November 29, 2015 by Shane Ireland
By Luke Turner
Blues travelled down south yesterday to face Chris Hughton’s unbeaten Brighton with the hope that they would be the first side to beat them all season.
Gary Rowett’s side arrived boasting the best away record in the division so there was nothing to suggest that this would be a straightforward victory for the Seagulls.
Unfortunately, Blues were defeated 2-1 but can take great confidence from the manner in which they performed.
Here are five things we learned from yesterday’s defeat:
Blues need to defend better and could do with support from the wingers
Brighton’s wingers and full backs caused Blues problems all game, particularly in the first half. Paul Caddis and Jonathan Grounds are being beaten far too easily but they could do with help from Demarai Gray and Jacques Maghoma.
In fairness, Gray has improved on his defensive side of the game and supported Grounds on numerous occasions yesterday. However, Grounds is in a bit of poor form at present and needs to get back to basics. The left back committed far too many fouls on Solly March instead of simply standing up the Brighton winger.
Caddis on the other hand is a great attacking threat but does lack in defensive qualities at times. Maghoma must recognise this and support the Scot when faced against a tricky winger.
Brock looks bright
Nicolai Brock-Madsen has the tough job of replacing the injured Donaldson and, so far, he hasn’t done too badly. His first half performance yesterday was promising and he even had a part to play in Jon Toral’s equaliser.
It’s important that we get bodies in and around Brock as he is useful with flick ons and lay offs. His only trouble comes when having to hold the ball up. He is a quick thinker and likes to get on the front foot as soon as the ball is played into him.
His style certainly suits our counter attacking approach so he does rely on good service, unlike Donaldson who can make something out of nothing.
We rode our luck but stayed in the game
Let’s be honest, Brighton could’ve put us to bed by half time. They had a perfectly good goal disallowed and were a constant threat to our defence.
The good thing with riding your luck means that you still have a chance of earning something from the game. The more the game wore on, the more Blues began to attack and take the initiative.
David Davis was denied by an outstanding save from David Stockdale in injury time and those are the small margins between losing and nicking a point.
Set pieces are a problem
Blues had six corners yesterday and not one of them was near good enough. Set pieces provide away sides in particular with a rare opportunity to score when under the cosh against a good home side.
With David Cotterill absent, corner duty usually falls to Gray. The youngster either over hit the corner or failed to beat the first man. Perhaps it might be best to mix it up a bit and give Toral or Stephen Gleeson a go. We don’t have the biggest side but when Michael Morrison and Grounds go up, we need to give them half a chance to attack the ball.
There was one free kick which Toral swung in into a dangerous area but not one of our players gambled and Stockdale comfortably claimed. Just one flick of the ball would’ve undoubtedly ended up in the back of the net.
Vaughan looks lively
James Vaughan came on for his debut yesterday, replacing Brock with around 25 minutes remaining. He’s obviously not 100% match fit but to be fair to him, he put himself about and looks to be a useful asset.
He’s not the tallest but he won a couple of flick ons and looks like he has the strength to trouble defences. Adding to that, he can run the channels and has that extra yard of pace which Brock lacks.
The loanee scuffed a half chance which, on another day, he could’ve converted. His goalscoring record at Huddersfield suggests that, given the service, he has the ability to grab a few goals and provide that clinical instinct.