Withdean on Screen; Milestone Matches part 2

Small Screen Seagulls 2000sThe media spotlight didn’t often shine on the Albion. Outside of the glorious run to the FA Cup Final, and Replay, in 1983, appearances on the television were rare. Goal clips were shown on the news and, if you were lucky, the Brighton game might have been selected for extended highlights on Match of the Day or The Big Match. Live games were even rarer, with the Seagulls on screen just three times in the 1980s and four in the 1990s. The satellite television boom didn’t really reach the South Coast until the 21st Century. The story of the club’s homelessness, two-year exile to Gillingham’s Priestfield Stadium and twelve year stay at Withdean did garner some attention. Television helped play its part in this. This piece remembers some of the milestone matches Brighton played at their temporary abode. This is the SECOND part of the story, the first can be found here.

Ipswich 05 Pitch invasion

1

BIGGEST MARGIN OF VICTORY (11th November 2006) FA Cup Round One

Match of the Day, BBC One; Brighton 8-0 Northwich Victoria 

Northwich Intro Northwich red button

After a disappointing 2005/06 season which saw the Albion relegated in last place from the Championship, and further frustrating delays over the planning permission for the new stadium in Falmer, the club were back in the third tier for a period of transition. It got worse just a month into the campaign when boss Mark McGhee left after a lacklustre start and three consecutive losses. Hopes of bouncing straight back up like the last time they were at this level were quickly diminished. Chairman Dick Knight said at the time he thought McGhee had lost the fans and accepted his proposal to stand down. Former Albion midfielder Dean Wilkins, coach of the academy, was appointed initially in a caretaker role before being given the post full time. Results weren’t showing much sign of improving with five defeats on the bounce, including a disappointing defeat Live on Sky against Blackpool in October. That proved to be a bit of a turning point as Wilkins’ young Seagulls then began a six match unbeaten run, five of them wins, ahead of an FA Cup 1st Round tie at home to Conference side Northwich Victoria. As the 1990s showed, Albion taking on non-League sides in the Cup wasn’t always a guarantee of a result. Terrestrial FA Cup broadcaster BBC showed the pick of the First Round ties at the end of an extended one-hundred-minute Match of the Day, once all the Premiership highlights had been on. In fact there were so many goals to get through, there was only time to show three of ours on the main show, with the rest shunted to the BBC Red Button where every goal from every game was played on a loop overnight. Damien Johnson voiced all eight Albion finishes, eventually!

Northwich Cox opener Northwich Robinson 2nd Northwich Revell Northwich Rents

Dean Cox got us off to the perfect start with a goal in the eighth minute. A positive surge from Dean Hammond brought the ball inside the area where Cox finished first time to curl into the bottom corner (above, top left). Jake Robinson doubled the lead ten minutes later when he skipped past two to drill low into the corner past goalkeeper Phil Senior. The juniors were out on top at half time and it was three nil ten minutes after the break. Robinson was again the scorer, cutting in from the right touchline past his marker and finishing from a wide angle under the ‘keeper (above, top right). The low corners were proving to be the weak spot for Senior and Alex Revell took full advantage with a fantastic strike (above, bottom left) from twenty-five yards. Four more goals were added in the final twelve minutes, the first of which completed Jake Robinson’s hat-trick (below left). This time the effort flew high into the roof of the net from range. The sixth came about when, for some reason, the furthest forward was Adam El-Abd who saw his shot parried into the path of Joe Gatting, son of former Albion defender Steve, to tap home from six yards. That was his first senior goal for the club after coming up through the ranks and another also got that accolade with a minute to go. Sam Rents was put through by Dean Cox with time and space to make it number seven (above, bottom right). And it was Cox who rounded things off neatly, scoring the first and the last, to make it a great eight-nil. His run into the area was spotted by Gatting, the through ball perfect for Cox to lift it over the goalie and into the top corner. A fantastically ruthless display from a Brighton side full of youth and excitement. They progressed to the Second Round with the biggest margin of victory Withdean would see.

Northwich Robinson Hat Trick Northwich Scoreline

This result didn’t quite prove to be the shot in the arm to push on for the rest of the season. Further exploits in the Cup continued, ending with a Third Round defeat to Premiership West Ham away. League form was patchy and the club trundled to an eighteenth place finish in League One in 2007, picking up just eight points from the final twelve matches. The following season was much more positive though and Wilkins narrowly missed out on a Play Off spot by a single place. The biggest result came off the pitch, with permission finally granted for Falmer, this time Lewes District Council decided not to challenge. Things were on the up again! But sadly not for Dean Wilkins, who was relieved of his duties at the end of the season, in a surprise move. Brighton searched through their former glories and brought back Division Three winning manager Micky Adams after seven years away for the 2008/09 season. What could possibly go wrong?!


2

BIGGEST SHOCK (24th September 2008) League Cup Round Two

Carling Cup Highlights, ITV1; Brighton 1-1 Man City (2-2 AET, 5-3 on pens) 

Man City Intro Man City Skippings

In September 2008, Manchester City were taken over by an Abu Dhabi Group consortium for £200 million which instantly made them the richest club in world football. The club finished ninth in the Premiership the season before and were now competing in Europe this time round. On Transfer deadline day they bought Brazilian superstar Robinho from Real Madrid for £32.5 million. By contrast at the same time, Brighton were competing in League One having brought back the manager who left to become an assistant at Leicester seven years earlier, beginning their twelfth season without a home, lost to Crowborough Athletic in the final pre-season match and the biggest bit of transfer news was the re-signing of Adam Virgo on a free, having not spent a penny on a new player all summer and relying on youth, free agents and loans. So when the two sides were drawn to play each other in the Second Round of the Carling Cup it was fair to see it was a complete mismatch. The City schedule was jam-packed due to their progression in the UEFA Cup so this match had to be played when pretty much everybody else was playing the Third Round. They went into the match off the back of a six-nil thrashing of Portsmouth and won three out of the first five Premiership games. Brighton’s form had regressed since an unbeaten August, without a win in four and lost the previous Saturday to the nine-men of Walsall. Nobody really held out much hope of making it to the League Cup Third Round this Wednesday night at Withdean. Football League highlights broadcaster ITV put on a late-night programme at 11.35pm to round up the events of the week presented by Matt Smith in the studio, with our match receiving the voiceover treatment from regular reporter Tom Skippings.

Man City Opener Man City Murray Man City Anyinsah Man City Equaliser

Big money signing Robinho was a no-show but City’s side included several famous names, the likes of Peter Schmeichel’s son Kasper, Richard Dunne, Vincent Kompany, Michael Ball (not that one), Michael Johnson (not that one either) and Jo all starting. The Albion’s team featured local born Adam Virgo, Tommy Elphick, Adam El-Abd and Tommy Fraser alongside new signing David Livermore and Ipswich loanee Matt Richards. But honours were even in the first half, with Steve Thomson nearly even putting Brighton one up when he struck the post. However, City took the lead just after the hour mark. Gelson Fernandes saw his effort take a huge deflection of Elphick and fly past Kuipers (above, top left). Just when you thought that would be that, Brighton popped up with an equaliser in the final minute after great work from Thomson. He received the ball from a throw-in on the left touchline, dribbled past Stephen Ireland and through Vincent Kompany. He received the ball in the box from a Virgo flick over the top before stabbing the ball goalwards. Waiting to pounce from no more than two yards out was Albion striker Glenn Murray who got there ahead of Fernandes to equalise (above, top right). Extra Time was required. Brighton turned the game around just five minutes in when substitute Joe Anyinsah, on loan from Preston making only his second appearance, pounced in the area (above, bottom left) after good work from Dean Cox. For all their wealth, experience and technique, it took Mark Hughes’ Manchester City side to go route one for their equaliser three minutes into the second period. A long punt upfield from goalkeeper Schmeichel was missed by everyone and allowed to bounce just outside the box. Stephen Ireland latched on to it to squeeze between the central defenders and slot the ball through the legs of Kuipers for two-two (above, bottom right). They still couldn’t be separated and a shoot-out was next.

Man City Richards penalty Man City Adams Man City Scoreline

Penalty shoot-outs had served Brighton rather well, with a superb dramatic win over Swindon in 2004 on the way to Play Off glory being the most famous thus far. Nobody was giving an inch during this, with the first seven spot kicks all being converted. Livermore, Elphick, Murray and Virgo scored for the Seagulls, with Ched Evans, Elano and Kompany replying for the visitors. Michael Ball couldn’t follow, with his kick saved well by Kuipers low to the Dutchman’s right. That presented Matt Richards with the opportunity to win it, which he duly did; dispatching his penalty to the left (above, top left) sending Schmeichel the wrong way and Brighton through! Cue a mini pitch invasion, the hoardings and running track of Withdean no barrier for the fans. There was no doubting this was an embarrassing exit for Manchester City, who would get over it in subsequent years of course. Pure elation for Brighton, supporters getting that little chance to gloat over the big clubs. In his interview afterwards, Micky Adams said “The fans have thoroughly enjoyed it tonight. It’s nice to see the Withdean packed out.” Adams wouldn’t go on to see that again too much. Defeat to Derby in Round Three saw a swift exit, they were knocked out of the FA Cup in Round One via a replay and were a penalty shoot-out away from a Wembley Final in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy but Luton edged it that night, Live on Sky. Form in the League crashed and burned and he was sacked in February after just nine months as the club slid into the relegation zone. An emergency rescue operation was required in the final third of the season to avoid falling into League Two.


3

THE GREAT ESCAPE IS ON (18th April 2009) League One

The Championship, ITV4 (repeat); Brighton 3-1 Oldham

Oldham Titles Oldham Smith

With Micky Adams losing his job in February and the club in the bottom four of League One, it was a tall order to reverse the slide with so few matches remaining. Come in, Russell Slade! The 2007 League One Manager of the Year was appointed in March until the end of the season, giving him just fourteen matches to lift them from 22nd place. Early on he got the better of his old side Yeovil with a five-nil thrashing but that was the only win in March. Defeats on the road at Walsall, Scunthorpe and MK Dons followed before a vital win at Hereford. An Easter Monday victory at Colchester kick-started an incredible finish to the season which continued with this match, at home to Oldham. Joe Royle’s side were comfortably mid-table with the Play Offs not quite in reach so essentially had little to play for. But Brighton had the worst home record in the Division, with just two wins at Withdean since 1st November – that’s an astonishing thirteen matches. ITV’s The Championship continued to be the terrestrial highlights programme for the Football League but despite the name, they did show the goals from all three Divisions. Matt Smith presented the Sunday morning show on ITV1, repeated on Monday nights on digital channel ITV4, from Molineux as Wolves celebrated promotion. Reporter Chris Hall talked through the goals on a big day for Brighton.

Oldham League One Oldham 1st goal Oldham Owusu header Oldham consolation

Dean Cox got Brighton off the mark after twenty-six minutes, left unmarked at the back post to nod home Lloyd Owusu’s cross. And the assister became the goalscorer just before half-time in slightly unusual circumstances. Gary Hart, who was actually released in the summer by Dean Wilkins only to be immediately brought back when Micky Adams was appointed, provided a similar looking cross to the back stick where Owusu stood. The striker joined in March on loan from Cheltenham. He was denied a goal at the first attempt when his stooping header was saved by goalkeeper Mark Crossley but his quick reactions ensured he wasn’t to be denied completely. Whilst lying full stretch on the floor, he flicked the loose ball in from all of a yard to improvise brilliantly (above, top right). You don’t see too many horizontal headers! After an hour, Lewis Allesandra pulled a goal back for the Latics when he outmuscled Adam El-Abd to win a ball over the top and calmly slot past Michel Kuipers (above, bottom left). The hope was short-lived as Lloyd Owusu grabbed his second and Brighton’s third less than two minutes later to seal the points. Somehow the ball trickled through the middle of the Oldham defence and Owusu latched onto it to slot past Crossley (below left).

Oldham Owusu 2nd Oldham table

Three-one was the final scoreline as Brighton completed a huge victory and shook off that Withdean hoodoo. There were three more matches in order to pull off the greatest of great escapes, with just one of those coming at Withdean. The League One table still made for uncomfortable viewing from an Albion perspective, with the club languishing in 22nd spot but three vital points brought them that little bit closer to getting out. Hereford’s fate was sealed that weekend after another defeat, just three other spots now waited to be filled. Brighton followed up these back-to-back wins with two more great away performances. A two-one victory at Bristol Rovers saw the Seagulls come from behind to snatch the three points. That man Owusu scored again, cancelling Rickie Lambert’s opener, whilst on-loan Crystal Palace forward Calvin Andrew got the winner. This was backed up by a crucial point at Huddersfield, who had veteran Andy Booth still firing strong and on the scoresheet. Again, Andrew and Owusu netted. These results lifted Albion out of the relegation zone and meant that a win in the final match of the season at home to Stockport would be enough to complete what was unthinkable just a few short weeks ago; stay in the Division. Could the Seagulls hold their nerve for one more match?

4

FINAL DAY SURVIVAL (2nd May 2009) League One

Big League Weekend, Sky Sports 1; Brighton 1-0 Stockport

Stockport Titles Stockport Gavin

Sky Sports previewed the final weekend of the Football League season with their usual Friday night magazine show Big League Weekend 1. This replaced the old Football League Review show on Thursday nights in previous seasons with a Friday preview and a Monday review show under the Big League banner. This was introduced for the 2007/08 season. George Gavin was the main man fronting it in the presenter’s seat. Gone are the days of having to stand around that podium for an hour! Graphics and titles were the same as used on the Live matches. For this edition, Gavin was joined in the studio by Brentford manager Andy Scott and Sky Sports pundit Scott Minto.

Stockport Slade dugout Stockport Studio 1  Stockport table before match Stockport Fixtures

The studio team looked ahead to the intriguing battle at the bottom, where five teams were battling to avoid the drop; Crewe, Carlisle, Northampton, Hartlepool and, of course, the Albion. Crewe had the unenviable task of playing Champions Leicester and even a win might not have been enough for the Railwaymen to avoid joining Hereford and Cheltenham. Perennial escape artists Carlisle could do it again as they hosted Millwall, the Lions with nothing much to play for but pride having already secured a top five spot. Hartlepool headed South West to Bristol Rovers knowing a point would be enough for them. Northampton faced a tricky tie at Play Off bound Leeds, where coming away with anything is usually tough. And at Withdean, Stockport were dragged down towards the battle after a ten point deduction for going into administration. However, with their positive goal difference it was almost impossible for Carlisle to overturn that swing so effectively were safe. Brighton knew a win would secure the great escape for Russell Slade having only taken the reins in March. Reporter Dominic Johnson voiced a package interviewing someone from all the clubs involved in the relegation battle. Slade said “That was my biggest worry, that there wasn’t a lot of game to be played and to turn it around in such a short space of time.” Pundit Scott Minto thought Northampton and Crewe would be the two to drop, with tough final day fixtures for the pair.

Stockport Titles 2 Stockport Studio 2 Stockport Withdean merchandise Stockport Knight

The Monday after the Saturday before, Sky Sports broadcast their ninety minute weekend round-up of the Football League in Big League Weekend 2, presented by George Gavin with Birmingham’s Kevin Phillips and Burnley’s Robbie Blake. Tony Lockwood voiced a report detailing the season’s conclusion at the foot of League One, having discounted Crewe after their defeat at Leicester sent them down. Four teams remained trying not to get that final spot. The package began on the South Coast with the sun shining at Withdean as the fans and staff went about their preparations. Chairman Dick Knight was interviewed pitchside prior to kick off putting an excited, positive spin on the events. “It’s actually why we come to football, days like this, a wonderful, exciting day. We’re very optimistic, we’ve got a full house, record crowd that’s ever been here.” 8,618 turned up to the pack out the athletics ground, fully expecting a good result for Russell Slade’s miracle men.

Stockport Intro Stockport Forster goal Stockport Full time Stockport Forster

Things didn’t get off to the best of starts though as an early goal from Graham Kavanagh put Carlisle one up in their match and with the Albion level with Stockport, the goal put Brighton into the relegation zone. However, that position didn’t last for long as a Leeds goal against Northampton sent the Cobblers dropping instead. As things stood, Brighton and Carlisle were safe, Northampton were joining Crewe, Cheltenham and Hereford in League Two. Carlisle extended their lead against Millwall to save them from the drop and Leeds soon doubled their advantage against Northampton. A third goal for the Yorkshire team secured Northampton’s fate late on. With seventeen minutes to go, Brighton made sure of it when Nicky Forster pounced to score the sort of poacher’s goal he was famous for (above, top right). On loan Gary Dicker’s volley on the edge of the box was parried by goalkeeper Conrad Logan but only as far as Forster who tapped home from five yards. It was enough to get the win, with the final whistle a cue for a pitch invasion to celebrate (above, bottom left). Afterwards, Forster (above, bottom right) was full of praise for the support; “It was a fantastic atmosphere, the fans came in force and that was definitely key to the day.”

Stockport Slade Stockport Celebrations Stockport Player of the Month Stockport Owusu

Russell Slade told Sky Sports “The lads have responded exceptionally well in recent weeks and I think they deserve it.” The boss was carried on supporters’ shoulders (above, top right) on the pitch, enjoying every second of this magnificent achievement. It’s easy to underplay it in hindsight but when he arrived the club morale was low; the home form was abysmal and it was difficult to see where the next win would come from. A couple of loan signings and some fresh thinking from the manager galvanised the side into promotion form in the final third of the campaign, ending with a five-match unbeaten run taking thirteen points out of fifteen. Six goals from striker Lloyd Owusu earned him the Powerade Player of the Month award for April (above, bottom left and right). He rejected the offer of joining permanently in the summer, but there was better news (initially) for Russell Slade, who was offered the job on a two-year deal. The final table (below) actually saw the Seagulls leap up to sixteenth position, three points clear of the drop zone but four places. As Scott Minto predicted on the Friday show, it was Crewe and Northampton who joined the already relegated two on their journey down to the basement League. It could so easily have been Brighton were it not for good old Russell Slade. It was a shame that his good impact didn’t stretch into the 2009/2010 season where a terrible start saw him dismissed in November to be replaced by former Chelsea midfielder Gus Poyet for his first managerial role. The rest really was, as they say, history!

Stockport Final Table


5

THE FINAL MATCH (30th April 2011) League One

The Football League Show, BBC One; Brighton 2-3 Huddersfield

Huddersfield Titles Huddersfield Studio

When Gus Poyet was appointed Albion boss in November 2009, the club were just above the relegation zone in League One. His first match was televised Live on Sky Sports and the terrific three-one away victory at Southampton was a taster of results to come. It wasn’t all rosy though and the first few months were hit and miss. Gradually as the campaign wore on, he went about adjusting the playing style to a more fluid, passing one. He got the best out of the likes of Adam El Abd at the back, Matt Sparrow in the middle and Ashley Barnes up top alongside Glenn Murray. There was a clear identity about the club again. That season ended with the club climbing the League table from twentieth in January up to thirteenth in March, where the club would finish. The second half of the season was more like the Brighton we would come to see during the 2010/11 campaign; our final year at Withdean Stadium. With a new look structure of Tony Bloom as chairman and Gus Poyet as manager, the Albion stormed League One from the off. Just one defeat in fifteen saw them in the top six places and they would never look back. A terrific run of eleven wins out of twelve in March and April saw firstly promotion clinched with a four-three defeat of Dagenham, then the title secured with a three-one scoreline at Walsall. The foot eased off the gas a little towards the end of the season, the first home defeat was inflicted by Southampton at the end of April before a comedic own goal at Colchester, Live on Sky, saw further points dropped. The target of one hundred points was just slightly out of reach. And so the final match after twelve long, hard seasons at Withdean was upon us. Huddersfield were the visitors, themselves needing the points to join Albion in the Championship next season. Terrestrial highlights had switched from ITV to BBC in 2009 so The Football League Show presented by Manish Bhasin in the studio with Steve Claridge was where we could witness the best of the action.

Huddersfield Intro Huddersfield Barnes Huddersfield Sparrow Huddersfield Winner

It was only right that Dave Beckett, a Brighton supporter and voice of the Football League for more than a decade, got to narrate the final ever Albion match at Withdean. Beckett was there throughout the entire story of the sale of the Goldstone and playing at Gillingham, where he reported for ITV Meridian News. He was the presenter of ITV’s Football League Extra in the early years at Withdean before providing the reports for The Championship when that began in 2004. And when the BBC gained the League highlights he became one of their principle voices on the round-ups. He summed up the departure of Withdean nicely, beginning his report with “No electronic scoreboard at Withdean’s humble surroundings, a ground Brighton’s fans are delighted to say goodbye to after twelve years, even if it has seen some excellent seasons.” Huddersfield provided a guard of honour for the Champions but soon took the lead after just eight minutes. Benik Afobe swivelled to sell Gordon Greer a dummy in the area before slotting the ball under Peter Brezovan’s dive and into the back of the net. Brighton had their chances to equaliser, immediately with Ashley Barnes thwarted then later with Chris Wood, who saw his header crash against the crossbar. The Terriers lead at the break but just two minutes into the second half there was a chance of an equaliser when Elliott Bennett was fouled for a penalty. Up stepped Barnes. Goalkeeper Ian Bennett guessed the right way to keep it out but couldn’t do anything about the rebound, as Barnes stooped to nod in (above, top right). With less than half an hour remaining, Huddersfield regained the lead through Afobe’s second. He was presented the opportunity from a mistake by right back Inigo Calderon, whose chest back to Brezovan did not reach the intended target and Afobe nipped in to finish smartly. Eight minutes later and the Seagulls were on level terms again. A terrific through ball from Greer was dummied by Gary Hart to allow Matt Sparrow to latch onto it. Through on goal, he took two touches before finishing into the far corner for two-two (above, bottom left). That wasn’t the end of things as Danny Ward won it for Huddersfield in stoppage time when he put two Albion defenders on their backsides with one simple touch before firing past Brezovan at the near post (above, bottom right). Three-two the final scoreline for the final match.

Huddersfield scoreline Huddersfield Table Huddersfield Poyet Huddersfield Brighton Champions

That win for Huddersfield kept alive their hopes of joining Brighton in the Championship via the automatic promotion route, going level on points with Southampton in second place. The Saints also won that day, a three-nil scoreline at Brentford, but with a game in hand they were still favourites to go up. That’s exactly what happened, with Huddersfield having to try their luck in the Play Offs. For Brighton fans, the final ninety minutes was just a sideshow for the main event of the day – saying goodbye to this peculiar stadium in style with the presentation of the League One trophy. Captain Gordon Greer held the silverware aloft as the champagne flowed and the celebrations began. Manager Gus Poyet was lapping it up with the supporters (above, bottom left). It capped off a remarkable last season there, blowing away the rest of the competition and ending up on a hugely impressive 95 League points. The second tier would be where Brighton would begin life at Falmer in. The 2011/2012 season would not only see a change of Division, but also a change of home. At long, long, long last! Goodbye Withdean, and thanks for the memories.


Huddersfield Goodbye

#37: Wrexham 1-1 Brighton 18/01/2012

#37 WREXHAM 1-1 BRIGHTON (AET, BRI win 5-3 on pens) FA Cup Round Three Replay
Wednesday 18th January 2012 Related imageS4C

WRE Titles

PRESENTER Ray Stubbs GUESTS Brian Flynn & John Barnes
COMMENTATORS Derek Rae & Chris Waddle REPORTER Darrell Currie
7.15pm Kick Off; Racecourse Ground, Wrexham     7-9.30pm FA Cup Live on ESPN (Extended to 10.30pm)

WRE Bumper WRE Sponsor WRE Intro

Context of the Match: Brighton certainly liked to make heavy work of their FA Cup ties against non-League opposition. Last season in the competition the Albion drew at home to Woking, from tier five of the football pyramid, and FC United of Manchester, tier seven, before eventually knocking out both in the televised replays. The draw was kind again this season, with Conference Wrexham having to go to The Amex. That, of course, also ended in a tie and here we were twelve days later having to face off again. In the first match, seventeen-year-old Jake Forster-Caskey, who graduated through the club’s youth system, put Brighton ahead to score his second goal in as many games. The lead lasted for around fifteen minutes before Wrexham grabbed an equaliser through Cieslewicz with a shot looping over Cup ‘keeper Brezovan. The Welsh side deserved a replay, indeed they have FA Cup pedigree. In 1992 Mickey Thomas, once of the Seagulls, scored a thunderous free-kick to write his name in history as the fourth tier Dragons upset top Division Arsenal in the Third Round. It’s still one of the most memorable Cup moments of all time. The Racecourse Ground then was muddy, patchy and a proper old-school surface. Twenty years on and the pitch was causing problems here, namely that it was completely frozen. The replay was due to take place on Tuesday 17th but the weather did for that. With the Albion having already travelled over on Monday, a discussion took place with all parties to agree to getting the game on the following night. The forecast was much better for the Wednesday and come kick off time it was perfectly playable. Game on! Eventually. And we would now be Live on two channels; S4C in Welsh and ESPN in English. More on that below. Brighton’s form going into the match was dreadful in December, with four straight League losses. Wins against Southampton and Bristol City at the weekend had seen an improvement but we were going to be in for another tough night in Wrexham. The Welshmen were top of the Blue Square Bet Premier Division, having sat there since October and unbeaten in their last fifteen League matches. In order to reach Round Three of the Budweiser FA Cup, they had to beat York in the Fourth Qualifying Round, dispatch of Cambridge in a replay and win away at Brentford in Round Two. Tonight would be their sixth match in the competition in front of the highest crowd of the season at the Racecourse, they were the last non-league side remaining. The incentive in reaching Round Four was to host Premier League Newcastle.

WRE Wrexham WRE Brighton

The Teams: Gus Poyet stated after the one-all at The Amex that he would be fielding a very inexperienced team in the replay; telling BBC Radio Sussex “We have another opportunity next week for the kids to play an important game. There’s a chance the whole second team will play.” In the original tie he gave a debut in defence to Ben Sampayo, his only appearance for the Albion, and a first start to centre-back Grant Hall, yet another academy graduate, as part of six changes from the side that beat Southampton in the League. However with the extra day’s preparation following last night’s postponement, Poyet had a reshuffle and played a stronger team than anticipated for the replay. He made four changes from the draw. Craig Mackail-Smith had been suffering with an eye injury but the extra recovery time meant he was passed fit and started up top with the two Wills supporting; Hoskins and Buckley. Lewis Dunk was recalled in place of Sampayo and Liam Bridcutt returned with LuaLua not in the squad. Grant Hall kept his position at the back, as did Calderon and Vincelot wide of him. Peter Brezovan had played in every match since the turn of the year, dropping Ankergren after an awful December, and the Slovakian goalkeeper started again tonight. Wrexham’s top scorer Jake Speight was absent from the squad through injury, Danny Wright partnering player-manager Andy Morrell in attack. Goalscorer at The Amex Adrian Cieslewicz was on the wing again. The centre-half pairing of Nat Knight-Percival and Mark Creighton provided the solid wall ahead of Cameroonian goalkeeper Joslain Mayebi, who only joined at the start of the month. Colin Webster was the official.

WRE Stubbs WRE Barnes WRE FlynnWRE Studio

Presentation Team: Studio coverage was chaired by Ray Stubbs. Now in ESPN’s second season of FA Cup broadcasting, and third Premier League, Stubbs fronted the lot both sides of the border. He hosted his first FA Cup Final last May between Manchester City and Stoke, which would be the last Final to kick off at the traditional 3pm time. They rewound the clock to the 1970s and 80s by having all day coverage, beginning at 8am right through to the match starting, it was a pleasure to watch. Setanta did similar for their one and only Cup Final two years earlier. Stubbs had worked on several Finals for the BBC during his 26 years there but never hosted the FA Cup Final, with Des Lynam then Gary Lineker helming those, leaving him in the tunnel to do the interviews. Alongside him in the studio were John Barnes and Brian Flynn. Barnes was becoming quite the ESPN regular now, having left his regular gig on Channel 5 to return for a brief stint in management. Barnes covered both of our Live games on ESPN last season. Brian Flynn was the current Wales under-21 manager, he managed the full National side for nine years in the 70s and 80s as well as Swansea and, of course, Wrexham. He was the third longest-serving manager in the English leagues behind Sir Alex Ferguson and Dario Gradi of Crewe when he left his position in 2001. As a 5 foot 4 inch midfielder, Flynn enjoyed long spells at Burnley and Leeds before seeing out his playing days with the Dragons. It was clear why he was in the studio tonight. Whilst they were warm in London, out on the coal face were commentators Derek Rae and Chris Waddle. Rae was ESPN’s Scottish Premier League voice as well as featuring heavily in the FA Cup and Europa League. He covered our penalty shoot-out victory at Woking last season and is a very warm broadcaster with a clear, distinctive voice. Chris Waddle was ESPN’s Premier League co-commentator, working on the vast majority of their exclusively Live games on Saturday evenings. Having taken the 46 matches from Setanta for 2009/10, the contract for the following three years was only 23 per season, making it easier to utilise a core team. Waddle was also a regular on the FA Cup and Europa League. He previously worked for Setanta and had long been a voice on BBC Radio 5 Live’s big match coverage, particularly for England. Despite lots of television work in recent seasons, he had gone several years solely on radio after starting out on BBC television at the 1994 & 1998 World Cups. Waddle’s pronunciation of the word ‘shape’ in his Geordie tongue without fail always sounds like ‘shite’. Even though you know he’s not saying it, you do nearly always double-take, as pointed out by Baddiel and Skinner on ITV’s excellent Fantasy World Cup. He also sounds like he says ‘pelanty’ instead of ‘penalty’. Reporting on the touchline as usual was Darrell Currie. This was the third Albion match he’d covered for ESPN, combining FA Cup duties with his regular gig in Scotland.

WRE v Arsenal WRE Teams WRE Kick Off WRE Comms

The Coverage: Coverage of this Replay, originally scheduled for the day before, was due to be exclusively Live on Welsh language channel S4C as part of their Sgorio programme. Whilst ITV and ESPN held the broadcast rights for the UK, an additional deal saw S4C able to pick an extra match that hadn’t been chosen for Live coverage involving a Welsh side for broadcast with Welsh commentary. ESPN had been interested in showing this match but were unable to secure a deal and agree on scheduling so S4C went ahead and became the host broadcaster. When the match was called off due to the frozen pitch, discussions went on as to what to do next. With the FA and both clubs agreeing to come back the following night, and S4C accommodating it in their new schedule, ESPN agreed to take a feed and broadcast the match themselves too for the benefit of the English-speaking population. S4C would remain the host broadcaster, meaning cameras, facilities and production would be done by them including the replay animation of a swipe of the two crests from top-left to bottom-right of screen. It was actually very similar to Sky Sports Premier League transition from 2004. With the facilities in place, ESPN were able to make a last-minute decision to simply to opt-in to the feed, stick their own commentary over it and top and tail the programme from their London studio. This also meant there would be no ESPN caravan pitchside or Access All Areas style coverage unfortunately. It was all very hap-hazard and unclear exactly why they didn’t just elect to broadcast it in the first place, but I for one was relieved they did. Watching a televised match featuring your team can be frustrating enough, without commentary over the top in another language not knowing what’s being said! Coverage on the channel was sponsored by payday loans company Wonga with their odd elderly puppets. ESPN’s broadcast began fifteen minutes before the 7.15pm kick-off, with Ray Stubbs hosting from their Matchday Live studio; home to all their Live Premier League broadcasts. He was joined by regular ESPN pundit John Barnes and former Wrexham player and manager Brian Flynn. Their usual graphics were all used, apart from for action replays, meaning we saw those nice red and black astons once more. Unfortunately the old club crest was used, obviously not updating it from last season’s coverage. Flynn was manager when Wrexham famously knocked out Arsenal twenty years earlier and that was the first thing discussed during the build up, with clips of Thomas’ goal and the jubilation from the supporters.

WRE MOTM WRE Interviews WRE Poyet WRE Odds

Reporter Darrell Currie caught up with the two managers pre-match. Poyet praised the hotel they were staying in for allowing them an extra night so they didn’t have to shift elsewhere. In the commentary box were Derek Rae and Chris Waddle. As ESPN did not have any say in angles used or camera directions, we didn’t get a chance to go through the team line ups in the normal manner. Half way through the build up they crossed to an off-camera Rae to talk us through the formations but that was it. Before the teams emerged they cut to an advert break and returned just seconds before the kick-off. This would normally be when they’d show the line-ups and the co-commentator would discuss the formations but there was no time so the names scrolled along the bottom of the screen during the opening few minutes. Rae actually acknowledged that pictures were being brought to us “courtesy of our colleagues at S4C”. You only usually hear that when commentators are bemoaning the foreign director’s decision-making during an overseas Champions League tie. The scorebar was adapted once more to highlight the team colours in a full block behind the team name, as opposed to last season’s colour stripe. The half-time analysis was all about Wrexham and their excellent display capped off with Morrell’s fantastic finish. During the match viewers were invited to log on to the website to vote for their Man of the Match, instead of having the co-commentator decide like usual. Wrexham’s Andy Morrell won with the public. With Extra Time required and an extension to the Live broadcast, an advert break separated the end of the second half and the beginning of the further thirty minutes, with a quick word with the studio team thrown in for good measure. We heard from them again to fill the gaps between Extra Time halves, and then again before the shoot-out. Brighton emerged victorious after five successful spot-kicks and we heard from two of the takers after the break; Craig Mackail-Smith, sporting a huge black eye, and Ashley Barnes who got the equaliser. Barnes must have been on autopilot when he provided this classic answer when asked if they were expecting penalties; “We hopefully would’ve come here and got the three points first” before quickly correcting himself “err to get through to the next round.” Just under twenty minutes were given over to reaction and analysis to the match, with ESPN extending their broadcast by an hour to incorporate the extra action. Darrell Currie also interviewed the two managers, with Poyet looking forward to the next round; “We can do something important against Newcastle, I’m sure that the fans they’re gonna be very happy… We’d take Extra Time and penalties against Newcastle! We will try our best and show that we can play football as well.” The team looked ahead to the Fourth Round, with some mouthwatering ties such as Liverpool versus Manchester United and Queens Park Rangers against Chelsea. The odds showed Brighton at 200/1 to win the competition, with Premier League opposition up next. Brian Flynn was championing our cause, saying if there was only one Championship team that could make it to the Final he hoped it was us. He also praised Gus Poyet for his kind words about Wrexham in his interview. And that just about did it for another evening, a success in the end for Brighton as Ray Stubbs told us it was time to go.

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Story of the Match: Wrexham’s bumper crowd was in full voice creating an excellent atmosphere for the early stages. Brighton wore their change kit of luminous green and black stripes. As you’d expect, the Championship side had a lot of the ball early on without creating any chances. In fact, the first one fell the home team’s way; with Andy Morrell unable to strike on goal past numerous bodies back defending a free-kick. He would have no such trouble after twenty-three minutes though. Danny Wright burst down the left-wing from the halfway line before cutting the ball back to Morrell on the edge of the box. He took a touch to steady it before curling the ball into the top corner of the net for a lovely finish, hit to perfection. Brezovan was nowhere near it, neither were the defence who left him with almost ten yards of space to do as he pleased. Co-commentator Chris Waddle was critical of Brighton, saying they had to up the tempo as it hadn’t been good enough so far. A corner from Matt Sparrow ten minutes before the break was met by a header from Vincelot which caused problems in the area but Wrexham eventually got it away. At the other end Jay Harris had a long-range drive which Brezovan was equal to, but the home side were on top as we went in at half-time. Swansea manager Brendan Rodgers was in attendance, with son Anton sitting on the Seagulls bench. Ten minutes into the second period the match was stopped whilst Danny Wright got medical attention. After a few minutes he was stretchered off, having gone down without a challenge or foul, he had dislocated his elbow. Wrexham had experience in their ranks, with 36-year-old Glen Little, coming on for the injured Wright, combining with 37-year-old Morrell before lashing a shot high and wide after a neat move. Brighton continued to have a lot of the ball but the service wasn’t there on a surface that was bobbling and patchy in places. Something needed to change, substitutions came in the form of Ashley Barnes and youngster Toby Adgestein making his first appearance. Finally with thirteen minutes remaining, the breakthrough came. The ball went to Mackail-Smith in the area surrounded by two Wrexham defenders. He held the ball up until Sparrow got on the overlap. He just about kept the ball in, hitting a first time cross with his left which held up around the penalty spot. Waiting unmarked to head the ball goalwards was the new man, Ashley Barnes, who managed to guide the ball brilliantly into the corner of the net with a powerful nod in off the post. It was his first goal since the last televised match, sixteen games ago. The Welsh side had a chance to immediately regain the lead thanks to a great Glen Little ball in met by the head of Harris but it went just too high to trouble. Barnes got himself booked into the first of six minutes of stoppage time with a needlessly petulant tread on the back of his opponent in a poor attempt to hurdle over him. The final action of the ninety gave Wrexham a golden chance with a free header from a corner four yards out for Joe Clarke who didn’t get the right connection as it sailed over. And so for the second time the match ended one-all, Extra Time would be called upon.

WRE Penalty WRE Final Score

A corner three minutes into the additional thirty almost saw Wrexham regain their lead. Mark Creighton’s powerful header was well pushed away by Brezovan for another corner. Brighton went up the other end with a good ball through for Buckley who in turn found Adgestein behind the defence with just the ‘keeper to beat. He fluffed his lines as Mayebi dived to block. In the second half Romain Vincelot was the surprise man who had a shot on goal, calling Mayebi into action once again, low to his left to keep it level. Usually these periods are dreadful as players are tired and nervous to be the one that costs the tie but this was far more lively than that. Then, in the final minute a lovely flighted cross from Little into the Brighton box was met by the head of Harris but it clipped the bar, via a touch off Calderon’s head, for the best chance of the night. There were a few half-chances here and there throughout Extra Time but nothing that either defence couldn’t deal with and so, for the second time on ESPN, we were heading for a penalty shoot-out. The home side went first through Dean Keates, who got off to the worst possible start as Brezovan guessed the right way and saved it. That gave Barnes the chance to put Brighton in front, which he fully took. Joe Clarke sent Brezovan the wrong way for one-one, which was immediately countered by Matt Sparrow to give Brighton the advantage again. Substitute Hunt smashed his penalty down the middle to score for Wrexham. Mayebi in-goal was doing all sorts of leaping around to try to put the Albion players off but it didn’t work. Bridcutt coolly slotted home for three-two, before Ashton levelled it up. Wearing the captain’s armband tonight, Inigo Calderon scored his kick to put Brighton on the brink, sending it into the top bin. Glen Little, who had done so well since coming on, also scored to try to keep the Dragons in it. But Craig Mackail-Smith blasted Brighton’s final penalty down the middle to make it five from five and send the Seagulls through to Round Four after two scares against their non-league opposition. The Amex would be the venue, with ESPN following us down there in ten days time for a showpiece match against Newcastle. Bring it on!

WRE Coming Up

WREXHAM 1 BRIGHTON 1
Morrell Barnes. (AET, BRI win 5-4 on penalties)

WRE Replay

EXTRAThe original tie at The Amex received a brief highlights edit on terrestrial broadcaster ITV’s Saturday night Third Round show on 7th January 2012. Presenter Matt Smith hosted with guest pundits Paul Ince and Gordon Strachan. ITV had held the free-to-air rights to the competition since 2008 when they regained them from the BBC. This entitled them to a Live match from each of Rounds One and Two, and two games from each of the subsequent stages, plus one Live replay, up until the Semi Final where one match was theirs exclusively. The Final was Live on both ITV and ESPN.

Highlights Titles Highlights Studio

Regular highlights programmes featured on ITV on Saturday and Sunday nights, featuring their core team as well as a host of freelance commentators. The Wrexham home match had commentary from Seth Conway; he worked for ITV Westcountry doing the sports reports on the local news as well as a bit of commentary. In the studio, Gordon Strachan was impressed by the lower and non-league sides like Wrexham and Crawley – who knocked out Bristol City earlier.

Highlights Commentator Highlights Final Score

 

PREVIOUS; #36 BRIGHTON 0-1 WEST HAM 24/10/2011

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

#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)

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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?

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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.

WOK Kick Off WOK Comms  WOK Arriving WOK Mix Up

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.

WOK Ashley Barnes WOK Subs WOK Red Card WOK Sparrow

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.

WOK Penalties WOK Poyet

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.

WOK Replay1 WOK Replay

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

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

#17: Brighton 0-1 Swindon 20/05/2004

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

Alt Titles

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

swi ident sky bet sponsor swi intro

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

swih brighton swih swindon swih formation

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

swih gavin swih holloway swih studio swih commentary team

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

swi changing room swih paint swih kick off swih comms

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

swih ucl final swih sub

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

swih attendanceswih scoreline swih virgo

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

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

swih coming up

BRIGHTON 0 SWINDON 1
Virgo

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

Parkin, Fallon

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

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

#27: Luton 1-1 Brighton 17/02/2009

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

SHR Titles

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

SS2 Ident Titles start LUT Intro

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

LUT Luton LUT Subs LUT Brighton

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

LUT Jones LUT Beagrie LUT Studio

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

LUT Table LUT Adams LUT Kick Off LUT Comms

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

LUT Goal LUT Red Card LUT Analysis LUT Coming Up 

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

LUT Penalties LUT Pen Save

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

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

LUT Replay

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

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

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

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

SHR Titles

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

Xmas Ident 1 Xmas Ident 2 Intro

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

SHR Shrewsbury SHR Subs SHR Brighton

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

SHR Jones SHR Beagrie SHR Studio SHR Studio setting

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

SHR Adams SHR Interview SHR Kick Off SHR Comms

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

SHR Santa SHR Christmas graphics SHR Sub SHR Knight

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

SHR Penalties SHR Save SHR Man of the Match SHR Analysis

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

SHREWSBURY 0 BRIGHTON 0
Brighton win 5-4 on penalties

SHR ResultsSHR Replay1 SHR Replay2

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

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

#5: Brighton 0-0 Fulham 14/12/1995

#5 BRIGHTON 0-0 FULHAM (AET, FUL win 4-1 on pens) FA Cup Round Two Replay
Thursday 14th December 1995 Sky 1995

FACup1996 titles

PRESENTER Richard Keys
COMMENTATORS Martin Tyler & Andy Gray REPORTER Nick Collins
7.45pm Kick Off; Goldstone Ground     Ford Cup Special on Sky Sports

Fulham FACup Sky programme1

Context of the Match: Brighton scraped past non-league Canvey Island in the First Round but only after a replay at the Goldstone following a 2-2 draw first time out. The original Round Two match at Craven Cottage ended goalless twelve days earlier and was enough somehow to garner the interest of the Sky Sports cameras for the first time featuring the Albion. As detailed above, the game was a tight squeeze in order for it not to clash with any other televised matches. England playing on Tuesday pushed this game to a Thursday night, just like another famous FA Cup Replay featuring the club 12 years earlier. Fulham were a division below, in the fourth tier, and on paper an away victory would be an upset, however with Brighton’s poor season so far and low morale it was a difficult match to call. Coupled with the fact Fulham had already knocked us out of the Cup this season, the League Cup back in August. The winner tonight would host Shrewsbury in Round Three.

Fulham FACup Ryan

The Teams: Liam Brady had left since the last televised game, with Albion ’83 Cup hero Jimmy Case taking up the reigns a few weeks before today’s match alongside Brady’s assistant Gerry Ryan. Midfielder Jeff Minton went into the tie in form, having scored in a win against Bournemouth the previous Saturday. Despite a busy run of games coming up for the Albion, including 2 games in 3 days, the majority of the starting XI forming the regular team. That meant ever-present Nicky Rust continued in goal, with defenders Peter Smith and Stuart Myall in front of him, captain McCarthy in the middle and Junior McDougald up front. Fulham’s squad included striker Gary Brazil, whose daughter Ellie would go on to represent the Albion Women’s team more than twenty years later. Speaking of the Women’s team, George Parris started for Brighton. He would later take charge of BHAWFC. Refereeing the match was a young Graham Poll.

Fulham FACup Sky programme2

Presentation Team: Sky’s A-Team of Richard Keys, Martin Tyler, Andy Gray and Nick Collins were all present for this pre-Christmas Cup clash. Tyler and Gray had formed a formidable partnership on the gantry since Sky gained exclusive live rights to the new FA Carling Premiership four years ago, with Gray’s forensic analysis breaking new ground and generally considered to be the best in the business by far. Tyler covered the last Live FA Cup match for Brighton when he was pitchside reporter for ITV in the 1984 Fourth Round victory over Liverpool. Richard Keys hosted almost every English domestic Live match on Sky during this period and was almost certainly based at Sky HQ in Isleworth as opposed to the window box Jim Rosenthal presented from in the Goldstone corner last time out. Nick Collins, Sky’s Premiership and England reporter, was on touchline duties this time around.

Fulham FACup Sky programme3

The Coverage: I have not been able to obtain many details about this broadcast unfortunately. It is almost certain that with it being a replay rather than a full round of fixtures, and rather hastily arranged at that, Sky would have given the coverage a short 15 minutes intro and post match hosted from their studio in Isleworth. Therefore the build up would have consisted of a short chat with the studio guest, a couple of interviews conducted by Nick Collins and then it would be time to hand over to Andy Gray and Martin Tyler. Had this been the original match Live, it would almost certainly have had a longer pre-match and included goals and reports from other 2nd Round ties. Due to the match ending goalless again, extra time and penalties would have extended the broadcast from around 10pm up until about 10.45pm or so, leaving a few minutes to round up the match and get some reaction from the players and managers involved, before concluding for the night and preparing for their next big Live flagship Super Sunday broadcast at the weekend. Sky’s FA Cup theme tune was a version of Jerusalem, which they used throughout the entire time they covered the competition. Graphics were the usual yellow and black that were used across all sports for these couple of years circa 1994-97.

 

Story of the Match: It was some achievement from both sides not to score a solitary goal in a total of 210 minutes of football but that’s exactly what happened here. Nil-nil in the first game, nil-nil in the Replay, nil-nil in Extra Time. Penalties were needed to decide the winner and Brighton certainly did not step up to the mark, scoring just one with Fulham converting all four of theirs to go through. The off-the-field fights were more important to the Albion at this crucial time, having started in the last televised game against Bournemouth they would continue for years to come. The on-field problems continued and the club would be relegated at the end of this season to join Fulham in Division Three.

BRIGHTON 0 FULHAM 0
After Extra Time. Fulham win 4-1 on penalties

 

PREVIOUS; #4 BOURNEMOUTH 3-1 BRIGHTON 24/09/1995

NEXT; #6 LEYTON ORIENT 2-0 BRIGHTON 22/12/1996

EXTRA; Whilst footage of this actual broadcast is proving extremely elusive, I have found a clip from Sky’s FA Cup First Round coverage which included a report on the Albion’s tie away at Canvey Island from reporter (and future Football League Live host) George Gavin and presented by Richard Keys.

Fulham FACup Keys Fulham FACup Gavin

 

World Cup 2014 : #5 A-Z Review

“It’s a team game but an entire nation wins!” [Official Adidas twitter account, 2014]

It’s a horrible shame when things don’t live up to their expectations. ‘University will be the best three years of your life’, they said. It wasn’t. ‘Breaking Bad is the best television series ever’, they bragged. It isn’t. ‘Freddy Adu is the new Pele’, they thought. Still waiting on that one. After the horrible bore of the South Africa 2010 World Cup, where Spain won with seven goals in seven games and the most drab final in living memory, the pressure was on for this tournament to deliver. Hosted in Brazil, the samba beat of the footballing heart, people said this would be the best Coupe du Monde ever. Ever? Some billing.

I am delighted to say it did live up to the hype. This has been the best one by a long way. Entertaining games, wonderful goals, top defending, brilliant coverage and beautiful scenery. It’s hard to imagine how Russia will follow this in four years time. Here is my review of the tournament in A-Z format. I’ll admit now that Z was a cop-out but you try suggesting a better one! Zebras, Zulus or Zooey Deschanel all weren’t present and Zambia didn’t qualify.

Amazing

AMAZING
From start to finish the World Cup hasn’t disappointed. On the pitch and around the country, the view was amazing

Brazil

BRAZIL
The hosts provided breathtaking scenery, terrific fans, beautiful stadiums and the most memorable semi final of all time.

Colombia & Costa Rica

COLOMBIA & COSTA RICA
The surprise packages of the tournament were these two; exciting football, great results and terrific style

Deutschland

DEUTSCHLAND
The Germans were the best team. The Bundesliga has got it so right in so many ways and the national team have taken this on

Enjoyment

ENJOYMENT
From the fans through the media all the way to the players, it seemed everyone really enjoyed this. Great to see

Finally

FINALLY
After a 24 year wait finally the Germans win it again. The golden generation emerges victorious

Goalkeepers

GOALKEEPERS
The goalkeeping at this tournament has been top notch. In particular, Howard of USA, Ochoa of Mexico, Neuer of Germany & Navas of Costa Rica

Hammerings

HAMMERINGS
Three games stand out for particular humiliations; Germany 4-0 Portugal, Spain 1-5 Netherlands & Brazil 1-7 Germany

ITV

ITV
Much maligned but always deliver on the big occasion, ITV made the most of the Copacabana as they hosted & analysed from there. Their theme tune was also superb

James Rodriguez

JAMES RODRIGUEZ
The Colombian striker scored the best goal & was many people’s player of the tournament. He turned 23 the day before the final & is one to watch at Monaco this season

 

Klose

KLOSE
Miroslav Klose became the World Cup’s all-time leading scorer overtaking Ronaldo with 16 goals

Late Drama

LATE DRAMA
Never switch off early! This Cup was full of last minute goals & extra time heartache. The extra 30 minutes in Belgium v USA was enthralling

MURPHY Danny Murphy was the surprise star of the punditry. He was excellent in studio & outstanding in the commentary box, the Beeb have found their new number 1 now surely. He sounds eerily like Ron Atkinson too, which helps

MURPHY
Danny Murphy was the surprise star of the punditry. He was excellent in studio & outstanding in the commentary box, the Beeb have found their new number 1 now surely. He sounds eerily like Ron Atkinson too, which helps

Neymar

NEYMAR
The man single-handedly dragged Brazil through the tournament with his goals which were sorely missed when he was injured in the quarter final. The rest of the team reacted as if he’d died before the semi

Oranje

ORANJE
The Dutch delighted this time round & were unlucky not to make the final. Great players, manager & fans who surely will win overall one day?!

Penalties

PENALTIES
There were loads of shoot-outs but the one that stands out is the Dutch win over Costa Rica. Van Gaal brought on sub keeper Krul with 2 minutes of extra time remaining as a ‘specialist’ & he worked his minds games to save the tie

Qatar

QATAR
Unfortunately during the tournament it was revealed the Qatar 2022 bid may have had bribes and backhanders. FIFA corrupt? Surely not

RIO Rio was the base for much of the media & what a beautiful city. Fan parks packed, beaches swarming. Special mention to Rio Ferdinand who was a surprise hit for the BBC in the Rio studio

RIO
Rio was the base for much of the media & what a beautiful city. Fan parks packed, beaches swarming. Special mention to Rio Ferdinand who was a surprise hit for the BBC in the Rio studio

Spray

SPRAY
The referee’s vanishing spray was great, if not strange. It’s already used in Brazil & the MLS amongst others & will feature in this seasons Champions League

image

TWITTER The first social media World Cup provided hours of fun. Twitter showcased the internet's beat photoshoppers & quick wits. So much so that one picture is not enough!

TWITTER
The first social media World Cup provided hours of fun. Twitter showcased the internet’s best photoshoppers & quick wits. So much so that one picture is not enough! @FootballCliches set out to add Italia 90 graphics onto great moments from this Cup

Usa

USA
The United States caught World Cup fever at last. Even president Obama got in on the act & with coach Klinsmann in charge they were great viewing. Tim Howard was unbeatable, leading to several great photoshop moments

Video technology

VIDEO TECHNOLOGY
The goal decision system was used in the World Cup for the first time. For the first few days they showed it for EVERY goal but a few times it was needed & clearly worked well

 

Worldwide

WORLDWIDE
Everyone wanted a piece of the tournament. Viewing figures were up across the world. In Germany they opened up stadiums to fans to watch the big screen with their sofa

X rated

X-RATED
The cameramen spent much of the time focussing in on the beautiful women in the stands. Which twitter loved. As well as that there was of course the Suarez bite on Chiellini

Youth

YOUTH
The young players were the stars this time round. German Muller is only 24! Depay of Netherlands, Rodriguez of Colombia & Neymar of Brazil are younger still. Raheem Sterling of England (mentioned at last!) is still a teenager

ZZZ'S MISSED With the late kick off times sleep was sorely missed. The late games finished at 1am our time but that didn't mean I missed any of it

ZZZ’S MISSED
With the late kick off times sleep was sorely missed. The late games finished at 1am our time but that didn’t mean I missed any of it

So there we have it; 64 games over 32 days condensed into 26 letters to reflect on 1 fantastic tournament. This has been my fifth World Cup (he says, as if a player or pundit) and I’ve not enjoyed any as much as this. It’s hard to think there won’t be live, top quality football on a daily basis from a beautiful location for, well, a few weeks at least. Roll on Saturday 9th August at the American Express Community Stadium in Falmer. Channel that Samba beat, follow the Germans lead and we’ll be in for another fantastic season of football!