Back to the Drawing Bored!
By Tim Hodges
Brighton & Hove Albion 0 Huddersfield Town 0
Gus Poyet made a couple of unenforced changes to the team that drew at Orient. Surprisingly two of the better players from that match, Glenn Murray and Gary Dicker were both dropped to the bench.
The apparent but not quantified contract dispute, between the club and Nicky Forster continued, and the season’s top scorer watched most of the match from the North Stand.
Albion started with Chris Holroyd and Liam Dickinson as their attacking spearhead.
Albion had the initial attacking impetus. Seb Carole, who was preferred to Dicker, appeared to the favoured outlet. It was however from a Crofts pass that Holroyd had good chance which he scuffed into the ground.
Dickinson and Holroyd were working well together and looked to have engineered a good understanding. However, the visitors defence seemed unconcerned.
Although the Albion were having much of the ball, Huddersfield were themselves gaining useful possession and in the blink of eye Drinkwater had feed the ball through to Pilkington, who should have opened the scoring, but shot wide.
The midfield battle was hotting up; Navarro was busy breaking up any potential Huddersfield attacks.
Elliot Bennett was finding his way into the game and via a Huddersfield head, crossed a ball in which Carole put high and wide. With ten minutes of the first half remaining Albion were gaining the upper hand again. A harmless looking cross from Bennett was dropped by ‘Town’ keeper Smithies, but reclaimed just before Holroyd could react.
With Albion looking more and more solid at the back and controlling midfield, the dogged bad luck of the season almost continued on the counter attack, as Collins had a great chance, which deflected off Calderon, although referee Bratt curiously gave a goal kick.
At half time the home fans anticipated at the very least an Albion goal was on its way in the next period.
Soon after resumption Dickinson beat three players down the right, and crossed for Holroyd and Carole but both failed to make contact.
Holroyd was becoming instrumental in almost every Albion move; once again he linked up well with Dickinson, whose shot was well saved.
Dickinson and Crofts both missed generous half chances with the former being replaced by Glenn Murray, before Seb Carole blazed high and wide from a Holroyd cross, who had then turned provider.
From a Virgo free kick from the centre circle Murray had a great shot blocked by Drinkwater the ball wasn’t cleared and came back in towards Carole who again blazed wide. He was then replaced by Dicker.
As time ticked on Albion were almost all over Huddersfield, though neither Virgo nor Murray could convert a teasing Bennett corner with 15 minutes left.
Home possession continued but most meaningful attacks were simply snuffed out by Trotman and Kay.
With around ten minutes left another superb Bennett corner was volleyed over by Virgo.
Apart from a few speculative Huddersfield punts up field, it had been all Albion. But the seagulls, Holroyd especially began to tire. Out of the blue Pilkington hit the Seagulls crossbar from 25 yards.
With minutes left all of sudden it was end to end action
Dicker took the ball from Elphick and crossed in from the right causing Trotman to almost head into his own goal but for great save from Smities.
Peltier managed to get clear of Navarro and Elphick and was eventually tackled by Virgo.
Kuipers then had to be alert from a Drinkwater cross claiming the ball just in front of Kay.
Four minutes of stoppage time should have given the Seagulls fresh attacking impetus, how ever after having the upper hand for 85 minutes at the final whistle the home side were hanging on for a draw.
Kuipers; Calderon, Virgo, Elphick, Painter; Bennett, Navarro, Crofts, Carole; Holroyd, Dickinson. Subs: Cox, Tunnicliffe, Hart, Murray, Dicker, Hoyte, Brezovan.
Smithies; Peltier, P.Clarke, Trotman, Williams; Pilkington, Kay, Collins, Drinkwater; Eccleston,. Simpson
Subs: N.Clarke, Roberts, T.Clarke, Rhodes, Novak, Eastwood, Pearce.
Referee S. Bratt
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