Post Match report for the Southampton game - Saturday, 24th August 2019

PREMIER LEAGUE: Brighton v Southampton - 24/8/19 P3


VENUE; the Amex, Falmer - second home match of three fixtures to date.
RESULT: 0-2 . (h-t 0-0) . SHAPE: 3-4-3 . REF; never really been a friend to locals.

PREAMBLE; it was Bank Holiday weekend and many Brighton fans turned out wearing attire appropriate to staycation in good old Sussex by the sea. All hoped to be freely entertained but did not expect the team to still be on the beach, as in that previous chilling springtime dip.
GATE: 30,019 . WEATHER; very warm & sunny afternoon.

GRAHAM POTTER stuck with so-far tried & tested formation and personnel, except to rotate two of the leading three. Today would show how close he was to reaching required Prem standards from a strategy based in positivity and applied man management.

TEAM . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 Ryan
. . . . . . . . . . . 4 Duffy, 5 Dunk, 33 Burn
. 22 Montoya, 6 Stephens, 24 Propper, 20 March
. . . . . . . . . 7 Maupay, 10 Andone, 11 Trossard

BENCH: 27 Button, 30 Bernardo, 15 Webster, 18 Mooy, 9 Locadia (68), 13 Gross (78), 17 Murray (74)

GOALS: 55 - 0-1. Albion were taking the play into visitors third but lost the ball up field on left flank. The quick counter found their new sub in acres of space centrally to the area, with enough game-time to pick his spot as Ryan advanced.
91 - 0-2. More pushing forward, by hosts ten men in search of an equaliser, got doubly punished when the away side slotted home as play was finally stretched to breaking point.

INCIDENTS: 29 - Andone received a pass down the flank but lost control in all senses. In chasing the loose ball he went over the top and Ref immediately produced a straight red card.
38 - VAR, no goal! At a set piece Dunk found the net. Meanwhile the keeper was already on the deck. After a long interlude Ref awarded a free kick on Saints six yard line.
86 - Locadia strikes the left post/bar following a corner deep into the area after set up by Murray.

YELLOWS: 89 - Montoya, an innocent victim of several bookable offences throughout, made an illegal challenge.
RED: 30 - Andone committed a kamakazi type of action.

SUBS: 68 - March was withdrawn for Locadia who went up front, Trossard dropping back. 74 - Maupay disappeared for Murray, now making a more physical front pair. 78 - Gross went on for Stephens, to link back to front.
All changes maintained the revised shape but offered little in the way of major penetration or upping the ante.

ANALYSIS: following a busy opening phase Seagulls suffered an early game changer with dismissal of Andone. Potter reshaped slightly to 432 with Burn & Montoya resuming as full backs and March moved exclusively into midfield.
The front two were just as mobile and well supported with one less from around the pitch but collectively the revamped unit failed too many times to hit the target.
The second period demanded more from the squad but that crucial first goal meant BHA were chasing the game. A fail to score stat on domestic turf cannot merely be written off, nor negated by being reduced to ten for an hour plus stoppage.
Head coach and new players are integrating and it is a work in progress to bring those up to speed of already battle-hardened Prem regulars. This division is a cut above soccer in Europe and management & players have to reach that benchmark.
MoM; Burn - for third game running, with a determined display from back to front.

HOME FAN; plenty of intent, from all angles you might say but in truth, it just flattered to deceive. We got beat as well, so certainly no fortress Amex restored yet awhile.

AWAY FAN; our outfit edged it due to having an extra man for an hour. Once ahead they just knew too much to let it slip.

NEUTRAL VIEW; a wakeup call and reality check for the home team after a flattering start to the season. Nobody rolls over at this level, there are no easy games. Everything has a counter strategy, there is way too much at stake to be caught cold.