Brighton & Hove Albion 0 0
Leeds United 0
Boy that was a cold evening! I heard some of our fans saying it was almost as cold as that famous night up at Middlesbrough in the snow a few years ago! Was it a game to warm the hearts? No, probably not, but whereas many Leeds fans leaving the ground clearly thought it was a poor performance from Leeds, I was actually OK with it.
Leeds seldom ever return from a trip to the Amex with as much as a point – five consecutive games before this one saw five defeats – and, in fact, our record against the Seagulls in general has been poor in recent years; just two wins in the last 13 games and those both came at Elland Road. The Seagulls are a difficult side to beat too – only Manchester City and, very early in the season, Everton have won here this season and, while they have now gone eight without a win, six of those have been drawn. Hence it was a bit of an achievement not to lose down here.
The conditions were tough too. The cold probably didn't affect the players as much as it did the fans, but the swirling, howling wind made passing a bit of a lottery and shooting pretty difficult too. I’d agree that the home side dealt with the conditions better than we did and they did boss the possession which of course is unusual against Leeds. They chalked up 20 attempts to our 11 too, but those hitting the target were shared equally at four apiece. Truth be told, there wasn’t much to choose between these two sides on the night. There were boos from the home crowd incidentally at the end of the game, suggesting they thought their lads hadn’t done much on the night and they weren't wrong.
Junior Firpo had a torrid time in the first half trying to cope with Tariq Lamptey and it was no surprise to see him replaced at halftime, but it was a surprise to see Kalvin Phillips come off. At the time of writing I haven’t seen any reason given for that. The changes did seem to give Leeds a bit more impetus after the break though, although Jamie Shackleton would, I’m sure, be the first to admit he had some ‘difficult’ moments. Tyler Roberts did well when he came on for Jack Harrison for the final half hour and only the agility and reflexes of Robert Sanchez in the home goal prevented him getting on the scoresheet, first being denied by the keeper’s legs and then a decent save in the bottom corner. That was a shame because I think we all believe Tyler needs a goal to get him going this season.
Of the rest, Meslier was important, both with his saves and riding his luck a couple of times as shots almost sneaked through him and Adam Forshaw was again vital in always being there for a pass, much as we used to see Pablo Hernandez doing. Our usual main inspiration, Raphinha, had a quiet game and it looked like he wasn’t enjoying the conditions.
Overall though, this might look a pretty important point later in the season, especially if we can now win the next two games against Crystal Palace and Brentford. 7 points this week from the three games would set us up nicely for that difficult run that is coming thereafter. Oh, and did I mention that it was bloody cold at the Amex today?
Brighton Leeds United
Possession 57% 43%
Shots 20 11
On Target 4 4
Corners 6 1
Fouls Committed 12 14