Shrewsbury - Home, Withdean Era
Season 3 (H) 17/11/01 FAC 1 - 1-0 ~ Zamora
Bedford were at home to Peterborough and Blackpool hosted Newport County. Morecambe had gone to Brentford and Gravesend visited Huddersfield. Yes FAC round one again in mid November and which of several non-league sides would topple a div2 outfit today? The list of potential banana skins didn't stop above, there was also Bournemouth v Worksop, Oldham v Barrow, Port Vale v Aylesbury, Reading v Welling, Stalybridge v Chesterfield, Tiverton v Cardiff, Tranmere v Brigg Town and Wigan v Canvey Island. The luck of the draw had curiously paired a majority of this division against those little clubs that reached the first round proper. Brighton registered a few reversals versus some of these named in past encounters and were more than happy to get regular outfit Shrewsbury at Withdean. It had been a number of years since enjoying a home tie, apart from replays and hoped the novelty would prove to be an advantage. Ironically Lewes were playing on Sunday at Stoke, surrendering being drawn as alternative entertainers in Sussex because there was no suitable stadium in the whole county. If ever there was an argument for Falmer then this bizarre situation surely added fuel directly to that already raging fire. We got 5400 in at Withdean on the day.
Brighton were on top of div2 and incredibly only lost twice this season to date. Peter Taylor took over seamlessly from Micky Adams and it was business as usual all the way through. Shrewsbury also weren't going quite so bad this time around in div3. They'd improved considerably on those last three terms playing lowly Brighton in tier four, as we made a terrific comeback from depths of depravity at Gillingham. Our saviour, scoring sensation and leading marksman of lower leagues Bobby Zamora, found the net yet again on half an hour to notch for the fifth game running. He had passed 50 goals in 70 appearances to produce a set of fantastic stats by anyone's standards. Very often his single goal was the difference between sides otherwise equally matched. Taylor said, 'it was a difficult game but we dealt with it very well. I am encouraging the players to play more football. We had a bit more patience and didn't give the ball away cheaply.'
Kuipers, Watson, Cullip, Morgan, Mayo, Pethick, Carpenter, Oatway, Jones (Brooker), Steele, Zamora.
Season 2 (H) 25/11/00 - 4-0 ~ Hart, Carpenter, Zamora 2
We were all keeping the faith because Micky Adams had told us to. He talked, we listened and a lot of it made perfect sense - for a dirty northern b... Anyway, Adams had got in a strop due to media stories about Brighton players wanting away etc. He said, 'I've had an open door policy. If there is any sort of interest in them, I let them know. Then tell the board of directors, then thirdly if there is any progress, let fans know. I don't expect people on the fringes to be happy but as yet these have not asked to leave.' Brighton's reserve side included players such as Crosby, Melton, Steele, Brooker, Thomas and Ramsay, all of whom sat on the bench on any given Saturday. Most had made appearances except Thomas, who wasn't now included in the match day sixteen. Aspinal and Freeman were on a long-term sick list, while Carr hadn't figured for firsts for around three months. At present there was no such thing as blooding kids, who only numerically had obtained squad numbers.
This match went ahead following strenuous efforts by all and sundry to make a soaked pitch playable. At 3pm on a murky November afternoon it ain't long before dusk and floodlight soon showed up muddy stains on blue and especially white. It was still raining after kick-off but stopped as the fun began. Hart notched an opener early on to get the wet-look theme party started. Town were used to these conditions, coming from a ground next to a river like the Severn but couldn't stop four flooding away their defences. A quality fee kick by Carpenter rippled their net for more joy, soaked up by er, soaking Withdeanites. Happiness is a wet-weekend win in Brighton and Zamora struck twice, to send Sussex punters home for a super duper Sunday. 'Flowing football sinks Shrews' and 'Town left in puddles by passing game', were two back-page headlines imagined by Brighton fans as they daydreamed on a Saturday night. Micky Adams was a great bloke, Dick Knight became an instant legend in his own hospitality lounge and Zamora was a God.
Kuipers, Watson, Cullip, Wicks, Mayo, Hart (Steele), Rogers (Brooker), Oatway, Carpenter, Jones, Zamora (Ramsay).
Div 3 (League 2) P 19 . W 12 D 3 L 4 . F 35 A 15 . Pt 39 Po 2
Season 1 (H) 19/10/99 - 1-0 ~ Hart
Micky Adams was something of a philosopher. He needed to be from the way results were working out at home. In six fixtures at the Withdean, we'd won three and lost three. Adams said, 'the beauty of football, while the season is still in its infancy, is that another game comes along quickly enabling you to get frustrations out of your system. Although we can't change the outcome of Saturday's disappointing defeat, we mustn't dwell on the game but instead learn from it and try to get a result next time.' Brighton had lost once on the road and would have been higher in the table but for some mixed defeats caused by conceding very late goals. After completion of the first quarter a haul of 18 points suggested a middle order finish, perhaps just outside targeted play-offs. Apart from an opening-day goal fest, Albion had been in a few scraps where the odd goal counted for a lot. Adams paid attention to defence, literally in securing Cullip from Brentford for 50k. There was also a strong midfield, so perhaps it was up front where some extra firepower was needed.
In '98/99 Shrewsbury gained an extra point more than Brighton to reside two places above in 15th. Micky Adams had just arrived for a home fixture at Gillingham in mid April, when Albion beat Shrews 1-0 also on a Tuesday night. That was about all we had left in common to a Withdean line-up, where only Mayo and Hart appeared again. Hart had scored 12 goals from 44 apps and got his last in that season versus Shrewsbury. Inside three minutes he now grabbed a third this term and from a header too. Walton who had signed for BHA from Fulham in pre-season 1998 with Hart, played a blinder to prevent the drop-zone threatened Shropshire outfit getting a toehold in this contest. To cap his performance our new no.1 was removed from the transfer list. Shrews had two sent off to kill any hope of rescuing a point. Brighton recorded a crucial victory to further ambitions but a glance at the last few match results exposed our average ability. There were three 1-0 wins, a nil-nil draw and a 0-1 loss, not exactly impressively free-scoring. Things were hanging in balance.
Walton, Wilder, Cullip, Crosby, Campbell, Thomas, Rogers, Oatway, Aspinall (Mayo), Freeman (Newhouse), Hart (Ramsay).
Div 3 (League 2) P 13 . W 6 D 3 L 4 . F 21 A 12 . Pt 21 Po 10
Shrewsbury - Away, Withdean Era
Season 10 (A) 16/12/08 JPT SF - 0-0
Brighton got through 5-4 after a shoot-out.
To get there, Brighton had beaten Northampton (A) 0-1, Orient (H) 2-2, 5-4 on pens and Swindon (H) 2-0 in the QF. Shrews were now in their new stad, this since our recent last visit in k-o circumstances - see below. They were doing very well in League2, especially good at their brand-spanking place outa town. Meanwhile Albion were surprisingly struggling in League1 and couldn't win for toffee lately. Micky Adams was in his second spell as manager but couldn't get a settled side together, or who actually did the biz like at start of the noughties. Nearly 500 away fans attended on a chilly nite, which was quite ok coz it appeared on sky tv.
After years of knee trouble, Hinshelwood resumed here as sub for Hawkins inside 15 minutes. Adams used Forster as a lone front man and bolstered midfield. Deputy keeper Sullivan was called into action while Albion defended the first half, only counter-attacking on occasion. It became more of a cup-tie in the second period and both side spurned chances to go ahead. Virgo moved into defence when Hinsh got injured but played on anyway. Neither team could edge it by ninety minutes and penalties would decide, with probable sudden death. Forster, Virgo, Elphick, Robinson and Richards all scored. One last Shrews attempt was saved by Sullivan and he became another instant hero. He said, 'when I saw the lads running over, that's when I knew. It was a great moment for me.'
Sullivan, Whing, Elphick, Hawkins (Hinshelwood), Richards, Cox, Virgo, El-Abd, Thornton (Fraser), McLeod (Robinson), Forster.
Season 7 (A) 23/8/05 LC1 - 2-3 ~ McCammon, Robinson
Mark McGhee said, 'regardless of results I think the direction we are going is the right one. The style of football we are developing is the future. However it has to be a passing game with a bit of steel. Shown at the back, through middle of the park and in particular up front. We have to learn to finish teams off more clinically. We have not yet seen a settled team and need everyone in the present squad fit and available, with new acquisitions fully integrated. Then I expect us to turn what have been decent performances into victories - even as at Shrewsbury.' Brighton had gone to Gay Meadow and conceded three goals and not for the first time. In 2001 we were div3 champions and merely visited as such on the final day to go through those motions. If Micky Adams had wanted a result he might just have taken reserves who scraped out a point at Halifax two days earlier. After all they were hungrier to achieve something, perhaps anything by way of recognition as an integral part of a promotion winning squad. This time around personnel had changed and so too a desire to overcome.
Shrewsbury might still have been stuck between the devil and the deep river Severn but their new team was far from fed up and showed a huge appetite for easy meat. Less than 200 BHA followers retraced steps on a once springtime riverbank in celebration and it's just as well a missing majority didn't now witness a cave-in. McCammon headed home a Carole cross on 17 minutes. However Town quickly equalised and Albion wandered around sightseeing on a nice evening below that overlooking castle. Robinson came on early second half with a point to prove and snatched a 'winner' to put his name on McGhee's mind. But bizarrely Brighton let another in, a minute from time and to add injury to insult a third a minute into extra time. McGhee was seeing who could cut the mustard in a hot week of three long away trips. He must have thought he needed to cool it with some 'acquisitions', as he fell back on a tried and tested and probably cheaper option, when his 'theories' didn't actually equate in an unpredictable ninety-plus minutes but only in practice beforehand.
Chaigneau, El-Abd, McShane, Butters, Reid, Carole (Jarrett, Carpenter), Nicolas, Knight, Hammond, McCammon, Kazim-Richards.
Season 2 (A) 5/5/01 - 0-3
A twelve match unbeaten run was brought to a halt but if any tears were shed, they were of joy at thoughts of div2 next year. For the record BHA had ended this season as div3 champions and finished clear of Cardiff and Chesterfield. Shrewsbury had improved on their last day escape of previous season alarm to reside in mid-table. Micky Adams said, 'I want to thank the board of directors who deserve a great deal of credit for the season we've enjoyed. They've backed me fully in everything I've wanted to do. Managers always want more than they've got but the Board has gone as far as they could in terms of finance and players. We are looking to improve the squad next season and that's what we'll be trying to do during the summer. If anybody thinks it is going to be easy next year, I say a lack of investment as at other clubs are examples of what happens if you don't build for the future.'
Brighton got hammered but 2500 celebrating away fans didn't really care. There was perhaps an argument to put the second team out, as at Halifax two days earlier but most players would expect to be competing for a first eleven place or bench spot next year anyway. Zamora had won player of the season and why not, notching 28 goals from 43 appearances. Watson with 5 from 46, Rogers 6 from 45, Hart 8 from 45, Carpenter 6 from 42, Jones 4 from 41 and Brooker 3 from 41 had been undeniable successes in supporting the wonder kid's spearhead attack. Even Mayo on 1 from 45, Cullip 2 from 38, Crosby 2 from 34, Oatway 0 from 38 and Wicks 3 from 24 had added contributions that er, counted. Perhaps Steele by only 2 from 23 might have been slightly disappointed, together with Melton 1 from 28. Kuipers had made 34 invaluable appearances in goal and was now undisputed 'numero uno'.
Kuipers, Watson (Melton), Cullip, Crosby, Mayo, Hart (Jones), Rogers (Steele), Oatway, Carpenter, Brooker, Zamora.
Div 3 (League 2) P 46 . W 28 D 8 L 10 . F 73 A 35 . Pt 92 Po 1
Season 1 (A) 29/4/00 - 2-1 ~ Brooker, Ling
Dick Knight said, 'I stood on the terraces and apart from the fact that for me it was just like old times and thoroughly enjoyable, I have to say that the atmosphere generated by our fans was something very special. They keep it loud, fair, good natured and witty because that's the Brighton way. We will soon be submitting a full planning application to the council, once negotiations and evaluations are completed. We need help, determination and resourcefulness of supporters because there will be opponents who do not share our vision. Our thriving city by the sea is currently lacking such a facility but I am confident benefits will be apparent to the council and Seagulls will be landing at Falmer in the not too distant future. A campaign of initial high expectations, some disappointment along the way, then truly magnificent form which almost took us to play-offs, leaves us deliciously anticipating more next season.'
Micky Adams had been at BHA for a year and had set the squad up to at least establish as a better than average unit and hopefully in top ten. That was in contrast to Shrewsbury who were embroiled in a relegation scrap. Town's form was dire but they scraped enough points together to keep in touch with safety lines. Talking of safety that Taylor report had condemned Gay Meadow, provoking a plan to move elsewhere. This of course needed local authority approval and they had said no once already. Shrews fell into div3 in 1997 when Brighton were on the rocks. But they still had a home but faced typical nineties dilemma of balancing football needs with finances and development against any number of rules & regs. Throw in a few greedy businessmen and a group of outraged Nimbys and it's a wonder there is a lower league structure still left in existence. For this last away fixture 1650 travellers assembled on that open station end terrace. Player of the year Cullip got a red card awarded as well. It didn't matter as we still won and it was a lucky thirteen unbeaten for Dick's dream to possibly begin to materialise.
Ormerod, Watson, Cullip, Crosby, Mayo, Thomas (Ling), Rogers, Oatway, Brooker (McPherson), Carr (Ramsay), Hart.
Div 3 (League 2) P 45 . W 16 D 16 L 13 . F 63 A 46 . Pt 64 Po 12