Match report posted by Richard (view the full thread on the forum )
And so, we lost.\r\n\r\nI`ve seen us play Brighton three times this season, and in each game, I`ve come away wondering how we haven`t scored more than we did. We outplayed them in a 2-2 draw at Withdean, we outplayed them in a 2-1 win at home, but yesterday, although we didn`t outplay them this time (though we were the better side), on another day, we could have been looking at a two or three goal advantage. But Lady Luck was wearing a Brighton shirt, and instead, we go to the Withdean on Thursday on the wrong end of a one goal deficit.\r\n\r\nMost of the first half was cagey - neither side seemingly wanting the ball anywhere near their goal area, intent on lumping the ball away at the first opportunity. It wasn`t pretty, and it wasn`t working either - it looked like we were resorting to the nervous long-ball game that we`ve been playing lately. But, a couple of runs from Igoe and Howard (who was restored to his better position, on the wing) seemed to remind us of how we were playing earlier in the season - the brand of football that got us into the play-off zone in the first place. Almost immediately, a great chance was created - Parkin getting to the touchline and putting in a beautiful cross, which Mooney somehow conspired to head wide. From where I was in the Nationwide stand, I fully expected the net to bulge - I couldn`t believe it when it didn`t.\r\n\r\nThe last couple of minutes in the half produced more drama - first, a good little move between Igoe and Mooney resulted in a speculative effort from Igoe coming back off the post, with the keeper stranded. Then, Mooney fell in the box and was claiming a penalty - only Parkin seemed to carry on, screwing a shot wide of the upright when he really should have got it on target. \r\n\r\nWe took five minutes or so to settle into the second half, but then we began to take the game to Brighton again, without actually creating much - until midway through the half, substitute Smith and Igoe played a brilliant one-two along the left flank, and Smith put in a great cross, which Mooney connected with - only to see the ball cannon back off the bar and against the floor. Parkin struggled to reach it, but managed to get a header on target, which the Brighton keeper managed to tip over. "It`s not going to go in, is it?" said my dad, "you can just see them going up the other end and nicking one."\r\n\r\nEight minutes later, that`s exactly what happened. A hopeful strike from Carpenter, a deflection from Smith, and the ball nestled into the corner of the net. At first, I thought the goal was Evans` fault - I hadn`t seen the deflection - and with the benefit of the replay, the only thing you can put it down to is bad luck.\r\n\r\nAnd that was that. We had one more effort of note on goal - Smith cutting in from the flank and curling one just wide of the target. With five minutes to go, Fallon came on, and we reverted to Andy King`s Other Tactic™ - the one that involves putting three up front and lumping the ball up to the tall forward/defender/whoever happens to be up there. Does anyone know why he takes Nicholas off when he does this, as it seems to me that a long throw-in/tall striker combination might be pretty good if that`s the type of football we`re playing...??\r\n\r\nSo the last game of the season at the County Ground followed the same lines as the first - a hot day, a large away contingent in blue and white stripes, us failing to convert chances and losing undeservedly. Yesterday, however, King got the chance to make an idiot of himself on national television - by trying to claim that the shots that hit the post should be counted as "on target". Nice one, Andy.\r\n\r\nWe still have a chance - if we can get the first goal on Thursday, the game will be wide open again. Brighton haven`t lost at home since November - if we want to progress, this is a record we need to stop. Come on you reds!