One thing I have attempted to do in this blog is put a light hearted spin on events at the Amex. Doing so this time may be difficult. It was a textbook night at the football, and, as such, not funny at all. It was good though.
The last two home games against Leeds have been excellent for the neutral. Two high scoring draws where the atmosphere has cracked and fizzled round the Amex. However, in both I felt we were unlucky not to win. This time round the atmosphere was a little less on edge, the game a little less open. And we won. To be fair that’s how I’d prefer it.
Everything went right in the Brighton But Only At Home camp. I got out of work on time and caught trains that weren’t delayed. I had a pie and a pint or two in Dick’s in which the main discussion was how much of a coach Oscar Garcia is, how we are benefitting from the wisdom of a man who is essentially a football nerd.
Then the only thing to slightly go wrong happened in that I lost Scoffers, unfortunate given he’s a six foot tall bloke. Blame the rather erratic 3G coverage in the WSU. While I was wandering I did bump in to another old friend, and one who can talk for England. I never successfully extracted myself.
So to the action on the pitch. This was a demonstration of exactly the coaching nerdiness we had just discussed. Despite, at times, giving away silly passes we still retained 61% of possession. When the ball was lost it was generally recovered within Oscar’s target time. The two centre backs had Ross McCormack in their pockets. Ince roamed and ravaged like a colossus. “Our own Ya Ya Touré” the bloke next to me remarked, and he was right.
I can’t honestly remember Leeds having a good chance, though being an amateur blogger, rather than a pro journalist, by this point a fair amount of ale had been taken. Still, I don’t think there was enough beer in the whole stadium to miss our general level of comfort.
What was missing was a goal (again) and Oscar said as much afterwards. Enter Kazenga. Immediately the threat level upped and we went from comfortable to cutting edge. After 64 minutes a typical bit of Kaz trickery found Ulloa on the penalty spot and he finished with a cheeky, and joyous flick of the outside of the right foot. Later the friend who can talk for England would claim it was a shank. He was laughed out of town. It was an incredible finish in a game where Ulloa’s first touch, up to then, had been lacking.
Not lacking in any way was Solly March who gave another brave and tireless performance, and Calde who did the same, still sprinting forward in the 90th minute to will the ball back and keep it in the corner. PIG dominated the penalty area on the rare occasions when the centre backs didn’t. Ward was again solid though his crossing radar was off.
But the night was the Ince and Kazenga show. The beating heart of our engine room and the most dangerous impact player we’ve ever had. As Leeds triple teamed KLL we brought on another pacey winger in the form of Buckley to make them reconsider. Textbook coaching.
Afterwards many of us stopped for a beer and a gloat in the West Lower. It seems beating Leeds is still very satisfying indeed. It just doesn’t produce particularly entertaining writing.