was John Roder. He too was familiar to the Southern clubs with longer memories, as he was ITV Meridian’s lead commentator between 1997 and 2003 before moving on to Eurosport’s Serie A matches then BBC Match of the Day.

POR Brighton POR Portsmouth

Gus Poyet brought three players into the club on loan during the January transfer window, they all started this match. Up front, Sam Vokes of Premier League Wolves made the switch until the end of the season, having not started for his parent club all campaign. He scored on his full home debut as the points were shared with Millwall a month ago. Vokes was preferred ahead of summer capture Craig Mackail-Smith. West Brom allowed two of their players to gain first-team football in Falmer, signing defenders Joe Mattock and Gonzalo Jara Reyes until June. The latter already had a spell here this season, featuring from October until Christmas before being briefly recalled by the Baggies. The Chilean already had more than fifty international caps to his name. Joe Mattock actually had a loan spell earlier in the season with today’s visitors, making seven appearances.

The visitors were managed by Michael Appleton in his first permanent role. They exited both Cup competitions at the first hurdle and had just the two away victories to date, coming at Burnley and Peterborough. Brighton won one-nil at Fratton Park back in August, with Mackail-Smith netting the winner. Among Portsmouth’s key men today, Greg Halford was a summer signing from Wolves, as was new captain Jason Pearce who moved from Bournemouth. With finances stretched to the limits, regular goalkeeper Stephen Henderson was about to be sent on an emergency loan to West Ham in a desperate bid to cut the wage bill. Seventeen-year-old academy graduate defender Adam Webster filled a place on the bench, having made just three sub appearances to date. Mike Dean was the referee.

POR Vicente sub POR Vicente 1st goal

The first half was one of few chances for either side. Sam Vokes tried to nip in and round goalkeeper Jamie Ashdown after a defensive mix up saw him intercept a backpass from Pearce. It was to no avail. At the other end, Gordon Greer and Peter Brezovan tried their best to help Portsmouth’s situation by gifting them possession on the edge of the box. Scott Allan chipped his effort just over the bar. An almighty scramble in first half stoppage time nearly saw Brighton take the lead but for some resolute defending to ensure it was goalless at the break.

Joe Mattock was the unlikely man the ball dropped to at the back stick in the second half following a Liam Bridcutt cross. Mattock’s shot was deflected onto the post through the goalkeeper’s legs. The game changing moment was the introduction of former Valencia star Vicente. His fancy footwork twenty-five yards out was enough to bamboozle the Pompey defence and bring him down in a dangerous position. The winger got up to take the kick and struck it brilliantly, low and hard into to bottom-right of Ashdown’s goal (above, right). Albion had the lead with a quarter of an hour to play. Gus Poyet’s way of celebrating this was to turn and face up towards the director’s box to make a money gesture with his hands (below, left), frustrated with the budgetary constraints.

POR Poyet money gesture POR Vicente 2nd goal

In stoppage time, sub Kazenga LuaLua battled excellently on the near touchline firstly to hold up the ball to waste time. Then secondly, win the ball back from a tussle with Tal Ben-Haim. He galloped into the penalty area to lay it off to that man Vicente. The ball was very slightly behind him but that did not matter to a man in possession of thirty-eight caps for Spain. He adjusted his position to swing that magical left foot back and hook in a second goal to seal a hard earned three points for the Seagulls.

In his post-match interview, Poyet praised the match winner for coming back strong after injury problems blighted much of his first season in Sussex; “Without any doubt he was the difference because it was a difficult game, close, not too many chances. You needed a bit of quality and Vicente’s got that.” Back in the studio, Leroy Rosenior outlined why Brighton need Vicente to stay fit and how they haven’t quite seen the best of him yet; “Having only played seven games this season, Gus is desperate to get him on the pitch. He has got great quality and he’s got a great left foot.” The win sent Brighton up to fifth in the Championship with ten matches remaining.

POR Full Time POR Studio


2

Long Drive Golf challenge with Sam Vokes and Craig Mackail-Smith

Football League Weekend, Sky Sports 1 (16th March & 27th April 2012)

FLW Titles FLW Everton

As part of Sky Sports’ build up to the three Divisions of the nPower League, every Friday evening they broadcast preview programme Football League Weekend from Sky Studios. The magazine show had goal round-ups, interviews, previews and features packed into a one hour slot, hosted by George Gavin. He’d been involved in Sky’s Football League output heavily since they regained the rights from ITV Digital in 2002, first fronting the coverage as main host and more latterly as the face and voice of the magazine programming in the studio.

The show used a pool of reporters to get the interviews up and down the country, most of whom were Sky Sports News regulars. These included the likes of Peter Stevenson, David Craig, Jonathan Oakes, Mark McAdam and Tony Lockwood. During the 2011/2012 season, another name was added to the fold; Chloe Everton. She first found fame whilst appearing as a contestant on the third series of Channel 4 reality show Shipwrecked broadcast in late 2001. She went on to do some presenting work on satellite channels before joining Sky Sports in the summer of 2007. Everton presented on Sky Sports News, mostly in the Good Morning Sports Fans slot, and co-hosted phone-in show You’re on Sky Sports firstly with Gary Newbon and now Jason Cundy when that relaunched with a new set a couple of years back.

FLW Vokes FLW Mackail-Smith

FLW Golf challenge FLW Laptop

One of the features on the programme this year was a footballers’ golf challenge called Long Drive, hosted by Chloe Everton. There was a long standing link between footballers and enjoying golf in their spare time. The aim of this challenge was simply to find out which of the Championship strikers could hit a golf ball the furthest. On Friday 16th March, it was the turn of two of the Albion forwards; Sam Vokes and Craig Mackail-Smith.

The game involved a real life golf shot taken on the course and relied upon computer technology to measure the distance of the drive with software on the laptop. A leaderboard was kept in order to determine which of the Championship strikers was the best driver of a golf ball. It was also a good excuse to interview a couple of footballers in a more relaxed environment than your straightforward sit down chat.

FLW Vokes shot FLW Vokes distance

FLW Mackail-Smith shot FLW Mackail-Smith distance

The pair chatted about the season so far, as just ten League matches remained. They both praised the efforts of the squad, particularly the recent unbeaten run to climb into the Play Off places. Mackail-Smith was excited by the prospects of the run-in; “Everyone’s enjoying training and looking forward to every game. The next four of five games we’ve got are a few teams around us which will shape our season. But everyone’s loving life and when the sun comes out it’s a nice place to be.”

On loan Wolves striker Sam Vokes was first to take up the challenge. He said he played off a handicap of eighteen, two more than that of Craig Mackail-Smith. The lowest scores were Watford’s Lee Hodson with 195 yards and Bristol City’s Brett Pitman on 196, and ahead of the game that was the Seagulls minimum target to beat; don’t come last! After a few attempts each, it was clear they weren’t going to be languishing near the foot of the board. In fact, Vokes recorded an effort of 303 to climb into second position overall. Before his strike partner went even further with a colossal drive of 324 yards. Mackail-Smith’s faux-surprise tried to suggest he “didn’t even catch that right.” He most definitely did, sending the ball flying further than anyone else.

FLW Leaderboard FLW Top ten

With only a handful of shows remaining, this was a chance for the Albion pair to secure their places at the top of the leaderboard. The likes of Derby, Burnley, Reading and Doncaster had already submitted their efforts. It was Barnsley’s Matt Done who lead the way ahead of Brighton’s go; achieving a score of 307, the only man to go above the three-ton mark before today. With Sam Vokes effort of 303 yards and Craig Mackail-Smith’s 324, both Albion strikers joined Done in that exclusive club. We were used to him running and running on the pitch, covering the length of the pitch. Turns out Mackail-Smith could also do it on the golf course. They would have to go some to dislodge the Scot from his lofty perch.

FLW Studio FLW Remaining Fixtures

Back in the studio, host George Gavin was joined by recently departed Sheffield Wednesday manager Gary Megson. Upon watching Mackail-Smith’s drive, Megson remarked “I don’t go that far on my holidays!” He was clearly a big fan of the Albion number twelve, going on to say; “If there was one player who I could sign outside the Premiership it would be that Mackail-Smith. Terrific player.” The studio pair then discussed Brighton’s form and upcoming fixtures in the hunt to secure a top six finish. Megson put things into context; “Given the fact they came up last year and if somebody had said to them where they would be at this stage of the season, they’d certainly take that. Wherever they finish, it’s been a great season.” They cited Norwich doing a double promotion in the previous two campaigns and the importance of momentum to promotion charges.

FLW CMS vs Pro FLW Trophy presentation

On Friday 27th April, ahead of the final game of the season, Football League Weekend wrapped up the final standings of the Long Drive challenge. Nobody had managed to trouble the top three since Brighton claimed two of those spots a month or so earlier. Therefore Craig Mackail-Smith claimed the prize of top Championship striker with the longest golfing drive at a fantastic 324 yards. Sam Vokes remained in third spot. Chloe Everton revisited Mackail-Smith for one further challenge before presenting him with the overall trophy. They were joined on the course by the UK’s longest driver, professional golfer Adam Stacey.

Mackail-Smith was no match for the pro, as Stacey recorded an effort of 405 yards. He even managed to hit a good couple of hundred once on his knees and another time using just a putter. He was showboating. Upon accepting his trophy in front of an invited crowd including his manager Gus Poyet and his father-in-law the ex-Peterborough boss Barry Fry, Mackail-Smith joked it was “the best award I’ve ever won”. In the studio that week were George Gavin and Peter Beagrie, who briefly touched upon the Albion’s season as a whole. Beagrie commented, “Massively overachieved and what a brilliant debut season in that fantastic stadium. After promotion last year, they’ve been amazing”. Kind words, indeed.


3

Interview with Vicente and Inigo Calderon

Late Kick Off, BBC One South East (2nd April 2012)

LKO2 Titles LKO2 Walker

Dating back to the beginnings of ONdigital in 1998, which went onto be the ill-fated ITV Digital and then Freeview, the digital switchover project had been ongoing in the UK ever since. In a bid to convert analogue terrestrial television broadcasting to digital terrestrial by the end of 2012, changes were made to the way viewers received free television channels. As part of this, in March 2012 the Brighton and Hove area saw their BBC region switched from South to South East. This impacted BBC regional programming, with ITV Meridian unchanged.

Consequently, the region now received BBC South East Today as their local bulletin instead of BBC South Today, whilst the regional football magazine programme came from London and the South East. Albion fans would no longer be grouped with the likes of Bristol City and Exeter, but now with Millwall, Crystal Palace, West Ham, Charlton, Crawley, Stevenage, Aldershot, Gillingham, QPR, Brentford, Watford, Wimbledon, Barnet, Leyton Orient, Wycombe and Dagenham and Redbridge.

LKO2 Studio LKO2 Bright

Football Focus host Dan Walker presented the programme for its 2012 run, usually alongside former Crystal Palace striker and BBC pundit Mark Bright. For this edition Walker was joined by former QPR midfielder Marc Bircham and Crawley boss Steve Evans. The show, broadcast on Monday 2nd April 2012, saw Bright travel to The Amex to hear from two of Albion’s influential players of late; Spanish pair Inigo Calderon and Vicente. For Vicente, his grasp of the English language was not the best so it was an added bonus to be playing alongside a fellow compatriot in Calderon. He also acted as translator for this interview, conducted in the padded seats of the West Stand.

LKO2 Vicente and Calderon.JPG

Vicente was first asked about the differences between La Liga, where he arrived from last summer, and the English Championship. He answered by saying “In Spain, the players are better technically but here in England, it’s more physical, more aggressive.” He explained he had always expressed a desire to play in this country and after speaking with Gus Poyet, Vicente was sold on the club’s ambition. He admitted there were other opportunities in Spain but had no regrets about his choice on the South Coast.

Poyet paid his tributes to the star man too; “He makes this team stronger, when we attack he makes this team different. Because when he’s on the ball, everything can happen.” Inigo Calderon was asked about the ‘promotion’ word, where he was in confident mood of sustaining the fourth or fifth position currently held. Vicente added they were in a good place for it despite not having the budget others enjoyed. As for his future in Sussex, Vicente didn’t yet know but did express he was happy to stay, happy with his contract, the club and embracing life in Brighton.

LKO2 Vicente quote LKO2 Vicente shirt

Back in the studio, guest Steve Evans complimented the job Poyet was doing with the Seagulls; “He’s a football purist… he wants them to play in a style which gets the ball down and play.” The presentation team then talked through the goals from the weekend’s one-all draw at home to Middlesbrough, which saw Calderon nod home the equaliser from a Kazenga LuaLua corner. Pundit Marc Bircham didn’t think Calderon would “adjust to the English style of play in the lower Leagues” when he first arrived but admitted his opinion had since been changed completely. Brighton were leading the renaissance of the South Coast teams, with Evans expecting them to be a Premier League club in the very near future.


4

West Ham 6-0 Brighton Highlights

The Football League Show, BBC One (14th April 2012); Championship

WHAM Titles WHAM Fisher

After the Portsmouth victory placed the club in the top six, it was followed up with just one further win all season. Two draws then two defeats in a row saw the Play Off places head out of their own hands. With four matches remaining, this trip to promotion chasers West Ham would be a big chance to gain some ground on those above them. Win and the dream is still alive, lose and that’s pretty much the season done and dusted. The Hammers hadn’t won at Upton Park since February though, as their automatic push fell a little flat.

As you would expect, the BBC picked this game to feature on their highlights programme The Football League Show. The main pairing of Manish Bhasin and Steve Claridge presented the action, with commentary from Martin Fisher.

WHAM West Ham WHAM Brighton

Gus Poyet had Liam Bridcutt back in the side after serving suspension for his tenth booking of the campaign. Left-back Marcos Painter returned for the first time after three months out injured. A new name on the sheet was Gai Assulin, signed on loan from Manchester City in mid-February as part of a double deal with Abdul Razak until the end of the season. Assulin was preferred to ten goal Craig Mackail-Smith who hadn’t netted since 3rd March.

Sam Allardyce named Henri Lansbury in the starting line-up for the first time in a month. Striker Ricardo Vaz Te was in great form, having scored five in his previous four games. Captain Kevin Nolan scored the decisive goal at The Amex in the reverse fixture back in October, a match which was televised Live on Sky Sports. Taking charge of the Upton Park clash was referee Roger East.

WHAM Vaz Te opener WHAM Nolan three nil

On the day that Neptune Collonges won the last Grand National to be televised Live on the BBC, this match was very much a one horse race right from the off. The warning sign came immediately when Lansbury’s deflected shot looped over Peter Brezovan and onto the bar in the first minute. The Slovakian goalkeeper didn’t cover himself in the third minute either, as Ricardo Vaz Te’s ferocious strike from thirty yards sailed through his arms and in for one-nil. Brighton were under severe pressure and needed their ‘keeper to up his game, which he did in the following few minutes making two vital blocks. But the Hammers were not stopping there and Vaz Te doubled the advantage with less than eight minutes on the clock. His head connected with the deep cross and beat Brezovan low to his right.

Incredibly, it was three-nil just three minutes after that as West Ham went all out to obliterate the Albion within the opening passages of play. “Brighton have not turned up, this is already embarrassing,” cried commentator Martin Fisher. The marking was slack from Matt Taylor’s floated free kick. James Tomkins headed it back across goal and captain Kevin Nolan was waiting on his own to tap home into the roof of the net from all of three yards. It was a shocking start from the Seagulls, conceding three very early goals in the net right in front of the travelling support. The attack calmed down somewhat as the half progressed but by that point it was already too late to recover. Gordon Greer had an effort clawed off the goal line when it looked suspiciously over, but it would have been little reward. The deficit remained three at the break.

WHAM Vaz Te spectacular WHAM Own goal

Seventeen minutes into the second half, the West Ham onslaught continued with two quickfire goals in three minutes. Their fourth of the afternoon was the pick of the bunch, as Ricardo Vaz Te completed his hat-trick in spectacular fashion. Taylor’s cross to the back post was headed into the centre by Carlton Cole. Appeals for a penalty when Liam Bridcutt appeared to bundle over Lansbury were waved away. But it didn’t matter as the ball bounced for Vaz Te to try a bicycle kick. It absolutely flew into the back of the net for one of the finishes of the season.

When it’s not your day, the luck goes against you. It certainly didn’t go our way for West Ham’s fifth. Carlton Cole drove into the box from the left, skipped past one defender before unleashing a fierce drive. But the ball skipped up off the heels of Lansbury as he tried to get out of the way. The deflection gave Brezovan no chance as he was already committed on the ground. That was the final straw for large sections of the away support, who headed for the exits to the pub early enough to still catch the Grand National race.

Continuing on the hard luck theme, the sixth and final goal was an own goal from Gary Dicker. Mark Noble’s in swinging corner could only find Dicker just inside his own six yard box. As he tried to volley clear, he got his timing all wrong. Attempting to boot it with his right, he missed the ball completely and it bounced into the back of the net off his standing left leg. It completed a day of abject misery for the Albion, and it was somewhat fortunate to get away with just the six.

WHAM Full Time WHAM Studio

Brighton’s heaviest defeat since the seven-one humiliation at Huddersfield in August 2009 under Russell Slade put pay to the Play Off hopes this time. Albion were five points off the top six with just three matches remaining. We went so near, yet so far. But what a return to the second tier of English football. Gus Poyet knew the West Ham game plan would be to try and press and try to win it in the first twenty minutes but didn’t deal with it. “A big question that we need to ask ourselves if it was because we have a bad day or because we were not strong enough.”

In the studio, one time Seagull Steve Claridge explained how to shape up against his former side. “There are two ways of playing Brighton; you can sit off them and let them play out from the back and let them dictate the play. Or you can get after them right from the very start.” Sam Allardyce opted for the latter with unstoppable consequences, with Claridge saying it could’ve been five in the opening twenty. This was an unusual result for the club, having kept a tight ship all year. Too many draws in the final weeks of the season cost Brighton a Play Off place, but the supporters couldn’t grumble too much after making such fantastic strides at The Amex. Next season was shaping up to be a cracker.


5

Report on The Amex bucking the trend of dwindling attendances

Late Kick Off, BBC One South East (23rd April 2012)

LKO3 Titles LKO3 Gupta

BBC Late Kick Off in London and the South East region featured a report on attendances at Football League matches. Host Dan Walker began, “Football would be nothing without the fans but these days it’s rare to see a packed stadium outside of the Premier League.” He then handed to Rajeev Gupta’s report detailing some of the challenges clubs faced in with their fanbase in times of austerity. Gupta was a broadcast journalist and producer for the BBC, working across various outlets including this regional magazine programme, having joined the corporation out of university four years earlier.

His report centred around two of the London and South East region clubs with contrasting fortunes; Brighton and Millwall. At The Amex, attendances couldn’t be better. The stadium was packed every week and plans had been given the go ahead already to extend the capacity to include filling in corners and adding in an upper tier to the East Stand. Three-thousand plus people were on the season ticket waiting list. But the Albion were very much an anomaly. “Football League attendances as a whole have been falling and that’s meant some clubs have had to come up with new ways to try and bring fans into grounds”, Gupta explained.

LKO3 Dix LKO3 Ambler

The report used a stadia consultant by the name of John Dix to add context to the worrying trend of dwindling support. “When you start drilling down a bit lower, what you see is the Premiership is quite insulated – not surprisingly. But it’s when you go to Championship and Leagues One and Two that you start to see some of the fans maybe drifting away there.”

We then heard from representatives for Millwall, who had the lowest average gate of any of the London sides in the Championship. Andy Ambler, their Chief Executive, shared some of the schemes they were getting behind in order to win back those fans whose interest may have lessened in recent times. The family section had changed with a concerted effort made to bring in more from the community to that part of the stadium. Things such as food options and overall facilities had been tweaked to appeal more to the whole family.

LKO3 Fans LKO3 Hebberd

John Dix outlined some of the key things clubs should be doing in order to attract higher attendances. He said they needed to understand exactly who their supporters are, where they would draw them from and target them specifically. “We see some clubs who put out a lot of information but it’s focussed at one key group; the diehard fans who will come week in, week out anyway. It’s about looking at the occasional fan.” The impact of a new stadium can benefit clubs hugely, expanding the fanbase and providing introductory offers that then convert people from newbies to regulars. Something Brighton was managing very nicely.

The Albion’s COO Richard Hebberd discussed how the club were encouraging people to make a day of it, rather than just coming for those two hours from three o’clock. The stadium opening hours were extended on matchdays, with turnstiles up two hours before kick-off. More importantly though, certainly as far as revenue was concerned, it was after the match that was proving popular. One of the areas of The Amex was open until eleven on the matchday of filming. Hebberd said, “They’re entitled to feel they’re being well treated… At the end of the day, people will spend money on something that’s good.” Seagulls supporters certainly could not grumble too much about that first season in Falmer. The club missed out on the Play Offs, what a ride it was along the way. But the only thing that ever mattered was getting into that home we could call our own. Now, for many more wonderful years to come!


This is the second part looking back at Season 2011/2012. The first part is available HERE.

#56: Bournemouth 3-2 Brighton 01/11/2014

#56 BOURNEMOUTH 3-2 BRIGHTON Championship
Saturday 1st November 2014 Image result for

56BOU Titles

PRESENTER Natalie Sawyer GUEST Darren Anderton
COMMENTATORS Gary Weaver & Don Goodman REPORTER Jonathan Oakes
5.15pm Kick Off; Goldsands Stadium, Bournemouth     5-7.30pm FL72 Live on Sky Sports 1

56BOU Ident 56BOU Sponsor 56BOU Intro

CONTEXT OF THE MATCH

It was all change at the Albion following the Play Off Semi Final defeat at Derby in May. Coach Oscar Garcia offered his resignation the same night, citing a lack of financial investment in both his transfer windows the key frustration, as well as offloading key started in Ashley Barnes and Liam Bridcutt in January. His dissatisfaction had been clear for a while. The club found itself in exactly the same situation for the second summer in a row.

On 6th June, former Liverpool and Finland defender Sami Hyypia was the surprise appointment as manager of the Albion on a three-year deal. He spent a decade in the Premier League at Anfield, where he made his name at the heart of the defence that won two FA Cups, two League Cups, the UEFA Cup, UEFA Super Cup and, of course, the Champions League in 2005. After Liverpool, he spent the final two years of his playing career with Bayer Leverkusen before retiring in 2011. He immediately moved into coaching, first as Finland’s assistant before returning to Leverkusen initially as caretaker. By May 2012 he was in charge of the first team along with Sascha Lewandowski and finished their first full campaign third in the Bundesliga, qualifying for the Champions League. He took sole charge for the 2013/14 season but was sacked in April after a slightly less successful year.

Upon his appointment at Brighton, Hyypia was all set to bring in former Liverpool and England assistant Sammy Lee as his number two. But, after agreeing to join, Lee u-turned at the last minute to join Southampton instead. Former Albion winger Nathan Jones was promoted from within, rising to first team coach from assistant head coach. Hyypia’s appointment was initially met with optimism.  He followed in similar paths to Poyet and Garcia, whereby he was a terrific player who achieved a lot in his career but was young and new to management in this country.

However, initial results certainly did not go well both on and off the field. Star striker Leo Ulloa couldn’t resist the Premier League lure, joining Leicester for £8million, whilst Will Buckley linked up with former boss Poyet at Sunderland. Spanish contingent Andrea Orlandi and David Lopez were released and Matt Upson joined Leicester for one final go at the top flight. On the field, back-to-back defeats kicked off the new season, at home to Sheffield Wednesday and away to Birmingham, without scoring a goal. Some respite came next with two wins, away at Leeds and against Bolton at The Amex.

But ahead of today’s clash with Bournemouth, victories seemed a world away as the club were on a ten game winless streak stretching back to August. Seven draws suggested a lack of clinical edge in finishing teams off and the Seagulls were sat precariously in twenty-first, just a place above the drop zone almost a third of the way into the new season. What a contrast to the previous two years; where the Premier League was in sight, now all of a sudden League One was a more realistic prospect.

Bournemouth, by contrast, were enjoying a tremendous start to the season, building on an impressive tenth place finish back in the Championship last season. Boss Eddie Howe was named October’s Manager of the Month, whilst striker Callum Wilson won the Player’s award. A one-hundred-percent record last month included an eight-nil demolition of Birmingham at St Andrew’s to catapult them into the Play Off places. Sky Sports cameras were present to see the latest battle between two South Coast teams, Live on a Saturday teatime.

 

THE TEAMS

56BOU Brighton

Just two players who started the last televised match back in May also began here; Dunk and Greer in an otherwise new-look Brighton. After departing manager Oscar Garcia’s complaint of a lack of transfer funds, incoming boss Sami Hyypia didn’t enjoy much shrift from the board over the summer either. A plethora of players were brought in before the window shut, but six were free transfers with a further three on loan. Money was spent, although undisclosed amounts, on goalkeeper David Stockdale and striker Chris O’Grady but both were absent from the squad here due to injury. In fact, there was somewhat of a goalkeeping crisis.

Last season’s ‘keepers Tomasz Kuszczak and Peter Brezovan were released over the summer, and with Stockdale out, this left only teenage rookie Christian Walton. He made his debut during the midweek two-nil defeat in the League Cup Fourth Round at Tottenham, a game in which he performed well, but it would have been unfair to rely on him during a turbulent time in the League campaign. Former Bolton and Wigan goalkeeper Ali Al-Habsi was signed yesterday on an emergency loan and went straight into the starting XI for his solitary appearance.

In front of him was a new look back line, as left-back Joe Bennett joined on a season-long loan from Aston Villa and experienced Northern Irishman Aaron Hughes came in from QPR. They slotted in alongside captain Gordon Greer whilst academy graduate Lewis Dunk became a regular starter after two seasons as a bit-part player. Another Villa loanee, Gary Gardner, sat in midfield next to summer freebie Danny Holla, transferred in from his native Netherlands.

Hyypia called in a favour from his old side, as Liverpool loaned Portuguese attacking midfielder Joao Teixeira to gain first team football for the year. Two summer signings started up top; Sam Baldock moving from Bristol City and Adrian Colunga flying in from Spain’s Getafe. The bench was probably more familiar to fans from last season than the starters, with Craig Mackail-Smith, Kazenga LuaLua and Inigo Calderon providing an option.

56BOU Bournemouth 56BOU Subs

Eddie Howe named Championship Player of the Month Callum Wilson up top. Wilson joined after five years at Coventry for around £3million in July. He netted twice on the opening day win at Huddersfield, with Marc Pugh and Yann Kermorgant also on the scoresheet. Pugh started for our match whilst Kermorgant sat on the bench. Midfielder Andrew Surman moved from Norwich ahead of the season, whilst goalkeeper Artur Boruc was on a season’s loan from Southampton.

There was a distinctly Brighton flavour in the centre of defence; Tommy Elphick spent seven seasons at the Albion after graduating from the youth setup and joined Bournemouth in 2012 following injury forcing him low down the pecking order. Steve Cook made his Seagulls debut in the League Cup penalty shoot-out defeat of Manchester City in 2008 as a seventeen-year-old but only made a handful of appearances in the subsequent three years. He joined Bournemouth initially on loan in October 2011 before making it permanent three months later. Elsewhere, Matt Ritchie was impressing for the Cherries on the wing whilst fellow Scotsman Ryan Fraser was part of the team that gained promotion from League One in 2013. Refereeing tonight’s big match was little Keith Stroud.

 

PRESENTATION TEAM

56BOU Sawyer 56BOU Anderton

This evening’s coverage was hosted by Natalie Sawyer from the Goldsands Stadium, better known as Dean Court. Sawyer started out in production as Sky Sports in 2000, as a runner and graphics operator for Sky Sports News, before progressing on-screen to host on the channel. She became one of the faces of Sky’s coverage of Transfer Deadline Day alongside Jim White and all that yellow. As of the 2013/14 campaign, Sawyer began hosting Live League One and Two matches and became the secondary Football League presenter this season, behind Simon Thomas, combining this with her stints on Sky Sports News. Joining her in the studio was former England midfielder Darren Anderton. As well as thirty international caps and a World Cup finals goal, the majority of Anderton’s career was spent at Tottenham where he featured in the first dozen years of the Premiership. He started and ended his career playing for a team in the Meridian region, beginning at Portsmouth in 1990 before finishing at Bournemouth after three seasons in the Football League in 2008/09. He, perhaps unfairly, earned the nickname ‘sicknote’ for his apparent frequent injuries, though the records show he only ever made fewer than twenty appearances in a season on three occasions; coming in the mid-90s at Spurs. He represented England at both Euro ’96 and World Cup ’98 and since retirement worked as a studio pundit covering Euro 2012 for Canadian broadcaster TSN.

56BOU Studio

In the commentary box were Gary Weaver and Don Goodman. Weaver became more of a prominent voice on Sky’s Football League coverage from this season, having done just a handful of Live matches in the previous couple of years. One of these was Albion’s League One game during the promotion season away at Colchester, where a comical own goal took a little bit of gloss off the title. He was now essentially FL72 third choice, behind Bill Leslie and Daniel Mann. But with Leslie getting more Premier League opportunities, and 3D commentaries all but disappeared because Sky pulled the plug on this football project, the Football League provided Mann and Weaver increased Live match exposure. Co-commentator Don Goodman was one of Sky’s most experienced League analysts, having done the role since 2007. He tended to get the biggest Championship game of the weekend, with the likes of Andy Hinchcliffe and Garry Birtles picking up the rest. Completing the line-up was touchline reporter Jonathan Oakes. He was Sky’s main FL72 interviewer, having taken over from Patrick Davison two seasons ago. Oakes previously reported for Sky Sports News and the magazine programming.

 

THE COVERAGE

56BOU Hyypia arriving 56BOU Results

Sky Sports introduced a new set of idents for the 2014/15 season, with even more dramatic music than before! The theme was based around putting Sky Sports into the picture, as the logo was part masked by the slow-mo action. The Football League coverage was again sponsored by Screwfix for this season, and still going under the branding of ‘FL72’ for the seventy-two clubs in the three Divisions. We did get brand new titles for this year, soundtracked by Woodkid’s track Run Boy Run. The music had previously been used on Eurosport’s coverage of the 2012 London Olympics and more recently for the excellent closing montage to the BBC’s World Cup 2014 Final. The new sequence featured red and white rectangular panels flying around from all over the country towards a generic stadium where they’d build the FL72 logo. These red panels had clips of goals and celebrations on, whilst some of the white panels had club badges. It reached a crescendo in the revealing of the FL72 logo next to a giant Championship trophy, with either the word ‘Live’ or ‘Review’ underneath depending on if it was a match or magazine show.

Host Natalie Sawyer’s introduction VT focussed around Bournemouth, unsurprising given their excellent start and record win the previous week, playing on the ‘Bourne’ trilogy of films to end with ‘The Bournemouth Supremacy/Identity/Legacy’. There was a mention of the Albion’s struggles this season despite a Play Off place six months earlier. Sami Hyypia’s reign hadn’t begun well and Brighton were without a League win since the first month.

56BOU Form guide 56BOU Baldock

Coverage began fifteen minutes before the 5.15pm kick off, hosted by Sawyer with her guest Darren Anderton from a box in the corner of the stadium. With this being the late game, a rarity for Sky’s Football League during the current rights cycle as the regular slot was 12.15pm on Saturdays, the rest of the day’s results were known before kick-off. Brighton hadn’t moved from their precarious twenty-first placed spot, whilst Bournemouth had been bumped down to seventh but a win would see them into the top two on goal difference. The graphics were as last season, with one tiny tweak being the introduction of a red card on the scoreboard if a player got sent off; as first used in this country by ESPN five years earlier.

In the limited amount of pre-match time before the adverts, the studio pairing picked out a couple of key players; Callum Wilson for the Cherries with his nine goals from fourteen League games, and summer transfer Sam Baldock, yet to get off the mark for the Albion. The form guide comparison showed the huge contrast in recent weeks between the two sides.

56BOU Hyypia split screen 56BOU Analysis

After the ad break and with the teams waiting in the tunnel, reporter Jonathan Oakes spoke with both managers. Eddie Howe was in confident mood but was “under no illusions, Brighton are a very good team so we have to be at our best.” Sami Hyypia acknowledged his Brighton side were lacking in the final third, not turning chances to goals and needed immediate improvement on that. With everyone set, it was time for our commentators, Gary Weaver and Don Goodman, to take over for the match.

At half time, pundit Darren Anderton had some encouraging words to say about the Albion’s performance despite being behind. “They’ve actually looked to play very well, Brighton, even from the first minute. They’ve made the pitch big, passed the ball around really well, if anything they’re just not ruthless enough.” Upon reviewing the first half goals, Anderton had sympathy for Greer’s own goal to give Bournemouth the lead; there wasn’t much he could do about that due to the fantastic ball in. For Colunga’s equaliser, he praised the Brighton play as being “absolutely fantastic”, and Pugh restoring the home lead with “great technique.” But for the second half, he implored the Seagulls to continue how they’d been playing.

56BOU Elphick 56BOU Coming Up

Just before the adverts after the final whistle, reporter Jonathan Oakes got immediate reaction from ex-Albion and current Bournemouth captain Tommy Elphick, alongside the Man of the Match Simon Francis. Back in the studio, host Natalie Sawyer pointed out this was Bournemouth’s first win in front of the Sky cameras since 2003. And you thought our Live record wasn’t great! She and Anderton reviewed the five goals from the game during the closing seven or eight minutes of the programme. For the second Albion equaliser, Anderton gave Baldock credit for “a great first touch and then he just kept his head down, drilled it with his left foot, with the laces, giving the ‘keeper no chance. Great finish.”

For the winning goal, he agreed with the referee’s decision to award the penalty, whilst there was no chance of saving the spot kick when it was hit with such pace and accuracy. Jonathan Oakes spoke with the Bournemouth boss but no time to hear from Sami Hyypia before the programme came off-air at 7.30pm. Eddie Howe was disappointed with the performance and lack of control on the game but gave credit to Brighton for forcing that to be the case. Plaudits were all well and good, but it was wins that were needed if we were to avoid sleepwalking into League One.

 

STORY OF THE MATCH

56BOU Kick Off 56BOU Comms

A minute’s silence preceded the match, as with all fixtures across the weekend, for Remembrance. The home team got the game underway, kicking from right to left in the first half; both clubs wearing their traditional home kits. Brighton started on the front foot, dominating the ball and winning a dangerous free-kick position on the edge of the box. Gary Gardner’s low fizz took a touch of Elphick and nearly in the back of the net, flying just wide. Right-back Aaron Hughes dealt a blow to Brighton’s plans when he jumped, landed and twisted his ankle badly enough to force him off injured after just ten minutes and stretchered out of the ground; the current longest serving player, Inigo Calderon, took his place. It took Bournemouth a quarter of an hour to work a chance, with Ali Al-Habsi forced into a low save to keep Ritchie’s close range effort out well.

Bournemouth grew in confidence and nine minutes later had the lead. Co-commentator Don Goodman stated, “This is the first real concerted pressure that Brighton have come under here this evening. Got to stand firm.” As soon as he’d finished his sentence, Simon Francis delivered a fantastic cross from the right to bounce in between the Albion centre backs. Gordon Greer, six yards out aware of an attacker right behind him, couldn’t afford to allow the ball to go any further and tried to nod it behind for a corner. Unfortunately, it ended up flying into the corner of the net for an own goal.

56BOU Own Goal 56BOU Colunga goal

If things were looking down for Brighton, they didn’t show it as three minutes later they scored an equaliser. A defence-splitting through ball from the outside of Joao Teixeira’s right foot put Adrian Colunga in the clear. He latched onto the ball well, took a touch to the side of the onrushing Artur Boruc in goal and calmly slotted into the open goal to make it one-one. It was a terrific run from the striker and superb forward play to finish it off for his first Brighton League goal.

The game continued pretty evenly until the third goal eight minutes before the break. Marc Pugh would be credited with it, but they got a slice of luck through a deflection on the way in. A corner into a crowded box swirled up into the air. Brighton couldn’t clear the second ball either, with it bouncing to an unmarked Pugh fifteen yards out. He adjusted his body to side-volley the dropping ball very well. Lewis Dunk’s despairing lunge gave the ball further momentum as it slipped through the legs of Gary Gardner, past Al-Habsi and in.

56BOU Baldock goal 56BOU Penalty

Into the second half, Brighton again started well. Lewis Dunk went close to nabbing an equaliser when his header from a corner had to be saved very well down low to his right by Boruc. Dunk had four goals to his name this season already, proving what a threat he was from set pieces as Albion’s top scorer. At the hour mark, Brighton did score a second as Sam Baldock became the second player of the match to score his first League goal for the club. For a team that enjoyed playing the ball around, this was a much more direct approach. The ball was launched back in to the Bournemouth half by goalkeeper Al-Habsi. Gordon Greer flicked on and Baldock was all of a sudden bearing down on goal. The defensive offside trap did not work. Baldock’s first touch controlled a difficult, bobbling ball whilst his second with the left just drove it low and hard past Boruc for a terrific finish. A second leveller for the Seagulls sent the already buoyant travelling support, making terrific noise throughout, even more vocal as we entered the final third of the match.

A change saw LuaLua come on for Colunga, whilst Bournemouth brought on Yann Kermorgant and Ryan Fraser; both teams could smell a victory. LuaLua’s first action almost brought about a goal but certainly caused panic at the back. Having almost been clattered into through a clumsy fall from the defender, LuaLua fired the ball across the face of the goal which somehow managed to pass every player by. It ended up at the feet of Gary Gardner on the far side who blazed it high and wide. The arrival of Kermorgant improved Bournemouth’s attacking play, with everything going through the former Charlton and Leicester man. Hyypia’s attempt to wrestle back control saw Craig Mackail-Smith brought on for Sam Baldock.

But with a quarter of an hour left, Bournemouth were given the chance to take all three points when Lewis Dunk brought down Callum Wilson for a penalty kick. Dunk’s reaction showed he knew immediately that he did wrong, holding his head in his hands as Wilson went to ground. The tackle from behind got none of the ball and plenty of the man, unnecessarily sliding in when Wilson was only going towards the byline. Up stepped Yann Kermorgant who made no mistake to give Bournemouth the lead for a third time this evening, sending Al-Habsi the other way, finding the opposite corner for a great spot kick. No repeat of his dreadful chipped penalty miss for Leicester in the 2010 Play Offs to cost his side the shoot-out. Bournemouth stood firm in the closing stages and held on to the victory this time, the final score three-two. Albion’s winless run continued whilst the Cherries went from strength to strength.

56BOU Table top 56BOU Table bottom

BOURNEMOUTH 3 BRIGHTON 2
Greer (own goal), Pugh, Kermorgant Colunga, Baldock

56BOU Replay 56BOU Goal

PREVIOUS; #55 DERBY 4-1 BRIGHTON 11/05/2014

NEXT; #57 BRIGHTON 0-1 MILLWALL 12/12/2014

#54: Brighton 1-2 Derby 08/05/2014

#54 BRIGHTON 1-2 DERBY Championship Play Off Semi Final 1st Leg
Thursday 8th May 2014 Image result for

DER Titles

PRESENTER Simon Thomas GUEST Peter Beagrie
COMMENTATORS Bill Leslie & Don Goodman REPORTER Jonathan Oakes
7.45pm Kick Off; Amex Stadium     7.30-10pm FL72 Live on Sky Sports 1

DER Ident DER Sponsor DER Intro

Context of the Match: The final few minutes in the away end at Nottingham Forest would live long in the memory for Albion fans, as the club snatched the last Play Off place in the most dramatic circumstances. Reading were drawing at home with Burnley with just a minute left to play, whilst Brighton were level at Forest. In stoppage time up stepped Leo Ulloa to connect with a perfect Craig Mackail-Smith cross to send Seagulls supporters wild, leapfrog Reading into sixth and extend the season by a couple more games at least. The message didn’t quite filter through to all in Berkshire as a mini pitch invasion ensued before the fantastic sight of them suddenly realising it wasn’t to be their day, as Oscar Garcia and his men couldn’t contain their joy upon the final whistle at the City Ground a minute or so later. What a day. Now, the tension was only about to be ramped up as we enter the so-called lottery of the Play Offs. For Brighton fans, nothing could be worse than the sight of rivals Crystal Palace claiming victory at this stage last season so really, things couldn’t be as bad as before. Could they?! The reward for finishing sixth was a trip to the highest ranked team; third placed Derby County. They were favourites for promotion of the four teams remaining whilst Brighton were the outsiders. County finished thirteen points better off and scored the most goals of any team in the League with eighty-four, that’s a whopping twenty-nine more than the Albion. The First Leg would be held at The Amex on a Thursday night, kick starting the Football League Play Offs across the three Divisions. A lead would be needed to take to the iPro Stadium on Sunday if Brighton were to have any chance of progressing. The best attack were facing the best defence in terms of shut-outs. Something had to give.

DER BrightonDER Derby DER Subs

The Teams: Following the dramatic Final Day victory to catapult the Albion into this Play Off match, Oscar Garcia named an unchanged starting eleven. That meant the back line which served him so well throughout the season remained intact, with captain Gordon Greer partnering former England international Matt Upson. The Englishman and the Scotsman were joined by an Irishman; last week’s goalscorer Stephen Ward at left back. Whilst it was Upson who took the fans Player of the Season honour, Ward was runner-up and goalkeeper Tomasz Kuszczak poled third. Jake Forster-Caskey won the Goal of the Season for his long-range left-foot piledriver away at Doncaster in a three-one win back in November. Jesse Lingard’s loan spell from Manchester United was extended to include the Play Off matches. Leo Ulloa netted the winner to take us to this match and he also scored at The Amex when Derby were last here, a two-one defeat in the first home game of the campaign in August. Last week’s assist maker Craig Mackail-Smith continued to fill a space on the bench and would be hoping to feature for more than the handful of minutes he impacted at Forest. Steve McClaren’s Derby County secured their spot here with games to go and could afford the luxury of resting many first team regulars during their draw with Leeds on the Final Day. In all, six changes were made for tonight’s clash as the likes of Craig Bryson and Johnny Russell returned. Jamie Ward and Chris Martin were absent from the squad completely last week, both were straight back in here as McClaren reverted to the same starting line up that played against Watford two games ago. Only Ward has previous Play Off experience in the Derby side; he was sent off in the 2009 Final for Sheffield United in their defeat to Burnley. The referee for tonight’s encounter was Roger East.

DER Thomas DER Beagrie DER Pitchside DER Studio

The Coverage & Presentation Team: Number one pairing Simon Thomas and Peter Beagrie hosted Live coverage of the first of the Play Off matches, kicking off a mammoth run for Sky Sports who were once again televising all twelve Semi Finals and all three Finals over the coming days and weeks. The programme began fifteen minutes before the quarter-to-eight kick off, allowing time to focus on the big match and soak up the atmosphere. As with last season, the title sequence was adapted using the same style as the regular campaign but with classic action from previous Play Off matches culminating with the trophies lined up at the end. The graphics and music remained as they were before. The dramatic introductory VT welcomed us to the entire Play Off picture, mentioning all twelve teams involved and heightening the tension and drama the occasion brings before joining our hosts who were standing by pitchside for the pre match build up. They ran through the odds, highlighting Derby’s tag as favourites and Brighton’s as outsiders. The form guide pitted the best two against each other, with both unbeaten in their last six matches. They were struggling to make themselves heard over the noise from the crowd and the music blaring from the PA system. After the advert break and with the teams in the tunnel ready for kick off, reporter Jonathan Oakes spoke with each manager – Oscar Garcia and Steve McClaren – played out on a split screen adjacent to the Live pictures. The Brighton boss told of his delight at the team reaching this stage; “I couldn’t be prouder of my players for what they did last game. They deserve to be here fighting for our place.” The build up was complete, time to hand over to the commentary team. Completing Sky’s A team were Bill Leslie and Don Goodman on the gantry.

DER Form DER Garcia pre match DER MOTM Award DER Analysis

As with last season at this stage, the Play Offs logo was added to the back of the club crests on Sky’s graphics so they rotated between each image. The logo was also used for replay transitions, spinning in and zooming towards us, as opposed to the Play Off trophy which was present last year. At half time the presentation team moved up from pitchside to the familiar North Stand box studio to analyse that great half of football. With three goals to look at, time was of the essence. Peter Beagrie described Lingard’s finish as “instinctive”, giving the goalkeeper no chance. He called for Brighton “not to panic… do not let the deficit increase”, praising them for much of their play so far but not getting the rub of the green with the own goal. Derby’s goalkeeper Lee Grant was named as the Man of the Match and he was interviewed along with Gordon Greer in the centre circle after the full-time whistle by reporter Jonathan Oakes. After the break more than ten minutes remained to review this entertaining Play Off encounter. Steve McClaren described it as “half the job done” before pointing out to Oakes that Brighton have a good away record and it would be a tough fixture. Thomas and Beagrie talked through the goals again, having no doubts about the award of the penalty. Reviewing what turned out to be the winner, Beagrie questioned four or five Albion defenders in the box but nobody closing down Martin as he struck the effort which would crash in off the ‘keeper. Lee Grant’s saves were highlighted, saving everything Brighton threw his way. The pundits said the referee should have awarded at least one penalty for shirt pulling on the home attackers, whilst Calderon’s collision in the first half was perhaps hindered by his over-reaction when falling. The programme concluded by looking ahead to the following night’s Play Off encounter between Wigan and Queens Park Rangers before signing off for the evening.

DER Kick Off DER Comms DER Lingard goal DER McGhee

Story of the Match: Brighton kicked off the first of this season’s Play Off encounters, shooting from left to right in their familiar blue and white stripes. The atmosphere was great early on, with Seagulls supporters fully embracing the extra bonus match at the wonderful stadium. Inigo Calderon was booked within eight minutes for a late lunge, putting extra pressure on him for the rest of the match. He was involved straight away at the other end of the field, when a tangle of legs with Forsyth could easily have been given as a penalty to Brighton. Referee Roger East was not interested on this occasion. The home side took the game to Derby in the first quarter, enjoying more possession and attacking threat. And in the eighteenth minute, that threat turned to a goal. Again Calderon was at the heart of things, driving forward down the right hand side and bursting into the penalty area. He cut the ball back for Jesse Lingard level with the penalty spot. His first attempt was blocked but he was not going to be denied a second time, as the England under-21 international fired past the ‘keeper to huge roars from the crowd. It was exactly what Brighton deserved after an excellent start. The old adage of being at your most vulnerable after scoring was almost proved right when a Derby free kick was whipped in and somehow missed everybody as it bounced just wide of the post. Despite the domination in corners and the ball spending half the time in the Derby third, Brighton were pegged back just before the half hour mark through a rash challenge and a penalty. A rapid counter attack from the away side saw Craig Forsyth burst from inside his own half right up to the Albion penalty box and, after a neat one-two with Hendrick, his run continued into the area. With three striped defenders around him one of them was bound to make contact, it was Upson’s reckless challenge which brought the left back down for a clear penalty. It fell to Chris Martin to convert the spot kick, sending Kuszczak the wrong way to calmly equalise against the run of play. Now it was Derby’s fans turn to make all the noise. The last successful Brighton manager in the Play Offs, Mark McGhee, was watching on in the stands. He was part of Gordon Strachan’s team with Scotland.

DER Own Goal DER Action Areas

Derby continued to threaten on the counter attack and almost took the lead but for the goalkeeper and Gordon Greer clearing away a dangerous cross. As the half eased to a close, Derby struck a killer blow with virtually the last kick. Johnny Martin controlled a ball drilled towards him well with his back to goal. He was able to lay it off to the edge of the box where Martin was shaping up to shoot. His left footer smacked against the crossbar and crashed in the net off the back of the outstretched Kuszczak in the most unfortunate of fashions. It was cruel luck for the goalkeeper who could do absolutely nothing about it. Derby took a two-one lead into the interval when it could have been oh so different. Garcia changed things at half time, with Buckley picking up a knock so LuaLua came on. Commentator Bill Leslie produced a great stat as the number 25 featured off the bench for the twenty-fifth time this season. Derby almost increased their lead within two minutes of the second half as Ward drove the ball across goal for Kuszczak to deflect onto the outside of the netting for a corner. With half an hour remaining, the Albion hit the crossbar. Orlandi’s cross from the left of the box was hit towards goal by the left foot of Ulloa. His connection wasn’t the greatest, hitting it down into the ground rather than true towards the net. The bounce though almost deceived Lee Grant in-goal, as he flung himself towards the effort and managed to get a palm on it to push onto the woodwork. There was no such luck from the rebound like Derby received at the end of the first, their defence clearing this one away. Brighton were upping their game more and more as the half wore on, with large spells of possession and much of the action occurring in Derby’s final third. The only thing lacking was the equaliser. For the third televised game in a row, Garcia turned to Solly March to come off the bench to chase a goal. Grant was increasingly getting called into action, first from a long-range Lingard attempt and then a follow-up effort on the edge of the box from Stephen Ward. The crowd was buoyant but it just wasn’t to be. The match finished with Derby edging Brighton by two goals to one, it would be a tough ask for the Albion but all was to play for on Sunday.

DER Coming Up

BRIGHTON 1 DERBY 2
Lingard Martin, Kuszczak own goal

DER Replay DER Goal

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

NEXT; #55 DERBY 4-1 BRIGHTON 11/05/2014

#39: Liverpool 6-1 Brighton 19/02/2012

#39 LIVERPOOL 6-1 BRIGHTON FA Cup Round Five
Sunday 19th February 2012 Related image

LIV Titles

PRESENTER Ray Stubbs GUESTS John Barnes & Kevin Keegan
COMMENTATORS Jon Champion & Chris Waddle REPORTER Darrell Currie
4.30pm Kick Off; Anfield, Liverpool     3.45-7pm FA Cup Live on ESPN

LIV Promo LIV Sponsor LIV Intro

Context of the Match: This was arguably Brighton’s biggest FA Cup match since the 1983 FA Cup Final Replay twenty-nine years ago. Championship Brighton were rewarded for knocking out Premier League Newcastle in Round Four with another top-flight opponent; the mighty Liverpool. Having gone twenty years since playing the Reds, this was the second time this season we were to go head-to-head. A narrow two-one victory for Liverpool at The Amex back in September saw the Albion put on a fighting display in the first Live televised match in our new home. Playing at Anfield though would be a whole new ball game. A quick look back at the history books suggested the Seagulls could soar once more here, having won at away in the Fifth Round in ’83. Liverpool’s home record this season was also rather lacklustre; drawing nine out of the fifteen matches so far. They also had one eye on next week’s Carling Cup Final against Cardiff at Wembley. Brighton went into the game ninth in the Championship, just two points outside play offs. Last time out saw a draw with Millwall. Liverpool were unbeaten in knock-out football this season, the Albion hadn’t lost in 2012. Something had to give today.

LIV Liverpool LIV Brighton LIV Formation

The Teams: The Albion made three changes to the side which drew two-all in midweek with Millwall in the Championship. Loanees Gonzalo Jara Reyes and Joe Mattock, both from West Brom, were ineligible for the Cup so in came Adam El-Abd and Kazenga LuaLua. Sam Vokes joined on loan from Wolves having been spotted in the crowd at the Newcastle game. His Albion record so far reads played four scored one. The other change saw Craig Mackail-Smith drop down to the bench, with Will Buckley brought in after a knock kept him out of midweek action. Midfielder Matt Sparrow was suspended after a red card at Leeds a few weeks back. Options for the Seagulls on the subs bench included Vicente, still not managing a regular run in the time due to injuries, and Ryan Harley. Both Alan Navarro and Craig Noone, proud Scousers, have tickets in the Liverpool end for next week’s Carling Cup Final at Wembley. Speaking of which, Craig Bellamy and Daniel Agger were rested ahead of that Final. Luis Suarez played despite being in the headlines all week after refusing to shake hands with Manchester United’s Patrice Evra at Old Trafford last week. The £35million striker Andy Carroll started despite not being in fine form in front of goal; he’d been a bit of a flop so far with just two goals in his last nineteen games. Today marked Stewart Downing’s 350th career appearance. The man in the middle was Andre Marriner.

LIV Stubbs LIV Barnes LIV Keegan LIV Commentators LIV Studio

Presentation Team: This was Brighton’s fifth and final appearance Live on ESPN. Covering all five matches were host Ray Stubbs and pundit John Barnes. Stubbs was a former professional footballer himself, having been on the books at Tranmere Rovers, though never made a first-team start. John Barnes had an illustrious playing career most famous for his spell at Liverpool where he spent a decade and made over 300 appearances. He was also capped 79 times for England including scoring one of the best goals the Three Lions have ever scored, a mazy run in the Maracana against Brazil. His managerial spells didn’t go very well but has forged a long and varied career in the media regularly for more than a decade. Alongside them in the ESPN studio was their lead pundit Kevin Keegan. He was signed to launch their Premier League coverage with Stubbs in 2009 and appears on all the big games. He was loaned out to ITV for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, having frequently appeared in the studio and commentary box for the channel regularly since his playing days. He was part of their World Cup coverage in the 1970s and 80s when England failed to qualify and was behind the mic alongside the great Brian Moore for the Big Match Live during the 90s. This included the highs and lows of both Euro 96 and World Cup 98. He and Moore voiced that incredible match in St Etienne as England lost to Argentina on penalties. Before David Batty’s missed kick, Moore inadvertently put Keegan on the spot saying “Do you back him to score, quickly, yes or no?” Of course he didn’t, Moore regretted that moment for the rest of his life and many years later the title for a 90s football podcast was born; Quickly Kevin, Will He Score? hosted by Josh Widdicombe. Keegan was a big name on ITV when out of management so it was a big signing for ESPN. His playing career was outstanding at Southampton, Newcastle, Hamburg and, of course, Liverpool where he spent six years. He won back-to-back Ballon d’Or trophies in 1978 and 1979, the PFA Player of the Year in 1982 as well as multiple League titles, the FA Cup, European Cup and two UEFA Cups. The man was an absolute icon. He also enjoyed a fantastic spell as Newcastle manager, winning the title on the way to leading them into the Premiership and going so close to winning that too. He also won Football League championships at Fulham and Manchester City, where his side gained promotion during the ITV Sport Channel season where it was a joy to watch them. In the commentary box was Jon Champion, who also commentated on that Argentina match in 1998 – for the highlights on the BBC. That was his big breakthrough moment at his first World Cup for television. Alongside him was Chris Waddle, who had covered Brighton’s two other televised FA Cup matches this season. Waddle signed for Setanta Sports to cover their exclusively Live England away internationals during the 2008/09 season where he voiced great victories in Croatia and Andorra. Since 2009 he has become ESPN’s number one summariser for Premier League and FA Cup coverage. On the touchline once more was Darrell Currie. He was a big part of the ESPN Cup coverage, regularly covering the biggest matches including four of our five on this channel.

LIV Kick Off LIV Comms LIV Buckley interview LIV Buckley

The Coverage: Today’s programme was hosted from ESPN’s London studio with Ray Stubbs anchoring alongside John Barnes and Kevin Keegan, both with strong Liverpool connections. It was the second in ESPN’s Cup double today, having already witnessed Stoke overcome League Two Crawley in a noon kick-off. The build-up to our match began forty-five minutes prior to the 4.30pm kick-off. Barnes had seen plenty of Brighton over the past year or so, covering all four previous ESPN appearances. Both he and Keegan praised the Albion’s passing philosophy and, as seen in the fortunate win on penalties at Wrexham, believed they were better suited to playing Premier League quality. I’m pleased to confirm that on the third attempt this season, the Albion crest was updated across all of the ESPN graphics today! Commentator Jon Champion delivered the all-important team news in-vision from his position on the gantry, included in the away team was Will Buckley “looking to repeat his heroics of Round Four.” This led onto a report from ESPN presenter and reporter Kelly Cates with Buckley standing on the spot where his shot was taken which secured the win against Newcastle. They spoke about the previous round as well as his wider career so far; how he got started after college, beginning at Rochdale, moving to Watford and, of course, life on the South Coast. He believed manager Gus Poyet was Premiership class and the team would not be far away from realising that dream with him at the helm. The studio team highlighted Buckley as well as loan signing Sam Vokes up top.

LIV Aldridge LIV Barclay

After the first break, Darrell Currie provided a report on the current state of Liverpool Football Club’s reputation following on from the racism incident featuring their Uruguayan striker Luis Suarez. Currie spoke with journalists such as Tony Barrett and Paddy Barclay as well as ex-pros like John Aldridge and Jason McAteer. Back in October, Suarez was accused of racially abusing Manchester United left-back Patrice Evra, a charge he disputed. The FA panel investigated and found him guilty, fined him £40,000 and was given a huge eight game ban. The two sides met again last week and further controversy ensued when Suarez refused to shake Evra’s hand during the pre-match ceremonies. Both the Uruguayan and manager Kenny Dalglish apologised for the incident afterwards, reminding themselves of their responsibilities to represent the club well. Dalglish reacted angrily to Sky Sports reporter Geoff Shreeves’ questioning, saying he was “bang out-of-order” for trying to blame Suarez for anything that had happened on the pitch. Afterwards, Dalglish told the Liverpool website; “I did not conduct myself in a way befitting of a Liverpool manager during that interview and I’d like to apologise for that.” The public backlash was huge, from newspapers, media, fans and fellow professionals, Liverpool did not come out of the situation at all well and were now on a mission to restore public opinion of them.

LIV Draw Rosenthal LIV Draw Trio

The draw for the Quarter Finals of the FA Cup took place during the build-up. Jim Rosenthal hosted from Wembley Stadium, with former Sunderland manager Peter Reid and ex-Tranmere defender Wayne Allison picking the numbered balls out. Reid was presented with a replica of his runners-up medal from the 1985 Final courtesy of the FA, after his original one was sold to help out the Plymouth Argyle cause that he was manager of. The first ball out of the bag belonged to the winners of our match; either Liverpool or Brighton would host Stoke City. The Albion knew their fate – if they could defeat the might of Liverpool. Elsewhere two of Reid’s former sides would face off as Everton hosted Sunderland. If Chelsea could get past Birmingham in a replay, they would play Leicester. And Bolton would travel to the winners of the Stevenage Tottenham replay, after the two sides had just finished goalless that kicked off at 2pm, hence the draw taking place at this time as it always followed the ITV Live game. Rosenthal hosted all FA draws that took place during ITV’s stewardship of the Cup. As ITV were host broadcaster for these, their graphics were seen when ESPN simulcast the draw.

LIV Draw LIV Fan Film LIV Case LIV Champion

During the advert break, a very short Budweiser FA Cup Fan Film was broadcast which was all about Brighton’s journey to Falmer and the new stadium. Writer, actor and Seagulls supporter Mark Brailsford hosted the piece, filmed in and around The Amex. He couldn’t hide his joy at having the place after fourteen years of exile. He also sang the praises of the manager and his passing style of play. When the coverage resumed, reporter Darrell Currie spoke with both managers. Poyet wanted his team to do him proud and was cautious about how good Suarez could be. Dalglish was looking to the positives compared to last season when at this stage they were already out of both Cup competitions. After the final thoughts of Barnes and Keegan, Ray Stubbs handed over to our commentary team of Jon Champion and Chris Waddle, delightfully shown in-vision. As well as talking through the line ups with Waddle highlighting the formations, Champion reminded us of Jimmy Case, formerly of both clubs, the Liverpudlian who scored for the Albion during an unforgettable FA Cup tie during the run to 1983 Final; it would be twenty-nine years to the day tomorrow since that two-one Fifth Round victory.

LIV Analysis LIV Fan Film 2 LIV Talk of the Terrace LIV Studio Switch

At half-time the pundits were pleasantly surprised by the open nature of the match thus far. From Brighton’s point-of-view the two goals were avoidable defensively. Kevin Keegan had LuaLua when he was at Newcastle and knew how ferocious his feet could strike a ball so was happy to see the goal go in like that. John Barnes pointed out the role the gap in the wall played. They thought more goals were certain in the second period. They got that correct; another four. After the match, around twenty-five minutes remained to analyse it all. Andy Carroll was voted Man of the Match by ESPN viewers, he and captain Steven Gerrard were interviewed by Darrell Currie. The goals were analysed, Carroll’s performance highlighted as well as his battle all afternoon with Adam El-Abd. During Poyet’s post-match chat described some of his team’s defending as ‘naive’ and not quite Premier League ready; “Learn. If you want, one day, to get to the Premiership as a team or as an individual you need to learn. Because the quality, the strength, the power, the technique that the Premiership players have got – especially the top six – is amazing.” A further short fan film with Mark Brailsford aired during the break, where he told of memories from the old Goldstone Ground whilst stood in the current surroundings of the retail park. Airing immediately after this programme was ESPN’s usual Sunday night discussion show Talk of the Terrace, hosted by Kenny Dalglish’s daughter Kelly Cates, today with studio guests Craig Burley and Kevin McCarra. A quick look ahead to that featured, with them sharing the studio the Live broadcast came from. To end the programme Stubbs crossed to Cates, and our time on ESPN concluded.

LIV Goal LIV Axis LIV Sub  LIV Own Goal

Story of the Match: With this being a Cup tie, Brighton received double the League allocation for away fans as 6,000 Seagulls supporters flocked to Anfield. It took less than five minutes for the home ends to be celebrating though, as Martin Skrtel headed in the opener from a Steven Gerrard corner. Before the set-piece was taken there was a whole host of jostling going on, particularly between Adam El-Abd and Andy Carroll. Whilst they were focussed on that, nobody tracked Skrtel close enough as he moved towards the near post to flick the cross in. The tussling continued at corners, highlighted by the cameras and comparisons were drawn between El-Abd and his brother; a professional rugby player in France. In the seventeenth minute, Kazenga LuaLua was fouled around thirty yards out. The resulting free-kick was rolled from Navarro to Buckley to stop the ball for LuaLua to run onto and hit. Hit it, he did! The ball was thumped into the bottom corner of the goal, past a despairing dive from Reina, to draw Brighton level. The strike was bent through the gap in the wall, leaving the ‘keeper unsighted. The kick stayed low and true, not touching the ground until it crossed the line, it was a fabulous moment for the travelling support. Liverpool always posed that threat of quality where they could conjure something out of nothing. Luis Suarez showed this when his excellent touch and jinking run resulted in Calderon having to clear his shot off the line, having beaten Brezovan. The Albion didn’t have too much more success in front of goal but were far from on the back foot for the rest of the half. However, with a minute or so to go before the break Liverpool caused further damage from a corner. This time it was a Charlie Adam in-swinger which Brezovan flapped at and punched up instead of out. It landed at the feet of Suarez, his shot parried by the ‘keeper. Glen Johnson’s resulting header was blocked on the line by the head of Sam Vokes only to canon off Liam Bridcutt for an unfortunate own-goal.

LIV Full Time LIV Poyet

At half-time Craig Noone came on for Will Buckley, giving the commentators another chance to bring up the story of Noone working on Steven Gerrard’s roof. Into the second half, a long volley from the half-way line by Jordan Henderson looking for Suarez seemed easy enough to deal with yet Brezovan raced out of goal and missed his kick. Luckily Suarez slipped but still had enough time to regain his balance. In his attempt to lift the ball over the onrushing defender, it appeared to be charged down by the elbow of Greer for a penalty appeal which wasn’t entertained by referee Marriner. Replays showed it was clearly the Seagulls skipper’s boot which prevented Suarez going any further. The home side did extend their lead in the 57th minute through Andy Carroll. Downing did well to hurdle Calderon’s slide challenge to race to the far side of the area before cutting the ball back for Carroll in space around the penalty spot. He hit it first time with his powerful left; a lovely finish to make it three-one. Mackail-Smith and Vicente came on for El-Abd and Vokes as Brighton tried to go for it with just over twenty minutes left. Straight after this, Liverpool sealed the result with their fourth. Henderson looped the ball forward, Gerrard got the better of Navarro to shoot. Brezovan stopped it with his legs but the ball fell back to the Liverpool captain who had another bite at the cherry. His goalbound attempt flew off Liam Bridcutt on the line for another unfortunate own-goal. It went from bad to worse at the back for Brighton as the third own-goal soon followed. Suarez linked up with Gerrard on the far side, the striker able to get his cross in but nobody was near it in a Liverpool shirt, Brezovan got hands to the cross. Yet all that did was land the ball on Lewis Dunk’s chest facing the goal. As he tried to bring the ball down with his knee, his poor touch sent the ball over the line and a despairing lunge was to no avail. Brighton score their fourth, but only one of them in the right end. It became a rout with fifteen minutes still to play. Five minutes later substitute Dirk Kuyt was fouled for a penalty, Craig Noone the offender. Dalglish signalled for Suarez to take the spot kick, Peter Brezovan spoiled the narrative by saving it. This was only to be a temporary denial as he did get his goal four minutes later. Enrique delivered a high cross for Carroll, his header went across goal where Suarez was waiting to nod home just a yard or so out. A streaker held the game up in injury time but the game was long gone. Six of the best for Liverpool as they sailed through to Round Six. They would go on to lose to Chelsea in the Final, having already secured silverware in the Carling Cup. Brighton’s season continued as it had done prior to this, with a solid showing just narrowly missing out on a Play Off spot with a couple of games to go. They would take positives from today’s match, performing well in spells but lacking that killer quality. And an FA Cup record, the first time ever that three own-goals were scored by the same side.

LIV Quarter Final Draw

LIVERPOOL 6 BRIGHTON 1
Skrtel, Bridcutt (2 Own-Goals), Carroll, Dunk (Own-Goal), Suarez LuaLua

LIV Replay

EXTRA; The official FA Cup Preview Show aired on ESPN in the days leading up to the Fifth Round, produced by Pitch International. Tom Skippings narrated the programme, a familiar voice to ITV Football League and Champions League voiceovers down the years. A programme is produced for the global audience ahead of each Round, beginning with the Third, and features interviews, highlights, classic action and nostalgia. This particular edition looked ahead to Liverpool against Brighton amongst other things.

PRE Titles PRE Brighton

Manager Gus Poyet was interviewed, as were Craig Noone and Ashley Barnes. Reference was made to the meeting during the 1982/83 FA Cup run in which Brighton won at Anfield en route to the Final. Poyet talked about his Chelsea side winning the competition in 2000 against Aston Villa, the last at the old Wembley Stadium. Our new home in Falmer was discussed too, as the Albion went from hosting 7,000 or so people up to over 22,000 from this season.

PRE Poyet PRE Barnes


EXTRA; ITV had Sunday night Fifth Round FA Cup highlights to round off their weekend. The main match was Liverpool’s demolition of the Albion, with presenter Matt Smith hosting the whole programme from in and around Anfield. He opened the show amongst the fans outside the Shankly Gates before handing over to the commentary team of Jon Champion and Chris Waddle, per ESPN. ITV had an agreement where they would use ESPN’s Live match commentary for their highlights programmes, and vice versa like in the build up to our Live match in the previous round. This was a cost-cutting exercise so as not to double up on commentators and had also been in place when Setanta were the satellite rights holder during the 2008/09 season. It helped that Champion was a familiar voice on ITV, Setanta and ESPN anyway.

ITV Titles ITV Teams

Champion and Waddle voiced the commentary edit which lasted for around ten minutes of match action, just about enough time to squeeze in all seven goals, the missed penalty and a couple of half-chances for good measure. The agreement with ESPN also extended to post-match interviews, where we heard from Poyet and Dalglish speaking with Darrell Currie. There was little attempt to hide this, with the ESPN microphone in full display, and actually was a pretty sensible decision to pool resources which would later occur with subsequent rights deals in a similar fashion. After the highlights, ITV pundit Gordon Strachan joined Smith pitchside to talk through some of the key incidents before moving onto the best bits from the day’s other two clashes and reaction to the Quarter Final draw.

ITV Smith ITV Strachan

 

PREVIOUS; #38 BRIGHTON 1-0 NEWCASTLE 28/01/2012

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

 

#38: Brighton 1-0 Newcastle 28/01/2012

#38 BRIGHTON 1-0 NEWCASTLE FA Cup Round Four
Saturday 28th January 2012 Related image

NEW Titles

PRESENTER Ray Stubbs GUESTS Steve Harper & John Barnes
COMMENTATORS Jon Champion & Chris Waddle REPORTER Dave Beckett
5.15pm Kick Off; Amex Stadium     4.30-7.45pm FA Cup Live on ESPN

NEW Promo NEW Bumper NEW Intro

Context of the Match: What a great first season Brighton were having at the American Express Community Stadium. They adapted well to life back in the Championship after five seasons away with a flying start, having the opportunity to go top of the table back in September. They’d already knocked out Premier League Sunderland and performed admirably against Liverpool, both in the Carling Cup. Today it was the turn of Newcastle United, managed by Alan Pardew, to go up against Gus Poyet’s hard-to-beat Brighton. The Albion knocked out United in a Third Round Replay away thanks to Peter Ward’s goal during the historic run to the 1983 FA Cup Final and would be hoping for a similar victory here. The Magpies had already provided Brighton with two players so far this season; goalkeeper Steve Harper played five times from October on-loan whilst winger Kazenga LuaLua finally made his move down south a permanent one after several loan spells. Newcastle were going well in the Premier League sat in sixth place and reached the Fourth Round of the Carling Cup. They lost to Blackburn that night but got their revenge in Round Three of the FA Cup at St James Park, coming from behind to win two-one. The club, as well as the wider football world, had mourned the death of their former captain Gary Speed when the Wales manager took his own life back in November. He appeared in two FA Cup Finals for the Geordies in the late 90’s. Form in the competition in recent years was not too good for the side though, suffering humiliation losing at League Two Stevenage Live on ESPN last season and last made the semis in 2005. Would there be a similar story here today? The Albion would have to lift their game if that were to happen, narrowly getting past League Two Wrexham in a penalty shoot-out in the Replay ten days ago. This followed a disappointing draw at The Amex at the beginning of January. This Saturday tea-time kick-off under the lights would prove to be another memorable one in the early stages at our new home.

NEW Brighton NEW Newcastle NEW Formation

The Teams: Four changes were made from the FA Cup Third Round Replay at Wrexham which set up tonight’s tie at The Amex. In defence captain Gordon Greer and Adam El-Abd came in, as Grant Hall and Romain Vincelot dropped down to the bench. Seventeen-year-old Jake Forster-Caskey started, having impressed and scored against both Southampton and Wrexham this month. Ashley Barnes got the equaliser in the Replay and started here in place of Will Hoskins. The creative threat would come from Will Buckley, who was in form having scored two in the win at Peterborough last time out. Craig Mackail-Smith had an excellent FA Cup record and was looking to notch his first one in the competition for his new side. Liam Bridcutt and Matt Sparrow would provide the wall in front of the defence which included Lewis Dunk, who had been linked with today’s opponents in the past. For Newcastle, Demba Ba was missing on African Cup of Nations duty. Danny Guthrie played for the 150th time in his career. Shola Ameobi and future Brighton loan signing Leon Best were the striking options. Lee Probert was the referee.

NEW Stubbs NEW Harper NEW Barnes NEW Studio

Presentation Team: Hosting proceedings was Ray Stubbs, as he had done for the three previous Live Albion matches on ESPN. His ESPN career began when he launched their Premier League coverage in 2009 with Arsenal’s six-one victory at Everton on the opening day. He joined after a long career with BBC Sport which included hosting their coverage of the Saturday afternoon results service Score on the Red Button, and Final Score on the main channels for the full-times. The latter had been a long-standing part of Grandstand for decades before it turned into a programme in its own right. When it expanded to include news of all the goals as they went in from the first whistle to the last back in 2004, it was Stubbs who was selected for that leaving his Football Focus gig after five years. His pundits were Steve Harper and John Barnes. Harper had experienced both Brighton and Newcastle dressing rooms this season so was in the unique position of knowing both squads very well. He played five times for Brighton in the busy October/November period, signed on the day of the televised West Ham match going straight into the starting XI in place of Casper Ankergren. He had been at Newcastle for over a decade and played in the 1999 FA Cup Final defeat to Manchester United on their way to the historic Treble. For most of his North-East career, Harper was the reserve goalie behind the likes of Shaka Hislop and Shay Given before finally claiming the number one jersey a couple of seasons ago. That didn’t last long and he soon found himself out of favour again.

NEW Kick Off NEW CommsNEW Champion NEW Waddle

With Stubbs and Harper today was John Barnes. He was in the extremely rare position of having done every role of a televised football broadcast during his career; presenter, pundit, co-commentator and reporter. He began as a regular pundit on ITV for their tournament coverage and top-flight highlights show The Premiership before joining Channel 5 as their host of UEFA Cup matches. After a few seasons in the main chair he started to appear more in his more familiar pundit role as well as reporting on the touchline and from their broadcast truck as a tactician specialist on occasions. When Channel 5 held Live Serie A rights on a Sunday afternoon for the 2007/08 season he was their regular co-commentator alongside Tony Jones, thus completing the broadcast set. The nearest I can think of to that before was Bob Wilson, who hosted Football Focus and Live matches for both BBC and ITV, was a pundit on the Beeb, reported at the 1982 World Cup and did the odd commentary for radio way back when. Another one might be Jimmy Hill had hosted and done punditry on Match of the Day, and summarised on Live matches at tournaments and Cup Finals back when the role was not quite as conversational as in the modern game. Whether he was touchline reporter on any Live games seems unlikely. In the commentary box were ESPN’s regular Premier League pairing of Jon Champion and Chris Waddle. The former covered our win at FC United of Manchester last season whilst the latter was behind the mic for the recent Wrexham replay. He spent five seasons making his name as an attacking midfielder from 1980 before securing big moves to Tottenham, Marseille and Sheffield Wednesday. Reporting pitchside was Dave Beckett. He has long been the voice of the Football League round-ups, working for many seasons on ITV’s Football League Extra before doing the same role on the BBC’s Football League Show when the rights transferred in 2009. He continued to freelance across various highlights and magazine programmes, voicing Champions League Weekly, Premier League Review and reporting for ESPN and Channel 5 across various competitions. He’s also a huge Brighton fan and more recently has become the face of the official Club channels, hosting the end of season reviews including the excellent Withdean Years DVD.

NEW Stubbs beach NEW Gullys Girls

The Coverage: ESPN’s presentation team of host Ray Stubbs and pundits Steve Harper and John Barnes presented coverage from pitchside in the corner of The Amex where North Stand met East. They brought their large branded desk to perch around as well as some ESPN banners. Pitchside presenting was all the rage for the satellite broadcaster of the FA Cup in recent times, with their mobile caravan studio from last season providing a quick and flexible solution to a professional broadcast whilst immersing themselves in the match atmosphere. Having just the desk today meant it was easy to slide away for the match and slide back in to the corner for the pre and post game broadcast. The theme tune remained as their specially composed track whilst the title sequence was very similar to last season, showing people going about their pre-match routine before culminating at Wembley Stadium. This match kicked off late on Saturday evening, their regular Live Premier League slot. Coverage began forty-five minutes before the 5.15pm start, as the 3pm matches started to edge towards full-time. The programme opened with Stubbs appearing on Brighton beach, the first part of the show focussed on the match in hand. We received the team news from commentator Jon Champion in-vision, who dissected them with his co-commentator Chris Waddle.

NEW Liv Highlights NEW Perry

The biggest Cup game of the weekend had already taken place that lunchtime Live on ITV; Liverpool against Manchester United. Extended highlights were shown during the build-up, with commentary from Clive Tyldesley. Brighton boss Gus Poyet took our reporter Dave Beckett for a guided tour around the stadium, with this being ESPN’s first visit here. He spoke about the proposed expansion from 22,500 up to 30,000 by filling in the corners next year and eventually adding an upper tier to the East Stand. We saw in the manager’s office, the dressing room and an insight into what the players see on matchday. The proposed new training ground in two years time was mentioned, with blueprints drawn up. In five years time, with all the infrastructure in place, Poyet said “we should be challenging [to be in] the Premiership.” On the back of Beckett’s excellent report, he spoke to chief executive Martin Perry Live in the tunnel. He told of how immensely proud he was of the job they’d done since joining in 1997 and, after a brief technical issue interrupting the pictures, how chairman Tony Bloom was still over in Australia for his winter hibernation so would be missing today’s big match.

NEW Tour NEW Dressing Room

The pundits picked out Craig Mackail-Smith of Brighton and Yohan Cabaye of Newcastle as being the key men. Mackail-Smith has a fantastic FA Cup record for all his clubs, scoring twelve goals in seventeen appearances. After a break midfielder Gary Dicker went into full on banter-mode appearing in a Soccer AM Teammates-style VT where he got to have a laugh at the players expense. Gordon Greer was the “angry Scotsman”, Adam El-Abd “would tackle his own mother” and Ashley Barnes “doesn’t really come out much, he’s quite pasty. Could do with a sunbed.” It’s great to see these sort of things on television, as a club Brighton have had extremely small amounts of exposure so for there to be an interest now shows the team is doing something right. On the back of that Dave Beckett asked Poyet about the inclusion of youngster Jake Forster-Caskey in the side; “Because the way he is, he’s a confident boy. For him, it means the same playing with the kids under-18 in the FA Youth Cup or playing in training in the development group or coming into a big game against Southampton and scoring the first goal. So he’s so confident in what he does that I’m not afraid to play him.” After a bit more chat from the pundits the scene was set and we were raring to go. The teams line ups were re-confirmed by the commentary team shown in-vision, before that final short advert break. ESPN had a new replay transition for this season which still centred around their logo. This year it flashed in from the centre and accelerated towards us to cover the whole screen as the replay started playing. I preferred the previous one.

NEW Dicker NEW Commentary Team

The half-time analysis focussed on the two missed chances from Leon Best, with little else to show by way of goalmouth action. The pundits believed Alan Pardew would be the happier manager of the two, enjoying more possessions and better chances, as the rain began to fall on the pitchside presentation. Upon conclusion of the match reporter Dave Beckett spoke with Man of the Match, as voted for by ESPN viewers, Will Buckley followed by goalkeeper Peter Brezovan, who made a couple of crucial saves to keep the clean sheet. After the break, around twenty minutes or so was afforded to wrap things up. Steve Harper praised the Albion as being solid in midfield and strong in possession without cutting teams open, very much what he witnessed during his shot loan spell. Beckett caught up with winning manager Poyet who praised Buckley’s work ethic; “When everybody goes a little bit tired he keeps sprinting and going past people and he’s been outsanding in terms of scoring at the right times for us.” The pundits reviewed the goal, saying defender Mike Williamson was just unlucky that Buckley’s shot hit him to deflect over Tim Krul in-goal. They looked in detail at the kick out from Cabaye on El-Abd. It was later said by Pardew that he was furious with Ray Stubbs for being “ferocious” in the discussion about the incident and blamed him for getting him restrospectively banned, whereas both pundits seemed to suggest it was just a flick rather than a stamp and should not have been a red card. Stubbs certainly argued the case for a red, more by playing devil’s advocate than anything else. After a little more chat it was time to go, closing the show with “Brighton rocks!”.

NEW CMS NEW Knight

Story of the Match:  This was the first meeting between Brighton and Newcastle in twenty years, with the Albion emerging victorious by the solitary goal to nil that day. Ten minutes into today’s match Leon Best nearly opened the scoring from a long ball over the top, his shot just rolling wide. He had another chance two minutes later when his header off a Shola Ameobi assist flew high over the bar. If Best could finish he would’ve been a far better player. Ameobi was winning headers and getting the better of the Brighton defence often. The home side’s first opening came after half an hour when a decent move was concluded with Craig Mackail-Smith driving the ball high and wide from outside the box. That was the pattern of the first half, with very few chances for either side, little goalmouth action, both teams just sussing each other out in midfield. Into the second half and again it was Best who should’ve opened the scoring. A neat turn and lay off from Ameobi found Best in the box in space, his shot saved by Brezovan. From the resulting corner Ameobi himself got a chance when the cross bounced off the back Dunk, his swing well saved by Brezovan once more. Just after the hour mark there was an incident between Adam El-Abd and Yohan Cabaye where the Newcastle player appeared to kick out towards El-Abd’s face following a tumble. The referee did not spot it and had no help from his assistant so it went unpunished at the time, though retrospective action was taken in the days that followed the match. Into the final twenty minutes the game began to come to life. Mackail-Smith carved a chance out for himself; he span past one defender, shifted wide of another before unleashing a left foot shot twenty yards out which needed to be turned away by Tim Krul. Finally, the break through came. “Buckley, easily away from Simpson. Mackail-Smith pulling away, trying to find space in the middle. Buckley past Cabaye, deflection and in! Brighton’s big moment” was how commentator Jon Champion expertly described the moment. Will Buckley brought the ball forward from around thirty yards inside his own half, skipped past Danny Simpson and ran the length of the Newcastle half to reach the penalty area. His left-footed shot, a somewhat tired effort, took a huge looping deflection off of Mike Williamson on its way through giving Krul no chance. Buckley deserved the goal but it would actually go down as a Williamson own-goal as the shot was actually going wide before the deflection. Nonetheless it was Buckley who rightly took all the plaudits and Brighton had a lead to hang onto for the final fifteen minutes. The Albion defended deep into their own half as nothing was getting past them today. They even survived a clear handball appeal when Barnes was back defending, shielding his face would’ve been the excuse used. In a match of very few chances, Brighton marched through to Round Four at the expense of a top Division team for the first time since 1986. The team knocked out then? Of course, it was Newcastle.

NEW MOTM NEW Poyet

BRIGHTON 1 NEWCASTLE 0
Williamson (Own-Goal)

NEW Replay

EXTRA; Tonight’s late kick off was also the first on ITV’s Saturday night highlights programme. The channel held the terrestrial FA Cup rights, entitling them to up to fifteen Live matches as well as regular round-up shows. Whilst Adrian Chiles was the main Live host, Matt Smith chaired the highlights programmes. The first fifteen minutes or so of the show was given over to probably the biggest upset of the Round that Saturday; our defeat of Newcastle.

ITV Titles ITV Teams

Commentating on proceedings were Jon Champion and Chris Waddle, as per ESPN. The two channels pooled resources to minimise expense. Champion had been heard on ITV since 2001, covering League Cup Finals and Play Off matches for the highlights as well as several World Cups and European Championships for both ITV and BBC. Dave Beckett’s interviews with the two managers post-match were also shown on ITV, Beckett being a regular voice to the goal round-ups. In the studio with Matt Smith were regular pundit Gordon Strachan and Neil Warnock, who had recently left Queens Park Rangers in the Premier League having got them promotion the previous season. They both agreed Newcastle were unlucky, should’ve had a penalty but it was pleasing that Brighton had enjoyed a slice of fortune which their attractive passing style deserved.

ITV Smith ITV Pundits

 

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

NEXT; #39 LIVERPOOL 6-1 BRIGHTON 19/02/2012

#31: Woking 1-1 Brighton 16/11/2010

#31 WOKING 1-1 BRIGHTON (2-2 AET, BRI win 3-0 on pens) FA Cup Round One Replay
Tuesday 16th November 2010 Related image

WOK Titles

PRESENTER Ray Stubbs GUESTS Clive Walker & John Barnes
COMMENTATORS Derek Rae & Craig Burley REPORTER Darrell Currie
7.45pm Kick Off; Kingfield Stadium, Woking     7.30-10pm FA Cup Live on ESPN (Extended to 11pm)

WOK Ident WOK Bumper WOK Intro

Context of the Match: Brighton began their e-on FA Cup season as the highest ranked team in the competition thanks to their excellent start to the League One campaign. The Seagulls had topped the table since the end of September and, in a break to the marathon of the League, hosted Blue Square Bet Conference South side Woking from the sixth tier of English football with 85 League places separating the two sides. The original First Round tie at Withdean ended goalless with efforts from Gary Hart and Gary Dicker among others just narrowly missing the target. Consequently it would need a replay to decide which of Brighton and Woking would progress to Round Two and host another non-league side in FC United of Manchester. Rights holder ESPN chose our match as one of two FA Cup 1st Round Replays to be broadcast Live this midweek, owing to our good form. Woking had Cup previous though, with one of their most famous days coming in the Third Round in 1991 when Geoff Chapple’s non-league side knocked out second tier West Bromwich Albion four-two away from home. They also hold the joint-record for most FA Trophy victories with three to date. The potential was there of an upset for Gus Poyet’s League high-flyers, they needed to be on the ball if they were to progress and avoid a humiliation Live on television. The club enjoyed a run all the way to the Fourth Round last season, bowing out to Premier League Aston Villa three-two away from home and would be looking to perhaps go even further this time round. Prior to tonight’s match the Albion suffered their first League defeat since August when they lost three-one to Hartlepool at the weekend but still had a six point cushion at the top. Were nerves starting to show as the games came thick and fast?

WOK Woking WOK Brighton WOK Formation

The Teams: The headline from Brighton’s team news was the shock inclusion of assistant coach Mauricio Taricco, making his club debut at the age of 37. His last professional appearance came almost six years earlier having retired through injury after a brief stint at West Ham in 2004. Goalkeeper Peter Brezovan seems to be the designated Cup ‘keeper, having only made his first start this season in the reverse fixture. Full-back Inigo Calderon and centre-half Tommy Elphick were first team regulars in League and Cup. In all, the Albion changed five men from the original Cup tie. Skipper Gordon Greer took youngster Lewis Dunk’s place at the back, it was Marcos Painter who made way for Taricco and Elliott Bennett was an unused substitute in the goalless draw. Glenn Murray was rested so Gary Hart joined top-scorer Ashley Barnes up front. The only other difference from the last meeting saw the experience of Radostin Kishishev come in for the youthful Liam Bridcutt to sit in midfield. Options on the bench tonight came in the form of Argentinian duo Agustin Battipiedi and Cristian Baz who both joined in June on one-year contracts. Graham Baker’s Woking side included Elvis Hammond up front, a former Fulham and Leicester man. Ademola and Federico on the wings would provide pace, whilst McNerney and Doyle at the heart of the defence performed solidly at Withdean ten days ago. They made just one change to the starting XI which drew that first match; captain Mark Ricketts returned in midfield as Craig Faulconbridge dropped down to the bench. Refereeing was Roger East.

WOK Stubbs WOK Walker WOK Barnes WOK Studio

Presentation Team: ESPN’s coverage of this match was hosted on the road by Ray Stubbs. He joined ESPN in 2009 after 26 years with the BBC. Stubbs hosts their Premier League, SPL and FA Cup Live coverage, with the American-owned firm having launched in the summer of 2009 to swoop in and takeover Setanta Sports UK broadcast rights following their unfortunate demise due to debt. ESPN retained much of the Setanta personnel, including number one commentary team Jon Champion and Craig Burley, but went down their own route for presenters and pundits, which saw Stubbs join as the face under the slogan “It’s great to be here”. John Barnes was another new recruit for ESPN, currently in their second season operating in the UK. Barnes is a vastly experienced broadcaster, having worked for ITV at 1998 and 2002 World Cups as well as their Premiership highlights between 2001 and 2003 before moving to Channel 5 as, surprisingly and rather woodenly, a Live match presenter in 2003. Barnes took over from Steve Scott as the face of Football on Five, hosting UEFA Cup matches and the usual array of pre-season friendlies and qualifiers that Five could nab on a match-by-match basis. He was host for a few seasons before Colin Murray came in and Barnes was moved to lead pundit. He left to join Tranmere Rovers as manager in the summer of 2009 but was sacked after just four months and has since ended up here at ESPN. Alongside Barnes today was Clive Walker. He had connections to both clubs, having played over 100 games for Brighton at the beginning of the nineties before joining Woking in 1993 to make over 200 appearances for them in the Conference. He made his name at Chelsea as a youngster and it was his connections with the club which saw him work in the media on their club channel as co-commentator and pundit. At the end of his career he played and then managed in non-league and was subsequently signed up by Sky Sports to commentate on their Live Conference coverage when that kicked off in 2002, partnering Kevin Keatings on the gantry for the duration of the five-year contract.

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In the commentary box for tonight’s match were Scottish pairing Derek Rae and Craig Burley. Aberdeen-born Rae always had ambitions of being a commentator, even as a teenager when he would record himself at matches. His career began at the BBC working on Scottish football before relocating to the USA for the 1994 World Cup where he worked as a press officer for FIFA. He enjoyed his time over there so much he stayed commentating on MLS matches for ESPN in the States and expanded his portfolio to cover European football too, whilst also appearing as a guest on their various sports magazine programmes. After a couple of brief commentaries on ITV’s Champions League and international highlights in the 2008/09 season, he was signed up as the voice of the SPL when ESPN launched their UK arm. Rae also commentates on their Europa League and FA Cup matches as second choice behind Jon Champion. Alongside Rae tonight was Craig Burley, one of the survivors of the Setanta years. Burley was the resident pundit on pretty much every SPL broadcast Setanta had and when they gained English Premier League rights in 2007 it was he who combined his studio duties with a place on the gantry next to Champion. Since being snapped up by ESPN Burley’s forthright views continued to be heard on both English Cup and Scottish League football on a weekly basis. Completing the line-up was reporter Darrell Currie. He’s on the touchline at all 30 of ESPN’s Scottish Premier League matches as well as reporting on the FA Cup and Europa League games. He’s a relative newcomer to television broadcasting having previously worked for BBC Scotland before joining ESPN at launch.

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The Coverage: ESPN gained Live broadcast rights to the FA Cup following Setanta Sports collapse in June 2009. However this season would be the first that ESPN would cover the competition, with ITV holding exclusive rights in the immediate aftermath for 2009/10. ESPN prioritised buying up League football in their first year, adding Cups and internationals later. After hastily setting up a channel and personnel to go with the newly-acquired rights, the American-owned media giant would show Live matches from every round of the competition from the First to the Final, as well as up to two replays from the early stages where permitting. On Thursday they would show Ebbsfleet versus Wimbledon but first it was Woking’s Kingfield Stadium where ESPN would park up their mobile caravan studio to host from pitchside in the corner of the ground. The programme began fifteen minutes before the 7.45pm kick off, giving anchor Ray Stubbs and guests John Barnes and Clive Walker time to discuss some of the key match-ups. Their set up encompassed a desk and three small chairs within the caravan as if in their usual warm studio back in London. The foggy evening gave an eery backdrop and the loud support in the two stands either side of them did its best to drown out our guests, as their facial microphones attempted to pick out their voices over the top. The game was apparently in danger of postponement due to the heavy fog a couple of hours before kick off but had lifted significantly by the time they came on-air. Darrell Currie spoke with both managers in the build up, with Poyet discussing the return to professional football of his assistant Mauricio Taricco. When the pundits talked about the news on the back of the interview, unfortunately the director and graphics department didn’t quite seem to know who Taricco was, captioning his name over shots of Inigo Calderon warming up! They then highlighted Woking’s Elvis Hammond and Brighton’s Ashley Barnes, thankfully with the correct identification this time. Both Clive Walker and John Barnes when asked for a prediction fancied the away side’s quality to shine through. Before the advert break clips of Woking’s famous FA Cup win at West Brom in 1991 were shown to stoke the fires and when we returned it was time for Ray Stubbs to hand over to the commentary team of Derek Rae and Craig Burley. Whilst other broadcasters had phased out the tradition of the co-commentator talking us through the formations after the main commentator had given us the team news, thankfully ESPN retained this. So Rae gave us the headlines and Burley went through the action areas in a little more detail so we were all set for kick off.

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ESPN’s theme tune was not a recognised song for their FA Cup coverage, instead using a specially composed untitled piece. The title sequence showed everybody going about their usual business from the groundsman to the fans and the players before culminating in an overlaying graphic on Wembley Stadium denoting the stage of the competition. The action replay transition consisted of the ESPN logo flying in from the right and zooming in to fill the screen, all quick as a flash. The rest of their graphics were red and black with square block based animations, all based on the colours of the channel logo. There were very slight similarities in principle to the ones used on the ITV Sport Channel almost a decade earlier, with their sleek, simple design. During the match, the co-commentator would occasionally highlight a tactical plan or theme being explored using arrows and circles. This channel branded this as the ‘ESPN Axis’ and allowed Craig Burley a few seconds to show something which is more commonplace during the highlights shows or post match analysis. Indeed the Axis was used during half and full-time by the pundits. This sort of thing began with Andy Gray on Sky and has influenced many a broadcaster since. One of the innovations that predecessors Setanta brought in to their coverage was the in-game interviews as part of their ‘Access All Areas’ coverage of the Conference. ESPN have incorporated that into their FA Cup broadcasts when covering a non-league team, with cameras in their dressing room (but not usually the League clubs) and Darrell Currie speaking with Woking boss Graham Baker in-play. Like with most channels now, when it came to injury time the number of minutes was permanently displayed next to the clock. The half time analysis focussed on some of the half-chances seen so far as well as a quick chat with the FC United of Manchester assistant manager, as his side would play tonight’s winners. He insisted he “didn’t care” which of the two prevailed. During the match the ticker at the bottom of the screen kept us up to date with the scores from the other replays whilst we waited for a winner at Kingfield. As the second half was near to starting, we saw the mobile studio had already been packed up in the corner, a requirement during the game. When the match finished level after ninety minutes we had a quick ad break before Extra Time began, which saw our pundits milling around next to their positions as the caravan had to remain folded away. We did eavesdrop on the Woking team talk and Darrell Currie grabbed another quick word with Graham Baker before the additional half an hour could get underway. A red-background graphic stating E.T. was added next to the clock. When the red card was issued a little red rectangle was added underneath Brighton’s name on the ever-increasing scoreboard. The pundits filled in the gaps at half-time in Extra Time and between that conclusion til the penalty shoot-out, giving us another chance to see the goals. Once the shoot-out was over and Brighton had gone through, Darrell Currie got immediate reaction from Matt Sparrow on the pitch followed by the Cards captain Mark Ricketts. After the final break Currie spoke to the Woking manager and Stubbs, Barnes and Walker continued their analysis for around ten minutes or so before Gus Poyet made his way across to the caravan to join the pundits for the final five of the programme. They came off-air at the delayed time of just before 11pm.

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Story of the Match: An early chance fell Woking’s way after good play from Elvis Hammond who fizzed a low drive right across the face of goal to the back post where Federico was waiting under pressure from Calderon. The Spaniard did enough to put him off as the shot flew high over the stands. Hammond was causing more problems on fifteen minutes when his shot had to be blocked for a corner, the resulting set piece nearly resulting in a scrambled goal from that man again. Brezovan stood firm. Brighton’s first real chance went the way of an outstretched Bennett, as Matt Sparrow’s pullback wasn’t quite connected with as sweetly as the winger would have liked. Moments later Radostin Kishishev rolled back the years to link up with Sparrow who played the ball over the top of the defence for the Bulgarian to volley just wide. A highlight of any match is the linesman taking a tumble, check out the 34th minute for that. With seven minutes to go before the break Matt Sparrow was again involved in the Woking area, curling a low shot from the corner of the box into the goalkeeper’s arms. Right on half-time the referee had a decision to make which, for Woking fans and commentator Craig Burley, it looked like he made the incorrect one. A ball through to Moses Ademola caused Greer to swing a leg and seemingly take him out in the penalty area however nothing was given. The teams went in all-square at half time. It took the Albion a little over eleven minutes in the second half to finally break that long deadlock. A cross in from the far touchline by Taricco was beautifully headed down behind the last defender by Barnes where Matt Sparrow was running on to it. He beat the defender to the ball and his first-time finish from seven yards out gave Andy Little no chance. The Barnes header was so good; it had just enough on it to fall between both the goalkeeper and defender, perfectly in the path of Sparrow. The breakthrough signalled a double substitution for Poyet; bringing on Murray and Battipiedi. Brighton were pushing for a second in the next few minutes but nothing quite happened, Sparrow again going closest dragging a shot narrowly wide. Then with nineteen minutes remaining the home side were right back in the tie. A throw-in on the near touchline corner in front of the now-packed up studio was taken to Hammond in the box. He managed to spin Elphick to reach the byline before putting it into the danger zone. His cross ricocheted off Gordon Greer for an own-goal in amongst a load of bodies, the ball going past Brezovan who could only stand and watch it nestle into the far corner for one-one. Game on again. Woking were buoyant and went close with a header a few minutes later. Their quick wingers caused further problems for Taricco who went into the book for a late challenge. Brighton were panicked. There was even an almighty swing-and-a-miss air-shot from Battipiedi in a rare, late foray forward with five minutes remaining as his attempt at a shot caused more damage to the grass than the ball. With two minutes to go Matt Sparrow was presented with a golden chance to win it. A free-kick was floated in the box, the header across from Murray found Sparrow unmarked ten yards out. The ball was bouncing up high and he took the shot when it was on the up rather than on the way down and his volley sailed over; the usual composure eluding him at the crucial moment. Not to be outdone, the final chance of the ninety belonged to Hammond, who perhaps didn’t know too much about it as a cutback seemed to fall into his running stride and the ball flew off his foot and wide from just a few yards out. We would need Extra Time, at the least, to separate these two, as it ended one-one after 180 minutes of Cup football.

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Brighton’s final substitution was made five minutes into the additional period. Cristian Baz replaced Gary Hart for some fresh legs up front, aiming to secure the game without having to go all the way to penalties. And for a short time it looked like they wouldn’t be needed, as in the twelfth minute Woking took the lead. The corner was swung in from the far side to an unmarked Ola Sogbanmu who was able to head the ball home centre of goal six yards out. The substitute was completely ignored by the Albion defence and it was the simplest of headers to give the non-league side the lead for the first time. Thankfully though the perfect response came almost immediately. Gordon Greer chipped a deflected pass forward to Murray who neatly touched it off the edge of the box for Elliott Bennett. He struck it first time on the half-volley from inside the D, driving the ball low past Little for the equaliser before half-time. The drama wasn’t quite over yet as assistant manager, and emergency left-back re-registered for tonight’s game, Mauricio Taricco received his marching orders for petulant dissent. Although it took the referee around a minute to realise a red was required after issuing him with just a yellow for arguing over a decision, the kick was taken and then when play stopped Roger East went back to issue the red card having clearly realised he’d booked the Argentinian twice. It was all getting slightly farcical and worryingly for the Seagulls, the game was far from secure. The closest anyone came to taking the initiative in the second period of Extra Time was a deflected shot from Matt Sparrow from the edge of the area, landing inches wide of the post. And so, for the third successive Live televised Cup tie for the Seagulls, it would take a penalty shoot-out to decide who would progress. We eavesdropped in on the Woking boss talking his team through the penalty preparations giving three clear instructions; place the ball properly, have a proper run up and choose your corner and don’t change your mind. Simple stuff really. Unfortunately none of their players took that advice as Woking missed all three of their penalties; Sogbanmu hit the post, Faulconbridge blazed over and Hammond saw his comfortably saved. Glenn Murray took Brighton’s first, sending the goalkeeper the wrong way. Goalscorer Matt Sparrow did the same, sending his high into our top left-hand corner. There was a glimmer of hope for Woking when Battipiedi smashed his against the crossbar but that was short-lived. So it was left to Cristian Baz to secure the winner with the cheekiest of kicks, stopping his run-up dead to calmly stab the ball trickling past the already-committed goalkeeper. His composure didn’t match how uncomfortable it was for the Albion, with Woking putting in an incredible effort over both matches. Next up in Round Two it was FC United of Manchester at Withdean, hopefully learning from tonight’s match not to take non-league teams for granted.

WOK Draw

WOKING 1 BRIGHTON 1 (2-2 AET)
Greer (Own Goal). Sogbanmu Sparrow. Bennett. Brighton win 3-0 on penalties.

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