|Brighton and Hove Albion 1 v 1 Ipswich Town|
Tuesday, 2nd October 2012 Kick-off 19:45
Brighton 1-1 Town
Tuesday, 2nd Oct 2012 21:49
Brighton sub Will Buckley netted 10 minutes from time to claim a 1-1 draw at the Amex Stadium. The Seagulls had put on the pressure in the second half after Town had gone in front via Daryl Murphy in the first period.
Boss Paul Jewell made two changes to the side which drew 1-1 at Barnsley on Saturday with Michael Chopra returning after a thigh strain and Jay Emmanuel-Thomas recalled on the right as the Blues went back to their 4-3-2-1 formation. Luke Hyam missed out due to his back injury, while Jason Scotland drops to the bench.
There was an early scare when the Blues – wearing last season’s black away kit - failed to clear and Kazenga LuaLua shot wide when in space on the left of the area when he ought to have done better.
At the other end, Jay Emmanuel-Thomas hit a low strike which aqua-planed through to summer Town target Tomasz Kuszczak, heavy rain having fallen in the hours before kick-off.
On 11 Brighton broke quickly down the Blues left through Andrea Orlandi, who found Ashley Barnes inside the area, Stephen Dobbie eventually hitting a shot which Scott Loach stopped.
Town might have gone in front in the 13th minute when skipper Carlos Edwards sent in a deep cross from the right and Daryl Murphy headed across goal and wide. Had another Blues player been following in, they may well have netted Town’s first ever goal at the Amex Stadium.
Somewhat untypically, Brighton had given the ball away frequently with the Blues threatening to make it, Murphy chipping a cross in from the left which almost found Chopra.
Town keeper Loach was almost caught out by an Orlandi freekick from the right which curled in under the bar in the 20th minute but the Blues number one reacted at the last to tip over.
A minute later, Aaron Cresswell blocked from Inigo Calderon from the edge of the area with the home side again having looked dangerous on the break.
In the 27th minute the Edwards-Murphy combination which had almost borne fruit earlier led to Town’s opener. The right-back whipped in another ball to the far post and the on-loan Celtic man stooped to nod home the first goal of his third spell at the club and the Blues’ inaugural strike at Brighton’s new home.
The Seagulls looked to hit straight back but LuaLua and Barnes got in one another’s way from Calderon’s cross from the right and the ball ran harmlessly to Loach.
Town weren’t far from going 2-0 ahead in the 33rd minute when Emmanuel-Thomas sent a low ball across the box but just out of Chopra’s reach. On 37 Dobbie shot well over with the home side still looking a little ragged despite having the greater share of the ball.
Dobbie went close for the home side in the 41st minute, the ball catching a Town player and then one of his team-mates on its way over the bar.
The home side couldn’t really complain about being behind at the break having given the ball away on a regular basis. The Blues had created a number of chances and for once had taken one of them with Murphy having made the most of Edwards’s excellent cross.
At the other end, the Town backline continued where it left off at Barnsley with Loach making a couple of stops on the occasions when it was breached.
Murphy twice went close to making it 2-0 within two minutes of the restart. First the Irishman met another cross from the right, this time from Chopra, but Kuszczak superbly got across goal to block. Then, from the resultant corner, Murphy flicked a header over.
After Dean Hammond had been booked for a foul on Martin, Town again went close, Murphy crossing but just too high for Drury. At the other end, Dobbie shot just wide.
On 51 Drury sent in a freekick from deep on the left and Higginbotham nodded it across goal but the ball wouldn’t fall for a Town player.
The early stages of the second period were pretty much all Town until Dobbie struck a deflected effort just past Loach’s right post in the 53rd minute.
Brighton started to take control during what had been a lively start to the second half. In the 54th minute LuaLua shot straight at Loach from the left after the Blues had lost the ball in a dangerous area on their right flank.
Just after the hour mark, Loach was forced to bat away a LuaLua shot, then Chambers blocked the rebound from Orlandi. Soon after, Barnes shot wide on the turn with the Seagulls laying siege to the Town box.
After Brighton had swapped Hammond and LuaLua for Will Buckley and Gary Dicker, Town switched Jason Scotland for Chopra, who had toiled up front alone without too much reward.
The Albion onslaught relented, the home side losing their impetus a touch after the substitutions and on 69 Scotland almost found Martin as the Blues broke.
Play quickly moved to the other end, N’Daw doing well to take Buckley’s cross away from Barnes, then Dobbie striking a shot against a Town defender.
On 70 an Emmanuel-Thomas freekick from the right flew past everyone to Kuszczak, then the Blues’ number nine – much more effective than in recent games - struck one of his trademark powerful left-footed strikes just over.
Brighton had had the better of the half but without often threatening Loach’s goal. But in the 80th minute they got back on terms. Calderon cut in from the right, his cross-shot hit Chambers and fell kindly for the Spaniard, who slammed the loose ball across the six-yard box and into the path of left winger Buckley, who tapped home.
Town went looking to get back ahead, N’Daw almost finding Murphy with a cross from the right on 84, moments before Josh Carson took over from Emmanuel-Thomas.
The Blues weren’t far from going back in front in the 87th minute when Scotland’s shot was spilled by Kuszczak a defender just taking the loose ball away from Murphy
Seconds prior to the start of five minutes of injury time, Carson was clattered by Adam El-Abd 10 yards outside the area. The Seagulls defender was booked before Higginbotham hit the freekick into the wall.
Buckley sent a dangerous cross in from the left, then moments before the whistle hit a curling shot which Loach claimed as two Brighton players looked to add a touch.
Town certainly deserved the point which they would have welcomed before the match and were by no means hanging on at the end as they had been at Barnsley.
The Blues were worth their lead at the break and might have added a second soon after half-time through Murphy, but overall the home side were on top for most of the second period and defeat would have been harsh on Gus Poyet's men.
A second draw in two away games is by no means a bad result – particularly against a side who had been the division’s leaders – however with the Blues now eight games without a win and still in 23rd place it’s unlikely to greatly add to the security of Paul Jewell’s position.
Town: Loach, Edwards, Chambers, Higginbotham, Cresswell, Drury, N'Daw, Murphy, Emmanuel-Thomas (Carson 84), Martin, Chopra (Scotland 64). Unused: Lee-Barrett, Smith, Ainsley, Luongo, Ellington.
Brighton: Kuszczak, Calderon, El-Abd, Greer, Bridge, Bridcutt, Hammond (Dicker 62), Barnes, LuaLua (Buckley 62), Dobbie, Orlandi (David 77). Unused: Ankergren, Dunk, Painter, Harley. Referee: Feed Graham (Essex). Att: 24,736.
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