September 29, 2012 by Made In Brum
Brighton 0 Blues 1
What a difference a week makes. Last weekend, Blues were embarrassed by Barnsley. Today, they battled doggedly and earned a massive and thoroughly deserved three points. It has been said that the players aren’t playing for Clark, but if today is anything to go by, all evidence suggests otherwise, they all pulled together for the Geordie.
With injuries galore throughout the team, especially in defence, Will Packwood was recalled and Paul Robinson came in for his debut. Curtis Davies was back in the heart of the defence and looked to sure Blues up. Clean sheets have been rare this term so far, but Brighton offered little going forward with the exception of one or two decent chances. Was it an off-day for them? Was it Blues’ battling stopping them from playing? Maybe a bit of both. But this was more like it.
From the start, the hosts came at Blues. But after weathering the early storm and coming out unscathed, Blues set about playing football. It wasn’t fantastic, but it was a lot better. Jonathan Spector and Keith Fahey in the middle were keeping things ticking over while Chris Burke and Wade Elliott were full of huff and puff. In fact, despite this performance not being Burke’s creative best, he didn’t stop running. His battle with Wayne Bridge was excellent to watch, two honest players going at it hammer and tongs, with Burke occasionally getting the better of him.
Someone needs to read the offside rule to Brighton’s strikers. Time and time again they were in threatening positions looking for a way through, but Blues’ back-line simply stepped-up and waited for the flag. Easy. Robinson has added experience and nous to the ranks, his positioning was practically perfect as he snuffed out danger.
Burke gave Blues the lead with a superb strike after some good build-up play after 27 minutes. No-one can say it wasn’t deserved. Lita should have made it two shortly after but he struck straight at the ‘keeper. Possession wise, Brighton dominated the first half, but didn’t do anything with it. Possession doesn’t win you games. Goals do. And Blues got it. A flurry of attacks from the hosts before the half time whistle sounded to cheers from the away end.
The second period, when it eventually began after floodlight failure caused a delay, was pretty similar to the first. Blues stuck at their task and knew what had to be done. A few more offsides against the Seagulls front men had the crowd frustrated and when Peter Lovenkrands took a life-time to come off when his number was signalled on the board, a ring of boo’s went around the Amex. A good shift from Mr. Lover Man and a well earned rest.
Nathan Redmond set-off on a couple of powerful runs as Blues tried to find the second. But everyone knew the task in hand, it was about containing and grinding out the last ten minutes. Hayden Mullins and Marlon King were introduced in place of Packwood and Lita. Watching Blues is nervy to say the least, but the last five minutes, plus five minutes of added on time, seemed like five hours. But they held on. A massive three points, definitely.
Blues ratings- Butland 8. Packwood 7. Davies 7. Caldwell 6. Robinson 7. Burke 7. Spector 6. Fahey 6. Elliott 7. Lovenkrands 6. *LITA 8…SUBS USED- Redmond 7. Mullins 6. King 6.
Match report by Rob Wildey.