After Brighton’s recent home form being so good, many of us turned up to the game expecting a close win.
I did not expect to concede first but then Emnes was much better than I expected.
Quick note on the Ref: what a fruit loop!!! seriously some of the decisions were utter madness, they were flying in and we got very little, Navs get smashed in the face, nothing; The bloke was a death trap.
However it did make it look like they were more up for it that we were. There were points in both halves where one or two of their players had full sight of our goal from up to 20yards, as we did not seem to stand out ground and they looked better - player for player - that was concerning.
Maybe it was Barnes going awol intermittently and leaving a spare man down wing or a mixup in the middle where they lost shape going forward and didn’t get it back when they lost possession but as an away side I think we let them look better than we needed.
I really liked Vokes’s performance, he fought well and won many up front, eager to lay it off and the occasional spin off. It’s nice to see a player who’s happy to play with back to goal and seems to know how to do it.
While Barnes has been great recently, he was pretty poor this week and seemed to get in the way more than play our game; surprisingly Gus took him off, which has not happened in quite while and to all of our delight it was CMS who came on; And at the same time the now tired but well played Buckley was replaced by Lua Lua; The crowds’ reaction was emulated by the team when Caldi scored - yet another header off a corner - within minutes off the substitution to make it 1-All.
Having CMS & Vokes on the field at the same time was great to watch. Macca seemed much more free on the right and seemed to know how to play with Vokes - for most part.
Vicente played his first full 90mins for the club and while it is a fantastic achievement he was trying more thing with the ball than his body was capable in the last 10.
That may have been because he thought he could and was wrong or because he’d run out of other options and the players around him were not making the right runs.
I can vouch for the latter to an extent. We seemed to develop this habit of running straight at their goal as soon as Vicente started dribbling. This was not clever because while it initially took the back line back to create space for Vicente to carry the ball into, unless he was going to shoot, it was a dead-end after 5-10yards because the back line held at 18yards and everyone else was marked.
Instead Vokes should have held his ground stayed available for a 1-2 whilst the other two ran interference to create space for each other and/or keep the defence busy while Vicente made some magic. Plus Nav or Bridders could have dropped in the whole for a 2nd ball option if Vicente did use Vokes and was too swiftly marked, Nav could then hit Vicente, CMS or Lus Lua either of whom would be cutting in side depending on which side of the box Vicente dropped into if at all.
On the flip side of the field, Greer and Elabd were immense all game. It made a difference having Elabd in the middle as he is happy to go in hard and will stalk hos marker like a Lion. So as long as he doesn’t give away a pen, it’s all amazing.
Greer’s arial skills were well used all game and his ball playing abilities were once more utilised a lot - Gordon Greer is like the Frank Leboeuf of Championship football - no idea why he’s not playing for Scotland!
By the end of the afternoon, it was 1 point won, Boro were very good but I know have been and can be better; there were a few smaller little decisions that could have / should been made differently by the player on the field - it is like that in many games, and I cannot yet understand why they are always being made that way.
But either way, “in Gus we trust”, and I do and will continue to, all the way to Wembley.
We are Brighton, Super Brighton, From the South, Seeeeeeeagulls :-)
A quick note on Bridders, got the yellow that suspends him and scored the own goal, but still had a solid game where many 22 years could’ve fallen apart. I nor anyone else I spoke to held him responsible and we’ll miss him dearly during his suspension.