What a game! A crazy finish to a pulsating match in which both sides had chances to have won it.
It’s not typical to come away from a game when your team has outplayed the leagues second placed team, scored three goals and produced a display from the top drawer, albeit for about 80 minutes at least and feel disappointed. However. That was the overwhelming feeling as I made my way out of GP on a cold Sunday evening.
The “if onlys” and “what ifs” are part and parcel of the game but if only Lasse had scored that pen to make it 3-0 and what if Tom Field hadn’t got injured, leaving us prone at the back and open to a last gasp equaliser…..
Rewind 8 days to the insipid display at Stamford Bridge, sorry to remind you of that l, then think how far we have moved on in these last two home games. Chalk and cheese. I would have bitten your hand off for the offer of four points from these fixtures. It has been the manner in which we have played as much as the results that have rekindled the belief that we do, in actual fact, have a very good team and some strength in depth to the squad.
With the departure of our talisman Hogan it has allowed others to step up and seize previously unavailable opportunities. None more so than our forward players, all of which look energised and more than able to fill Hogan’s large boots.
I suppose the biggest difference is the return to the starting line up of Jota, without doubt one of the finest players to don the red and white stripes in recent memory. His touch, balance and guile were a constant threat to a very good Brighton side.
The game started at a very quick tempo and it seemed to suit the new look Bees. It wasn’t long before we were creating chances with our quick movement and many stacking options. Jota reacted first to a good ball in from the right to give us a well deserved lead. 1-0
Further pressure from the home side ensured we kept the Albion penned into their own half for long spells and before two long skipper Harper Dean had doubled our lead as he reacted quickest to tuck away our second goal. 2-0 HT.
It was good to see the subs with a smile on their faces during the interval, a sure sign of good team morale. Although Romaine Sawyer’s looked like he was preparing for a hike up Mount Everest, with his hat, gloves and about Three coats…
The second half continued apace and both sides seemed happy to slug it out in pursuit of further goals. One brilliant run by Jota, down our right side culminated in him being brought down for a clear pen. After some futile protestations from a stretched Brighton rearguard, up stepped Vibe to surely put the result out of doubt…these are the pivotal moments of a game, score and it’s 3-0 and game over, miss and the belief starts to grow in the oppositions minds…the latter occurred and we did retreat but nobody expected us to concede twice within 4 minutes…2-2 and it’s becoming panic station central out there. Injuries and a bit of time wasting meant the 4th official signalled 7 minutes were to be added on. What to do stick or twist? Enter the super subs! Firstly, the under rated Konstantin Kirschbaumer burst forward and played a delightful one two with Jota before curling a cracking right foot shot past the excellent Stockdale to nudge us ahead. 3-2
Deep into stoppage time, almost the last seconds, Brighton showed us why they are so good by snatching a draw from the jaws of defeat. Hemmed got in front of Clarke and guided his finish beyond Bentley to deprive us of the win. 3-3 FT.
Bentley 7: getting his confidence back slowly although conceding 3 won’t help, pulled off a smart save at 2-2
Clarke 6: back at right back due to Colin’s absence, a little hesitant and struggled to make an impact throughout the game.
Field 7: Faced one of the divisions best players in Knochart, did get found out on occasions but stood up to him well generally. Good learning curve. Didn’t deserve the alleged verbal abuse he received outside the Griffin afterwards…
Dean 9: last two games have seen Harlee step up to the plate and deliver wholehearted and inspiring performances which have lifted his team mates with him. Good goal too. Keep it up!
Bjelland 7: steady but no more, won his fair share of tussles with Murray but lack of pace is a worry.
Nico 6: feel a little mean giving him a 6 but not as effective as usual and wasted a good half chance by blazing straight at keeper.
McEachran 7: has a more positive vibe about him these last few games, knows how to pick a pass and always looking for the ball. Put in another good shift.
Woods 7: more like his old self, he and Josh made the Brighton midfield look quite ordinary for long periods, has to show this side of his play in ALL the big games!
Josefzoon 7: another full blooded display by Flo-Jo, not as effective as in the Villa game but caused problems with his pace an trickery on the ball. Good start to his GP career.
Jota 9: MOM. The type of player you only ever used to see playing against Brentford. Who knows how long he’ll remain a Bee but just enjoy his talent. A class above throughout, took his goal well, won a penalty and assisted in KK’s dramatic third goal.
Vibe 7: worked really hard, link up play improving and almost scored before the missed penalty. Fans can associate with his passion, big thumbs up to him!
Canos for Josefzoon 7: he does really seem to love Brentford and good to see him back. Didn’t really impact on the game too much but saw quite a bit of the ball. Better to come.
KK for McEachran 8: all the weeks and months of bench warming seemed to inspire him into putting 99 minutes work into 5 as he tore Brighton apart like a man possessed. I have always liked the boy and pleased to see him score.
Alan Mac for Field 5: looked s little lost as an emergency left back and struggled to stem the flow in those last few minutes.
Dean Smith 7: a good week and four points gained. Decision making improving and not to blame for result today, now we have found, stumbled on a system that’s working, lets not change it!!!
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