Date: 18th December 2011 at 12:56pm
Written by:

The Clarets defeated Brighton 1-0 in their new Amex Stadium in Falmer yesterday to record their third consecutive away win. Normally of course, Clarets fans would be ecstatic but it all seemed to be an anti-climax in the end and in many ways a frustrating afternoon. Why? Well Brighton had been reduced to nine-men by the 15th minute following two straight red cards for first, Vincelot and then Barnes. Perhaps it was now inevitable we would go on to win this match and maybe even improve our goal difference significantly. In the end though, we had to be content with just the one goal; a goal ironically scored by a defender. It was a belter though and it came in the 32nd minute when Trippier unleashed a thunderbolt from 25 yards out to score his first Championship goal for the club.

Clarets fans were now expecting a panful of goals but they simply never came as Brighton battened down the hatches. Gus Poyet deserved a medal for his tactics considering Albion`s predicament and they certainly worked frustrating Burnley for virtually 80 minutes! In fact with about ten minutes of the game remaining they even started to take the game to the Clarets and came close on a number of occasions to nicking a point. Having said that though, we perhaps only have ourselves to blame for not killing the game off. At times our build-up was far too slow and our shooting non-existent. It was as though we wanted to walk the ball in with so many of our attackers seeming to choose not to open the trigger when it looked the obvious choice.

Three points though are three points and I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed my day out in Brighton visiting a new ground for the first time after a bracing walk along Brighton beach and a few real ales in the ‘Evening Star` pub in town. The Amex with good views and comfy seats is quite a nice ground for a new stadium but there are clearly some design faults as anyone queuing for a pie and a pee at half time would have noticed. There was simply not enough room on the concourse or in the toilets for the squidged in away fans. I was also dreading the train journey back after the horror stories I had heard about long queues and insufficient trains being laid on at the very small Falmer Station. Yes. It was a bit hectic but not as bad as I had feared and I managed to get the second train Brighton bound within about 20 minutes from leaving the ground. I had legged it fairly quickly though on the final whistle and there was quite a long queue not to mention chaos behind me. I would thoroughly recommend going to this ground though in the future if you can make it. The atmosphere helped by the noisy home fanbase was pretty electric although it was a pretty bad tempered game in the end and I should imagine Clarets fans are not particularly flavour of the month amongst Seagulls fans at the moment.

That is their problem though and this morning we can at least comfort ourselves with the fact that we are now in 11th spot on 30 points just five points away from the play-offs positions. Considering we were within 15 minutes of being in the bottom three against Hull at the KC Stadium not so long ago, it is also comforting to know we are now nine points away from the drop zone.

Our next game is at home against second-from-bottom club, Doncaster Rovers on Boxing Day. We now have an ideal opportunity to be in the top ten by the New Year but will we take it? You just never know with the Clarets do you? It is however about time we had some Christmas cheer though with traditionally this period being a death-knell for Burnley!

Team Sheet

Eddie Howe now seems to be settling into a pattern for his team selections and tactics. At home it tends to be a traditional 4-4-2 whilst away we tend to be more experimental usually involving more players in midfield and fewer strikers.

Dean Marney was back in midfield yesterday playing alongside McCann and Bartley with Wallace our only recognised winger. Stanislas was on the bench with Treacy nowhere to be seen. In attack we had a number of options with four strikers named in the sixteen. Both Vokes and Austin had to be content with a place on the bench with Rodriguez and Paterson in the starting eleven. Pato was making his first start since the opening game of the season. Hopefully his 100th appearance for the club would prove to be more successful than that opening day against Watford which led to his injury and a recurrence of the thigh problem that kept him sidelined for most of the season.

There was perhaps also another surprise on the bench with out-of-favour, Andre Amougou returning to the match day squad. Brian Easton was the defender to miss out.

In summary then we lined up as follows:

Grant, Trippier, Duff, Edgar, Mee, Marney, Wallace, McCann, Bartley, Rodriguez, Paterson

Subs: Stewart, Amougou, Stanislas, Vokes, Austin

Full Match Report

South Yorkshire referee, Craig Pawson got the game underway on a cold but bright and pleasant day in Brighton. It didn`t take long though for the game to turn ugly. In the fifth minute, Romain Vincelot pulled a sneaky punch on Marvin Bartley and it looked like he had got away with it until the fourth official prompted by Burnley assistant manager, Jason Tindall brought it to the referee`s attention. After some discussion with most Clarets fans not really having any idea what had happened, Brighton were reduced to ten men after the referee showed Vincelot a straight red card.

Brighton clearly angry about the decision now seemed to lose the plot and ten minutes later they were reduced to nine-men after a reckless stamping on Chris McCann. McCann had tackled Ashley Barnes fairly but the striker over-reacted stamping on McCann whilst he was on the ground. The referee had no option to show yet another straight red. The game was now deteriorating into a very bad tempered affair with the referee looking set to have a very busy afternoon. The Seagulls though had only themselves to blame and they did not help their cause whatsoever by now diving all over the place in the penalty area and trying to get our own players sent off. Albion gaffer, Gus Poyet did not show much professionalism either, throwing a tantrum and at one point disappearing down the tunnel.

It was vital the Clarets could now take advantage of the situation and get their noses in front. They just could not seem to step up a gear though and almost seemed bemused by all the ill-feeling around the ground from the home contingent.

There had been very little action in terms of football up to now at either end of the ground other than all the fouls and card-showing. Our first attempt on goal did not come until the 20th minute when Rodriguez`s shot flew into the side netting. At long last though we did break the deadlock 12 minutes later when Burnley took advantage from a short-corner by Wallace. Kieran Trippier from 25 yards out let rip with a scorcher and the ball flew into the top corner of the net to make it 1-0 Clarets.

Would the flood gates now open? Well it was nearly 2-0 soon after taking the lead when Rodriguez got on the end of a Trippier cross only to see Seagull`s keeper, Casper Ankergren pull off a good save.

Poyet though had a plan to frustrate the Clarets. He obviously now packed the defence with as many players as he could afford (I counted eight at one point) hoping to then catch us out on the break. It nearly worked a few times before the half-time whistle. Craig Noone in particular was beginning to be a bit of a handful for the Clarets after coming on in the 20th minute and he looked to have earned Albion a penalty after going down from a Duff challenge in the area. The home crowd`s animosity towards the referee though went up a notch when he waved play-on.

The Clarets went into the break just 1-0 up after a bruising, frustrating battle in the first 45 minutes. Would the second half finally break Albion`s spirit and produce the goal rush we were all eager to see?

Well Howe thought bringing Vokes on for the second-half to replace, Marvin Bartley, might improve our chances up front. We now had virtually all the possession and yet somehow never really created any clear cut chances often looking laboured and slow in the build up allowing Brighton`s packed defence to get back and snuff out any danger.

Considering we now had three recognised strikers on the pitch, it was perhaps surprising we had very few chances on goal with the attack often looking unwilling to let rip with a shot when it looked by far the best option. We seemed to want to walk the ball into the net but it just wasn`t going to happen. The build-up time and time again was plodding and far too slow with Brighton beginning to think they still had a chance to get something from this game despite our two man advantage.

We did though at least have some chances to increase our lead as you might expect with the Clarets now effectively camped in the Brighton half. A Paterson shot took a deflection and flew wide of target before the Albion keeper managed to just keep a Wallace shot at bay. Trippier was busy in the second half charging down the flank and getting over numerous crosses but somehow nobody seemed to be ideally placed to get on the end of them and time and time again they very frustratingly went begging.

Burnley kept pressing, Brighton kept defending! Ankergren kept out a Rodriguez drive and then with 20 minutes to go on the clock, Ben Mee tried his luck from distance only to see the keeper tip the ball over the bar.

It just didn`t look like we were going to increase our lead and as the clock ticked down; you could almost sense Brighton getting cockier and more confident by the minute. Now they started to string together a few chances of their own on the break and Burnley began to look a little jaded and panicky. Lee Grant first had to pull off a good save to deny Taricco, the only time he had been called into action all afternoon and then the Clarets breathed a sigh of relief as Brighton stiker, Craig Mackail-Smith, who had been strangely subdued all afternoon suddenly burst into action putting two attempts just inches wide of target.

Surely the unthinkable would not happen would it? It was rather annoying to think that Clarets fans were the more nervous when four minutes of added time was announced. We should have been on Planet Pluto by then! Almost unbelievably, it was Brighton now forcing the issue. Grant had to be alert to deny Mackail-Smith who had managed to get in behind the Burnley defence. Moments later, Mackail-Smith looked almost certain to equalise again but this time David Edgar got in the way to make a goal-line clearance.

It is not often you come away with a win on your travels and feel disappointed but this was one of those games and in the end it was almost a relief when the final whistle went. It was though at the same time somehow a very enjoyable day out and by the time I got back to Cambridgeshire, I had a pretty broad smirk on my face! In the cold light of day, it was still job done, considering we are only the third team this season to come away from the Amex with all three points! We also kept a clean sheet which at least is another comforting aspect for the 900 plus Clarets fans who made the long journey south.

Match Stats

Brighton: Ankergren, Greer, Dunk, El-Abd, Vincelot, Taricco, Harley (Noone 20), LuaLua (Navarro 20), Bridcutt (Buckley 89), Barnes, Mackail-Smith

Subs Not Used: Brezovan, Paynter

Booked: Straight Red Cards for for Vincelot (5 minutes) and Barnes (15 minutes). Yellow card for Taricco

Burnley: Grant, Trippier, Duff, Edgar, Mee, Marney, Wallace, McCann, Bartley (Vokes 46), Rodriguez, Paterson (Austin 66)

Subs Not Used: Stewart, Amougou, Stanislas

Goal: Trippier 32

Booked: Yellow cards for Edgar and Paterson

Possession: 49% Brighton, 51% Burnley (Source: BBC Sport)

Ref: Craig Pawson (South Yorkshire)


9 Replies to “An Unconvincing Win in Falmer”

  • Strange emotions in this one but we got three points and that is the main thing! Love the ground though and the atmospeher. Had some good banter with Brighton fans too although that was BEFORE the game! They were certainly miffed after and I had to try and not notice in my Claret regalia their cynical digs on the train coming back! Just sat there with a broad,cheesey grin on my face!

  • After agree tmp really disappointed way we attacked nine men, understand why we played like that but everybody round me thought it might go tits-up and it nearly did. Also the crossing and the final ball were terrible, like you say celebrated and happy with the win but we should have battered them. I thought they should have been down to eight men, that little dirty ***** Taricco should have been sent off aswell.

  • Howe said we got plenty of balls in their box but they defended them well, From what I was listening to via Clarets world we didn’t put many balls in their box and what we did was very poor balls in

  • To some degree TC, Clarets Player gave you the more accurate opinion! Trippier though got loads of crosses over (and Mee to some extent), it’s just our strikers were not in the right position to take advantage! We also should have been more pacy on the attack, we let their eight man defence get back time and time again through slow build up and sideways passing. When the strikers did get the ball, they seemed reluctant to shoot

  • All said I welcome three more points to avoid relegation, sorry you optimists but I am looking forward to a real challenge for promotion next season, relegation would spoil everything.

  • Pretty accurate report that TMP. I’ve never been at a game where four of the starting eleven had left the field within 20 minutes that’s for sure. Fedup is right about Taricco too and Noone should at least have been yellow carded for some outrageous dives. Had the ref not have administered a couple of early reds I’m pretty sure he would have received his marching orders too. Stadium is ok but there is clearly room for a few extra seats in the corners – Burnley should take note in the hope that a more enclosed Turf Moor can improve the often woeful home atmosphere. On the pitch I thought both managers got it right. Poyet had no choice but to ask his team to shut up shop and Howe asked his outfit to keep their cool and spread the play. In the end though we got the win and I saw my third away win of the season. Mackail-Smith should have squared matters at the end and but for that miss I thought he was fantastic. If only we had that kind of electric pace up front rather than the plodders and dodders that currently feature. Finally, full marks to Brighton fans for a cracking atmosphere but points deducted for being such sour losers and for criticising us Clarets for a ‘pitiful’ following. A week before Christmas and many hundreds of miles from home – let’s see how many Seagulls make the return journey.

  • RT – Not sure how they can criticise us for a poor following – we sold out the allocation we were given! I agree it was disapointing in the end, and very nailbiting, I thought CMS has scored at the end and with a couple of efforts shortly before! Not entirely sure what more we could have done ( short of having more quality) – I didnt think we were particularly slow on the attack – they had 8 men pretty much sat in position at all times. On the occasions when they did attack, we broke into the gaps well and looked our most dangerous. As I say, a very frustrating afternoon – but we got our win.

  • You have a point 8c8, although it would have been nice to get our goal difference up with this league so competitive! GD could decide who is in the play-offs or not at the moment

Comments are closed.