Brighton & Hove Albion: No score roar!

Posted On 21 Aug 2012 at 11:02 pm
By Tim Hodges from The Amex

Brighton & Hove Albion 0 Cardiff City 0

The Albion were held to a goal-less draw by perennial Welsh promotion hopefuls Cardiff City.

However, it was Albion’s highest home league attendance in nearly 30 years. And the noise that emanated from the Amex was at times sensational.

The Seagulls lined up with the same starting XI who lost narrowly at Hull.

It looked more of the same for Albion in the early stages, as Cardiff pressed the Seagulls back into their own half. Craig Bellamy was the Albion’s early tormentor.

He weaved his way diagonally through Albion’s defence, making Gordon Greer and Adam El-Abd look very shaky.

Almost out of the blue Cardiff’s Mark Hudson got on the end of cross with a powerful header which was cleared off the line by Craig Mackail-Smith.

Mackail-Smith was involved again soon after, winning the ball just outside Cardiff’s penalty area. He chipped a superb pass into the path of Craig Noone who fired his shot over.

It was end to end stuff. Bellamy, involved again, wriggled free from Bruno Saltor and hit a low cross into the six-yard box. Luckily for Albion, Heidar Helguson spooned it over from close range.

Mackail-Smith then missed a sitter when put clear by Noone and soon after Ashley Barnes was muscled out by two City defenders when in a good position.

As on Saturday the Seagulls were making a mess of good chances. Boss Gus Poyet peered up to the West Stand as the fans’ impatience became apparent.

Before the half ended Noone stung David Marshall’s gloves and Bruno fired the resulting loose ball into the side netting while Cardiff’s Ben Turner ensured Albion fans behind the north goal got a touch of the ball with a particularly wayward shot.

As dusk beckoned, Premier League referee Mark Halsey blew for half time.

As the second half got going Albion were beginning to get on top, with Noone a growing influence. But the ball just wouldn’t sit for an Albion player where it mattered. Mackail-Smith was showing some sublime skill in build-up play and was linking up well with Wayne Bridge, who was striding forward from full back at every opportunity.

But Albion just couldn’t forge the opening.

Kazenga LuaLua replaced Barnes and Liam Bridcutt assumed a slightly more attacking role.

Then with 10 minutes left Vicente Rodriguez and Ryan Harley came off the bench. The Spaniard took a little time to get into the game but gradually got a grip of midfield.

Before the end Tomasz Kuszczak made a cracking double save and Cardiff almost nicked it.

Albion’s last chance was a 25-yard angled free-kick from Vicente but David Marshall was equal to it.

The Albion need a big man to do Mackail-Smith’s argy bargy and to win the ball for the striker who needs the ball played into his feet and not to have to win it himself.

Albion: Kuszczak; Bruno, Greer, El-Abd, Bridge; Bridcutt, Dicker, Crofts; Noone, Barnes, Mackail-Smith. Subs: Ankergren, Dunk, Calderon, Vicente, LuaLua, Harley, Agdestein.

Cardiff: Marshall; McNaughton, Turner, Hudson, Taylor; Mutch; Cowie, Whittingham, Gunnarsson, Bellamy; Helguson. Subs: Lewis, Kiss, Conway, Blake, Velikonja, Earnshaw, Mason.

Referee: Mark Halsey (Lancs)

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