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Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Brighton Preview

Eleven games in now and how are we doing? Well, a midtable 10th place and six points behind the leader was not what we had in mind at the beginning of August. And after three away games in 8 days, although two of them weren't all that distant, they've left me feeling a bit detached and indifferent especially with the results neatly arranged at a average 1 win, 1 draw and 1 defeat. I must admit to a little tad of indifference creeping in but that could be due to the arrival of winter.
I suppose you have to look at the facts and ask yourself whether we are improving or not. One defeat in the last 6 league games and 2 defeats in the last 9 if you want to include cup games. 14th best at scoring goals and 11th best at conceding them in Tier Three. 5th best home record and one of only 6 teams still unbeaten at home with an average attendance of 14, 700 - over double that of leaders Brighton. Crap against the bottom half teams but a cracking 6th in points won against the top half. Oh, and we never give up - or maybe just wake up late - with 6 of our 14 league goals coming after the 85th minute.
And for those hopeless pessimists out there we now face a bit of a lift. Because now that all the difficult bottom of the table teams are out of the way we now face 5 easy games in sucession, namely Brighton 1st (h), Carlisle 2nd (a), Sheffield Wednesday 5th (h), Swindon 14th (a) and Peterborough 3rd (a). If you are one of those with a pessimistic nature, five defeats in a row wouldn't be a surprise but I fancy we can get at least a point leaving us on a total of 17 with a slip down to 19th come the middle of November. And funnily enough, that's exactly where Brighton were last November when Gus Poyet took over as manager.

He's had plenty of grooming as they say. Swindon, Leeds, Spurs, all as assistant manager and then came his chance with the sacking last November of Brighton's Russell Slade. He was given the job and steered Brighton away from relegation and has obviously impressed a few important people down there as recently he's been rewarded a 4 year extension to his contract, an almost unheard period in his line of work.
Six points in front of us and top of the table with 22 points and unbeaten in their last 8 with the 4th best away record in Tier Three from 2 wins (Swindon 2-1, Plymouth 2-0), 2 draws (Carlisle 0-0, Tranmere 1-1) and only a single defeat at Sheffield Wednesday 0-1.
And in the latest form guide, home and away over the last 8 games, the Seagulls take top spot and are way in front of us with 18 points against our rather pathetic 10, leaving us in 18th place.
As far as goals are concerned, they are 7th highest scorers in this league with just one more than the Addicks but have only scored once in each of their last three games, but on the other hand are graced with the 3rd meanest defence in Tier Three behind the surprisingly highly 2nd placed Carlisle and the now 5th Wednesday, with only 7 goals conceded in 11 games.

The Opposition

Number 14 is Iñigo Calderón who will be disappointed that Miguel Llera is not playing because the two of them played together at Alicante in 2004/05 before Miguel moved to Gimnastic Tarragona.


There's only two this week, but what a couple of ex's. First there's a respected member of the Wembley Play-off team who played with his heart on his sleeve and always sweated blood for the team. His name - Stevie Brown. He played 228 games plus 55 sub appearances for the Addicks over eleven years from 1991 to 2002 scoring 11 times and Carles Puyol, capt of Barca and Spain always reminds me of Steve's head first style, except that Brownie hasn't got a World Cup winners medal. Steve's now returned to his roots and is Youth team manager at the Seagulls.
The other ex is, of course, Kish. Immoralized by the blogging world we can only wonder what his reception will be like. Now 36 and in his first season at Brighton, he's started 8 games this season for the Seagulls. He joined us in 2000 and stayed for 7 years before playing his last game in Jan 2007 and moving to Leeds.

Pi**ed off with relegations at Leeds and then Leicester to moved back to Bulgaria before Poyet enticed him back to the UK with a promise to let him play at the Valley. Capped 88 times for his country he played 167 plus 33 sub games for the Addicks in the Premier scoring twice and prior to that won two Bulgarian league titles in his time at Litex Lovech.

Top scorers are twenty year old number nine Ashley Barnes and number 17 Glenn Murray who have now been joined on 3 goals each by Kazenga LuaLua, on loan from Newcastle. And, no he's not the famous one, thats his brother Lomana.

Brighton have a good record at the Valley with 9 wins in the twenty-four games played at the Valley, all in the League, with 13 Addicks victories and 2 draws. And their last victory was on a wet night last February with Llera's mate right-back Calderon scoring the first on 36 minutes. Bennett added a second with 78 minutes gone and we only had a Sodje goal in the dying seconds to show for our efforts.
In fact, you could argue that they have one of the best records at the Valley of anyone for of the last 10 games at the Valley over the last 37 years they have won 5, the Addicks only 4 with a single draw.

What Are They Saying?
Parky was pleased after Saturdays game, "We are very pleased. Today was a good all-round performance with the second half very, very good."We conceded an early goal from a long throw which was disappointing, but football's all about reactions and you need character out there to make sure the team reacts in the right way and I felt we did that."

Whats Their Secret?
Especially clinical against the bottom half of the table with 4 wins and a draw and as we said before the 3rd best defence in Tier Three. But there does appear to be a lack of staying power present in the Seagulls. Because in complete contrast to the Addicks who have scored 6 out of our 14 in the last 5 minutes, the Seagulls do completely the opposite and have conceded exactly half of their 8 goals conceded in the last 5 minutes. And its a problem that sadly is getting worse for the Seagulls. Goals conceded last week at home to Bournemouth (in the 92th minute) and the week previous at Tranmere in the 87th have cost them 4 points in the last couple of weeks. Previous to that they lost another two points at home to Rochdale with a 92th minute penalty and the only time it didn't matter was a late consolation earned by Walsall in a 2-1 win.
And surprise, surprise, guess who else has gifted 6 points to the opponents due to conceding after being in front? Why the Addicks, of course, against Oldham, Tranmere and the Daggers.
They have what appears to be a settled team with 5 players who have started all 11 games whereas in comparison the Addicks have only one - Gary Doherty.

The Team

For Addicks strikers a brace of goals doesn't come along very often so we must heap praise on those that achieve it. Apart from Pav Abbott's couple in the League Cup against Shrewsbury in August, the last time anyone scored twice was Deon Burton's two, both penalties, in the 4-4 draw with the spanners at the Valley in December last year. Prior to that Lloyd Sam got two against Tranmere in our 4-0 win there in August last year but the last time a striker scored more than one in the League and not from penalties was Deon again on May 3rd against Norwich in our Tier Two 4-2 swansong, 57 league games ago. So it may have been a long time coming but at last we can say well done Paul.
As for the team at the weekend, Parky first of all has to decide who to play in central defence. With Francis failing to stop Brentford winger Weston the previous week and then being sent home at Andover for the Plymouth game, Christian has had time to fill in at right-back with a stirring performance that brought accolades from Parky. His class apart, perhaps we take this little gem for granted and as Parky discovered at the weekend there's far more to Christian than we normally see. At sixteen years of age in 1990, he became Dundee United's youngest ever player and, playing as a striker, scored in his first 3 games and as well as his 67 Scotland caps he's also played 34 times for the Scotland U21's, which is a world record for the U21's.
So its fair to assume that Dailly will be in the team for Saturday but will he be back in his normal role or flying down that wing again. With Gary Doherty being our only ever-present and Jon Fortune starting in the last 3 league games what will Parky do about new father Francis?
As for the rest of the team, with the second half performance last weekend reported by many to be the best of the season, it would be reasonable to expect the conservative Parky to start against Brighton with same players than started the second half with Francis replacing Fortune.

Elliott; Francis, Dailly, Doherty, Jackson; Martin, Semedo, Racon, Reid; Abbott, Benson


Brighton's only defeat so far in the League was away at Hillsborough in front of 18,000 fans and with gates at the Withdean averaging just 6,800 maybe they are just not used to a little bit of noise. There were 10,000 at Swindon when they won 2-1 but perhaps our only chance will be to get behind the team, make a lot of noise and encourage them to attack until the very end especially in the last 5 minutes when Brighton are prone to concede.

All in all, Parky, its time for a Leeds-type performance to kickstart the season and bring these Seagulls down to earth. But as mentioned before, optimism is a bit lacking in this neck of the woods and for me its a 1-1 draw unless Benson can pop up with another late, late winner.


ChicagoAddick said...

Excellent as usual Nelson but I am truly shocked by that 'brace' statistic.

nelson said...

I've been known to get a couple of things wrong but this one is sad but true CA,lets just hope that the boy Benson can do it again pretty damn soon.
And I have to say that I'm a bit jealous of your youth CA, as I've reached an age where nothing in this world shocks me any more, especially down here in Tier Three and a half.

Ian at Early Bath said...

Hi Nelson. Sorry for posting this here but I couldn't find any contact details.

Could you ping me a quick email to ian #at earlybath #dot when you get a minute.

Thanks v much.