Just Seagull Poo in Cold Brighton!
Saturday 23rd February 2013 @3pm Kick-Off
Burnley`s miserable run of form continued in the Amex Stadium on Saturday with Brighton securing all three points thanks to a David Lopez goal in the 20th minute. The 1-0 defeat means we have now gone five games without a win with our play-offs hopes fast disintegrating. The Seagulls victory sees them now move up to the coveted last play-offs place in sixth but it also means we are now eight points behind them with games fast running out. We look destined to yet another mid-table finish at the moment unless we can find some consistent form and string a few wins together. Burnley drop to 12th in the table after Saturday`s defeat with 44 points from 33 games. We now just have 12 games left to try and rescue our season and maintain the play-offs push but realistically you sense it isn`t going to happen. This performance was at best average and often poor. Brighton were easily the better team in the first half with Burnley struggling to create any meaningful chances despite having quite a lot of possession at times. The Seagulls were far more direct and punished the Clarets severely on the break giving Kieran Trippier especially a hard time in the first 45 minutes with so many weaknesses being exposed down that flank. Burnley improved somewhat in the second half with Brighton beginning to look edgy but somehow the equaliser never really looked on the cards and on a miserable, cold day in the Amex with a strange subdued lack of atmosphere, the game basically petered out with little action at either end.
With Wallace still out injured with a knee injury, Dyche decided to give Keith Treacy only his second start of the season with Junior Stanislas continuing down the opposite flank. Danny Ings having missed the midweek game at home to Boro due to a hamstring problem returned to the eighteen but had to be content with a place on the bench as Dyche opted for a 4-1-4-1 formation with Brian Stock in the holding midfield role. With both Michael Duff and Ben Mee still out injured, Kevin Long once again partnered his skipper in the centre of defence keeping David Edgar sidelined on the bench. In summary then we lined up as follows:
Grant, Trippier, Shackell, Long, Lafferty, Stock, Stanislas, McCann, Marney, Treacy, Austin
Subs: Jensen, Edgar, O'Neill, Bartley, Paterson, Ings, Vokes
Full Match Report
It was a bitterly cold day in Brighton as both sides marched onto the pitch to a pretty subdued reaction from both sets of fans. The cold winds seemed to affect spirits around the ground and the atmosphere to say the least seemed muted as Oxfordshire referee, Graham Scott got the game underway. As the game progressed there was little in the way of entertainment to raise the temperature and warm up the fans. It was quite a large gate too with 25,836 fans watching the match. 749 of these were Burnley fans who had made the long journey down to Sussex but once again they would have to suffer a pretty grim performance from their team and come away empty handed.
Brighton boosted by a win away to league leaders, Cardiff in midweek were full of confidence and soon began to expose our weaknesses. The Clarets though generally responded well in these early stages and looked like they were containing the threat. They began to pass the ball well and the first chance to break the deadlock fell to the Clarets although it was an intended cross from Stanislas that went astray that caused the damage forcing Seagulls keeper, Tomasz Kuszczak to make the first save of the afternoon after tipping the ball over the bar. Burnley were trying to confuse the Brighton full backs at this stage with our wingers swapping flanks and the tactic nearly worked when Treacy cut-in from the right flank to shoot a curler just wide of target.
Brighton though were also having a chance or two to break the deadlock and the threat seemed to be coming time-and-time again down the left side where Wayne Bridge and Andrea Orlandi aided by Vicente were wreaking havoc giving Trippier the run-around. The normally effective full-back looked at times uncharacteristically exposed and Brighton sensed they had found a weakness in defence. They sensed right and in the 20th minute it paid off to give them a deserved lead. A Wayne Bridge cross found Orlandi and he flicked the ball onto Lopez. Lopez in clinical fashion then let rip with a left-footed volley and the ball flew across Grant into the far corner of the net to make it 1-0 Brighton.
The fear was that a rampant Brighton, now even higher in confidence having taken the lead would wreak havoc and give the Clarets a mountain to climb. In effect though the opposite happened and for a time Burnley took the game to Brighton and looked the most likely to get the next goal. Our set-pieces had suffered in the absence of Wallace and once again we could not seem to make them count. Treacy though now started to take the corners and we started to look a little more dangerous. Skipper, Jason Shackell came close twice in quick succession to getting the equaliser from one such corner. His first attempt, a header was cleared off the line by Gary Dicker but Kuszczak then had to dive to his left at the foot of the post to keep out another header to again deny the captain his first goal for the club.
That remarkable save seemed to spur on Brighton and five minutes before half-time they nearly increased their lead. Orlandi once again found acres of space down Burnley`s right to get in a low cross. It looked like curtains for Burnley after Leonardo Ulloa latched onto the ball but somehow he fluffed his chance from just inside the six yards box and Clarets fans could once again breathe a sigh of relief. Junior Stanislas had one last chance to equalise before the end of the first half but his long-range effort could not get the better of Kuszcak.
Burnley were lucky not to be more than a goal down at half-time and after a pretty lacklustre performance in the first-half Dyche decided to take off Stanislas and add some more firepower in the form of Danny Ings for the start of the second-half. The change seemed to work with Burnley starting the second half brightly. Treacy looking more effective in his natural left-sided role got in a couple of testing crosses whilst Danny Ings also looked to be linking well with Trippier on the opposite flank with Brighton now not finding things so easy down that side. It was an Ings cross from the right that nearly led to Austin, who had been pretty quiet so far, getting Burnley back in the game. Kuszczak though once again saved the day to deny Austin a goal from his downward header. The Clarets were now probably playing their best spell of the game but once again could not make the pressure count. Chris McCann perhaps should have done better from a Lafferty cross. Austin could not get on the end of it and the ball fell to McCann on the corner of the six yard box. He could only put the ball over the top though and another chance went begging! Clearly, Brighton though were now looking a little rattled and nervous and it was no surprise when Gus Poyet decided to change things round and try and halt Burnley`s progress just past the hour mark by making a double substitution. On came leading goal-scorer, Craig Mackail-Smith and fellow striker, Ashley Barnes to try and add more firepower up front for the Seagulls and put the game beyond Burnley`s reach. The Clarets though reacted well to the changes and kept the Seagulls at bay. It was Burnley too who actually came closest to scoring following an impressive run from Ings. The move though finished with Dean Marney stabbing the ball wide of target. Although at times the visitors seemed to be camped in Brighton`s half, you just sensed it wasn`t going to be our day. Burnley just couldn`t take advantage of the home`s side now clear anxiousness despite the best efforts of Ings and Austin. Our final chance came with just a couple of minutes to go when Austin found space to get on the end of another Ings` cross. This time though his header flew just wide and Brighton managed to hold on despite four minutes of added time.
Brighton & Hove Albion: Kuszczak, Bruno, El-Abd, Upson, Bridge, Hammond, Orlandi (Barnes - 63), Vicente (Greer - 88), Dicker, David Lopez, Ulloa (Mackail-Smith - 63)
Subs Not Used: Ankergren, Calderon, LuaLua, Forster-Caskey
Goal: David Lopez (20)
Booked: Yellow Cards for Upson (54) and Vicente (78)
Burnley: Grant, Trippier, Shackell,Long, Lafferty, Stock (Vokes - 80), Stanislas (Ings - 46), McCann, Marney (Bartley - 71), Treacy, Austin
Subs Not Used: Jensen, Edgar, O'Neill, Paterson
Booked: Yellow Cards for Ings (56), McCann (82) and Shackell (90 +2)
Possession: 50% Brighton, 50% Burnley (Source: BBC Sport)
Ref: Graham Scott (Oxfordshire