Brighton & Hove Albion 2 Tottenham Hotspur 3
By Tim Hodges at the Amex Stadium , at Falmer, in Brighton
Brighton and Hove Albion played their first home match in a permanent stadium for over 14 years in fact their first proper home match for a generation.
At 2:53 the team was greeted by a cacophony, of noise, colour and tears. A Welsh tenor bellowed out Sussex by the Sea as both Tony Bloom and Dick Knight welcomed the team onto the pitch.
I say team, as Tottenham respectfully followed behind the Seagulls on to the pitch; it was the Albion’s moment.
Albion keeper Casper Ankergren was warmly applauded as he ran towards the packed fans at the north ‘home end’, one couldn’t help think how nice it would have been for Michel Kuipers who spent his entire career at Withdean, to have been able to have done that, just once.
It was a hot afternoon but the game started at a high tempo , Spurs fielded a strong almost first choice team.
The Albion, with record signing Craig Mckail-Smith leading the attack, stroked the ball around and pinned back Spurs in the early exchanges. It was Lua Lua who was causing Spurs most problems , Corluka seemed to find him a real handful.
It was Gary Dicker who set the Albion forward for the first goal, his neat pass outside of Mckail – Smith was then crossed in by the striker, for Ashley Barnes who smashed the ball home from close range.
Albion continued to pressurize Spurs after the goal, with the slick, accurate passing and prolonged periods of possession.
However around the 20 minute mark Aaron Lennon fired a good chance just wide, a little while later Jake Livermore rattled the Albion bar from all of 30 yards.
At the other end Mckail-Smith headed just wide for Albion and then Lua Lua hit a fierce drive that Brad Friedel could only parry.
Soon after Defoe replaced the seemingly injured van der Vaart.
Pavlyuchenko went very close , then on in front of the East Stand Gareth Bale crossed in for Younes Kabel to nip in front of Gordon Greer to tap home.
Minutes later Bale was provider again as he played in Corluka he put Spurs 2-1 up , cutting on from the right.
Tottenham led 2-1 at half time.
Many Albion fans will have taken advantage, that for the first time in 110 years of Albion home games you could get a pint anywhere in the stadium at half time.
Though hopefully many won’t have missed Kenzega Lua Lua’s magnificent swerving equaliser just on the hour, which left Friedels replacement Gomes grasping at fresh air.
The Albion then attacked Spurs again and again but failed to make it count.
With 20 minutes left Albion’s substitute keeper Peter Brezovan gifted Tottenham a win as his weak pass intended for Calderon , fell to Livermore, who tucked the ball home despite Dunk’s efforts to keep it out.
Before the end Noone who had earlier replaced Lua Lua went very close to making it 3-3.
The Albion lost on the pitch but were massive champions off it.
A great day.
Albion :Ankergren; Calderon, Greer, Dunk, Painter; Bridcutt; Sparrow, Dicker; Mackail-Smith, Barnes, LuaLua. Subs: Brezovan, Cook, Navarro, Noone, Bergkamp, Vincelot, Buckley.
Spurs: Friedel; Corluka, Kaboul, Dawson, Assou-Ekotto; Lennon, Jenas, Livermore,
Bale; Van Der Vaart, Pavlyuchenko. Subs: Gomes, Defoe, Townsend, Carroll, Kane
Referee: Dave Phillips.