Post Match report for the Liverpool game - Saturday, 12th January 2019

PREMIER LEAGUE; Brighton v Liverpool


VENUE; the Amex, Falmer - eleventh home match of 22 fixtures to date.
RESULT; 0-1 . (h-t 0-0) . SHAPE; 4-5-1 . REF; somehow became centre of attention and so fell foul of home support angst.

PREAMBLE; the league leaders visited the community stadium, to pep locals domestic fare this month which, apart from a home FA Cup tie, otherwise looked a little light in other January content at Falmer.
GATE; 30,682 - ground record . WEATHER; cold & grey with late showers.

CHRIS HUGHTON did not have too many problems with picking a starting eleven. Bong replaced injured Bernardo as anticipated. Bissouma was absent, so senior U23 midfielder Sanders got elevated to sit among substitutes.

TEAM; . . . . . . . . . 27 Button
. . 22 Montoya, 4 Duffy, 5 Dunk, 3 Bong
. 20 March, 6 Stephens, 24 Propper, 9 Locadia
. . . . . . . 13 Gross, . . . . . . . . 17 Murray

BENCH; 23 Steele, 2 Bruno, 14 Balogun, 41 Sanders, 7 Kayal (79), 11 Knockaert (66), 10 Andone (66).

GOAL; 0-1 - 50. The visiting goal-getter had way too much room in the area and went over like a duck at the fayre. He regained equilibrium to fire past Button, who made a bold if not valiant diving attempt to save the penalty.

INCIDENTS; on many occasions play was interrupted for free kicks given to Reds as they went down under any feather touch or contact. It unbalanced any natural order, plus aggravated by a few tight offside flags that also caused frustration during cyclic ebb & flow.

YELLOWS; none. Albion had by far the most whistle for fouls committed in a ratio of 3:1. Brighton fans gave prolonged vocal encouragement to keep fighting in hope to get something.

SUBS; 66 - a double swap inserted attack minded Knockaert for versatile March and willing runner Andone for off the boil Murray. 79 - tired Gross was withdrawn in favour of fresh legs from Kayal.
Initial impact from hosts staying in the game, to pushing for an equaliser, petered out as travellers sat deeper, absorbed late threats & forays and hit back fast on the break.

ANALYSIS; after turnaround, following a forty-five minute version of chess with blue & red pieces, visitors made the vital breakthrough and ran out comfortable winners. They always knew too much at both ends of the pitch and had control in all areas bar inside hosts 18 yard box.
Classic nine man rearguard action, with opponents trying to exploit spaces between lines, accounted for much of BHA modus operandi. Walking like an Egyptian proved sufficient to gain advantage, which was unlikely to be easily surrendered to a lacklustre local attack.
Whether fans count this reasonable defensive performance as the standard to be maintained ongoing, is open to conjecture but one thing stands out... that performance merited better offensive action, a will to win as clearly shown by Reds.
The zero on target stat and subsequent fail to score label was domestic cause for concern.
MoM - Locadia, gave a competent display and is embedded at present via hustle, bustle and expecting the second ball.

1ST FAN; +fans go back a long way with this Ref and the ball never seems to break for us whenever he officiates a fixture with repercussions+

2ND FAN; +hands up, it was a fair cop guv. We were never going to beat them and the longer we could keep it goalless the best chance for a point maybe+

3RD FAN; +it was mid-table obscurity for much of the play. But no mean feat to hold champions elect to a single goal victory+