Shola’s double booking and sending off might have been laughable but that is also a word to perfectly sum up the performance.
The first half was tedious and with neither side really threatening, it was a surprise when the goal actually came. A low cross from our right was met by Brighton’s Orlandi with his back to goal but Williamson didn’t get tight enough and the player half turned and hooked the ball beyond Elliot.
Any hint of fightback was hard to find and half-time saw Ranger and Dummett on for Abeid and Perch, Santon moving to right-back with Dummett going to left. Ranger allegedly joining the attack.
A soft booking for Shola two minutes into the second-half was followed on the hour mark by another, with the Brighton player theatrically rolling over four times. It didn’t really change the game for better or worse as Brighton continued to look the better team, which didn’t take much.
Marveaux replaced the embarrassing Obertan with twenty minutes left and gradually Newcastle looked a little more of a threat, though it was only thanks to a number of long range free-kicks that Krul punted into the box which produced a few possible situations.
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The home keeper still wasn’t tested though and then with five minutes left it was Williamson again to blame, getting the wrong side of his man and a simple through ball was finished off through Elliot’s legs by Hoskins.
I can’t claim that anybody played well but I could have guessed beforehand who could be guaranteed to have been least worst. Sure enough Anita and Bigirimana worked tirelessly but when you have the likes of Sammy Ameobi and Obertan offering so little and frequently giving the ball away, it is an impossible situation.
While he was on the pitch Shola reminded us how limited he is when asked to play from the start and while the likes of Dummett and Tavernier battled away, they aren’t any kind of an answer to this season’s, or probably any other’s, shortcomings.
Santon’s frustrations were there for all to see and he should really have been booked when kicking the ball away but for once a bit of leniency was shown to somebody in black & white (maroon) by a ref, the Italian full-back didn’t stop trying and did ok but his obvious talent is in danger of being driven from this club if the quality of his teammates doesn’t improve.
Two words sum up our current position, one of them is Nile and the other is Ranger. A player with little ability and far less heart, I’m embarrassed he is even still at the club never mind getting on the pitch. Leon Best was poor to average but as it stands now, if he was still here he’d be our number one striker if anything happens to Papiss Cisse.
Under Mike Ashley we’ve never gone beyond the 4th round of the FA Cup, is that another strand of his ‘five year plan’?
Brighton: Ankergren, Lopez, Greer, El-Abd, Bridge, Hammond (Crofts 82), Bridcutt, Dicker, Orlandi (LuaLua 60), Mackail-Smith (Hoskins 70), Barnes
Newcastle United: Elliot, Tavernier, Williamson, Perch (Dummett 46), Santon, Bigirimana, Anita, Sammy Ameobi, Abeid (Ranger 46), Obertan (Marveaux 70), Shola
Unused Subs: Krul, Ferguson, Amalfitano, Campbell
Ref: Lee Probert