BRIGHTON & HOVE ALBION 2-1 COVENTRY CITY
SAT NOV 26 At The Amec Community Stadium, Falmer, Brighton
City Murphy, Christie (Wood 40), Keogh, Hussey, Cranie, Clingan, Gardner, Thomas (Bigiirmana 52), Baker, Platt (McDonald 78), Jutkiewicz. SkNU Dunn, McSheffrey
Brighton Ankergren, Dunk, Greer, Navarro, Noone, B.Paynter (Barnes 59), Calderon, Harley (Lualua 78), M.Painter (Vincelot 29), Bridcutt, Mackail-Smith. SNU Brezovan, Hoskins.
HT BHAFC 2-1 CCFC FT BHAFC 2-1 CCFC ATT 19,708
Referee Gavin Ward Assts Ian Crouch & John Magill
Booked Baker, Hussey, Cranie
Goals Richard Keogh OG 5, Gary Gardner 9, Roman Vincelot 36
Man Of The Match - Richard Keogh took the votes with a nomination for Gary Gardner
A new ground and a day at the seaside had the Sky Blue Army out in force. Over 1800 tickets were sold in what was City's biggest away following of the season. From Brighton based supporters who were able to walk to the ground to those who travelled the length of the country wIth plenty making a weekend of it, the turn out was excellent and deserved a lot more than they got.
CITY TEAM NEWS:
Andy Thorn made two changes from the team that had drawn with Cardiff City on Tuesday night. New loanee Gary Gardner got his debut at the expense of Gael Bigirimana whilst Carl Baker replaced Gary McShefffrey who like Bigirimana was on the bench.
The Sky Blue Army were out in force today for Coventry City's first league game on the South Coast in November since 1961, but all they had for their expense and effort in getting to the Amec Community Stadium, was a poor performance and a 2-1 defeat.
Thanks to Brighton putting the wrong postcode on the car park pass I had paid for, we got stuck in the traffic in Brighton city centre and just got into the impressive new home of Brighton, which highlights an imagination in its design, something sadly neglected by some of the newer bowl shaped stadiums, a couple of minutes before kick off.
We were just getting used to being in the Amec Community Stadium for the first time when Craig Mackail-Smith latched onto a fifth minute Clingan back pass and fired at Joe Murphy who could only spill the ball upwards. Richard Keogh was coming back to help but could do nothing as the ball hit him and bounced into the net.
The City fans stood on a grey cold day looking at each other, but three minutes later, there was reason to celebrate when Cyrus Christie played in Carl Baker for a cross from the right and there was Gary Gardner to celebrate his debut by heading firmly into the net.
Unfortunately, that was as good as it got for the Sky Blues and their supporters.
Brighton, who were forced into an early change, were robbed of a blatant 20th minute penalty when Billy Paynter was pulled down.
With no City player able to put their foot on the ball and drive forward and players struggling to retain possession, Brighton were able to work the flanks with ease and make a mockery of Andy Thorn's diamond formation.
Against Joe Murphy, who has relegated Scunthorpe twice and in this game did nothing to change the minds of many City supporters who have seen him in action that he is a less than adequate replacement for Keiren Westwood, simple crosses and shots that would be bread and butter to most keepers were allowed by the Irishman to cause panic in the City defence.
In the 36th minute, things got worse when Gardner conceded a needless free kick. The ball came in and Romain Vincelot was able to power home an unchallenged header into the bottom corner of the net across Murphy.
We had talked on the way down about the amount of points we need to avoid relegation but against a team which had lost nine out of ten games, the Sky Blues looked like they were already relegated.
Both sets of supporters in a crowd of just under 20,000, had applauded Gary Hoffman who presented a cheque to the home side on behalf of the Football Foundation and former Sky Blue and Albion player Chris Cattlin at the interval but the mood amongst the 1781 City supporters for the second half was decidedly ugly.
There had "SISU Out" and "Sack The Board" chants plus a few comments about Thorn's tactics from some very disgruntled fans before Gardner volleyed wide from twenty five yards and Conor Thomas was replaced by Gael Bigirimana.
Others tried a chorus of the Sky Blue Song to try and lift the players but when Clingan over-hit a 55th minute corner that Richard Wood who had come on for Cyrus Christie in the 40th minute had no chance of getting, the singing stopped.
A second Sky Blue flare which filled the air with some acrid smoke, diverted attention away from a City team which had most of its possession in its own half, but lacked any movement or creativity in midifield.
Both City forwards were virtual spectators and in the 78th minute, Andy Thorn decided to give Cody McDonald a run out in place of Clive Platt who had gone missing for large periods of the match.
Although City had the better of the play late on, they failed to trouble the home keeper and we were left to ponder whether our effort and expense to watch another poor performance had been worth it.