Brighton 1 – 0 Newcastle United
Newcastle United 0
As feared, Fabricio Coloccini didn’t make the starting line-up with James Perch filling in.
Alan Pardew though followed up with his pre-match comments by playing a full strength team from those available. He also kept the same formation with Shola through the middle and Best on the left, Ben Arfa on his right. Alternating between 4-5-1 when defending and a 4-3-3 when going forward.
Brighton started with numbers behind the ball and credit to United because the home crowd struggled to get going as Newcastle dominated possession.
The first half hour saw the away side keep the ball without creating a shedload of chances, though Best had two decent chances. One he did well to turn and slip it just past the post, while the other was a headed chance which he should have put away after Shola nodded it back across goal.
Any scares were self-inflicted as a couple of times Newcastle gave the ball away as half-time approached but in truth Krul didn’t even had to get his knees dirty.
The second-half unfortunately continued as the first one ended, very little quality or action in the box as Brighton kept their shape and showed little enterprise.
The match was decided on two incidents, sadly neither went in our favour.
Cabaye tracked over and showed the Brighton player the outside but unfortunately gave him a bit too much space. His low shot was deflected off Williamson who had turned his back and Krul had little chance.
Minutes later at the other end, pressure paid off as Cabaye found space on the edge of the box only for the ball to be clearly charged down with his hands by Giles Barnes for the home team.
No penalty decided the referee and that was just about that.
The officials didn’t do us any favours and we can claim a succession of lucky breaks (some would call them errors/mistakes) led to their sole chance and subsequent goal but…
The team as a whole seemed to largely go through the motions after the opening half hour, with them thinking at worst we would be taking them back to St.James’ Park.
To be fair, watching the match I thought the same but at the same time I don’t get paid tens of thousands of pounds to try and decide the match one way or another.
Best and Ameobi were absolutely shocking for the last hour of the match and their movement and football intelligence were non-existent. I can’t believe we will persevere with either of them once this season has ended.
Out of the cup but still everything to play for in the league, nothing else but three points will do on Wednesday night.
Brighton (4-3-3): Peter Brezovan, Inigo Calderon, Lewis Dunk, Gordon Greer (c), Adam El-Abd, Jake Forster-Caskey (Ryan Harley 65), Liam Bridcutt, Matt Sparrow (Alan Navarro 46), Will Buckley, Craig Mackail-Smith (Will Hoskins 90), Ashley Barnes
Subs not used: Casper Ankergren, Grant Hall, Romain Vincelot, Torbjorn Agdestein
Newcastle United (4-2-3-1): Tim Krul, Danny Simpson, Mike Williamson, James Perch, Davide Santon (Shane Ferguson 83), Danny Guthrie (Dan Gosling 83), Yohan Cabaye, Hatem Ben Arfa (Ryan Taylor 83), Jonas Gutierrez, Leon Best, Shola Ameobi (c)
Subs not used: Rob Elliot, Tamas Kadar, Gabriel Obertan, Peter Lovenrkands
Referee: Lee Probert
Attendance: 21,558 (2,359 Away Fans)
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