#58: Brighton 2-3 Arsenal 25/01/2015

#58 BRIGHTON 2-3 ARSENAL FA Cup Round Four
Sunday 25th January 2015 Image result for bt sport logo

58ARS Titles.JPG

PRESENTER Jake Humphrey GUESTS Adam Virgo, Ian Wright & Steve McManaman
COMMENTATORS Ian Darke & Robbie Savage REPORTER Ray Stubbs
4pm Kick Off; The Amex     3.30-6.30pm FA Cup Live on BT Sport 1

58ARS Intro

CONTEXT OF THE MATCH

Sami Hyypia resigned from his position as Brighton and Hove Albion manager on Monday 22nd December 2014, with the club four points adrift in the Championship relegation zone.

Hyypia was in charge for just twenty-five first team matches. With a win ratio of just 24%, he achieved victory in just six games, half of which came in the League Cup. In fact, the Capital One Cup was probably the only success of his time on the South Coast, as the Seagulls went through to the Fourth Round for just the fifth time in the history of the competition, and the first since the 1979-80 season. Wins came against lower League opposition; defeating Cheltenham at The Amex before overcoming Swindon and Burton Albion on their travels. The run came to an end at White Hart Lane when Tottenham knocked Brighton out by two goals to nil.

Of the three League victories, two came back in August when Leeds and Bolton were dispatched back-to-back. The defeat of Wigan back on 4th November ended a run of eleven without success in the Championship. The team that had overachieved to reach the Play Offs in each of the previous two years were now sat in the drop zone at the halfway point in the campaign. Head of football operations, David Burke, followed Hyypia out two days later, indicating that it was recruitment as well as performances that the club struggled with.

Assistant manager and former Albion winger Nathan Jones took temporary charge and brought an immediate upturn in fortunes over the Christmas period. Boxing Day saw an entertaining two-all draw with Reading as Glenn Murray frustrated his former employers by scoring twice for the Royals. This was followed up three days later with an outstanding two-nil win away at Fulham to give the supporters some end of year cheer.

58ARS Hughton

On New Year’s Eve, former Newcastle, Birmingham and Norwich boss Chris Hughton was appointed manager on a three-and-a-half-year deal. As a player, Hughton spent thirteen years with Tottenham before a couple of years with West Ham and then Brentford took him into the early 1990s. He played over fifty times for the Republic of Ireland, making the squads for Euro ’88 and World Cup ’90. At Spurs, he lifted the FA Cup twice and the UEFA Cup in a successful start to the 1980s. He returned to the Lane coaching straight after retirement in 1993, where he moved up the rankings from being in charge of the under-21s, then the reserves before coaching the first team over a fourteen-year period.

Hughton first made the step up to manager at Newcastle United in 2009 and achieved promotion from the Championship at the first time of asking. Despite this, he was surprisingly sacked in December of the following season in a move which was condemned by players, fans and pundits alike. After a six-month break, he was back in management at Championship side Birmingham. He guided them to fourth place but lost in the Play Off Semi Finals to Blackpool. On the back of this, top flight Norwich City came calling. Tasked with keeping the Canaries up, he achieved an eleventh placed finish in his first season. Things didn’t go quite as well during the second year, but the club pulled the trigger somewhat at an odd time, with just a month left. They were in seventeenth and a point above relegation when Hughton was dismissed but were relegated a few weeks later under replacement Neil Adams. In the eight months that passed, Hughton was reportedly approached by other clubs but did not accept.

He cited the infrastructure at Brighton as being a deciding factor in choosing this one. Hughton’s first game in charge saw the Albion progress past his old club Brentford in the Third Round of the FA Cup with two late goals. That was followed with a one-nil victory at Charlton before Brentford got a revenge win at The Amex in the League. In midweek, another victory arrived as Ipswich were edged out three-two to ease the pressure and move the club up into nineteenth.

Today’s opponents Arsenal were enjoying much more consistency under Arsene Wenger. They won the FA Cup last season to end a run of nine years without a trophy and began this 2014/15 campaign well. They sat fifth in the Premier League, losing just five matches. To reach the Fourth Round they defeated Hull in a rematch of that Final. The Gunners defeated Brighton at this stage of the competition back in 2013, would they repeat the feat this time round with the added spotlight of Live television coverage?

 

THE TEAMS

58ARS Brighton

This was the fifth match of Chris Hughton’s reign at Brighton, beginning with the Brentford victory in the previous round. Captain Gordon Greer and makeshift right midfielder Inigo Calderon had started every game under the new boss and were also the only two Brighton survivors from this fixture two years ago. Goalkeeper David Stockdale signed from Fulham in the summer and played the first three months of the season before picking up an injury. That forced a ‘keeper crisis which saw Ali Al-Habsi drafted in on an emergency loan for one match and teenager Christian Walton start away at Tottenham in the Capital One Cup followed by two unbeaten Championship appearances in November. Since returning at Norwich later that month, Stockdale had played every minute. Lewis Dunk’s red card in the League loss to Brentford saw him miss the Ipswich game this week but was straight back in the eleven here.

Midfielder Dale Stephens remained a long-term absentee, having been forced off last April with an ankle problem. Impressive loanee Joao Teixeira was missing through illness. Dutchman Danny Holla and young Englishman Jake Forster-Caskey took two of the spots in the middle. Rohan Ince joined last season in mind for the development squad but quickly became a part of the first team. He scored a wonder volley at Swindon in the League Cup tie back in August, which earned him the Seagulls 2014 Goal of the Season accolade.

Around £2million was spent on striker Sam Baldock from Bristol City. He returned just two goals to date, including the opener in midweek. Chris O’Grady scored in stoppage time at Brentford in Round Three, his first for the Albion. Despite only joining in July, he struggled to get into the first team under Sami Hyypia and spent a month on loan at Sheffield United before being recalled on the day of the Fulham victory after Christmas. Adrian Colunga was an attacking presence on the bench, alongside Craig Mackail-Smith and Solly March. Defender Glen Rea was yet to play for the Seagulls but did make his Republic of Ireland under-21 debut in November. The contrast between Sami Hyypia’s squad and this one was clear; only one loanee started today – Aston Villa’s Joe Bennett. In the last televised starting eleven, at Millwall in December, Brighton fielded the maximum of five loan players.

58ARS Arsenal

Arsene Wenger made seven changes from their crucial two-nil victory at Manchester City in the Premier League. This included a return for goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny, his first start since New Year’s Day. Defender Calum Chambers won the fans Player of the Month award for August, having joined from Southampton in the summer. Left-back Kieran Gibbs represented England at under-19, 20, 21 and senior level all since signing pro terms with Arsenal in 2007.

Theo Walcott scored in this fixture in 2013 but suffered FA Cup heartbreak the following season when he ruptured knee ligaments. That kept him out of the 2014 World Cup and on the sidelines for ten months before returning in November. Fellow midfielder Aaron Ramsey began life at Cardiff before transferring to London in 2008. He became a key part of Wales core and played in all four of Great Britain’s 2012 Olympic matches. Three-time Czech Republic Player of the Year Tomas Rosicky won the Bundesliga with Borussia Dortmund.

Striker Olivier Giroud netted twice at The Amex last time out. Mesut Ozil started for the first time since early October. Among the substitutes included talisman Alexis Sanchez, signed from Barcelona for £30million this season, and Spanish midfielder Santi Cazorla won the European Championships in both 2008 and 2012. Also on the bench was England under-19 striker Chuba Akpom. The match referee was the Premier League’s Michael Oliver.

58ARS Formations

 

PRESENTATION TEAM

58ARS Humphrey 58ARS Virgo

The face of football on BT Sport was their star presenter Jake Humphrey. He was one of BBC Sport’s rising stars, hosting Olympic and Commonwealth Games, NFL Superbowl and BBC Sports Personality of the Year coverage, amongst other big events. He first came to prominence on children’s television, hosting programmes such as Bamzooki and the Fame Academy spin-off. After serving his apprenticeship with CBBC, he was keen to move into sports broadcasting and hosted all sorts of lower profile events that didn’t have a regular core team. He provided holiday cover on Football Focus and Final Score. Undoubtedly, the biggest sporting break came in 2009 when the BBC won back rights to Formula One, naming Humphrey as anchor. His profile grew, playing a part of Euro 2012 and both the 2008 and 2012 Olympic Games. When the call came from BT Sport to front their Live football, he made the switch to launch this new venture.

Joining Humphrey pitchside at The Amex were pundits Ian Wright, Steve McManaman and Adam Virgo. Wright and McManaman were both key regulars on BT’s Premier League coverage, whilst Virgo was their co-commentator on the National League. Former Albion defender Virgo needs little introduction on here, having already played, scored, pundited and commentated on previous televised Brighton matches! He spent seven seasons playing for the Seagulls, over two spells, having graduated from the youth system. Spells at Celtic, Yeovil and Colchester followed before bringing his playing career to a close at Bristol Rovers. Following retirement in July 2013, he made the move into the media having previously appeared on Sky Sports and BBC Radio Sussex. In the Autumn of 2013, Virgo made his television co-commentary debut on BT Sport’s coverage of the National League alongside Steve Bower, a position he instantly made his own and became a BT regular.

58ARS Wright 58ARS McManaman

Ian Wright was very much the one that got away as far as Brighton were concerned. In November 1983, recently appointed Albion boss Chris Cattlin had nineteen-year-old Wright on trial at the Goldstone. The striker played twice for the reserves, scoring in the first match but was not taken on full-time, much to his surprise and disappointment. The Albion’s loss was Crystal Palace’s gain, as he joined Steve Coppell’s lot in 1985 where he began banging in the goals in a six-year spell at Selhurst. His big move was to join Arsenal in 1991 for £2.5million where he went on to earn legendary status, becoming the club’s all-time record goalscorer (which he held until 2005) and bagging the League title in the process. He also lifted two FA Cups, a League Cup and European Cup Winners’ Cup at Highbury. Post-Arsenal, he played for West Ham, Nottingham Forest, Celtic and Burnley before calling it a day in 2000. Since even before then, he forged a hugely successful television and radio career as both a pundit and an entertainment presenter. He joined BT from launch in 2013 to work across their domestic football, as well as being in the unusual position of doing BBC Match of the Day and international football for ITV.

Steve McManaman’s playing career was most associated with nine years at Liverpool before joining Spanish giants Real Madrid in 1999. He lifted the UEFA Champions League in his first season, scoring in the three-nil Final victory over Valencia. Subsequent seasons saw two La Liga titles and a further Champions League victory before he returned to England in 2003 with Manchester City. He won thirty-seven England caps, scoring three goals including the crashing strike to go two-nil up against Portugal in Euro 2000. He hung up his boots in 2005 upon his release by City and subsequently became a leading television pundit, firstly for Setanta Sports between 2007 and 2009. He teamed up in the commentary box with Ian Darke for America television with ESPN before joining BT in 2013.

58ARS Studio

His old sparring partner was on The Amex gantry here, as Ian Darke was joined by Robbie Savage. Darke covered boxing and football for BBC Radio for more than a decade before joining Sky Sports ahead of their Premier League launch in 1992. Teaming up with Andy Gray on the first three seasons of Monday Night Football, Darke then moved across to be the voice of boxing for a generation. He combined this back with Live football again from 2005 but was soon back behind Martin Tyler and Rob Hawthorne in the pecking order. In 2010 he made the move to the States with ESPN, covering the pick for the English top flight, before returning to UK screens to lead BT’s commentaries in 2013.

Robbie Savage worked hard to forge a career as a battling midfielder in the Premier League for the likes of Leicester, Birmingham and Blackburn having been released from Manchester United’s phenomenally successful youth side of the early 1990s. He switched to Derby in January 2008 but couldn’t force his way into the side for the start of the next campaign. He somehow ended up joining Brighton under Micky Adams, whom he worked with at Leicester. His one-month loan was hardly a success but, crucially for Savage, at least he was back playing in the first team again. After linking back up with Derby, and following a managerial change, Savage was a regular fixture in the midfield a renaissance in the East Midlands for another two seasons before retiring in 2011. His niggly, irritating playing style earned him a bad reputation amongst supporters of all clubs, often being the butt of jokes or the designated ‘boo-boy’. Despite this, he enjoyed a post-playing career in the media, starting with the BBC and ESPN before being taken on by BT as an analyst and co-commentator. From this season, along with BT commentator Darren Fletcher, he hosted two-hour Saturday morning preview programme Fletch and Sav ahead of the Live Premier League match.

One of the on-air mistakes Setanta made when joining the English football market was with their pitchside reporter. Alex Hayes, a fine print journalist at The Independent on Sunday, struggled to ask fluent questions of managers and players with the microphone, making for an awkward watch, before being dumped a few weeks in for Kelly Cates and Dan Roan. BT made no such mistake with their interviewer, employing a man with thirty years’ experience at the BBC and ESPN; Ray Stubbs. He joined BT as number one reporter from launch, covering the Premier League and FA Cup. Previously, he was front and centre hosting ESPN’s Live coverage of the same competitions, as well as a whole raft of high-profile events on the BBC. This included Match of the Day, Sportsnight, Grandstand, Football Focus and Final Score, as well as three Summer Olympics, the 1998 Winter Olympics and Commonwealth Games. He reported from the England camp in both Euro ’96 and World Cup ’98 and interviewed at various FA Cup Finals throughout the 1990s. Stubbs brought an authority and gravitas to BT amongst a largely younger approach.

 

THE COVERAGE

58ARS Promo 58ARS Sponsor

The newest players on the British football broadcasting scene, BT Sport, were in their second season following launch in August 2013. Built on the foundation of thirty-eight exclusively Live Premier League matches having outbid previous holders ESPN, they then acquired the channel – in the process obtaining their key rights such as Premiership Rugby and American sports. This also included the final season of their FA Cup deal, which expired last season. From the start of this campaign, the Cup switched hands from ITV to BBC, whilst BT Sport retained their position as the satellite broadcaster. Under the new contract, BT would air up to thirty matches Live throughout the competition, including sharing the Final. Which brings us to this Fourth Round weekend as January drew to a close. BT’s three Live picks kicked off with Liverpool versus Bolton on the Saturday evening and concluded with Rochdale against Stoke on Monday night. Sandwiched in the middle was the Albion, who were drawn to host holders Arsenal in this Sunday afternoon clash.

58ARS Drone shots 58ARS Withdean

Coverage was sponsored by William Hill, yet another gambling firm to get involved in football broadcasting. BT Sport didn’t really do title sequences. The intros last season consisted of the BT globe logo spinning from the centre into the bottom left hand corner, with a short burst of music. That was retained for League coverage this year, but the FA Cup was given a makeover with an animated trophy and block bars listing the two clubs. The music was specially composed for BT to use on their Cup broadcasts, in use for its second season. Build up began thirty minutes before the 4pm kick-off, with beautiful aerial drone shots hovering over the Pier, seafront, the site of the former Goldstone stadium, now a retail park, and Withdean. This was all to highlight the contrast in where Brighton were from the glory days of the 1983 FA Cup Final through to the dark days of the 1990s. The graphics had been used since BT’s launch, nicely animating in and out from the channel logo position in the bottom right corner of the screen.

The presentation team of Jake Humphrey with pundits Adam Virgo, Ian Wright and Steve McManaman were situated pitchside at The Amex in front of the West Stand. Pitchside presentation was very much BT’s go-to position, allowing Humphrey the freedom to move around and explore the stadium in similar fashion when he successfully fronted the BBC’s F1 broadcasts. With Ian Wright very much an Arsenal man, McManaman assumed the role of neutral, whilst Virgo was clearly present to talk eloquently and knowledgeably about the Albion. The FA Cup trophy itself was on display alongside the team, on the back of three of the Premier League’s top four crashing out the previous day. Some of the goals and incidents from the key games played thus far on Fourth Round weekend were shown, with the pundits talking us through the action. Manchester United could only muster a goalless draw at Cambridge, League One Bradford ran riot at Chelsea scoring four, Spurs crashed out and Manchester City were upset by Middlesbrough.

58ARS Gordon Smith 58ARS Jimmy Case

The focus of the VT package in the pre-match coverage was around the Seagulls 1983 FA Cup campaign. Of course. Two members of the Cup Final starting line-up – Gordon Smith and Jimmy Case – both recounted their tales from that memorable run. Striker – and often forgotten as a Final goalscorer – Smith outlined the Albion thought process; “We had this plan, let’s be really relaxed and see how the Man United boys cope with that. We’ll come in the tunnel laughing and joking.” Tough tackling midfielder Case spoke about getting stuck into Manchester United’s Ray Wilkins early on; “I clattered Wilkins a couple of times. I used to love some of them tackles what you used to throw in every now and again!” Physio Malcolm Yaxley was also interviewed, as he tried to repair Chris Ramsey on the pitch following a hard challenge by Norman Whiteside. It was to no avail as Ramsey was just a yard short of Frank Stapleton who netted United’s equaliser after Smith put Brighton in front. Then came the famous Gordon Smith moment. In the last minute of Extra Time, with the scores level at two-all, he was put through on goal. Cue Peter Jones’ BBC Radio commentary line, with the commentator not missing a beat, “And Smith must score. And he hasn’t scored. And Bailey has saved it. And there goes the whistle for the end of Extra Time.” Of that chance, Smith honestly and bluntly admitted; “My decision I made was wrong, and I cost Brighton the Cup.”

58ARS Last meeting 58ARS Dunk

Attention then turned back to this afternoon’s clash. The two sides met at this stage two years earlier, with the Gunners edging a five-goal thriller. Humphrey asked Virgo if Brighton had a similar performance in them now to that day. “Well they have now, under the new manager Chris Hughton”, Virgo began. “I must admit if Sami was still here then you’d be slightly worried about the performance.” They picked out defender Lewis Dunk to preview, with Humphrey saying, “lots of clubs were sniffing around him.” As a former defender, Adam Virgo was well placed to praise the current Albion centre half, highlighting his ability on the ball as a particular strength on top of the threat he posed from set pieces in attack.

58ARS Cool people 58ARS Walcott

After the break, we saw a Brighton-made video spoofing one of the latest adverts BT used to promote their coverage. In BT’s ad, a few of their star names were shown walking slow-motion down the touchline with the strapline “The cool people to watch football with”, which Humphrey insisted was “completely tongue in cheek!” So a few Albion fans followed suit, with Albion Roar radio hosts Alan Wares and Ady Packham amongst the contingent. Wares then briefly chatted to Humphrey pitchside to explain “the mickey take of a mickey take”.

Back to the more serious business, reporter Ray Stubbs spoke with both managers; Chris Hughton and Arsene Wenger. Hughton explained the absence of star midfielder Joao Teixeira, missing through illness. It was a tough blow, particularly after another impressive performance in the midweek Ipswich win. Asked about his early impressions of the Albion’s potential, Hughton was quick to talk the club up; “Everyone will see today the stadium that we have here, which I think is a record crowd for the stadium. The training facility is excellent. But we’re not in the best position in the League and that’s certainly our priority.” After this, we heard the final thoughts of the studio team as they picked out returning stars Walcott and Ozil among Arsenal’s danger men, before another quick break. After which, we headed up to the gantry where commentators Ian Darke and Robbie Savage were waiting to take over.

58ARS BT Box 58ARS Coming Up

A feature of the channel’s coverage was their picture-in-picture split-screen, dubbed the ‘BT Box’. This was utilised, especially on replays, to show the Live action in the box and the replayed passage on the main screen. The box would also be used to show the bench or a different part of the action during play. At half-time, still presenting from pitchside, the team reviewed the two Arsenal goals. For the opener, Wright and Virgo were critical of Sam Baldock’s lack of challenge on the wing to allow Calum Chambers a crossing opportunity. They were impressed by Walcott’s finish and cited the difference in quality between the two Divisions as the difference. McManaman described Brighton’s half as “very, very poor”, allowing Arsenal too much space to play their football and showing a lack of adventure going forward.

58ARS Sub 58ARS European Football Show

After the final whistle and the advert break, there was around half an hour left before James Richardson and his journalistic experts took over for the usual Sunday evening European Football Show, rounding up the events on the continent before hosting Live coverage of a top match; tonight Fiorentina versus Roma. Reporter Ray Stubbs was busy in the tunnel gathering interviews with all the key men. He spoke first with two of Arsenal’s goalscorers; Theo Walcott and Man of the Match Tomas Rosicky, then latterly the manager Arsene Wenger. The studio team repositioned themselves slightly, in front of the dugouts by the tunnel, to wrap things up.

For Brighton’s first goal by Chris O’Grady, Adam Virgo dismissed talk of a foul on Chambers before the strike. Ian Wright questioned why Brighton didn’t make more use of O’Grady’s strength and power in the second period, seconded by Steve McManaman. On Arsenal’s third, it was of Brighton’s own making by giving away possession cheaply and dangerously. The finish though, real quality. Baldock’s goal to make it two-three was labelled “a great finish” by Virgo, with the assist from Holla also garnering praise. He also was pleased to see Brighton “passing with a purpose”, rather than just keeping the ball for the sake of it. Some of Arsenal’s defensive play caused concern for Wright.

Chris Hughton’s post-match thoughts were gathered by Ray Stubbs, particularly pleased with the response after the break. “Too often in that first half period we were too deep, not allowing ourselves to get out of trouble but I thought we stretched the game better in that second half. We certainly made more of a game of it and close in the end.” The final portion of the programme centred around the FA Cup weekend as a whole, with a glossy report reviewing some of the key incidents, goals and upsets from the previous day. This included a Leonardo Ulloa goal for Leicester in their surprise win at Tottenham. Back pitchside, the pundits talked through the goals from Sunday’s other ties as West Ham and Aston Villa both progressed. And with that it was time to go as another Live Albion broadcast came to a close.

 

STORY OF THE MATCH

58ARS Kick Off 58ARS Comms

In front of a record crowd at The Amex of 30,278 supporters, Arsenal kicked the game off shooting from right to left using the Cup’s salmon pink ball. And they got the breakthrough after just eighty-nine seconds thanks to that man again, Theo Walcott. Calum Chambers did well on the far touchline to skip past Sam Baldock’s challenge and gain a bit of space. His cross found Walcott twelve yards out on the right of the penalty area. The touch to control allowed him to quickly adapt his feet and suddenly a shooting opportunity arrived. Walcott drove the ball low and hard across the goal into the corner of the net for the perfect start. Arsenal executed their game plan well in the first period, dominating the ball and attacking with threat. When Brighton were in possession, Arsenal allowed them to play it round the back and keep it in their own half. The two strikers switched over from their starting positions, with O’Grady moving from centre to the left wing to allow Baldock a chance to lead the line and try to get more joy. The two swapped and changed throughout.

Arsenal’s superior quality showed, particularly when in attack, with frightening pace and better decision making. With a quarter of the match played, they made it two-nil. It was all thanks to some patient build up play and Brighton standing off their top flight opponents. Tomas Rosicky was allowed the time to dribble the ball in acres of space from the wing to the middle, waiting for the right moment to make the pass. He picked it out superbly, cutting out four Albion defenders in the process, to find Mesut Ozil inside the penalty box. Before Lewis Dunk could slide across to attempt to block, Ozil got his shot off. Around twelve yards out, his left foot effort nestled in the left-hand corner of Stockdale’s net for another well taken goal. “Carved apart like precision surgeons there,” cried commentator Ian Darke. Co-commentator Robbie Savage had harsher words for the Albion play; “They’re giving top quality players too much space, they’re not winning second balls, they’re not getting the ball in the final third, Szczesny’s yet to be tested. We’re twenty-five minutes in, Darkie!”

Brighton’s first real chance came just before the half-hour point, when Sam Baldock curled an effort just high and wide. The ball broke to him free at the back post after Laurent Koscielny was caught dithering in the area by Calderon. Baldock’s right-foot aimed for the top corner but just couldn’t quite achieve the desired accuracy. The rest of the half was an improvement for Brighton but they could not penetrate the back line of the team in yellow. At the break it was two-nil to the Arsenal.

58ARS OGrady goal 58ARS Baldock goal

As the second period began, Robbie Savage was urging Brighton on to give it a go, totally unimpressed by their efforts thus far. Within five minutes, the deficit was halved through Chris O’Grady. Albion’s attack wasn’t cleared properly by Arsenal, with Rosicky booting the ball high up in the air instead of away from goal. Baldock outjumped Chambers to win the challenge as it dropped from the sky. The ball rolled off Chambers to the feet of O’Grady with his back to goal just inside the box. He cleverly let the ball run to his right foot on the half-turn, rolling his marker Mathieu Flamini in the process. O’Grady unleashed a fierce low drive into the near corner, through Koscielny’s legs en route, to give the Seagulls hope. The goalkeeper had no chance and the crowd roared, scoring with their first shot on target. Game on. “Ooh we’ve got a Cup tie now!” enthused Savage.

The bright spell continued for the next five minutes or so but you could sense Arsenal had more of a killer instinct. And if he didn’t cover himself in glory for the Brighton goal, Tomas Rosicky certainly made up for it just before the hour mark to restore their two-goal margin. Rosicky won the ball back off Holla in a dangerous area and provided a no-look pass to Giroud on the left of the penalty area. The striker chipped up a return pass to the Czech international on the edge of the box who volleyed it into the back of the net. What a strike. But again, no Albion shirts within five yards of him, allowing so much space and time to pick his target. Brighton’s response was to bring on Solly March to add another body going forward. Arsenal didn’t rest on their laurels, perhaps wary of another Brighton resurgence, bringing on strikers Chuba Akpom and Alexis Sanchez for the final twenty minutes.

However, Brighton did force their way back into it. Sam Baldock was the man to finish off a neat move to bring Albion back to within one of Arsenal. Lewis Dunk brought the ball forward from the half way line, allowed the freedom to stroll out of defence with no Arsenal man in sight. He found Danny Holla in space between the Gunners midfield and defensive lines. He guided it on to Baldock who latched onto the through ball. As Szczesny rushed out of his goal, Baldock gently lifted it over him to nestle nicely into the back of the net. A very well worked goal gave the Seagulls renewed hope into the final quarter of an hour.

If the first half was a disappointment for Brighton, the second was much better. It was more determined, more spirited and they showed more fight than before. But ultimately, as in 2013, it was not to be. Arsenal’s quality just too much to handle and the Gunners took the tie by three goals to two. The performance grew and gave Hughton and the supporters enough belief to believe they could do much better than the current League position of nineteenth showed. The rest of the season was now all about proving that and moving away from the Championship relegation zone. Arsenal would go on to lift the Cup for a second successive season.

58ARS 5th Round.JPG

BRIGHTON 2 ARSENAL 3
O’Grady, Baldock Walcott, Ozil, Rosicky

58ARS Replay

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

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

#7: Brighton Women 0-4 Arsenal Women 12/01/2020

#7 BRIGHTON WOMEN 0-4 ARSENAL WOMEN Women’s Super League
Sunday 12th January 2020 LIVE via Red Button

ARSW Intro

COMMENTATOR Vicki Sparks CO-COMMENTATOR Gemma Fay
REPORTER Patrick Austen-Hardy HALF TIME Eilidh Barbour & Jayne Ludlow
12.30pm Kick Off; People’s Pension Stadium, Crawley     12.20-2.30pm Live on BBC Red Button

ARSW Table ARSW Arrivals ARSW Arsenal arrivals

Context of the Match: Since Brighton’s last Live televised appearance, the five-nil loss at high-flying Manchester City in December, just one match had been played since the Christmas break. Last week, Brighton secured their second Women’s Super League victory of the season in an absolutely crucial game with Liverpool. Midfielder Aileen Whelan nabbed the solitary goal as Albion ran out one-nil winners, turning the ball home from close range following Lea Le Garrec’s cushioned header back. The victory put Brighton on nine points from ten games into ninth place but, more importantly, created a six-point gap between them and bottom of the table Liverpool. With only one team relegated again this season, this was a big opening as we entered the second half of the campaign today against table-topping Arsenal. The Gunners led the way, and would go back to being three points clear of Manchester City with a win today, as City played a day earlier to level things up in terms of points, goal difference and goals scored! Brighton did record a victory, of sorts, over Arsenal back in November in the Continental Cup group stages. After drawing nil-nil, to decide the match winner and a bonus point, the format of the competition meant a penalty shoot-out followed. Albion’s Kirsty Barton stepped up first but fired wide. Goalkeeper Sophie Harris kept it level when saving Arsenal’s first penalty from Kim Little. Kayleigh Green then converted to give Albion the lead in the shoot-out. Kirsty McCabe equalised before Maya Le Tissier restored the Brighton advantage. England striker Beth Mead blazed her kick over the bar and Dani Bowman converted to extend the Brighton lead to three-one. Danielle van de Donk squeezed the ball into the corner to pull one back but Lea Le Garrec scored the fifth and final penalty to secure the bonus point for Brighton, winning the shoot-out four-two. Brighton enjoyed more success in this competition than they had enjoyed so far in the WSL. A three-nil victory at Charlton kicked off the competition, with two goals from Kayleigh Green and one from Ini Umotong. A defeat at home to Bristol City hampered progress but after the Arsenal shoot-out win, the group concluded with back to back wins in the capital ensured progress to the knockout rounds where they were handed a difficult trip to Manchester United. Those two victories were high scoring ones; beating London Bees five-nil with five different scorers. Amanda Nilden, Victoria Williams, Emily Simpkins, Ini Umotong and Kate Natkiel all got in on the act. The final group game was a four-two win at London City Lionesses, where Matilde Lundorf, Umotong again, Emily Simpkins and an own goal secured progress. Looking ahead, the Women’s FA Cup draw had been made during the week. Brighton were handed a trip to Aston Villa for their Fourth Round last-32 tie. Villa were unbeaten and top of the second-tier Championship and a chance to test themselves against another in-form side. The WSL though was a whole different prospect but the Seagulls could go into today’s televised clash with Champions Arsenal with a bit more belief than before. The BBC cameras were present in Crawley to showcase the Albion Women Live on the Red Button.

ARSW Brighton ARSW Arsenal

The Teams: Hope Powell handed new deals to two of Albion’s women this week; goalkeeper Megan Walsh and midfielder Maya Le Tissier, her first professional contract. Whilst the former started here, the latter missed out. Walsh’s place was perhaps under threat after the club signed Norway international ‘keeper Cecille Fiskerstrand, with three now competing for the starting place. Defender Fliss Gibbons was an automatic starter. Returning to the starting XI as one of two changes was Victoria Williams. Prior to joining the Albion in 2018, Williams played for the Great Britain university football team win a gold medal in the 2013 Summer Universiade in Russia. Brighton’s longest serving player, Kirsty Barton, returned to the starting XI. Barton joined from Chelsea in 2011, making over 150 appearances for the Seagulls on the rise from the third tier to the top. Midfielder Emily Simpkins was featuring in her second season at the club, having joined from the now defunct Doncaster Rovers Belles and becoming their first player to be given a professional contract back in 2015. The other change from the Liverpool victory saw twenty-one-year-old Amanda Nilden come in for Kate Natkiel. Nilden represented Sweden at under 17, U19 and U23 level. Whilst Lea Le Garrec worked her way up the French youth levels, including winning the under-19 European Championships in 2010, before earning a senior international cap seven years later. Welsh striker Kayleigh Green’s two goals and one assist have been invaluable in Albion’s few wins this campaign. Before Brighton, Green played in the UEFA Women’s Champions League for Cardiff and played for Italian Serie B side Chieti. Goalscoring prowess on the bench included the only woman to score in a Live televised Brighton match, Ini Umotong, as well as Irish striker Megan Connolly and Kate Natkiel, who began her career in the Arsenal under-10s before progressing through the age groups.

Arsenal boss Joe Montemurro opted for a three-four-three formation. Their star player is the sensational striker Vivianne Miedema, who has fourteen goals and eight assists to her name in the WSL this campaign thus far. Centre-back and captain Leah Williamson came up through Arsenal’s youth ranks and represented England at under-15, U17, U19, U20 and U23 level before making her senior debut in the World Cup 2019 qualifier in Russia back in 2018. Her first goal for her country came last November, a late winner in a three-two result against the Czech Republic. Alongside her in defence for Arsenal was Republic of Ireland international Louise Quinn, who joined in 2017 and signed a new contract ahead of this season. Manuela Zinsberger returned to the first team in goal. In midfield, Jordan Nobbs, Kim Little and Danielle van de Donk all netted in the reverse fixture in September as Arsenal ran out four-nil winners against the Albion for the third League match in succession. The trio all started again here. Dutch international Jill Roord joined in May ahead of the Women’s World Cup, where she scored the only goal in the Netherlands win over New Zealand. Switzerland’s Lia Walti completed the quintet across the middle. Amongst the options on the sidelines were England striker Beth Mead, who scored the goal of the season when the sides last met in Sussex in the WSL back in April, and German defender Leonie Maier who joined for this season. The referee in charge was Kirsty Dowle.

ARSW Kick Off ARSW Comms ARSW Barbour and Ludlow

Presentation Team: Vicki Sparks led the BBC Red Button commentary, voicing her third Albion Women’s match Live and the second time it’s been against Arsenal. She combined her WSL schedule with reports for Final Score and Premier League and FA Cup commentaries for Match of the Day. Alongside her in Crawley was the former Scotland goalkeeper Gemma Fay. She retired in 2017 having been capped by Scotland a phenomenal two-hundred-and-three times over nineteen years, a record high for any British footballer. Fay captained the National side from 2009 and was earmarked for a place in Team GB’s 2012 Olympic squad, missing out behind Karen Bardsley and Rachel Brown-Finnis. She did make it to the 2017 European Championships in the Netherlands. Fay’s club career began in her native Scotland with St Johnstone, Aberdeen and Ayr before moving down to England. At the age of twenty-one, she joined Brighton Women for the 2002/03 season before returning North to Hibernian. Seven years were spent at Celtic Ladies, during which time she also turned her hand to acting for the lead role in one-off Sky drama Rubenesque. Since retirement she expanded on her media appearances, travelling to France for the Women’s World Cup coverage with the BBC in 2019 where she was a key member of the punditry team providing a Scottish angle. Reporting on the touchline was Patrick Austen-Hardy. A new name to this website and to televised sports broadcasting, Austen-Hardy was employed by production company Whisper for today’s match and others over the previous eighteen months, as it’s Whisper who dispatch the WSL Live match reporters. His previous work showcases a lot of written articles for a variety of online publications such as La Liga News and Ronnie Dog Media. As of this season he worked as Swindon Town’s media assistant and contributed to Southampton Solent University’s website, where he was completing his education. Present at pitchside in situ for The Women’s Football Show later in the evening were host Eilidh Barbour and pundit Jayne Ludlow. The pair also contributed to the half-time discussion. Barbour was one of the regular rotating hosts of the show and combined that with other BBC Sport work across football and golf, and was Sky’s Scottish football presenter this year, maternity cover for Hayley McQueen. Jayne Ludlow was a regular contributor to the BBC’s WSL coverage, both as a guest or co-commentating. The Wales manager previously called Brighton’s Live WSL clash at Arsenal, the reverse of today’s fixture back in September.

ARSW Fixtures ARSW Powell ARSW One to Watch ARSW One to Watch Arsenal

The Coverage: The second weekend of the new decade saw the second round of the Women’s Super League take place after the pause for the Christmas period. Ten minutes before the scheduled 12.30pm kick off, the BBC Red Button coverage came on-air. Commentator Vicki Sparks handled proceedings out-of-vision. She introduced the day’s fixtures with the featured match being in Crawley as the Champions came to town. One match had already taken place the day before, Live on BT Sport, as challengers Manchester City kept up the pace with Arsenal by defeating Everton by three goals to one. Elsewhere, a waterlogged pitch put pay to Liverpool versus Manchester United but still going ahead after the Albion’s match would be a London derby between Tottenham and West Ham, Reading faced Birmingham whilst the other hopefuls in the title race, Chelsea, hosted Bristol City. A look at the table saw how close things were at the top of the table, with Arsenal only top because of alphabetical order over Manchester City – with everything else level but Arsenal had played a game less. Shots of the two teams arriving into the People’s Pension Stadium in Sussex followed, getting off the team bus and into the reception area. We heard from both bosses ahead of kick off, speaking with our reporter Patrick Austen-Hardy. Brighton manager Hope Powell said the result from the previous Cup match against Arsenal would give confidence despite it being just a memory now; “It was a long time ago but we have to take heart from that. Obviously a really good performance from us, more importantly to win the game – albeit on penalties.” Arsenal’s Joe Montemurro spent a couple of weeks away from the squad to return to his native Australia last month but was back ready to take the team again as the season hotted up. With the news that Manchester City were losing their coach Nick Cushing to America next month, it was important to keep focus on the task ahead. “Every game’s got its own particular situation,” he said, “we don’t really look at what other teams are doing, we look at how we can improve and how we can be the best we can be.” Sparks introduced us to former Albion goalkeeper and Scotland’s record appearance holder, co-commentator Gemma Fay. They pair focussed on a couple of players to watch out for, starting with the current Brighton goalie Megan Walsh who was celebrating a contract extension this week. Fay said of Walsh, “She’s started, I think, all but one game and as a goalkeeper to be midway through a season, having just arrived at a club and to be offered that contract extension must give her great confidence.” Unsurprisingly the Arsenal one to watch was of course the WSL’s record scorer Vivianne Miedema. And with that, the teams were ready in the tunnel for kick off.

ARSW Half Time 1 ARSW Half Time 2 ARSW Half Time 3 ARSW Half Time 4

As usual with these broadcasts, the half time break is the most feature filled. The interval began with the commentary team looking back at the goals and key chances from the first half, in which Arsenal led by two goals to nil. Co-commentator Gemma Fay focussed on praising the attacking play for the goal, calling the first “a delightful finish”, but more critical of Brighton’s left side for the second as Williamson had time and space to pick a pass, likewise van de Donk for the shot. Next, we saw highlights from the only WSL game played on Saturday, as Manchester City defeated Everton. The game was Live on BT Sport and their commentary team of Adam Summerton and Lucy Ward voiced the best bits at the Academy Stadium. A regular half time feature this season on the BBC coverage has been the ‘Getting to Know’ segment, where each club had a player interviewed by twins Rosie and Molly Kmita. The chat took place on a golf buggy, for some reason, but allowed for a more casual environment. This time, West Ham’s Adriana Leon was the player involved. The Canadian international joined the Hammers a year ago. Supporting her fellow countryman, Leon revealed she was a fan of Justin Bieber. Shame. The final part of the half time break saw us head down pitchside to link up with the team fronting the evening’s highlights on The Women’s Football Show; Eilidh Barbour and Jayne Ludlow. Speaking from a tactical perspective, the former Arsenal woman noticed two key points; the use of Leah Williamson on the right almost acting as a right-winger at times, and the early switching of the play over to the left to utilise Danielle van de Donk. She emphasised the collectiveness this Arsenal group have; “There’s a team ethic that runs through this team whether they’ve got the ball or whether they haven’t got the ball, they work extremely hard for each other.” They also picked up on the slightly bobbly conditions of the Crawley pitch, with big soil divots dotted around the surface. After the match there was just enough time for Eilidh Barbour to grab a quick word with Gemma Fay’s Player of the Match; Leah Williamson. The Arsenal and England defender was involved in assisting the goals and put in a terrific shift. With a further reminder pushing us towards the magazine show later on in the evening, it was time for Vicki Sparks to wrap the broadcast up as, once again, Arsenal defeated the Albion on the telly.

ARSW Teams ARSW Opening goal ARSW Second goal

Story of the Match: Brighton’s Lea Le Garrec got the game underway, with the Seagulls kicking from left to right in the first half in the familiar stripes of blue and white. Arsenal wore their change kit of yellow shirts and socks with blue shorts. Brighton would have been aware of Arsenal’s ability to fly out of the blocks and score early, having inflicted that on the Albion in previous meetings. So, it was a disappointing start to the game when the deadlock was broken just three minutes in. Having just tried a crossfield ball from right to left in a bid to set van de Donk free moments earlier by Jordan Nobbs, this time Leah Williamson measured the skill to perfection. Her pass from effectively the right centre-back position sailed over the head of Albion full-back Kirsty Barton to set van de Donk in behind. She took three touches to drive into the box and showed terrific strength to outmuscle Barton as she attempted to track back. As she approached the six-yard line, the Dutch midfielder stroked the ball past Megan Walsh’s near post to strike an early blow. The finish described as “cool” by commentator Vicki Sparks, whilst summariser Gemma Fay believed Brighton allowed it to be a bit too easy for Arsenal. Williamson was enjoying a lot of freedom down the right-hand side, charging up and down the touchline for both defensive and attacking duties. The next chance came as a result of another marauding run from the English defender. Her pass down the line allowed Lisa Evans to get forward to cross into the danger area. Jordan Nobbs completely missed her kick but the ball fell to Jill Roord behind her just inside the box. She took a touch to steady it before trying to curl round the defence. Dani Kerkdijk’s foot deflected the shot up and Walsh had to scramble around on the line to collect under pressure from Miedema. After the half hour mark it was to be two-nil, this time Roord wasn’t to be denied. Again, it was Williamson who provided the assist, receiving the ball out wide and delivering the perfect pass between the two central defenders and into the area where Roord found space. Her finish gave Walsh no chance, just guiding the ball into the other corner of the net as it bounced up nicely for the hit. The Albion defence weren’t close enough to her and paid the price. Arsenal’s quick play and switching from one flank to the other caused all sorts of problems for Brighton, almost resulting in a third from Nobbs, instead landing just the other side of the post. However, there was one decent opportunity for the home side which arrived as we approached the break. Aileen Whelan played a fantastic through ball to cut out three Arsenal defenders and find Emily Simpkins. Her first touch just took it a little wide and struggled to get the ball out of her feet. As a result, she had to take the shot a little off balance and with the covering defender now back in position the effort ended up wide of the target. Just a one-off or something of a warning sign that the Seagulls weren’t out of it just yet? The first half drew to a close with the scoreline at nil-two.

ARSW Third Goal ARSW Fourth goal ARSW Player of the Match

Into the second half, it didn’t take Arsenal long to extend that lead further after some very neat interchanges over on the far side. Just six minutes in, Jordan Nobbs netted to make it three-nil. Leah Williamson spread the play from the centre to the left where it soon found Danielle van de Donk. Her low ball into the mixer was expertly dummied by Miedema to allow Nobbs to run onto it. She only needed a touch with the right then a shot with the left to slot the ball home and seal the three points. Gemma Fay on commentary was wowed by the passing play from the Gunners in the build-up. With this the first of three games for the visitors in around a week, substitutions were made to keep the legs fresh. England’s Beth Mead was brought on for Kim Little and the striker didn’t waste her opportunity when it was presented. Lia Walti’s ball forward seemed neither a cross nor shot and should have been a routine take for goalkeeper Megan Walsh. However, the bounce just in front of her made it that little bit more difficult and she spilled the ball at the feet of another substitute, Leonie Maier. In a desperate attempt to regain the ball, Walsh dived out and brought Maier down, who was first to the loose ball. If it hadn’t fallen to an Arsenal woman, referee Kirsty Dowle would have pointed to the spot. Alas, there was no need as Beth Mead firmly struck the ball into the open net to round things off in the final minute. The three previous meetings in the Women’s Super League had all finished four-nil to Arsenal. An unusually goal quiet Vivianne Miedema tried to break that sequence to add a fifth in stoppage time but her lob over the onrushing Walsh from the edge of the box landed just over. So, it was to be a fourth successive four-nil League victory for the Champions. Brighton disappointingly didn’t muster a shot on target in the ninety minutes and lacked the pace and level of quality that Arsenal brought to the game from the off. They restored their three-point cushion at the top of the table, whilst Brighton knew their biggest result was actually the week before by widening the gap between themselves and the foot of the table to six points. It wouldn’t be a comfortable end to the season just yet, but the hard yards would be fought against the teams around them rather than the elite few such as today’s opposition.

ARSW Full Time.JPG

BRIGHTON WOMEN 0 ARSENAL WOMEN 4
van de Donk, Roord, Nobbs, Mead

ARSW Replay

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#6: Manchester City Women 5-0 Brighton Women 15/12/2019

#6 MAN CITY WOMEN 5-0 BRIGHTON WOMEN Women’s Super League
Sunday 15th December 2019 LIVE via Red Button

MCW Intro

COMMENTATOR Vicki Sparks CO-COMMENTATOR Faye White
REPORTER Kelly Somers
12.30pm Kick Off; Academy Stadium, Manchester     12.20-2.30pm Live on BBC Red Button

MCW Fixtures  MCW Table

Context of the Match: The Women’s Super League broadcasters, BBC and BT Sport, did not like to pick matches where Brighton would be in with a shout of three points! Today was the Albion’s sixth Live match to be shown on television, with three of the previous five coming against Champions Arsenal and the latest showing was away at FA Cup holders Manchester City. Formed in 1988 as Manchester City Ladies, they spent the first ten years bumping around the North West Regional Football Leagues and then the subsequent years towards the bottom of Women’s Premier League. They didn’t gain prominence until the big shake up of English women’s football and the formation of the WSL. City missed out on a place initially in 2010 but applied again three years later, this time successfully, when the FA expanded the League into two tiers comprising a total of eighteen clubs. That was the point that Manchester City Women as we know it today really began, with a place in the top tier of the WSL for the start of 2014. A complete reform of the playing squad saw a number of England internationals flock, most notably goalkeeper Karen Bardsley, midfielder Jill Scott and captain Steph Houghton join new manager Nick Cushing. In the years since, they’ve won the League, two FA Cups and three League Cups as well as competing in Europe to become one of English women’s football’s most successful sides. Ahead of today’s game they sat in third, three points off the top. Whilst City were claiming trophies, Brighton were building to reach the point where they were here; playing as a fully professional club against the likes of City, Arsenal and Chelsea. The Albion Women’s last televised match came at the home of the Champions back in September, losing by four goals to nil. Since that afternoon, there were back to back League defeats to West Ham and Everton in a dreadful October. November began more brightly, particularly in the Continental Cup with a shoot-out victory over Arsenal the highlight. In the middle was the inaugural ‘Women’s Football Weekend’, taking place across Sunday 17th November during the international break in men’s football. Similar to the opening weekend, many WSL clubs played at men’s stadiums, with The Amex hosting Albion versus Birmingham. A sensational three-nil scoreline saw Brighton’s first WSL win of the season as Kayleigh Green’s brace and Lea Le Garrec’s first goal capped a memorable day. The Seagulls couldn’t capitalise on this momentum, going down four-nil at Manchester United and drawing two-two with Reading as a last-gasp equaliser cost Brighton all three points for the second time this campaign. There was a defeat to promoted Tottenham last week, but the progress to the knockout stages of the Continental Cup was capped off in style; beating London City Lionesses four-two on Wednesday. All this left Brighton tenth in the WSL table, two places and four points away from the sole relegation spot, and a trip to Manchester United awaited in the knockout stage of the League Cup. This afternoon’s trip to Manchester to face City was the final game in a relatively positive 2019. The BBC Red Button broadcast the match Live for some pre-Christmas football.

MCW Man City MCW Brighton

The Teams: The big team news from an Albion point of view was a change in goal, as Megan Walsh was dropped in favour of Sophie Harris. The former London Bees ‘keeper joined Brighton joined in 2018 and made her League debut against today’s opposition back in February. She went on to win the PFA Fans Player of the Month. In front of her, the familiar backline of Fliss Gibbons and Victoria Williams combined with summer signings Danique Kerkdijk and Matilde Lundorf this season. Another new face this year, French midfielder Lea Le Garrec, provided a touch of class in the middle. Aileen Whelan scored against title-chasing Chelsea back in September and opened the Brighton scoring in the recent two-all draw with Reading. Dani Bowman scored a consolation goal against Manchester City in January, during the crushing seven-one defeat in the League Cup. Left-sided winger Emily Simpkins netted in last month’s Continental Cup win at London Bees but is yet to get off the mark in the WSL. Welsh forward Kayleigh Green has five goals to her name this season, whilst Ini Umotong has four. Attacking options off the bench include Irishwoman Megan Connolly, who scored a consolation in the three-one defeat at home to West Ham. Sweden’s Amanda Nilden and England’s Maya Le Tissier also posed a threat in the final third. Missing from the squad was injured defender Fern Whelan joining long-term absentee Laura Rafferty on the sidelines.

Nick Cushing’s Manchester City side had enjoyed the luxury of picking from the cream of the England crop since their relaunch in 2013 joining the WSL. That continued here, with eight of the starting XI English. Goalkeeper Ellie Roebuck started at Sheffield United before joining City’s Development Squad as a seventeen-year-old in 2016. She made seventeen appearances last season and progressed through the ranks for the national team, making three senior England starts under Phil Neville. Steph Houghton has been the lynchpin of success, wearing the armband for both club and country and awarded an MBE in 2016. She rose to prominence during the 2012 London Olympics, scoring three crucial goals in four games for Team GB, including the decider in the match against Brazil at Wembley. Hailing from the North East she worked up the ranks at Sunderland, moved to Leeds and enjoyed three successful seasons at Arsenal in the WSL before moving to City in 2014. She’s won three WSL titles and ten Cups. Houghton has over a century of caps for England, being made captain by Mark Sampson in 2014. For a central defender, she’s scored an impressive thirteen international goals including one at each of the past two World Cups and lifted the SheBelieves Cup earlier this year. Fellow North Easterner Jill Scott has an incredible 146 England caps to her name and also played for Team GB during London 2012. Scottish midfielder Caroline Weir scored the only goal of the game in the first-ever WSL Manchester derby in September. Lauren Hemp signed a new contract earlier in the week and broke through to the England side in October for her debut cap. Up front, Ellen White shared the Golden Boot at this year’s World Cup with six goals, along with eventual winners USA’s Alex Morgan and Megan Rapinoe. White’s partner Georgia Stanway has become a key part of club and country, winning the 2019 PFA Women’s Young Player of the Year and scoring on her England debut a year ago. England left-back Demi Stokes, German forward Pauline Bremer and South Korean Lee Geum-min were amongst the substitutes. Refereeing this clash was Lucy Oliver.

MCW Kick Off MCW Comms MCW Somers

Presentation Team: Commentary was led by Vicki Sparks. A regular voice on the Women’s game, she also reported for BBC results service Final Score and magazine programme Football Focus. She became the first female commentator to voice a men’s World Cup match Live in 2018 when she was alongside Martin Keown for Portugal versus Morocco in the group stage. Alongside her today in the commentary box was Faye White. Born locally, in Horsham, White’s youth career was spent with Horsham Ladies, playing in the first team at the age of just fourteen. By sixteen she was called up to the national team before a career-making move to Arsenal Ladies, where she spent the rest of her career in the heart of the Gunners defence and captaining the side to glory. In seventeen years at Arsenal she made over three-hundred League appearances and lifted numerous trophies during the club’s most successful ever period. In just her second season in North London she was named the FA Women’s Player’s Player of the Year. In the same season she won the FA Cup and FA Women’s Premier League Cup to add to the Premier League National Division title from her first campaign. She would win the latter a further nine times, and all but one League title between 2000 and 2010, dominating the domestic scene before the WSL was introduced in 2010. She also lifted the inaugural Super League title in 2011. Four Community Shields, an additional eight FA Cups and five Premier League Cups were added to the collection. The trophy cabinet was completed in 2007 with the UEFA Women’s Cup, the first – and to date only – English women’s side to win the European prize. She made her England senior international debut aged nineteen in 1997 against Scotland and made a total of ninety appearances for the Lionesses, scoring twelve goals and captained them for a decade including at four major tournaments; UEFA Euros 2005 and 2009 and FIFA World Cups in 2007 and 2011. Current Albion boss Hope Powell gave White the England armband in 2002. She became a familiar presence on-screen too, in the studio for British Eurosport’s knockout stage coverage of Euro 2005 held in England, as well as at major women’s international tournaments for the BBC and domestically for Sky Sports, ESPN and BT Sport both during and after her playing career. Due to a number of serious injuries, White retired from international football in 2012 and professionally the following March. She was awarded an MBE in 2006 for her work on and off the pitch, Faye White is one of England’s all-time great women’s footballers. Completing the broadcast line-up on the touchline was Kelly Somers. Since joining the BBC in 2017 she has gone on to become a key part of the women’s coverage as well as reporting for Final Score and Football Focus. She is one of the regular presenters on The Women’s Football Show, along with Reshmin Chowdhury and Eilidh Barbour, and travelled to France to report on the Women’s World Cup 2019 in the summer. She came from a stadium presenting background, on the PA for the likes of West Ham and Surrey Storm and covered the 2018 men’s World Cup for Australian television.

MCW Brighton Arriving MCW Powell MCW Half Time Analysis MCW Coming Up

The Coverage: As always on the Red Button, Live coverage began ten minutes before the scheduled kick-off time; in this case 12.20pm. Proceedings were handled out-of-vision by the commentary team of Vicki Sparks and Faye White. With two WSL matches falling foul of the weather this weekend, there were only four League games taking place; two at 12.30pm and two at 2pm. Our trip to Manchester was the only televised game, whilst all the others were available Live on the FA Player app and website. This was introduced at the start of the campaign, allowing fans to watch any WSL match they wish to, Live and free, that isn’t already being televised. Because all matches were now being filmed with multiple cameras, replays and commentary, the BBC’s magazine programme The Women’s Football Show could show a comprehensive round-up of the weekend’s action and in an earlier 7pm slot, as well as the late night repeat after Match of the Day 2. Coverage began by looking at the surviving matches on a cold, winter’s Sunday. Leaders Arsenal and their visit to Everton being the other standout fixture. A glance at the current standings followed, where an unlikely win for the Albion would see them overtake Birmingham to go ninth with nine points. City needed the win to keep the chase on Arsenal, who held a three point advantage at the summit. The commentary team talked through shots of the two squads arriving at the Academy Stadium, adjacent to the Etihad Stadium on the campus. The other member of today’s BBC team, reporter Kelly Somers, spoke with both managers to preview the clash. City boss Nick Cushing was looking for an immediate response to their defeat against Chelsea last time out, saying it was “imperative” that they win today. “I’ve always said since I’ve been the coach here, that losing a game is disappointing but you have to make sure you win the next game after you lose.” Seagulls manager Hope Powell knew her side were in for another tough afternoon. She spoke positively of the overall achievements throughout the calendar year; “We’re in a better position this time compared to last season, so I’ve got to be pleased with that. Performances have been a little bit inconsistent; we’ve got to find that consistency going into the New Year, but generally I’m relatively happy.” Manchester City midfielder Lauren Hemp was picked out as the ‘One to Watch’ by the graphics as she warmed up. And before you knew it, it was time for the teams to emerge from the tunnel and the commentators to run through the line-ups before the big kick off.

MCW Getting to Know MCW Demi Stokes MCW Everton Arsenal MCW Player of the Match

The half time whistle blew after a very comfortable forty-five minutes for the home side. The break is when the BBC roll out a few features and VTs, with these fifteen minutes being longer than the pre-match and post-match coverage they have to fill the time. The commentators reviewed the three goals from the first period. The opener from Houghton was very tricky to save when hit with that much power from such close range. Co-commentator Faye White was impressed by the finish for the second goal; “There’s still a lot for her to do for Ellen White to get that on target, especially when it’s coming in at that pace.” Whilst the third was down to Steph Houghton’s movement and good knock down from the corner, finding Hemp for an easy nod home. They also took a look back at some of the other chances for Manchester City, who could have extended their lead on a number of occasions. The first VT of the interval featured City substitute Demi Stokes in the ‘Getting to Know’ feature. Twin sisters Rosie and Mollie Kmita interviewed the left-back whilst driving around on the golf buggy. The twins played together at Brighton when they were teenagers around 2013/14 and were most recently at West Ham. When the club went professional to join the WSL for last season they faced a choice. Rosie signed her first pro contract there and moved to London Bees for this campaign, whilst Mollie decided to go down her own route and manager a nationwide coaching academy. The pair presented radio shows for BBC 5 Live during the Women’s World Cup and were regulars during the half-time break as they interviewed stars from each WSL club to try to get an insight into the new breed of women’s footballer. Following on from that we saw first half highlights from the other 12.30pm kick-off as Everton hosted Arsenal. Commentary for the FA Player, and on this edit, was provided by Matt Davies-Adams. Goalscoring machine Vivianne Miedema’s strike separated them in the first half but the injury to Beth Mead being stretchered off was the concern for Faye White after the highlights edit. After reviewing the key moments from that half, it was time to switch focus back to the Academy Stadium for the second half of Manchester City versus Brighton. No involvement from the reporter with a special guest pundit on this occasion. After the full-time whistle, the broadcast remained on-air for around five minutes in order to wrap things up from the gantry. We got to hear from the Barclays Player of the Match, Lauren Hemp, speaking with Kelly Somers pitchside. And there we had it, Brighton’s heaviest televised defeat came at the hands of the FA Cup holders as the WSL signed off for 2019 and our commentators said their goodbyes to us for another day.

MCW Teams Emerge MCW Everyone on the goalline MCW Celebration MCW Hemp goal

Story of the Match: Brighton wore their change kit of all black against the blue of Manchester City’s shirts and white of their shorts and socks. The home team kicked off, shooting from left to right. Albion’s game plan should have been clear enough; as commentator Vicki Sparks pointed out after one minute, “It will be a tough test for Brighton. So important that they keep it tight early doors.” Ten seconds later, winger Janine Beckie struck a shot from the edge of the area to sting the palms of Brighton ‘keeper Sophie Harris. She palmed it away and it hit Matilde Lundorf to go comfortably back to the stopper and the danger passed. However, referee Lucy Oliver thought otherwise and gave an indirect free-kick some eight or so yards out for what she deemed a deliberate backpass. It was a dreadful decision from the official, there was no way that could ever be deemed an intentional pass when it just hit her leg, with no City players appealing for it and the commentator even assuming it was an offside, such was the banality of the decision. A shocker early on but a golden chance for Manchester City. Up stepped Steph Houghton, captain fantastic, who actually scored from a very similar position for England in the World Cup. That time she converted low to the bottom-right of the goal as she saw it. This time she went for power, driving it straight down the middle and under the dive of Harris and the leap of the covering defenders on the line. Manchester City were gifted a goal from the referee after just two minutes, it was going to be a very long afternoon for the Seagulls. Just before the quarter-hour mark, another goal arrived. Houghton played a nice ball wide to the right where Beckie was in space. She took one touch to control and the next to cross a fantastic ball into the middle, between defence and goalkeeper. Waiting to pounce for her opportunity was England’s summer goalscoring hero Ellen White, who executed an excellent volley into the top corner from close range. Two-nil and not much Harris could have done about that strike, the technique was terrific. Cue White’s now-familiar ‘goggles’ celebration, nicked from her favourite Bundesliga team Cologne and their striker Anthony Modeste. It was a half dominated by the blues and they added further misery to Brighton with eight minutes to go before the interval. Georgia Stanway’s corner was looped to the back post. Houghton won the header to send it back across and waiting to pounce three yards away was Lauren Hemp. She celebrated a contract extension in the week and signed it with a goal, heading home over the efforts of defender Fliss Gibbons to make it three-nil. Hemp couldn’t have asked for an easier finish. Further chances fell City’s way without adding to the scoresheet in the first period, and the half-time whistle was a relief for the Albion and a chance to regroup.

MCW Disallowed Albion goal MCW Harris save MCW Stanway goal MCW Five nil  

The second half began more brightly and more evenly. A few narrow misses from City at one end were followed by the ball in the back of the net up the other, as Ini Umotong thought she had pulled one back for Brighton. Aileen Whelan’s cross on the left was floated to that near post. City ‘keeper Ellie Roebuck hadn’t had much to do in the opening hour but had to be alert here. As she jumped to claim the cross, Umotong was up with her and the ball bounced down and over the line. As Albion players wheeled away, thinking they’d scored their first WSL goal away from home this campaign, the referee’s whistle was again to hamper them. There was a moment of confusion, as both the graphics department, the commentator and Roebuck herself believed the goal had been given. But Lucy Oliver slowly marched towards where the incident took place and awarded Manchester City the free kick for a foul. She signalled a push but replays showed that not to be the case. It was a harsh decision, the goalkeeper over-protected, as the challenge from Umotong seemed to be a fair one. Applying pressure on Roebuck, as did her own defender Gemma Bonner, the England goalie appeared to fumble and allow the ball to slip through her hands and tipped it in as it bounced down. Nevertheless, the Seagulls were denied and they remained three down. The half continued to be an open one, with Brighton looking much livelier and better organised. But the home side always looked more likely to add to their tally, posing so many dangerous threats with their wealth of talent across the field. This was emphasised with a move beginning from Roebuck and ending all the way up the other end with a one-on-one for Caroline Weir. An excellent through ball from Keira Walsh took four Albion defenders out of the game and set Weir through. Sophie Harris flew off her line to close the angle down, Weir’s shot saved by the ‘keeper and looped up and over for a corner. However, a fourth was added with eleven minutes remaining when another excellent through ball cut Brighton clean apart. This was another move starting at the back with City playing it around before Walsh, in her own half, decided to go long. Her pass through the gaps was outstanding to find Georgia Stanway in on goal. She used the pace on the ball to guide it past the outrushing Harris and give herself an empty net to tap into. It was another well-worked, clinical Manchester City goal. A fifth goal really put the icing on the cake to cap off a fantastic home display. Late substitute Pauline Bremer became the fifth different scorer when her thigh improvised to flick in from a cross with less than four minutes to play. Beckie provided the assist from the right and Bremer’s touch just looped up over Harris into the other corner of the net. Lea Le Garrec worked an opportunity on the edge of the area with the final shot of the match hoping to bring Brighton a consolation, but Roebuck watched it all the way to dive and gather. So that’s where the scoring ended, a five-star performance from Manchester City to keep them in the title race amongst the chasing pack. Brighton remained towards the foot of the table ahead of the Christmas break. The next WSL fixture for the Seagulls saw bottom club Liverpool come to Crawley. That was a much more important match in the bid to remain in this League for another season.

MCW Final Score

MANCHESTER CITY WOMEN 5 BRIGHTON WOMEN 0
Houghton, White, Hemp, Stanway, Bremer

MCW Replay

PREVIOUS; #5 ARSENAL WOMEN 4-0 BRIGHTON WOMEN 29/09/2019

NEXT; #7 BRIGHTON WOMEN 0-4 ARSENAL WOMEN 12/01/2020

 

 

#5: Arsenal Women 4-0 Brighton Women 29/09/2019

#5 ARSENAL WOMEN 4-0 BRIGHTON WOMEN Women’s Super League
Sunday 29th September 2019 LIVE via Red Button

5ARS Intro

COMMENTATOR Robyn Cowen CO-COMMENTATOR Jayne Ludlow
REPORTER Kelly Somers HALF TIME Danielle Carter
12.30pm Kick Off; Meadow Park, Borehamwood     12.20-2.30pm Live on BBC Red Button

5ARS Fixtures 5ARS Table pre match 5ARS Home team arrival 5ARS Brighton arrivals

Context of the Match: The Seagulls survived their first season as a full-time professional top flight club, finishing the 2018/2019 Women’s Super League campaign in ninth spot out of the eleven clubs. Hope Powell’s side won four and drew four of their twenty League matches to give a final points tally of sixteen. Yeovil dropped down to the FA Women’s Championship, with two new teams – Manchester United and Tottenham – coming up to form a twelve club top level. Brighton’s aim was to maintain their WSL status for another year. With the increased competition from the strong promoted teams, as well as a huge gulf between the likes of Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester City at the top, this would be another difficult season. The spotlight was on the Women’s game in this country following an incredibly popular World Cup in France during the summer. England’s Lionesses reached their second successive World Semi Final, losing to eventual Champions USA, and viewing figures went through the roof. The record audience was smashed four times during the tournament; culminating in a peak of 11.7 million on primetime BBC One, almost three times the record in this country pre-World Cup. It was important for the game to ride the crest of this wave to expand and improve further. Brighton reported a huge increase in season ticket sales, at a cost of just £30, hoping to attract record attendances through the Crawley turnstiles once more this campaign. On the broadcasting front, the television rights deal remained as it was last year with a Live match from each round of the WSL being broadcast on BBC via the Red Button and a further game on BT Sport. In addition, the Football Association launched their own app – the FA Player – which allowed anyone anywhere to watch every single WSL match Live and for free. It was a huge initiative and meant that, for some players, it would be the first time many of their friends and family would be able to watch their League performances in full. The BBC’s summer of Women’s sport was tag lined “Change the game”; this attempted to do just that. And financial support was provided by Barclays Bank, who became the first title sponsor of the League, now known as the FA Barclays WSL. For Brighton’s first Live televised match of the campaign, a tough trip to Champions Arsenal awaited. This was just the third match of the League season and both clubs went into it unbeaten. The Gunners defeated West Ham and Manchester United to have a 100% start, whilst the Albion drew the opener at Bristol City nil-nil and were just seconds away from beating Champions League Semi Finalists Chelsea, but for an injury time equaliser. If they could come away with something from Borehamwood here, it would be the biggest result in the Division so far, and in front of the BBC cameras.

5ARS Arsenal5ARS Brighton

The Teams: Hope Powell strengthened her Albion squad over the summer break, adding a couple of new faces to bolster the core that survived their first season as a fully professional top flight team. Goalkeeper Megan Walsh made the switch from relegated Yeovil, where she spent two years. Yeovil’s relegation followed a period of administration which hit the club dearly, forcing them to move down to the third tier after their application to join the second tier Championship was rejected; forcing a mass exodus of their star players. The twenty-four-year-old represented England at under-17, 19 and 23 level. Another new signing was young Danish full-back Matilde Lundorf. She transferred from Aarhus and previously was part of Paris Saint Germain’s youth setup. Lundorf slotted in to an established back four including Fliss Gibbons and Victoria Williams. The latter saw her penalty saved in the opening day goalless draw at Bristol City. Completing the defence was Fern Whelan, with the Seagulls missing Laura Rafferty long term due to an ACL injury picked up in training. In front of the defence sat Dani Bowman, the midfielder better known as Dani Buet. She got married in the summer, hence the name change. On the left wing, Aileen Whelan’s goal in the previous League match at home to Chelsea almost caused a huge upset before the Blues scrambled home a stoppage time equaliser. Ellie Brazil featured heavily in the previous WSL campaign, whilst Emily Simpkins was more of a fringe player. This was her first start of the League season, coming in to replace French international Lea Le Garrec; a close season recruit from Guingamp. Irishwoman Megan Connolly could play either in the middle or up top. Completing the starting XI was Welsh international Kayleigh Green. Among the options on the bench were striker Ini Umotong, who opened the scoring in this fixture last season, and defender Danique Kerkdijk. She was part of the Netherlands World Cup squad that finished as runners up in France in the summer, having signed for Brighton prior to the tournament. For Joe Montemurro’s Champion Arsenal side, six of the starting line-up were in their nation’s World Cup squads over the summer. That included the deadly Dutch duo up top of Vivianne Miedema and Danielle Van de Donk. Miedema broke the WSL record for most goals in a single season last campaign, netting a total of twenty-two in twenty League matches. She also became the Netherlands all-time top scorer in June, scoring for the sixtieth time in international competition at the age of just twenty-three. Scottish duo Kim Little and Lisa Evans provide further goals and creativity in a star-studded line up. That meant no room for England’s Beth Mead, who started as a substitute today, whilst her fellow Lioness Leah Williamson held firm in the middle of the park. The big absentee from England’s Semi Final squad was Jordan Nobbs but back in the domestic side this season after recovering from the injury which kept her out of the entire first half of 2019. French reserve ‘keeper Pauline Peyraud-Magnin kept goal for the Gunners, as they waved goodbye to Dutch stopper, and goalie of the World Cup, Sari van Veenendaal after four years. Refereeing today’s contest at Boreham Wood Football Club was Elliot Swallow.

5ARS Kick Off 5ARS Comms 5ARS Presentation team

Presentation Team: Commentary was provided by Robyn Cowen and Jayne Ludlow. Cowen is one of the leading voices of women’s football in this country. She commentated on the Women’s World Cup for the BBC in France, behind Jonathan Pearce as the number two. Two years earlier, Cowen was second choice behind Steve Bower for Channel 4’s coverage of the Women’s European Championships in the Netherlands. Since 2018, along with Vicki Sparks, Cowen is one of the BBC’s regular voices on Live WSL matches and has commentated on the men’s game for Match of the Day. As of the beginning of the 2019/20 campaign, she featured more heavily on the Premier League highlights and has been a reporter for Final Score and Football Focus for four years. This is the second time commentating on an Albion Women’s match Live, having been behind the mic for the defeat to Chelsea in December 2018. Co-commentator Jayne Ludlow is the Welsh Women’s national team manager, having been in the post since 2014. The forty-year-old retired from playing in 2013 and has a year in charge of Reading before her country came calling. The former midfielder spent thirteen years at Arsenal, of which she is a supporter, and captained the side to numerous League and Cup successes. Since the BBC regularly broadcasted Live WSL matches from the start of last season, Ludlow has become an increasingly frequent member of the team. She is a pundit on magazine programme The Women’s Football Show and rotates turns in the commentary box along with Sue Smith and Laura Bassett. As with the other BBC Red Button games, the programme is handled out-of-vision by the commentary team apart from a brief couple of minutes during half time. During this period, the presenter and guest for the evening’s Women’s Football Show provide a report on the match so far. That role fell today to Kelly Somers, who doubled up as the pitchside reporter, and guest Danielle Carter. Somers previous work included matchday stadium hosting at AFC Bournemouth and cricket side Surrey Storm before climbing the ranks at the BBC. She continues to do stadium presenting for West Ham but is better known as a reporter and presenter for The Women’s Football Show on the BBC for the past two years, sharing duties with Eilidh Barbour and Reshmin Chowdhury. Somers also reported on other BBC magazine programmes Football Focus and Final Score and on radio for Talksport. Outside of the UK, she can be seen by the world on the Premier League Productions preview and Fantasy Football fan shows. Her guest Danielle Carter is a current Arsenal Women’s striker out injured with a knee problem suffered in pre-season. She’s spent her entire senior career to date at the Gunners, playing over a century of matches in ten years graduating from the Leyton Orient youth setup to the Arsenal first team. She has also represented England at every level from under-17, under-19, under-20 and under-23s as well as the senior side, netting a hat-trick on debut in an eight-nil victory in Estonia.

5ARS Powell 5ARS One to Watch 5ARS Coming Up

The Coverage: From the beginning of this season, a brand new initiative was launched by the Football Association which transformed the coverage of the women’s game in this country. The “FA Player” app made every single Super League match available Live and for free, wherever you were in the world. This was in addition to the television broadcast deal in place from last year, where Live League games were shown on BT Sport and the BBC Red Button. The FA Player meant that all other non-televised matches were available to stream Live on the app. On the back of the success of the England team reaching the Semi Final of the Women’s World Cup, and the huge audiences achieved on the BBC, the FA attempted to capitalise on the growing interest. Matches were being played in men’s first team club stadiums such as Stamford Bridge and The Etihad, with record attendance figures being smashed in the opening days of the season. The national side would be playing at Wembley in November setting a new record for ticket sales as over 80,000 people were expected. In terms of the television coverage, BT Sport continued to broadcast at least one game per matchweek. The BBC provided their magazine programme The Women’s Football Show with a new primetime Sunday 7pm slot on BBC Four and a repeat on BBC One after Match of the Day 2. Like before, one WSL match per round was moved to an earlier kick off slot for Live broadcast on the BBC website and Red Button. Coverage began ten minutes before the 12.30pm start and was introduced by the commentary team of Robyn Cowen and Jayne Ludlow. The programme began with a glance at the day’s other WSL fixtures and the current table standings before previewing our clash with Champions Arsenal. We saw shots of the two teams arriving at the ground and getting off the coach, across a rainy Meadow Park stadium, before hearing from both managers who were interviewed by Kelly Somers. Arsenal’s Joe Montemurro called it “probably the toughest game of September”, aware of Albion’s impressive draw with Chelsea last time out. Brighton boss Hope Powell was in good spirits reflecting on the first matches of the campaign; “Really pleased we’ve started well, it’s a 100% improvement on last year which is great. Today we’re under no illusions on how challenging the test will be but we’re in fighting spirit, we’re gonna give it a good go.”  She went on to stress the importance of the defence standing strong and being diligent in order to get something out of this match. Jayne Ludlow picked out Leah Williamson as the ‘One to Watch’ for Arsenal, equally adept at playing in defence or midfield. Whilst the Albion’s Dani Bowman was her choice from our squad, highlighting the midfielder’s tough tackling and links to her time at Arsenal early on in her career. After a little more chat, the teams were ready and waiting to emerge from the tunnel.

5ARS Half Time 1 5ARS Half Time 2 5ARS POTM

New for this season was the replay transition wipe sporting a BBC logo instead of the WSL crest. During the half time break, fifteen minutes of air time had to be filled and this was where the BBC’s Red Button coverage would include a couple of features and interviews. The commentary team began by analysing the best of the first half action, including the two Arsenal goals separating the teams. The pass for Kim Little’s opener and the finish from Vivianne Miedema to double the lead were particularly good. They showed how tough it was for Kayleigh Green up front on her own for the Albion, having to do a lot with little possession and support. Our first VT of half time was an interview with Manchester United Women’s captain Katie Zelem in a feature called ‘This is Me’. She spoke about how she got into the game, her earliest memories of football and her influences. She’s the skipper and big United fan but used to play for Liverpool, and the two sides met in the WSL the day before. Extended highlights of that clash were shown next, with commentary from Michael McCann. With every match streamed Live on the FA Player, it meant each one had a commentator, which would then be used during the highlights show. Goals from Lauren James and Katie Zelem secured a two-nil victory at their Leigh Sports home, their first League win of the season. Then it was time to head down to the touchline to join Kelly Somers and Danielle Carter to review the first half, who were in situ ahead of recording that evening’s Women’s Football Show links. Carter said it was as expected from Brighton, sitting in deep and trying to defend for their lives making it trickier for Arsenal to break them down. She cited the difference in the quality of players being the difference, whilst the first half stats scrawled on the bottom right hand corner of the screen confirming the home side’s dominance. Arsenal enjoyed two-thirds of the possession, had six shots to Albion’s one and both on target resulted in goals. The pair also chatted about the League in general, England Women and the other matches that weekend. They ended by updating us on the progress of Carter’s knee injury, at the very early stages of her rehab and expecting to be out for quite a while yet. With that, it was time for the second half to begin. When the match concluded, there was just three or four minutes left to wrap things up before coming off air. Barclays Player of the Match Jordan Nobbs was interviewed on pitch by Kelly Somers, as the rain continued to lash down on them. The midfielder was delighted to back playing again after a long time out, this her first home game of 2019. She summarised by saying “I think we controlled the ball very well and kept possession but we’ve seen Brighton get points and play very well against Chelsea. So I think we’ve got the three points we wanted and Joe [Montemurro] will be happy with the way we played today.” After a quick look ahead to programmes to come on the BBC, it was time to say goodbye and bring an end to another Live Seagulls broadcast.

5ARS Lining up 5ARS Little opener

Story of the Match: The Gunners got the game underway kicking from right to left in the first half. The BBC scorebar initially struggled to cope with Albion’s change kit, wearing green instead of blue, and so disappeared from screen intermittently whilst they updated the colours. On the field, Arsenal dominated the ball and it did not take long for them to break the deadlock. In just the ninth minute, Vivianne Miedema slipped the ball through the back line for Kim Little to latch on to. The Scot took one touch to set herself before slotting low past Megan Walsh from six yards. The Albion had to dig deep for much of the rest of the half, with left back Fliss Gibbons in particular earned her pay cheque and preserved the scoreline. The Seagulls were restricted to very little by way of attacking threat. Kayleigh Green’s speculative right-footed effort from twenty-five yards was about as good as it got. The shot not a problem for Payroud-Magnin ten minutes before the break. Five minutes later, Arsenal doubled their lead through some nice, neat passing. A short corner found Little on the left. She looked for Jordan Nobbs whose lovely first-time cushioned pass sat nicely for Miedema in the area. She got her shot off early, a hard drive on the left of the six-yard box which flew into the opposite corner of the net. It was a very well worked move from the Champions and they deservedly went in two-nil up at the whistle. Hope Powell brought back Lea Le Garrec to bolster the attack for the second half, replacing Emily Simpkins. The Frenchwoman immediately showed positive intentions with a long-range shot, even if the execution left a lot to be desired.

5ARS Sub 5ARS Nobbs four

However, it took just eleven minutes for a third goal to go in, this time from Danielle Van de Donk. Brighton’s Megan Connolly was dispossessed twenty yards inside her own half by Maier. In an attempt to win it back, Connolly’s challenge deflected the ball into the path of Miedema who rolled the pressure of Victoria Williams. Miedema then laid the ball on for her fellow Dutch international Van de Donk, who took one touch and finished like a natural goalscorer. Deadly from Arsenal and it was game over for sure now, if it wasn’t already. The task for the Seagulls was now to keep the score respectable. Maya Le Tissier replaced Kayleigh Green for fresh legs in the midfield. A four-goal margin was about par against these top sides last season. And four-nil it was when Jordan Nobbs added her name to the scoresheet with twenty minutes to play. Substitute Beth Mead was set free down the right of the penalty area from Little’s pass. Her cross went over everyone and to the other side of the box. The cut back was headed out to the edge of the box for Nobbs to hit it on the half-volley. Her shot squirmed through the crowd of players to deceive Megan Walsh as it went between her legs and in for four. A chance to pull one back fell the way of right-back Matilde Lundorf ten minutes from time, but she scuffed her effort wide of the target after latching onto a loose ball in the area. Back at the busier end, Beth Mead saw her effort on the edge crash against the angle of post and bar after a one-two with Nobbs. It remained four-nil to the Arsenal as the final whistle brought to an end a miserable, tough afternoon for Brighton. It was clear the Albion were still a long way off those top clubs in the Women’s Super League. Onwards and upwards from now on.

5ARS Full Time

ARSENAL WOMEN 4 BRIGHTON WOMEN 0
Little, Miedema, Van de Donk, Nobbs

5ARS Replay

PREVIOUS; #4 BRIGHTON WOMEN 0-4 ARSENAL WOMEN 28/04/2019

NEXT; #6 MANCHESTER CITY WOMEN 5-0 BRIGHTON WOMEN 15/12/2019

 

 

#13: Grimsby 2-2 Brighton 04/05/2003

#13 GRIMSBY 2-2 BRIGHTON Division One
Sunday 4th May 2003 Image result for

GRI Titles

PRESENTER George Gavin GUEST Brian Little
COMMENTATORS Ian Crocker & Alvin Martin REPORTER Fraser Robertson
1.30pm Kick Off; Blundell Park, Grimsby     1-3.30pm Football League Live on Sky Sports Extra

GRI Promo GRI SponsorGRI Intro

Context of the Match: And so it all came down to this. A season’s work would be defined by one Sunday afternoon in May as Brighton’s position in Division One hung in the balance. Nothing but a win would do for the Seagulls if they were to avoid the drop away at already-relegated Grimsby. Even then, that may not be enough as a win or draw for Stoke City at home to Reading would send the Albion down and keep them up regardless of the scoreline here at Blundell Park. Brighton of course were no stranger to final day drama, in even more apocalyptic circumstances. In 1997, a last gasp showdown away at Hereford United decided which of the two teams would drop out of the League altogether. Robbie Reinelt’s equaliser at Edgar Street ensured Brighton’s Football League status on goals scored! At the time goal difference was not the primary decider, had it been then Brighton would have gone instead having picked up just six points on the road all season before that match. Nothing perhaps would ever beat that day for a sheer rollercoaster of emotions for the Albion faithful but this match would be sure to put them through the ringer once more. It was some achievement from Steve Coppell’s men to have even taken their fate to the final day, given the appalling start. Twelve defeats on the bounce left Brighton floundering at the foot of the table by the time Coppell had replaced Martin Hinshelwood in the dugout back in October. Form picked up ahead of our first Live television appearance of the season, a very creditable one-one draw away at Wolverhampton Wanderers, who would be taking part (and winning) in the Play Offs once today was done and dusted. Form was inconsistent and we could never really get a sustained unbeaten period, not managing more than four in a row. But three wins in February and two more in March gave Brighton real hope by the time our next Live appearance came round, away at Reading in early April. A quick-thinking free-kick and an extremely rare Paul Kitson goal gave the away side all three points and suddenly the great escape was on. Defeats to mid-table Preston and promoted Leicester put the brakes on the mini temporarily. The final two home games produced four further points as fellow relegation candidates Sheffield Wednesday were held whilst Watford, clearly already on the beach with nothing to play for, were blown away by a four-nil demolition; the biggest win of the season in more ways than one. Which took things to today, the final Sunday of the season. All matches would kick off at 1.30pm, with two Live on Sky. The title was already decided, that went to Harry Redknapp’s runaway Portsmouth side, with Leicester joining. The four Play Off teams were also known; Sheffield United, Reading, Nottingham Forest and Wolves. Grimsby would finish bottom and Sheffield Wednesday were confirmed as down too. So it was between Stoke and Brighton to determine which of the two would go straight back down having moved up from the third tier together. Sky’s main focus on Sky Sports 1 was at the Britannia Stadium as Stoke, three points and one place ahead of Brighton but with a worse goal difference, took on Reading, already assured of a top six finish. Whilst over on Sky Sports Extra, Blundell Park was in the spotlight. With only a win and a prayer to hope for, let the games begin!

GRI Grimsby GRI Brighton

The Teams: Veteran goalkeeper Dave Beasant, an FA Cup winner fifteen years earlier, continued to be between the sticks for Steve Coppell’s Seagulls. This was his sixteenth start since coming in during a ‘keeper crisis in February. In front of him were the experience of Dean Blackwell and captain Danny Cullip. Blackwell missed much of the first half of the season through injury and only began to get a consistent run in the side from February. Having missed the previous televised match at Reading and the following game against Preston, the former Wimbledon defender was back for the final weeks of the season. Paul Watson missed just one League match all season, back in December due to suspension. Left back Kerry Mayo started each and every game since the end of September and even managed a goal in November’s one-nil victory over Derby. Another February recruit, Ivar Ingimarsson, played in every match since signing. Shoreham born Simon Rodger scored on his debut in the first Division One win at Withdean, versus Bradford. Nathan Jones had almost as many appearances off the bench as he did starts on the wing this term, he hadn’t started since February. Gary Hart was the second longest serving player after Kerry Mayo, the pair were the only ones to have played over 200 times for the Albion. Bobby Zamora looked to add to his vital thirteen goals and he was supported by Paul Kitson, the man who got the decisive touch in April’s televised victory at the Madejski for his only Brighton goal. Arsenal and Ireland forward Graham Barrett and tricky winger Paul Brooker were amongst the attacking options on the bench, whilst if anything happened to Beasant it would be Will Packham’s job to keep goal. The twenty-two-year-old made just two League starts for the club, the last of which was on the final day this time last year with the title and promotion already in the bag. Grimsby’s player-manager – thirty-seven-year-old Paul Groves – picked himself in their starting eleven, having been in charge since December 2001. Their first win of an unsuccessful campaign came, of course, at Withdean when goals from Darren Barnard and Alan Poulton but neither were available this afternoon. Goalkeeper Danny Coyne was the only Mariner to play every match across all three competitions. Defender John McDermott had been on the books here since 1985. George Santos was one of three Sheffield United men to be sent off in an infamous match with Burnley last year when, coupled with injuries, an abandonment was enforced. His red card for a two-footed lunge came just seconds after joining as a substitute and boss Neil Warnock never selected him again. Stuart Campbell was the club’s joint top-scorer with six goals, sharing the spoils with loaness Steve Kabba from Crystal Palace and Sunderland’s John Oster. Kabba’s form was enough to earn him a move to Sheffield United in November but nobody was able to outscore him in the remaining months. Young Irishman Michael Keane wasn’t enough to save Grimsby from relegation when he moved temporarily from Preston on the March transfer deadline day. The referee for one last match this season was Clive Wilkes.

GRI Gavin GRI Little GRI Studio GRI Reporters

Presentation Team: Sky’s number one Football League presenter George Gavin chaired coverage of this final day special, with Gavin having presented virtually every Live broadcast from the three Divisions this season. In addition to that he also hosted the weekly Football League Review and early rounds of the FA Cup. The majority of Live League games were hosted from pitchside or in the stands at the stadium this year but as two matches were being covered simultaneously here, the studio was Sky’s base this afternoon. Joining Gavin was Brian Little. Born in Newcastle with a gentle North-East accent, the former striker spent his entire professional playing career with Aston Villa as well as a solitary appearance for the national team. After retiring he stayed with Villa as a youth team coach before moving into management with a brief caretaker spell at Wolves. He spent a couple of years at Darlington before enjoying his first success in charge of Leicester whilst still in his late-30s. After successive defeats in Play Off Finals, he finally gained the Foxes promotion to the Premiership in 1994. This led to him moving back to Aston Villa where he kept them up in the top flight and later went on to win the League Cup and qualify for Europe. After nearly three-and-a-half years in the Midlands he resigned. In recent seasons he spent around a year at Stoke and West Brom before dropping down to Division Three with Hull City where he came unstuck in the Play Offs once more but resigned last February with the Tigers well placed for promotion. Since then the media was where Little spent much of his time and forged a good partnership with George Gavin on the Review show. Despite Stoke being the main match today, Sky’s number one Football League commentator, Ian Crocker, was at the Albion’s match. This allowed former lead voice Rob Hawthorne an opportunity to cover the League again, as he and Ray Houghton were on the gantry for Stoke versus Reading. Hawthorne had recently helped share the load in a couple of Live Football League double-headers over Easter and would feature in the upcoming Play Offs too, with he and Houghton covering the Division Three Final and Reading’s Division One Semis. Ian Crocker was joined at Blundell Park by Alvin Martin. The former defender made his name playing for West Ham where he spent all but one of his twenty-one professional seasons, the other being at Leyton Orient. Martin also won seventeen caps for England in the eighties. After retirement he was Southend’s boss for two seasons at the end of the nineties. Since then he has been a regular commentator on Talksport and this season on Sky’s Football League broadcasts, behind Chris Kamara in the pecking order. Crocker and Martin would reunite for the Division Two Play Off Final later in May. Completing the line-ups were todays pitchside reporters Fraser Robertson and Guy Havord. Robertson became the main League reporter back in November and also covers the Republic of Ireland internationals for Sky. He was at Stoke today with Havord in Grimsby. Today was Guy Havord’s first appearance on a Live match back on Sky, having spent last season on the ITV Sport Channel as their lead voice of the Football League. He’s more familiar as a commentator there and prior to that for Sky on their Live Spanish football and non-Live 3pm Premiership highlights. He voiced a couple of clashing group matches for ITV at the 2002 World Cup before becoming a victim of the ITV Digital closure. Havord featured reporting on Sky Sports News on occasions before joining Sky here and becoming a part of their touchline reporting roster.

GRI Great Escape GRI Great Escape Brighton GRI Who Will Escape GRI Stoke intro

The Coverage: For the first time in the First Division, two matches on the final day were shown Live simultaneously. This allowed Sky to cover every eventuality from this relegation showdown, whichever team survived. The main focus on Sky Sports 1 was Stoke City’s match as the Potters had their destiny in their own hands. Should they slip up and lose then Brighton could take advantage with a win at Grimsby, and that was shown in full over on Sky Sports Extra. This channel was only available to Sky Digital viewers, meaning cable customers (such as I) were left viewing the encounter at the Britannia. Pre-match build up was hosted from Sky’s Isleworth studio and covered both matches, before splitting off and handing over to the two commentary teams five minutes before this 1.30pm kick off. Host George Gavin was joined by Brian Little, a regular in recent months on the Football League coverage having been out of management since leaving Hull in February of last year. The pair came on air thirty minutes ahead of the match, giving plenty of time to summarise the situation for both teams as well as a quick general overview of the Division as the regular season came to a close this afternoon. As soon as the titles were over, the introductory VT, which you can view at the foot of the page, paid homage to 1963 film The Great Escape, with either Stoke or Brighton completing that very thing by the end of the broadcast. The familiar soundtrack blared out over action shots of the two teams, culminating with the two managers and a caption of “Who will escape?”

GRI Fans GRI Final Day Fixtures GRI Havord GRI Robertson

The Albion fans shown queuing to get into Blundell Park were in confident mood, chanting “We are staying up!” but, as George Gavin pointed out, it was a tough ask; “They’ve got to win and then to hope.” Guest Brian Little explained how relegation on the final day was the hardest to take of all; “It really is a heartbreak day. Teams have known for a week or two, or more in some cases, that they’ve gone down and you learn to live with that towards the end of the season. But this today is a real tearjerker.” He believed how much more remarkable it would be if Brighton pulled off the ‘Great Escape’ given the positions they’re both in before this match, plus the awful start Coppell inherited from Hinshelwood. The League table outlined how tough it would be. The rest of the Division’s fixtures saw Champions Portsmouth travel to Bradford, Play Off candidate Wolves host Leicester and Sheffield United travel to Watford. With the scene set, it was time to head to the two grounds for some team news. Sky Sports reporters were present at both, with Guy Havord at the Britannia and Fraser Robertson in Grimsby. We headed to the Potteries first where it was blowing a gale, Havord’s hair flapping in the wind whilst delivering Brighton fans the good news that Nicky Forster had shrugged off injury to start for Reading. It was a much warmer day for Fraser Robertson as he delivered the Seagulls team sheets. Brighton were unchanged from the biggest win of the season the previous week whilst the Mariners made five changes to bring themselves back to full strength. Robertson said he spoke to some of the 2,500 travelling fans as they were arriving, many in confident mood but acknowledged that it was out of Brighton hands. He also spoke of how the Brighton fans associations were unhappy that additional tickets weren’t passed over with Grimsby failing to sell out the home ends. An extra three or four thousand Seagulls supporters were expected to make the journey without tickets, so it really could have been a full house on the coast.

GRI Manager records GRI Coppell GRI VT GRI Split Screen

Both Stoke and Brighton had employed a new manager partway through the season after struggling at the beginning, with the Potters bringing in Tony Pulis for Steve Cotterill. The two were brought in as rescue merchants to salvage the campaign and got similar results, winning just under a third of the League matches in charge. Little spoke of how good a job Coppell had done to drag Brighton off the bottom and within ninety minutes of survival; “After twelve games everybody thought they were well and truly in the Second Division so to have a chance today shows the sort of job that he’s done. Both lads have done terrific and unfortunately one of them’s going to be very sad by the end of the evening.” The centrepiece of the pre match build up was a VT featuring both managers discussing their chances. On survival, Coppell said “A few weeks back, and at various stages this season, we’d have given anything to be in this position,” whilst Pulis was confident that it was in his team’s hands. In terms of the overall season, if planning permission for the new stadium didn’t get the green light and relegation happened, Coppell saw it as a failure and a major issue but predicted brighter things if Falmer gets a ‘Yes’; “If they get the planning permission for the new stadium, this club will become a yo-yo club between the Premiership and the First Division.” He also stressed he was not interested in following the Stoke scoreline on Sunday “because all we’ve got to do is look after our own part of the equation”. Well that and a bit of hope, Steve! After a little more studio chat and an advert break it was time to make your choice; stay on Sky Sports 1 for the Stoke v Reading game in the company of Rob Hawthorne and Ray Houghton, or switch to Sky Sports Extra for Grimsby against Brighton with match commentators Ian Crocker and Alvin Martin. The Stoke match would have updates at the bottom of the screen with scores from the non-televised matches, whilst both games would show the goals of the other one shortly after they went in. Whatever happened, viewers would be kept fully up to speed with this final day decider. After the game there was only time for a very brief round up of the scorelines and the final table before switching to coverage of the day’s Premiership match between Arsenal and Leeds from 3.30pm. A one hour highlights show was broadcast after that, showing the best of both Stoke and Brighton’s matches as well as a couple of interviews with the key men involved as the regular Football League season came to a close.

GRI Kick Off GRI Comms GRI Harsh penalty GRI Zamora goal

Story of the Match: Albion wore their change kit of all red on the day they aimed to get out of the red zone and up to safety. They kicked off the first half shooting from left to right, attacking the goal in which the travelling support were situated behind and who made all the early noise. Gary Hart showed real pace in the opening exchanges to drive forward in search of the Brighton goal to calm the nerves. For Grimsby, striker Darren Mansaram was causing problems for the back line, needing a combination of Nathan Jones – sporting a bright blonde mohawk – and Kerry Mayo to wrestle the ball away from him in a dangerous position. The first chance fell the way of the black and white stripes, as Dave Beasant was forced into a smart low stop to keep Tony Gallimore’s deflected free kick out, whilst the rebound was blazed high over the top. In the twenty-second minute, the worst happened for Brighton as referee Clive Wilkes awarded Grimsby a penalty. Kerry Mayo, no stranger to final day relegation drama as his own goal at Hereford six years earlier showed, failed to control the dropping ball over his head which allowed Chris Thompson the opportunity to nick it past him. Mayo’s outstretched leg was a desperate attempt to salvage the situation but it was mistimed and a foul. However, the replay showed the contact was outside the box and should have actually been a free kick rather than a spot kick, to add to the Albion’s woes. Michael Keane, on loan from Preston, stepped up after a delay due to encroachment to send Beasant the wrong way and see the ball slide into the bottom left hand corner of the net for one-nil. As Alvin Martin pointed out on co-commentary, the positive was it was still early enough in the game to turn things around, with no news of a breakthrough in the other match either. As the end of the first period approached, Brighton gave themselves a lifeline through another penalty. No doubt about this one, as Gary Hart’s positive turn and push forward brought a rash challenge from Steve Chettle near the edge of the box (but definitely inside the area!). Hart was just able to get a touch on the ball to take it past Chettle who was committed and running at the Albion man with pace. The referee had no hesitation. Up stepped Bobby Zamora to coolly stroke the penalty low to his right, sending the ‘keeper in the other direction. One-one the scoreline at the break in Grimsby. At half time at the Britannia, Stoke were doing their job as they and Reading were playing out a goalless draw. The best of the action was in the Royals goalmouth but Stoke only enjoyed half chances, if that. They looked the more positive and from their point of view it was so far, so good.

GRI Cullip Goal GRI Radios GRI Stoke goal GRI Grimsby equaliser

With more work to do in the second half, Brighton began it as they ended the first – on top. Simon Rodger took a pop from long range which deflected behind for a corner early on. Rodger took the resulting set piece which found its way through a sea of bodies to bounce off Ingimarsson for Zamora to shape up on his favoured left foot. That hit a defender but fell kindly for Danny Cullip to swivel and shoot on the turn unmarked six yards out. His effort went through the defender’s legs on the line and in for a remarkable Albion turnaround two minutes after the interval. It was a really nice finish from the centre half, a captain’s goal on a day of huge importance for the club. Brighton were doing their job, they just needed Reading to do theirs down in the Potteries. The joy, and probably the hope, was short-lived though as news soon filtered through of the unthinkable. Final day wouldn’t be final day without fans glued to their phones and radios getting updates about another match. And sure enough, a difficult task just became nigh-on impossible for Brighton. Stoke had taken the lead against Reading ten minutes after the break. A free kick on the half way line from James O’Connor sent Lewis Neal to the byline. He crossed into the area first time where Ade Akinbiyi met it with a bullet header to fly past Marcus Hahnemann in goal. Stoke got their breakthrough, Brighton now needed a miracle. The atmosphere in Cleethorpes soon died down as Albion fans resigned themselves to the inevitable. The misery was compounded with just over half an hour to go when Grimsby got a slightly fortuitous equaliser. Stuart Campbell’s deep cross was hit back towards goal on the volley by Keane. Beasant palmed away but straight onto Richard Hughes who was lurking just a couple of feet away. He was in the right place at the right time as the ball ricocheted off his thigh and in for two-two.

GRI Final Whistle GRI Cullip

The final thirty minutes of the season was played in a flat atmosphere, as both teams knew they’d be meeting again next year in a lower Division. It almost got worse for Brighton when Chris Thompson crashed one against the crossbar after neat work from Campbell. If there was a moment to sum up how things went it came when Dean Blackwell’s attempted left footed cross was sliced horribly wide and into the Grimsby fans behind the goal, to huge ironic cheers all round. It just wasn’t to be today. In the end it finished at the Britannia with Akinbiyi’s strike the difference, ending one-nil. Congratulations to Tony Pulis and Stoke City, who survived their first year back in Division One. Full time then came at Blundell Park to close the Seagulls campaign with a two-two away draw and relegation at the first time of asking after fast tracking their way up the Leagues with two successive titles. A mini pitch invasion from the Brighton fans ensued, all good natured with promises to the cameras that we’d be back. Captain Cullip was mobbed as he went over to thank the supporters. Reporter Fraser Robertson spoke with him afterwards, broadcast on Sky’s highlights show after the Live Super Sunday match. He confirmed the disappointment; “To take it down to the last day, when a lot of people wrote us off in November, was testament to the players and staff at the football club.” Cullip relayed manager Steve Coppell’s words in the dressing room; “Get your heads up, he said ‘you’ve given it a good go’, go and relax over the summer and come back firing for next season.” Cullip believed there was enough there to bounce back next season but wasn’t going to be drawn about the futures of either Coppell or leading scorer Bobby Zamora – linked with a move to the Premiership for a long time – passing Robertson away saying he’d have to ask them that question. A quick look at the other scores on the final day saw Sheffield Wednesday beat Walsall to leapfrog Brighton into twenty-second in the table, as confirmation of Stoke’s win saw them secure safety. Champions Portsmouth signed off in style with a five-nil away win whilst Ipswich hit Derby for four. None of the four Play Off teams picked up a victory, with Wolves and Nottingham Forest drawing and Reading and Sheffield United losing. The final Division One table didn’t make for great reading for Brighton fans but there was enough on display from November onwards to give the supporters that little bit of hope again that next year maybe our year once again.

GRI Final Scores GRI Table top GRI Table bottom

GRIMSBY 2 BRIGHTON 2
Keane, Hughes Zamora, Cullip

GRI Replay GRI Goal

 

EXTRA; ITV held terrestrial rights to highlights from the three Divisions after securing a deal back in October of this season. This mean the return, after a few months off air, of their much loved round up show Football League Extra. This originally ran from 1994 until May 2002 when ITV Digital had to hand back Live rights as they went into liquidation. Whilst the dust settled on that and Sky Sports swooped to pick up the Live games at a knockdown price, there were no terrestrial television highlights of any Football League match for the first dozen or so matchweeks. Football League Extra was originally presented by Gabriel Clarke from the featured match that week, whilst voiceovers reported on the rest of the games. In the latter years of the nineties that role was filled by Dave Beckett and Angus Scott before Matt Smith took over for the 2001/2002 campaign. When it was recommissioned this season, the show featured three regular voices out-of-vision to link together the show; namely Tom Skippings, Trevor Harris and Tony Jones. However, for the final day of the season here, we got a rare treat; in-vision presenting from Skippings. The show’s usual slot was late Monday night slash very early Tuesday morning, once top flight and European highlights had been shown in the forms of The Premiership on Monday with Matt Smith and UEFA Champions League Weekly. For this edition, Tom Skippings hosted from Exeter City ahead of their fight to retain League status. The programme first focussed on the fight to avoid relegation in Division One, where Trevor Harris talked us through the key moments of the afternoon from both Stoke and Grimsby.

FLE Titles FLE Skippings FLE Harris FLE Zamora goal

The goals from the two crucial games were shown chronologically, intercut and with the minute of the match. Grimsby struck first with the penalty that shouldn’t have been. “It looked outside, referee Clive Wilkes thought differently” Harris said diplomatically. As the Seagulls were worrying, it cut to the jubilant Stoke fans celebrating that twenty-third minute opener from some 115 miles South-West. Next; “a pressure penalty for Bobby Zamora. No problem! Utter delirium on the terraces.” Danny Cullip’s strike to turn the match on its head shortly after half time gets better with each viewing. For those eight minutes, Brighton were just a Reading goal away from safety. But the killer came in the fifty-fifth at the Britannia; “Lewis Neal’s cross bulleted in by Ade Akinbiyi. The same Akinbiyi laughed out of Leicester, the same Akinbiyi vilified by the fans at Palace. But now an all-conquering hero to the vast majority of a twenty-thousand crowd.” The Seagulls fans had their heads in their hands and when Grimsby got a scrappy equaliser, the game was up. Harris summed it up when he said “They’d come in hope and they sung their hearts out but the damage was done early in the season. Four points from twelve games before Coppell arrived.” A couple of quick interviews aired with the key men, Tony Pulis at Stoke whilst we heard from both captain and goalscorer for the Albion; Cullip and Zamora. Steve Coppell was apparently too upset to speak so we didn’t get his thoughts on either the Live broadcast on Sky or any highlights shows. Bobby Zamora answered the question that had long been asked about his Brighton future; “I’ve got three years on my contract and if Brighton find it right to sell me and the right situation comes along then maybe things might be different.” Sure enough the great man was sold to Premiership Tottenham for £1.5million in July. The Albion would have to start again in August in Division Two.

FLE Stoke winner FLE Heartbreak FLE Cullip FLE Zamora

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

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

POF Titles

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

swi ident sky bet sponsor POF Intro

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

POF Brighton POF Bristol City POF Formation

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

POF Gavin POF Kamara POF Strachan POF Studio

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

POF Robertson POF Havord

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

POF Graphic POF Crests

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

POF Oatway POF Suits

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

POF Two Shot POF Little and Large

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

POF Iwelumo Stats POF Coming Up POF Albion Support POF Tunnel

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

POF National Anthem POF Referee POF Kick Off POF Comms

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

POF Virgo Yellow POF Substitution

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

POF Goal POF Knight aston POF Goal Replay

BRIGHTON 1 BRISTOL CITY 0
Knight

POF Replay 1 POF Replay 2

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

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

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

POF Trophy Lift POF Crowd POF Knight Trophy POF Chairman Trophy

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

POF Dressing Room POF Bent Trophy POF Link Up

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

POF Trophy Winners

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

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

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

#4: Brighton Women 0-4 Arsenal Women 28/04/2019

#4 BRIGHTON WOMEN 0-4 ARSENAL WOMEN Women’s Super League
Sunday 28th April 2019 BT 2015

ARSW Titles

PRESENTER Clare Balding GUEST Alicia Ferguson-Cook
COMMENTATORS Adam Summerton & Lucy Ward REPORTER Connie McLaughlin
12.15pm Kick Off; Amex Stadium     12-2.30pm Live on BT Sport 2

ARSW Sting ARSW Sting 2 ARSW Intro

Context of the Match: Approaching the business end of the season, today was Brighton’s final home match in their debut season in the Women’s Super League; England’s top professional Division. The campaign was thought of a success; reaching the Quarter Finals of the WSL Continental Cup, the Fourth Round of the SSE Women’s FA Cup and securing survival in the top flight for another year with games to spare. Victories were extremely hard to come by, with as many in the Cups as in the League – three in each thus far. In the WSL, only one team were relegated to the Championship and for a long time there was a three-way battle between the Albion, Everton and Yeovil to avoid the drop. This came to a premature conclusion at the end of March when struggling Yeovil Town Ladies were forced into administration amidst huge budget cuts. This gave them a ten-point deduction from the Football Association and, having already secured the lowest number of points of any team with just five at the time, were a long way from safety on a negative tally. Relegation was then confirmed mid-April with a five-nil home defeat to Reading. This boosted the confidence of Brighton, now able to play the final couple of rounds safe in the knowledge that they would be a WSL club again. Today’s opponents Arsenal in contrast had everything to play for; a win would secure them the League title for the first time since 2012. The Gunners ran out four-one winners in the reverse fixture back in November, Live on the BBC Red Button, and were strong favourites ahead of this one. Albion chiefs elected to host the match at the American Express Community Stadium in Falmer for its first Super League game, instead of the usual home in Crawley. A bumper crowd was anticipated with men’s team season ticket holders able to claim a free ticket. Attention was heightened as BT Sport broadcast the match Live to the nation at the earlier time of a 12.15pm kick off. With the World Cup to come in France in the summer, a season-long behind the scenes BBC documentary on West Ham United Women, the FA Cup Final this coming Saturday evening Live in primetime and the launch of a new terrestrial magazine programme last weekend, the spotlight was increasingly shining on the Women’s game.

ARSW Brighton ARSW Arsenal ARSW Formations

The Teams: Hope Powell made two changes from the defeat to Reading last time out. Emily Simpkins came in for her second League start of the season in the middle, whilst Tory Williams returned at the back. Longest serving player Kirsty Barton’s more familiar in midfield but reverted to right back for this one. She appeared in both previous women’s matches held at this stadium; a two-nil victory over Charlton in May 2015 and a three-one win against Sheffield two years ago. On the left wing, Aileen Whelan was named the club’s Player of the Season, as chosen by the coaching staff. Kate Natkiel grew up through the ranks at Arsenal whilst captain Dani Buet spent seven years there. Republic of Ireland international Megan Connolly joined the club in January from College football in America. Wales international Kayleigh Green led the line up top hoping to add to her solitary League goal this term. Ini Umotong scored the opener in the reverse fixture in Boreham Wood but began on the bench today. She was joined by Northern Ireland international defender Laura Rafferty who had recently recovered from injury having missed the past couple of months. Joe Montemurro’s high flyers needed just one more victory to secure the title and named the same starting eleven as last week’s win over Everton. Defender Leah Williamson, a graduate of the Arsenal academy, and striker Beth Mead will both be hoping to go to the World Cup in Phil Neville’s England squad in the summer. Midfielders Dominique Bloodworth and Danielle Van de Donk were amongst the scorers in the four-one win over the Seagulls in November. Captain Kim Little won the League with Arsenal when they last claimed the title seven years ago. Striker Vivianne Miedema broke the record for most number of goals in a WSL season back in December and was looking to add to her tally of seventeen; a figure higher than the entire Albion squad’s goals to date. She was also named PFA Women’s Player of the Year for this season. The referee was Lucy Oliver, whose husband Michael officiates in the men’s game.

ARSW Balding ARSW Ferguson ARSW Studio

Presentation Team: Hugely popular multi-sport broadcaster Clare Balding anchored BT’s coverage of today’s fixture. A former amateur jockey, Balding made her name hosting horse racing on firstly the BBC before switching to Channel 4 when they secured exclusive terrestrial rights from 2013. She’s also the lead presenter for BBC Sport on major Games such as the Olympics and Commonwealths, earning ‘national treasure’ status for her superb handling of the swimming during London 2012. With her stock at its highest following those Games, her freelance work stretched across multiple broadcasters on a wide range of sports; from Rugby League and the Boat Race on the BBC, Crufts on Channel 4 and her own sporting chat show on BT Sport. In 2017 she fronted Four’s coverage of the Women’s European Championship football – her first step into this sport – and has maintained links since. Balding has presented the odd WSL match for BT previously and is the face of the new Channel 4 magazine programme Women’s Football World which launched Saturday morning. Alongside her at The Amex was former Australian international striker Alicia Ferguson-Cook. Having spent most of her playing career in her native land, she moved to England for work purposes and was used by ESPN as a pundit on the newly-launched professional WSL. She also worked for the American version during the 2011 World Cup. Whilst in England she resumed her playing career, joining Millwall Lionesses for a couple of years before retiring in 2013 to move full-time in media, specifically production. Her current role is behind the scenes, as a producer on Women’s Football World and with production company Sunset+Vine. In the commentary box were regular pairing Adam Summerton and Lucy Ward. Summerton is the voice of BT’s National League coverage alongside ex-Albion man Adam Virgo. Additionally, he’s used across Europa and Champions League games, European Leagues and England Senior Women’s and Men’s under-21 internationals, all on BT Sport. Prior to this he worked for Manchester United’s club station MUTV from 2007, taking over hosting and commentary duties from Steve Bower. Coincidentally he went on to also replace Bower on Conference and Women’s football with BT. Lucy Ward is the UK’s premier co-commentator on Women’s football, having been behind the mic for well over a decade across ESPN, BBC, Channel 4 and BT. With a strong Yorkshire accent, she spent her entire playing career there with Leeds and Doncaster before carving out a hugely successful media career. Completing the presentation line up was touchline reporter Connie McLaughlin. Having begun her media career in her resident Scotland, he made her name with BBC Radio hosting and reporting various sports programmes where she still contributes to this day. In the past eighteen months she’s been a regular on BT Sport, providing in-game updates on the biggest Scottish football match of the day for results service BT Sport Score. She also occasionally features on their SPFL Live coverage.

ARSW Dugout ARSW Warm Up ARSW Powell ARSW Nobbs

The Coverage: This was the penultimate Live match of the WSL season for BT Sport, who came on air fifteen minutes prior to the 12.15pm kick off. Host Clare Balding began the programme by interviewing Arsenal Women’s coach Joe Montemurro in the dugout before handing over to reporter Connie McLaughlin who was speaking with Albion coach Hope Powell in the tunnel. When asked if playing today’s match at The Amex brought on extra pressure, Powell said “Probably there will be some pressure. The crowd that’s expected is probably the biggest they will have played in front of so that in itself brings a little bit of pressure. But really we want them to enjoy the occasion. They’ve got to showcase themselves.” Balding then moved to the pitchside position from which the rest of today’s coverage would be presented from, in front of an empty West Stand, where she was accompanied by pundit Alicia Ferguson-Cook (captioned just as Alicia Ferguson throughout). They began by discussing the WSL as a whole and how initiatives like this, housing a match at the main stadium, will only improve upon the integrity and quality of the League. Ferguson-Cook highlighted Ini Umotong’s absence from the Albion starting XI, explaining she’s expected to come on in the second half, but emphasising how impressive she has been this season with pace and strength up front. However today was Arsenal’s day and they were focussed on for much of the build up as they attempted to secure the WSL title. Injured midfielder Jordan Nobbs joined the pundits pitchside to give an insight into the buoyant dressing room. She also discussed the key Arsenal players; record-breaking goalscorer Vivianne Miedema and fellow Dutch international Danielle Van de Donk. Clips of Scotland’s Kim Little were ran, showcasing her influence this campaign. An advert break separated the chat from the action, after which Balding handed over to commentary team Adam Summerton and Lucy Ward with the players ready to emerge from the tunnel.

ARSW Team of the Season ARSW Miedema ARSW BT Box ARSW Celebrations

At half time Balding and Ferguson-Cook analysed the key moments including both Arsenal goals. Miedema’s footwork was praised for the first goal whilst her vision was crucial to the second. The gap in quality between the home and away sides was evident. The presentation team also looked through the PFA Women’s Team of the Year, with three Arsenal representatives as well as several England players. Manchester City captain Steph Houghton and striker Nikita Parris were named, as was Demi Stokes and Chelsea’s Hannah Blundell; all of whom were set to join Phil Neville’s National side at the World Cup in June. The aim of BT’s WSL coverage is to be as inclusive as possible, whether you’re a first time viewer or seasoned fan. After the match, around fifteen minutes were afforded to wrap things up and celebrate the Arsenal title victory. The trophy wouldn’t be presented today – that would come during their Live broadcast in two weeks time at Boreham Wood when the season concludes – but the emotions were poured out and the joy evident on the Gunners players. The cameras joined the team on the pitch as their huddle took place for a quick debrief with the manager before they all burst into song and chants of “Championes!” Reporter Connie McLaughlin spoke to two of the scorers in the centre circle; Beth Mead and Vivianne Miedema. Many of the record crowd stayed behind to join in with Arsenal’s triumph as the PA system blasted out Queen’s We Are the Champions. Following an advert break, we returned to our pitchside position to review the match with our host and pundit who were joined by a few of the Arsenal squad and proud boss Joe Montemurro. Captain Kim Little was alongside him firstly, singing the praises of her teammates. In a moment of inevitability, Danielle Van de Donk gatecrashed the interview to spray her captain and manager with water bottles. Of course, Clare Balding wasn’t immune and had to try and jump out of the way, to little avail! Talk immediately turned to next season and how Arsenal could improve upon this, with European glory the next aim. The final few minutes were devoted to analysing the terrific finishes in the second half that doubled Arsenal’s lead from two to four-nil. The BT Box – picture-in picture – was utilised as Player of the Match Van de Donk joined the team to review her own goal before it was time to sign off as another top class broadcast came to a close in an historic year for the Albion Women; the first season they’ve had Live television exposure and four matches to boot. They’d be back in the top flight for another campaign in the autumn and we look forward to further coverage of this ever-improving club.

ARSW Kick Off ARSW Comms ARSW Huddle ARSW Yellow

Story of the Match: The Sunday afternoon kick off saw a record Women’s Super League attendance of 5,265 flock to The Amex to witness the matchup between debutants Brighton and title-chasing Arsenal. The previous record also featured the Gunners, when 5,052 saw them face Chelsea at the Emirates Stadium back in 2012. The spectators didn’t have to wait long for the opening goal, a fantastic strike from Arsenal’s top scorer Vivianne Miedema. The Dutch striker dispossessed Tory Williams almost twenty-five yards out before unleashing a fierce shot. The effort fizzed past ‘keeper Marie Hourihan, whose fingertips brushed the ball before it crashed down over the line off the crossbar. The visitors were in the ascendancy, controlling possession and dominating chances. The second goal came after some nice play between Kim Little, Miedema and eventual scorer Katie McCabe. Little on the left found Miedema centrally. She chipped the ball over the Albion defence for Ireland captain McCabe to run onto. Using her body to shield the ball from defender Williams, she was able just to help the ball in with her outstretched left foot past Hourihan and into the far corner to double the deficit. Commentator Adam Summerton surmised; “They play some of the best women’s football in the country, Arsenal, and there was a fine example of it. A great move rounded off superbly by McCabe.” Later in the half Williams had to deny Arsenal a third, heading Quinn’s looping effort off the line from a corner. That ensured the scoreline remained just two at the break.

ARSW Mead Goal ARSW Umotong Sub ARSW Champions

Brighton began well in the second period and had their first proper opening early on. Skipper Dani Buet’s cross from twenty-five yards on the far side got the better of Arsenal’s failed offside trap but had just too much on it for Aileen Whelan to nip in. Sari van Veenendaal in goal had to get down low to her right to palm the ball behind. For all the encouragement in this half for the home side, the goal wasn’t coming and shots on target were few and far between. Meanwhile Arsenal looked a danger from every attack and with twenty minutes left on the clock, they put the game and indeed the title to bed with one of the goals of the season. The visitors won the ball back around the half way line and were quick to break forward. Van de Donk stroked a ball towards the left wing where Beth Mead was running to. Her first two touches controlled the ball before taking it past Barton to run into a bit of space. She took just two further touches to dribble forward before firing an unstoppable curler into the top left-hand corner of Hourihan’s goal. The Albion ‘keeper could get nowhere near it, struck to perfection it looked a better goal with each replay shown. The trajectory of the ball barely moved as it sailed in from more than thirty yards. Her celebration included running over to the bench where England teammate Jordan Nobbs was watching on; a long-term absentee which ruled her out of the upcoming World Cup. And the icing was put on the cake six minutes later with Arsenal’s fourth. Miedema’s cross was part-cleared by the back of Barton. The loose ball was picked up by Van de Donk who laid it off for Little. She returned the favour to Van de Donk who given space on the edge of the box to roll the ball with her studs and calmly place it into the bottom right of the net. Brighton went close to a consolation goal in stoppage time when the impressive Megan Connolly saw her right-footed attempt land just wide of the post from outside the area but it was Arsenal’s day in the Sussex Downs as they ran out four-nil winners and in the process became League Champions with a game to spare. Brighton’s aim would be to end the season on a high in two weeks’ time and a trip to FA Cup finalists West Ham, but survival was the overriding aim at the beginning of the campaign and that had been secured. The next women’s football at this stadium would see the England national team make their final preparations ahead of the World Cup in France with a friendly against New Zealand in June.

ARSW Table

BRIGHTON WOMEN 0 ARSENAL WOMEN 4
Miedema, McCabe, Mead, Van de Donk

ARSW Replay

 

EXTRA; BBC magazine programme The Women’s Football Show came from pitchside at The Amex today for the first time following this match with Arsenal. Broadcast on BBC One at 11.45pm after Premier League highlights on Match of the Day 2, the thirty-five minute show was hosted by Reshmin Chowdhury. The main focus was the match between Brighton and Arsenal, highlights of which formed the first half of the show. The extended edit had commentary as BT Sport, provided by Adam Summerton and Lucy Ward. This was the usual case that the highlights used the commentary from the Live matches shown on BT and BBC Red Button as well as the WSL Facebook stream.

Women's Football Show WFS Chowdhury

After the match, and with Arsenal securing the title with the win, reaction came from captain Kim Little and manager Joe Montemurro pitchside with Chowdhury. She then linked to highlights and round-ups of the other matches, as commentary was provided by Chris Sharples whilst Lynsey Hooper narrated. Following this, Brighton defender Laura Rafferty joined the presenter pitchside to discuss the Albion’s first season in the WSL and the aims of the club. Rafferty plays an important role as a Club ambassador and is often the poster girl for the Women’s team. She explained “It’s been busy, half of the team have come from being part-time to going full-time so it is a massive transition for the club.” The show continued with a further round-up and a look at the table before glancing at the Championship results and table. It concluded with a brief highlights edit of the Live Red Button match earlier today; Chelsea versus Lyon in the Champions League Semi Final 2nd Leg and comment about Youth Finals.

WFS Comms WFS RaffertyWFS Two Shot

 

PREVIOUS; #3 BRIGHTON WOMEN 0-4 CHELSEA WOMEN 09/12/2018

NEXT; #5 ARSENAL WOMEN 4-0 BRIGHTON WOMEN 29/09/2019

 

#55: Derby 4-1 Brighton 11/05/2014

#55 DERBY 4-1 BRIGHTON Championship Play Off Semi Final 2nd Leg
Sunday 11th May 2014 Image result for

DERA Titles

PRESENTER Simon Thomas GUEST Uwe Rosler
COMMENTATORS Bill Leslie & Don Goodman REPORTER Jonathan Oakes
5.15pm Kick Off; iPro Stadium, Derby     5-7.30pm FL72 Live on Sky Sports 2

DERA Ident DERA Sponsor DERA Intro

Context of the Match: The 2nd Leg of this Championship Play Off tie came just under three days after the original. At The Amex on Thursday the spoils went to the away side as they turned around a blistering first twenty-five minutes for Brighton. On loan winger Jesse Lingard gave the Albion a deserved lead early on, finishing at the second attempt after a fierce defensive block. But a foul from club Player of the Season Matt Upson in the box gave Chris Martin the chance to level things from the penalty spot. And on the stroke of half time, Martin’s shot cannoned off the crossbar and onto the back of goalkeeper Tomasz Kuszczak to give the Rams the lead. They saw out the second half without any more goals, meaning that slender advantage is how things stand going into this Sunday late-evening decider at the iPro Stadium. Derby were the third best supported club in the Championship this season with an average attendance of nearly 25,000. The Albion had the highest, averaging 27,283 during the regular campaign. Today’s hosts were expecting a bumper crowd for their last chance to see the team at the iPro until next season – whatever Division they’d be playing in. Derby were favourites to progress to the Wembley Final in just over a fortnight and had already done the treble over the Seagulls. Both the First Leg and the League meeting at The Amex ended two-one to the away side, with Martin netting three of those four. The last meeting at this stadium ended one-nil, with Patrick Bamford getting the decisive goal in January. Derby’s first taste of the Play Offs came twenty years ago in this Division, when they made the Final after knocking out Millwall. They went on to lose to Leicester at Wembley. Brighton’s first experience also saw them defeat Millwall in the Semis before losing in the Final, back in 1991 to Neil Warnock’s Notts County. Brighton’s finest hour at the business end of the season was a decade ago in the third tier, when a Leon Knight penalty defeated Bristol City in the Final. They joined Derby in the new Championship for the 2004/05 season, at the end of which Derby surprisingly lost to Preston in the Play Off Semi Finals. Finally, their most recent venture saw a one-nil win over West Brom in the 2007 Final to gain promotion to the Premier League in Derby’s one and only success thus far. Who would progress to the big one this time round? The Sky cameras were present to find out.

DERA Derby DERA Subs DERA Brighton

The Teams: Oscar Garcia made two changes from the First Leg defeat; one enforced and one tactical. Jake Forster-Caskey dropped to the bench, replaced by the club’s Young Player of the Season Rohan Ince in midfield. At the back, Matt Upson’s season was over due to a reoccurrence of his previous ankle injury. Lewis Dunk stepped up once more to take his place alongside captain Gordon Greer and full backs Inigo Calderon and Stephen Ward. First Leg goalscorer Jesse Lingard maintained his run of starting every match since joining on loan in February from Manchester United. Lingard and Will Buckley were supporting Leo Ulloa up top in the quest for goals to overturn the two-one deficit. Six of the starting eleven also began the Play Off Semi Final Second Leg last season against Crystal Palace including Kuszczak in-goal and Andrea Orlandi in the middle. Stephen Ward also had experience of these ties, having lost at this stage for Wolves against West Brom in the 2007 Championship Play Offs. Keith Andrews continued his spell in the side, coming towards the end of his season long loan from Bolton. A surprise inclusion was named on the bench; Kemy Agustien hadn’t featured since the last time we were here back in January. For Derby, Steve McClaren named Will Hughes on their team sheet in the only change from Thursday, replacing Craig Bryson who was absent through a back injury. Hughes was awarded the PFA Championship Young Player of the Year gong by the Football League. Striker Chris Martin added to his twenty League goals this term at the Amex from the penalty spot, the club’s top scorer. On the subs bench, Connor Sammon was an option for the Rams, he came on during the first match. Both bosses had been named Championship Manager of the Month during the season; Garcia taking November’s prize whilst McClaren got the nod the following month. With Brighton needing goals to add to their aggregate tally, they could take inspiration from the fact Derby conceded four here back in October in an amazing draw with Ipswich, the joint highest scoring game in the League this year. Taking charge of tonight’s affair was Craig Pawson.

DERA Thomas DERA Rosler DERA Studio

The Coverage & Presentation Team: With this match taking place on the day of the final set of Premier League fixtures, the Play Off game was scheduled on Sky Sports 2 for a Sunday evening 5.15pm kick off. Super Sunday concentrated on the Premier League title race as it went down to the last day. With both Manchester City and Liverpool in the running, their games were both shown Live kicking off at 3pm. On the back of the full-time whistle at Anfield in which the Reds ended in second place, coverage concluded there to allow our match in Derby to receive fifteen minutes build up. Regular host Simon Thomas was joined in the studio in the corner of the iPro Stadium by the Wigan manager Uwe Rosler. His side finished a point and a place above the Albion in the Championship standings, and drew nil-nil with QPR in their First Leg of the Play Offs on Friday night. The return fixture at Loftus Road would take place tomorrow, giving Rosler a chance to weigh up his potential Final opponents here today. The East German took over the Latics in December earlier in the season and guided them to the FA Cup Semi Final at Wembley, losing on penalties to Arsenal. During his playing career, he first came to the attention of English football supporters when he joined Manchester City in the mid 90s having spent his career in Germany until that point. He returned to his native land after City before moving to Southampton in 2000. He had the honour of scoring the final ever goal at Saints old home of The Dell during a friendly with Brighton in May 2001. Brighton were selected to close the ground as they had also been the first ever opponents there back in 1898 under the guise of Brighton United. Thomas and Rosler spent the first part of the programme discussing the Play Off picture so far. This included Rosler’s own Wigan and their First Leg with QPR. He was the manager of Brentford when they got to the League One Final last season, losing to Yeovil, and was able to draw from that big game pressure to explain what it might be like for today’s sides. The inclusion of Will Hughes due to Bryson’s injury was analysed, both very good but very different prospects for the Albion to face. After the break, the teams were in the tunnel. Using the familiar split screen we’ve seen all season, we saw the interviews with both managers played out as the players entered the field. Jonathan Oakes spoke to Oscar Garcia, who summed up the First Leg as “We played much better, but they were better than us in front of goal and that made the difference.” As with that match, the commentary pairing here were regulars Bill Leslie and Don Goodman.

DERA Garcia DERA Analysis

One change for the graphics from the last match was in the replay transitions, which now reverted back to the Play Off trophy as opposed to the logo. I can only assume the trophy animation wasn’t ready in time for that opening game. The aggregate score was tacked onto the scorebar as is customary for Second Legs. At half time, pundit Uwe Rosler believed the turning point was the enforced substitution bringing Greer off and shuffling the defence around. As a consequence, Will Hughes wasn’t picked up well by his marker, allowing that little bit of space to turn the ball home for one-nil. He said the defence looked unsure, particularly when Ward almost made it two-nil, with Stephen Ward not used to playing centre back and Lewis Dunk and Adam Chicksen not regulars. Just under fifteen minutes was left after the full-time adverts to conclude the game and Brighton’s season. Jonathan Oakes heard from victorious manager Steve McClaren in the tunnel, who as usual spent the majority of the game up in the stands watching from a high vantage point. You could hear the supporters chants and songs in the background as they crowded the pitch to celebrate. Some of the Derby players gathered in the stand above the tunnel with the stadium PA to join in, whilst for the viewers our studio team talked over these pictures for a couple of minutes. Their task was then to analyse the five goals we witnessed, four of which came in the second period. Rosler was especially impressed by scorer number three, George Thorne, believing he should have been awarded Man of the Match over Will Hughes. Having gone most of his Live games not able to emerge from the dressing room in time before the end of the programme to give his post match interview, we were afforded that with Oscar Garcia after this match. When speaking with Jonathan Oakes he told of how Derby deserved to go through despite Brighton’s excellent showing at The Amex; “The First Leg I think we deserved much more but, to be honest, they are better than us and they showed today.” With a nod to his frustrations in the transfer market, that later became apparent, the final question about strengthening over the summer was met with “That’s a question for the club, not for me.” Telling. The final couple of minutes were spent with Rosler discussing his own Second Leg fixture at QPR the following night. The final whistle was blown on Albion’s season Live in front of the Sky Sports cameras, as Simon Thomas bid farewell from another broadcast. A lot would change in the period between now and the next Live Brighton match both on and off the pitch.

DERA Kick Off DERA Comms

Story of the Match: The First Leg fixture three days earlier was a very open, attacking match with chances for both sides and three first half goals. If Brighton were to get through today they’d need a repeat performance being more clinical in their change kit of yellow with thin blue stripes today. The opening exchanges were equally as open, with both sides pushing forward. Jesse Lingard enjoyed a positive charge towards the Derby box but was ultimately crowded out. He was having to do a lot on his own going forward. A risky challenge with his studs showing cost Jeff Hendrick a caution when it could potentially have been more. Don Goodman in commentary believed so. As the half went on, the home side grew into the match and began shooting from the edge of the area on a number of occasions. Craig Forsyth had got forward from left back as a chance opened up for him, his effort curling into the outside of the netting. A formation change with a quarter of the match gone was required for Brighton as Gordon Greer picked up a knock injuring his hamstring. He had to be replaced by Adam Chicksen, usually a left-back. Consequently Stephen Ward moved into the centre to accommodate Chicksen’s arrival in a slightly makeshift defence. To make things worse, Lewis Dunk picked up a silly yellow card with an hour still to play for a late lunge. In the thirty-fourth minute, the first goal was scored. Forsyth got forward once more, providing a low cross from the left into the danger area. It was backflicked goalbound expertly by Will Hughes around twelve yards out to career into Kuszczak’s bottom left-hand corner. The pace of the touch gave the ‘keeper no chance and Derby deservedly increased their aggregate lead. Another goal was almost gifted their way four minutes before the break, when Jamie Ward chased down a backpass to Kuszczak. As he attempted to launch up field, the goalie’s kick cannoned off the striker only to see the ball bounce down into the ground and just over the bar. Brighton’s solitary first half chance fell to Leo Ulloa just a minute or so later. A clever ball over the defence from Lingard was matched by a clever run from Ulloa to allude his marker. Leaping outstretched, he brought the ball down but his body position ended up side-on facing the touchline. He quickly swiveled to get the effort on target but by this time Grant in-goal had gained on him and thwarted the shot well with his legs for a crucial save. With away goals not counting double in the Play Offs, an equaliser then would have reset the match for the second half with just the First Leg deficit separating them. Alas, it was not to be.

DERA LuaLua DERA Pitch Invasion

It took just ten minutes of the second half for Derby to increase the lead and effectively put the game out of Albion’s reach. The front three all combined to give Chris Martin his now obligatory goal against us. Russell crossed on the right-wing for Ward. His header back across the face of goal found Martin to tap home from just a couple of yards. His determination to get to the ball first, ahead of two defenders who had better starting positions than him, said all it needed to about the confidence at the back for Brighton. They didn’t react quick enough to the danger and it was game over at the aggregate scoreline became four-one. Garcia threw on his final two subs in reaction; Craig Mackail-Smith and Kazenga LuaLua for Buckley and Orlandi, but the task was nigh-impossible for the team with the sixth lowest away scoring record in the Division. A brief pause from the crowd occurred to applaud and remember the fifty-six people who lost their lives twenty-nine years ago on this day in the fire at Bradford City’s Valley Parade stadium. The shots continued to pepper the Brighton back line with Derby showing no signs of letting up. Frustrations started to get the better of the players, with Leo Ulloa the latest to pick up an unneccesary yellow card for backchat. The scoring wasn’t complete yet as with less than a quarter of an hour remaining, Derby got their third of the day in some style. An attempted shot from sub Dawkins was blocked as far as the edge of the area. It fell to George Thorne to whack one on the volley into the bottom corner for a tremendous finish. Don Goodman described it as the cherry on top of the icing on the cake for Derby. And it got even better with a few minutes left as they got their fourth. Jeff Hendrick burst forward showing a turn of pace to skip away from Chicksen, he passed it to sub Bamford and continued his run into the penalty area. Bamford cut it back to an unmarked Hendrick who finished emphatically from around the penalty spot to compound the Albion misery. With a minute to go the travelling support had a small amount to cheer about when Kazenga LuaLua scored the scantest of consolation goals with a minute left, any emotions for it were long gone by this stage. Calderon cut back for the winger on the edge to sidefoot low into the corner. It was a neat finish, a shame it meant very little for only his second of the season. And so it would be Derby who would contest the Play Off Final at the end of May, as the fans spilled onto the pitch upon the final whistle. Their side clinching victory on aggregate by six goals to two. Steve McClaren headed back to Wembley for the first time since the end of his dismal England reign seven years earlier. A last-minute Bobby Zamora goal won the day for QPR in the Final. Whilst Brighton’s own managerial set up would be thrown into chaos just hours after today’s defeat, with Oscar Garcia handing in his resignation. The club reluctantly accepted the following day and had to begin the search for a new boss for the second successive summer. Garcia was clearly unhappy with the recruitment structure at the club, with David Burke in charge of transfers and a limited amount of funds available. The January transfer window hit him hard, losing key players without replacing them, and it was a massive achievement to drag this side into the Play Offs in the first place. I don’t think many Seagulls fans believed they would do it this season. The manner of the defeat and the resignation of a popular manager so soon after though were gutting and a rethink during the break would need careful consideration.

DERA Schedule

DERBY 4 BRIGHTON 1
Hughes, Martin, Thorne, Hendrick LuaLua

DERA Replay

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

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

#47: Reading 0-0 Brighton 15/09/2013

#47 READING 0-0 BRIGHTON Championship
Sunday 15th September 2013 Image result for

REA Titles

PRESENTER Simon Thomas GUEST Jason Roberts
COMMENTATORS Bill Leslie & Andy Hinchcliffe REPORTER Jonathan Oakes
1.15pm Kick Off; Madejski Stadium, Reading     1-3.30pm FL72 Live on Sky Sports 1

REA Promo REA Sponsor REA Intro

Context of the Match: A lot happened at Brighton and Hove Albion over the summer of 2013. Two days after the Play Off Semi Final defeat by Crystal Palace, manager Gus Poyet and his coaching team of Mauricio Taricco and Charlie Oatway were all suspended from their duties pending an internal investigation. The full details of exactly what happened may never emerge, however what is known is that Poyet was left fuming after an unsavoury incident occurred in the Palace dressing room that night. Poyet sent an email to the entire Albion staff furious at the incident and unhappy that clackers were handed out to supporters creating “an annoying noise”. Having been suspended, he was later sacked. The news unfortunately broke whilst Poyet was making a punditry appearance Live on the BBC, which only compounded the embarrassing time for the club. It was a very sad and bitter end to what had been a golden period of football for the Seagulls, flying up the Leagues and just forty-five minutes away from a Wembley Final for a place in the Premier League. Taricco and Oatway followed him out. Three days later former Barcelona midfielder Oscar Garcia was appointed as the new head coach, note the term rather than manager due to Poyet’s appeal to his dismissal. As a player, Garcia spent eight years growing up at his local team Barcelona progressing from the B team to carving a name out for himself in the full squad in the 90s winning four League titles. After the Catalan club he moved to Valencia for a season before spending four years with Espanyol. He also played for various age groups at international level for Spain, including an appearance at the 1996 Olympic Games. As a coach he was less experienced, having only been a head coach for one season before joining us. That was at Israeli club Maccabi Tel Aviv where he won the League. Prior to this he had worked as assistant at Catalonia and Barcelona youth. This was a very exciting appointment for the Albion. Quite frankly who did we think we were?! Gone were the days of choosing from within like Martin Hinshelwood and Dean Wilkins as managers, now the focus was on big international names who had the potential to attract better name players. Nathan Jones was brought in for the ‘Charlie Oatway’ role of bridging the gap between manager and players. A pre-season trip to Spain followed in July, taking on Getafe and Sporting Gijon before the re-named Sky Bet Championship season got underway. Defeat on the opening day at Leeds was followed up by a home loss to Derby before back to back wins against Birmingham and Burnley before a draw last time out with Millwall. Fair to say form had been mixed so far as Garcia learnt more about his squad. Today’s opponents Reading re-joined the Division following relegation from the Premier League last year in nineteenth place. Nigel Adkins took over in March but couldn’t do enough to keep them afloat. Sky Sports chose the clash for Live broadcast this Sunday afternoon, our first of the campaign. Reading had won the last six meetings with the Albion, would it be seventh heaven here?

REA Reading REA Subs REA Brighton

The Teams: Whilst the management all changed over the close season, the playing squad stayed much the same, with just a few key additions. Having spent the end of the last campaign on loan, Matthew Upson made the signing permanent. Irishman Stephen Ward was this year’s designated loan left-back, joining from Wolves. Defender Adam Chicksen and midfielder Kemy Agustien came in on free transfers. Saying goodbye to the club over the summer were Vicente, Ryan Harley, Toby Agdestein and Stephen Dobbie, who had a torrid time here never really getting going. Long-serving players from the League One title days Gary Dicker and Marcos Painter also left due to limited first-team opportunities. Today three changes were made for the Albion from the last match at home to Millwall. Kazenga LuaLua made his first start of the season. Irish midfielder Keith Andrews joined in August on a season-long loan from Bolton. Andrews had swathes of experience with the likes of Wolves, MK Dons and Blackburn as well as internationally with the Republic of Ireland where he featured in every minute of their Euro 2012 tournament. The final change saw Jake Forster-Caskey come in from the off for the first time in eighteen months in the Championship having spent much of last season on-loan at Oxford. His name comprises two former Reading greats in Nicky Forster and Darren Caskey. Leo Ulloa led the line with four goals in five matches so far. Player of the Season for the past two years Liam Bridcutt was missing through injury, as was Andrea Orlandi whilst Will Buckley wasn’t fit enough to start after a lay off. Craig Mackail-Smith was still on the sidelines having missed much of the end of last season too. Scottish winger Craig Conway joined on-loan from Cardiff but wasn’t registered in time for this clash. Former Albion players Dean Wilkins and Andy Crosby made up Nigel Adkins coaching staff, as they did at Southampton. Three of the Reading line up made their first starts of the season; defender Stephen Kelly, midfielder Danny Williams and up front Pavel Pogrebnyak. Former Everton, Feyenoord and Real Madrid winger Royston Drenthe started after signing in the summer as a free agent. Familiar Football League name Adam Le Fondre, known for spells at Rochdale and Rotherham, was always a striker to watch. Last year’s Albion left-back Wayne Bridge was spending this campaign on-loan with the Royals. In charge of the contest was Graham Scott.

REA Thomas REA Roberts REA Studio

The Coverage & Presentation Team: Sky Sports rebranded their coverage of the League to be named as FL72; referencing the 72 clubs in the three Divisions of the Football League. Live broadcasts and magazine programmes would go under that brand name; FL72 Live and FL72 Review respectively. It didn’t exactly roll off the tongue. This coincided with Sky Bet taking over title sponsorship of the Football League from nPower. Sky’s coverage also had a new sponsor, Screwfix replaced long-standing bet365, who remained ubiquitous on other football programming. From the beginning of the season the graphics also had a refresh, expanding on the previous set in similar fashion. The scoreboard was made smaller than the last couple of sets. Red and white colours replaced red and black, but much of the principles from before remained similar. The theme tune of Candi Staton’s ‘You Got the Love’ survived but the title sequence had a slight refresh, culminating in the familiar cloudy sky background with the new ‘FL72’ logo appearing out from the trophies. Speaking of which, the replay transition was a variation on the Championship prize, as the top half of the trophy with that intricate design and handles flew across the screen from left to right, replacing the whole trophy moving into the middle before exiting the same side. The magazine programmes were now broadcast from the cafe within Sky Studios, as staff milled around in the background and the coffee machine blasted out behind host George Gavin. The regular Football League kick-off time was moved from Saturday evenings to Saturday afternoons at 12.15pm in order to accommodate the Live Premier League acquisition at 5.30pm, known as Saturday Night Football. Hosted by David Jones and Jamie Redknapp from a giant new set in Sky Studios, the Live game coverage incorporated a studio audience for the first time since the old Monday Night Football days from 2003-2005 with Ian Payne. New broadcaster BT Sport launched in August replacing ESPN as the secondary Premier League channel and snapped up the Saturday 12.30pm package as well as midweeks and Bank Holidays, hence Sky’s decision to move the Football League to Saturday lunchtimes. Other kick-off times would be slotted around, including Friday nights, Monday nights and occasional Sunday lunchtimes. Our match at the Madejski Stadium today was one of the latter.

REA Pitchside REA Garcia Stats REA Half Time Stats REA Analysis

Coverage was presented from the stadium by number one FL72 host Simon Thomas. The programme came on-air fifteen minutes before the 1.15pm kick off. This allowed for build-up and reaction either side of the match before going off-air at 3.30pm to allow the Super Sunday fixture to commence in plenty of time. Alongside Thomas was guest Jason Roberts. The 35-year-old striker joined Reading in January 2012 but had been out injured for the past few months, eventually retiring later this season. As a current member of the squad, he referred to the Royals as ‘we’ and ‘us’ and therefore coverage was slightly skewed towards the home side. Roberts was no stranger to punditry though, having presented radio phone-in 6-0-6 on BBC 5 Live in 2011 and appeared on Match of the Day 2 and other magazine programmes on several occasions. The presentation team hosted the pre-match from pitchside, adjacent to where the Albion were warming up. On the touchline was Jonathan Oakes, in his second season as lead reporter on the League. He got the thoughts of Oscar Garcia. He spoke in a much calmer, measured manner than his predecessor, his English was good too. “It’s an amazing job, in an amazing League in an amazing country. I’m very happy to be here to improve my team, to improve myself.” After the break, we also heard from the Reading manager as the teams emerged from the tunnel ready for the big kick off.

REA Kick Off REA Comms REA Coming Up REA Garcia

Commentary came from Sky’s number one Football League commentator Bill Leslie alongside their second choice co-commentator Andy Hinchcliffe. The pair had been involved in the coverage for several years now, with Leslie beginning in 2004 and Hinchcliffe five years later. At half-time the presentation moved up from pitchside to the studio in the stadium. The interval analysis was understandably dominated by the two red cards, one for either side. Jason Roberts believed Pogrebnyak’s first yellow card to be harsh as there appeared to be minimal contact with LuaLua. He conceded that for the second booking, there was no need to fling his arms about and make a meal of it, giving the referee – who was quite a way away from the incident – a decision to make. Roberts thought the red for Ulloa was the correct decision. Before the second half began, Jonathan Oakes managed to grab a quick word with Oscar Garcia who outlined the approach was for more of the same but to be more clinical. Immediately after the final whistle Oakes chatted on the pitch to Man of the Match Alex McCarthy in the Reading goal, as well as Brighton’s Keith Andrews, who thought a draw was overall probably a fair result. After the break around eight minutes remained of the programme to round it up. Jason Roberts believed both teams were positive and going out to win despite the red cards but a draw was the fair result. Oakes interviewed the Reading manager afterwards, with Adkins taking the positives. There wasn’t time to speak with Garcia in the Live broadcast unfortunately, as Simon Thomas said goodbye ready for Ed Chamberlin to host Southampton versus West Ham on Super Sunday next.

REA Referee REA Red Card

Story of the Match: The Albion, in their change kit of yellow, kicked off at the Madejski. It took until the fifteenth minute for the first real shot on target, as Royston Drenthe whipped in a free-kick for Reading which Kuszczak was able to deal with comfortably. Brighton’s first opportunity came through a David Lopez cross on the right-wing. It was met by a low header from Andrew Crofts unmarked some twelve yards out. He got the power but the direction wasn’t quite there as it went too high. Lopez enjoyed much passing and crossing success in attempts to get the away side going. An improvised header from Ulloa almost caught everybody out after half an hour. With Reading thinking the danger had been cleared, Inigo Calderon nodded the ball back into the danger zone which was flicked goalwards by the Argentinian, Reading caught ball-watching and hoping for a flag which never arrived. The effort went just wide. A minute later the home side were reduced to ten men after striker Pavel Pogrebnyak received his second yellow card. The first caution was for a very slight foul but this second booking was the result of a blatant, exaggerated dive after clashing with Keith Andrews. It was a stupid decision from the forward, both cards were avoidable. The game got a little feisty from then on, with the crowd on the referees back in an attempt to sway him and level things up. That’s exactly what happened in the thirty-ninth minute when Leo Ulloa was sent off for dangerous play. A loose ball was bouncing on the half-way line which Reading defender Alex Pearce was attempting to win with his head. Ulloa challenged with his foot up high and dangerous, connecting with Pearce who got the ball cleanly. Referee Graham Scott was right on the scene and had no hesitation sending the front man off. It was the correct decision, it was a silly challenge from Ulloa but immediately held his hands up and realised his mistake. There was no malice but suddenly both teams were playing with ten. With both teams now a target man light, it was no surprise that the goalscoring potential was thwarted, as they were restricted to pot-shots and no end product. In first-half stoppage time Gordon Greer had a terrific chance to take the lead with his head off another Lopez cross. Alex McCarthy in the Reading goal made a very good save to claw it out, luckily for him the shot was right where he was standing. Reading started the second half very well, flying out of the traps and peppering Kuszczak’s goal with shots. Wayne Bridge came on, to great applause from both sets of supporters after his fine season at The Amex. Once Brighton weathered that storm, an opening arrived at the other end through Lopez once again. This time the ball was delivered into the box towards him, his sublime first touch spun the defender but the finish with the outside of the boot just ran across goal instead of towards it. I was surprised to see Lopez come off after the hour mark to be replaced by Ashley Barnes in what appeared to be a more attacking move. Perhaps it was because Lopez wasn’t a finisher yet was getting into positions furthest forward, but I thought he was having an excellent game. Barnes though did provide a recognised centre forward and within seconds of his arrival tested McCarthy with a fine volley. Seconds later it was a shot from Calderon on the edge of the D which had the goalkeeper scrambling low to his left as the rain began to fall heavily. With thirteen minutes remaining Brighton worked a terrific overlap on the left-wing through Keith Andrews to Stephen Ward. His cross was low in to the feet of Barnes who got in ahead of the defender to poke it goalbound. The ball rebounded off the post and back onto McCarthy who was able to block and gather to keep things level. And that’s how it finished. The Albion philosophy and style of play under Garcia continued from where Poyet left off, gaining large spells in possession with passing accuracy key. Once the consistency was gained and the injuries eased off, this side had the potential to go far again.

REA Table

READING 0 BRIGHTON 0

REA Replay

PREVIOUS; #46 BRIGHTON 0-2 CRYSTAL PALACE 13/05/2013

NEXT; #48 BRIGHTON 1-1 WATFORD 28/10/2013

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

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

LIV Titles

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

LIV Promo LIV Sponsor LIV Intro

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

LIV Liverpool LIV Brighton LIV Formation

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

LIV Stubbs LIV Barnes LIV Keegan LIV Commentators LIV Studio

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

LIV Kick Off LIV Comms LIV Buckley interview LIV Buckley

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

LIV Aldridge LIV Barclay

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

LIV Draw Rosenthal LIV Draw Trio

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

LIV Draw LIV Fan Film LIV Case LIV Champion

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

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

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

LIV Goal LIV Axis LIV Sub  LIV Own Goal

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

LIV Full Time LIV Poyet

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

LIV Quarter Final Draw

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

LIV Replay

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

PRE Titles PRE Brighton

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

PRE Poyet PRE Barnes


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

ITV Titles ITV Teams

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

ITV Smith ITV Strachan

 

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