Brighton 2 Leeds United 0
Every time we have been to the Amex we have travelled all the way down there in hope but have returned in frustration and disappointment. This time ought to have been different and most of us travelled down with a certain expectation. This was the first year we have been down there equipped to tame the Seagulls but sadly we never got the tools out of the box.
Whether it was the quality Brighton have that caused us so many problems in the first half-hour or whether we were out of sorts I am still not sure but that period of the game was embarrassing to watch. A defence that has seen us repel most attacks this season and which has often been rock solid was suddenly nervous and strangely naïve. Luke Ayling has been a star for us all season but he was well and truly roasted while the usually cool and commanding Kyle Bartley was a shadow of his usual self. Even the mighty Pontus looked unsettled. Consequently Brighton found it relatively easy to get in behind us and loft high balls into the box which we know is not the forte of Rob Green to deal with. With Bartley and Pontus also reticent to get their heads to the fore we really stood no chance and for the first twenty minutes the ball fizzed around our goal far too often for comfort. The only surprise was that it took Brighton 23 minutes to breach our shaky defences. Another high ball, another moment of Rob Green indecision and a man left unmarked at the back post and we were done for. That the problem was compounded by Kalvin Phillips hooking the ball away with a hand is almost irrelevant and it was just one of those things. Number ’17’ taking a penalty against us was only ever going to end one way but it was another example, as Marco showed us against Norwich, when sometimes the keeper just needs to stand his ground!
With ten men against a top side we had no chance but actually, we did pull ourselves together a bit after that and it was only a second, far more dubious penalty that caused us to concede again. There were still issues mind – sloppy inaccurate passing and poor decision making – but Brighton will no doubt be furious with themselves that they didn’t put us to the sword and improve their goal difference.
It’s done, finished, history; we now need to bounce back next week with a couple of wins at Elland Road and this can soon be put down to the proverbial bad day at the office. If we are to be serious contenders though, we must win those games and that will not be easy as we continue to have to work without the likes of Bridcutt and Hernandez. Maybe Garry Monk can come up with something different on Tuesday
Brighton Leeds Utd
Possession 60% 40%
Shots 18 2
On Target 7 0
Corners 7 1
Fouls 13 12