Bazza wasn’t able to attend this game so we are grateful to David from the London Supporters Club for sending us his report.
The London Supporters were supposed to have a get together for Brighton, and I worked out I needed to order 21 tickets for Brighton. Only too late did I realise I needed 22 and so I became the sad one who had to sit by myself, while the other 21 had the time of their lives together.
Knowing that it was impossible to park anywhere near the ground, and knowing that Brighton itself best be avoided, we met in Lewes and travelled by train the one stop to Falmer. Straight from the train platform, the stadium is there. Wide walkways take the fans straight to the ground and there is no need for segregation as everyone milled around together happily. Of course, it was fancy dress day for Bluenoses. We arrived at about 2.15, and settled into the away end – padded seating as standard (pity the Blues sfans stood throughout and did not take advantage of such luxury). I had a minor seizure at the cost of food (£4,20 for a very small cheeseburger). Then I settled down next to a row of crayola, a nun, a gorilla and near Princess Fiona for the match.
Given that the stadium is supposed to be a bit of a noise machine, I thought the Brighton fans were quiet. They played Hey Jude and the Blues fans took over it with “La, La-la, la-la-la-la, la-la-la-la, We’re Blues” which lasted well into the start of the game. We decided to play volleyball with a number of inflatable beachballs, as not much was happening on the pitch to start with, and when one beachball accidentally landed next to the pitch a steward burst it with his bare hands inviting the chorus of “Is your mother proud of you!”.
Doyle was forced into one brilliant save, but the first half was a tame affair with Blues happy not to go behind and Brighton already on their summer holidays. The only points of note were how Gomis managed to get himself booked for persistent fouling, and finally get himself subbed with Nathan Redmond getting an early introduction. His energy stood out and he had Blues main effort in the first half. Ramage was booked for having his shirt tugged and then falling over and Liam Bridcutt of Brighton hacked down Mutch to get himself injured and booked at the same time.
The second half was more interesting – Brighton injected more pace into the game and we started to look a little more under pressure. Then came “the big moment”. The referee, turned and ran in the centre circle and promptly fell over. Marlon King controlled the ball and seemed to me to be fouled on the edge of the area. Drat! The ref was too busy getting up to see it – but it didn’t matter as King got back to his feet, won the ball back and squared it to Redmond who scored from 20 yards. His dance was all swaying hips and combing his hair – the party had really begun.
Unfortunately, Brighton had the nerve to spoil it by equalising, leaving a nervy last few minutes, but we had done it – barring a crazy 20-0 scoreline next week, we were in the playoffs.
Brighton fans were asked to stay behind to applaud their fans with a lap of honour, which made our hurried exit to the train station easier. The choice of platform was made easier by a man in a yellow jacket shouting, “If you want the train to Brighton, you’re on the wrong platform”. Not only did we get a seat on the train back to Lewes, but everybody got a seat on the train back to Lewes – the train service was that good. Brighton seems a very well run affair, very tidy and with a bit of quality, although perhaps lacking a bit of passion – a bit like the team that Gus Poyet has put together, really.
Doyle 8, Ramage 7, Davies 7 Ibanez 7 Murphy 6, Burke 6, Elliott 6, Mutch 7, Gomis 4, (Redmond 8), Huseklepp 5(Townsend 7), King 7