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Watford 1 Brighton and Hove Albion 1 (04/10/2014) 04/10/2014

Posted by Matt Rowson in Match reports.
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1- There’s something to be said for mundaneness every now and again.  You appreciate the good days more being one argument, a more rounded supporting experience to have sat through the full range of emotions that football can instil.  We get to claim that WE were there when we were shit, a badge of honour. If every game is a belter then life takes on a more hysterical edge… that’s the picture that Sky Sports would have you believe in, “this year is the best ever, it’s all terribly terribly gripping and exciting and important”.  No it isn’t.  Sometimes it’s not painted in primary colours, and today was one of those days.  The lunchtime rainstorm that paralysed the roads into Watford as we woke up to official End Of Summer washed them all away, leaving a grey-brown sludge.

2- Brighton started like a side who had just let in two goals in a bigger game against a more daunting opponent than this.  Just passing the ball around, keeping possession, trying to get a foothold for their fragile confidence that manifested itself most obviously when they got close enough to the goal to clout a ridiculously optimistic shot in vaguely the right direction, one in a million efforts that didn’t come off.  Decisions that screamed of a side that can’t score goals… less risk in taking on a long shot even if it doesn’t get you anywhere, less chance of looking stupid.  What they did have was defensive discipline, flooding the midfield and getting bodies behind the ball, and this bought them time against a Watford side that never quite got going, partly in consequence. Had we made the breakthrough earlier on, perversely, we might have stood a better chance of taking the three points; instead, Brighton’s confidence grew as the game progressed and we struggled to create much throughout a stodgy first half.

3- Another issue, as on Tuesday, was Heurelho Gomes’ reluctance to kick the ball out.  Brentford did a better job of haring down our possession at that end of the pitch to put Gomes under pressure to kick, but our need to break quickly when the keeper picked up possession to give ourselves half a chance of getting in behind before Albion got set up put extra emphasis on the need to find a quick throw.  Early on there was evidence of Lloyd – the original Lloyd, back in the side as we work through our stockpile of centre backs to general approval in our corner of the Rookery – and the splendidly functional Gianni Munari doing Gomes’ scanning, looking for a throw for him as he collected a low ball and directing him to save precious seconds.  A sound enough ruse on the odd occasion, but this limitation remained an issue and will do so until we can work opponents hard enough to get them running too far and for too long to persist in closing down space high up the pitch for the duration.

4- A word for the new Community Stand, part-opened for the first time.  Thank goodness.  Thank the Pozzos.  At long last after so many missed opportunities.  ig might miss the Main Stand, but once you’ve said goodbye to something, you know, you want it to go, you want it to be replaced.  I miss Luther and Richard Johnson and the green bucket I used to stand on on the North West terrace in 1981 but I wouldn’t want any of them back.  Not now.  Fantastic to see supporters in it, even if only part full.  Remember now why my Family Enclosure years featured a baseball cap tho…

5- We almost got away with it.  And had we done so there really would have been cause for optimism, to build upon Tuesday’s last thunk.  At the end of a chaotic few weeks we could look back on five games from which we had, in each case, harvested perhaps more than we deserved, or more than we easily could have done. Much as you’d rather be wiping the floor with teams, taking points when you’re not playing well in the absence of key players would have been a hell of a good marker.  Albion started the second half well;  it had been evident from the first half that their one attacking threat came from right-back Bruno against the uncomfortable looking Tommie Hoban out of position down the left, they hit the former with a screaming cross-field ball early on that came to nothing.  From there we got a foothold and enjoyed our best spell of the game, culminating in that free kick, a clinical exploitation of a flaw in Albion’s defensive wall.  At which point, I thought we had the match won… but Lualua had given them an attacking edge and they were well worth that equaliser in the end.  Our last, fine chance came when McGugan’s effervescent cameo saw him release Vydra on the left; the Czech beat the offside and crashed a violent shot goalwards that Stockdale reacted brilliantly to parry.  That was, from memory, the only non-trivial save made by either keeper all afternoon.  Which is an adequate footnote for the game really.  For the sake of our injury list, our head coach, our team’s shape, we really need this two week break.

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Comments»

1. Paul Caruso - 05/10/2014

Sorry I have just awoken from yesterdays 90 minute reverie which largely comprised of;
1. What on earth is wrong with black and white boots, they are as endangered as Doyley’s appearances;
2. (Addendum to point 1) Dyer’s white boots look very silly and may be the real cause of his existential struggles this season;
3. Another one from Toszer, if now not for free kicks what is McGugan for?;
4. Sean Murray-huge ears;
5. Paredes has the same hairline as Michael Jackson;
6. Perhaps we could encourage the club to plant some Community allotments in the concreted NE and NW corner of the ground;
7. Brise soleil needed for the Community stand.

2. Goldenboy60 - 05/10/2014

uuuuhhh

Goldenboy60 - 05/10/2014

Actually both Luther and Richard Johnson are still at the club. Jonno is in the legends Lounge (as i Know it)….

3. NLFG - 05/10/2014

I thought – generally – Tommie Hoban had a fine game, but early seemed horribly exposed by (a) his inexperience as a full back and (b) Lloyd Dyer’s refusal to work back terribly hard. I thought he grew into the game though. It was also nice to see the original Lloyd back in the side & in fine fettle. I thought both the centre backs did a fine job.

Matt Rowson - 05/10/2014

agree re Doyley and Ekstrand, both excellent

JohnF - 05/10/2014

I very much agree, particularly about Dyer who could see what needed doing but just didn’t do it. All of the midfielders have a role in defence and need to fulfil that role. In attack we still seem to lack confidence. The return of Troy, Angella and Andrews will help.

Goldenboy60 - 11/10/2014

It’s nonsense to suggest Tommy cannot play at left back. he did at Rotherham and had a fine game, bombing forward and creating Munari’s goal to clinch it.

4. NickB - 05/10/2014

Wouldn’t have Luther back??? In his heyday, he’d have had Troy for breakfast, much as I like Troy. Sure you were embellishing a point with that one, but not the most appropriate example to have reached for…

Matt Rowson - 05/10/2014

I wouldn’t have him back NOW. Aged 56…

NickB - 05/10/2014

🙂
Thanks for clarifying. Surely one of the best spines ever – Coton, McCleland, Jackett, Blissett

5. Leavesden 'orn - 05/10/2014

Hi,

With our current forwards, Vydra, Anya, Dyer, Forestieri, not sure the long kick will achieve much, except coming straight back quickly. On the occasions it was kicked,Vydra was out jumped and that was also the case with Ighalo on tues. When Ighalo did win a header, he got ironic cheers from the LR, so I suppose Gomes has been told first option is to throw or pass. Maybe letting Ranegie go out on loan was not the best decision, and IMO Ighalo does not offer the options that Ranegie does.

In any case, Gomes does not seem to have the accuracy or distance. A clear case of appreciating Ben Fosters attributes

Regards,

Leavesden ‘orn

Matt Rowson - 05/10/2014

indeed. occurred to me yesterday that Foster would be a hell of an asset in this team for that reason.

Ranégie is also injured, btw. One might argue that he wouldn’t have been injured had he not gone on loan, but in any case not available now.

6. Simoninoz - 06/10/2014

If you deem Luther unsuitable for selection at the age of 56, does this mean that, having turned 55 last month, you consider my chance of playing for the Golden Boys has now gone for good? Please let me down gently.

Matt Rowson - 06/10/2014

55 is clearly entirely different. Practically a spring chicken.

7. NRC - 06/10/2014

Can’t believe I’m older than Luther. How did that work? Has he got a picture in the attic?

Matt Rowson - 06/10/2014

Brendan Rodgers is a week or so younger than me. That appointment was a blow.

8. Simoninoz - 07/10/2014

I can take a hint, Matt. Due to my advanced age I gather I may no longer be in line for selection in the first team, but do I have a chance of being appointed as coach? Most people get to do it for a day or two these days and I’d appreciate the chance to give it a go.

RS - 07/10/2014

Join the line Dude, it may not be that long now though? One wonders if Jr. got overruled or just one striker at home against an (albeit perceived) struggling team was just too conservative?

Oh to be a fly on the wall right now.

9. Andrewh - 07/10/2014

Would swapping Hoban and Doyley, with the latter at left back have provided better defending of set pieces?


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