Post-match report for our last game: Derby (FAC5), Saturday, 16th February 2019

F A CUP FIFTH ROUND; Brighton v Derby


VENUE; the Amex, Falmer.
RESULT; 2-1 ~ Knockaert, Locadia . (h-t 2-0) . SHAPE; 4-3-3 . REF; had use of VAR and consulted on occasion.

PROLOGUE; a live chance to progress into the last eight of this popular competition and temporarily forget Premier League frustrations was topic of conversation on busy concourses prior to lunchtime kickoff.
Vagaries of the draw merely left seven PL clubs in contention at this stage, so subsequent lottery for quarter final ties should prove fairly interesting to all & sundry within the football pyramid.
GATE; 24,562 . WEATHER; mainly dry, mild & cloudy.

CHRIS HUGHTON had the usual post-training dilemma as who to name on the knockout team-sheet. Apparently sickness had infected some squad members and so, although the starting eleven looked ok, substitutes were lately bolstered by U23 players.

TEAM; . . . . . . . . 27 Button
. . 2 Bruno, 4 Duffy, 33 Burn, 30 Bernardo
. . . . 8 Bissouma, 6 Stephens, 7 Kayal
. 11 Knockaert, 9 Locadia, 16 Jahanbakhsh

BENCH; 31 Sanchez, 22 Montoya, 3 Bong, 57 Ostigard, 13 Gross (86), 49 Molumby, 42 Gyokeres (81).

GOALS; 1-0 - 33. Wingers had swapped flanks as Bruno & Bissouma made ground fluently. The ball was clipped in and KNOCKAERT finished with skill as of previous years.
2-0 - 45+ Bissouma attacked with pace and his curling drive struck an upright but fortunately LOCADIA was on hand to find the net in lieu.
2-1 - 81. Albion defence was in sixes & sevens and the clean sheet went west way too easily when mistakes at the back were punished.

INCIDENTS; travellers turned defeat into a rough & tumble cup tie as they tried to turn around a two goal deficit. Brighton fans lacked noisy vocal encouragement as harmonious Derby support got right behind their heroes during a splendid second half fight-back.

YELLOWS; 76 - Bissouma trying to prevent a counter attack. 94 - Bruno took one for the team.

SUBS; 81 - Gyokeres replaced injured Locadia. 86 - Gross came on for Bissouma.
The changes were so late and certainly reactive, possibly pragmatic rather than disguised as anything else.

ANALYSIS; hosts claimed a two goal lead just before the interval having bossed the first half. Visitors reshaped for the second period and suddenly, abracadabra, it was a different fairy story for the second period.
Hughton and coaches would have been well aware of Rams commitment against Prem clubs in this competition and also the EFL Cup, especially when coming from behind. But locals game management in the face of a strong response from opposition was similar to that often seen in league matches, where defence undertook lengthy pressure without finding a suitable relieving outlet going forward.
As the tie opened up in later stages the third goal would prove crucial. In the event it was scored by Rams and nerves were frayed during closing moments. Seagulls seemed lightweight at the death. Disappointment pervaded in the final judgement.
Perhaps next weeks warm-weather sojourn to Spain was on players minds as they perused packing trunks & flip flops instead of trainers.

NUMBERS; shape 433-433, poss 47%-53%, on target 8-3, off target 6-4, corners 8-5, fouls 13-11, yellows 2-3, subs 2-3. MoM - Bissouma.