By Tim Hodges from the Amex
Brighton & Hove Albion 0 Huddersfield Town 0
Albion were held to a goalless draw with Huddersfield in a mostly dire match at the Amex.
The Seagulls were shot-shy in the extreme, at times almost appearing to want the to walk the ball into the net.
The Amex pitch appeared over-watered and sopping wet. If it was a ploy to help the Seagulls, it wasn’t working as Joao Teixeira, Leon Best and Bruno Saltor all lost their footing at vital times.
Best was about to wrap his foot around the ball to shoot when he fell backwards soon after heading a rare chance goalwards.
Mustapha Carayol then hit the bar for Albion after cutting in from the left. Just before this Greg Halford stabbed a loose ball into the side netting from about eight yards out.
The best chance of the half fell to Huddersfield’s Nahki Wells who, after linking up well with Ishmael Miller, drew a good save from David Stockdale who pushed the ball away down to his right.
The enigmatic Stockdale appears much better making saves down to his right hand side.
Miller himself had a great chance, running half the length of the pitch but flicking the ball wide of Stockdale’s right hand post.
Albion looked static from set plays and again passed the ball more backwards than forward .
The half ended with captain for the night Inigo Calderon almost playing alongside Best as a second striker.
Despite the scoreline Albion did not make a change at half time although Craig Mackail-Smith didn’t warm up with other substitutes.
Albion were a little more adventurous at the start of the second half, but a mazy run by Beram Kayal saw him almost dribble the ball to Alex Smithies in the Town goal.
Despite Best coming to collect the ball himself to try to set up play, Huddersfield looked strong at the back.
For the second time in the week it was an ex-Seagull keeping Albion at bay. Joel Lynch, like Bournemouth captain Tommy Elphick, was born in Sussex and came through the Seagulls youth ranks.
Albion just couldn’t get into a scoring postion and when Best was replaced by Mackail-Smith the former was unfairly booed off by a section of Albion fans.
Dale Stephens again had a great chance to score but again fired over after good work from Kazenga LuaLua who replaced the tired Carayol.
Huddersfield were quick on the counter-attack. Miller forced another good save from Stockdale and, as the ball rolled back along the penalty area, it fell to Wells who fired against the post from six yards out with the goal gaping.
Perhaps the significant moment of the evening was Teixeira’s foul on Wells. The Liverpool loanee appeared to catch his studs on the wet turf and looked to sustain a nasty ankle injury. The midfielder was booked by referee Andy D’Urso before being stretchered off.
Before the final whistle Lewis Dunk threw himself at a couple of corners but was well off target and a Bruno cross nearly caught Smithies out as it hit the bar.
Albion go to Wigan on Saturday (18 April) knowing that a win will almost guarantee safety. They currently sit seven points clear of Millwall who have a game in hand.
The match programme featured the headline “Final Furlong” and Albion must surely limp across the winning line sooner rather than later.