Brighton Brushed Aside
• Lambert 49, 58 (pen), 69 (pen)
Saturday, 19th November 2011
Match Report :
Are we dreaming?
I think that was my overriding feeling as this game was drawing to a conclusion with Saints in complete and utter control. Brighton were put to the sword, but it didn't stop Poyet moaning after the match!
There was not the slightest hint of what was to come during the largely forgettable first half. The only thing of note was that Brighton seemed to be just as niggly and nasty as they were last season at St.Mary's. There was one unpleasant passage where Tarrico, the Brighton Player/Assistant Manager, argued long and hard with the referee about some minor point, right in front of where we were sitting. From the expression on the ref's face, he had clearly had enough of him, but let him get away with it. I am sure this would have some bearing on what was to happen later in the second half...
Davis was largely a spectator during that first half, as Brighton did not mount one single attack on the Saints goal. On the other hand, Saints were taking far to long in their build up in the last third of the field and the passing was pedestrian and inaccurate.
From the first few minutes of the second half, it was clear that this was not going to be a repeat of the first half. Saints passing was crisp and neat and they were making space in and around the last third of the field. Brighton's defending, which was assured and effective in the first half, looked anything but now.
You just knew a goal was coming. We didn't have long to wait. Richardson took the ball down the Kingsland side towards the Chapel end and sent a peach of a cross over, just in time for Lambert, rising like a salmon leaping the rapids, to head home. Cue bedlam in the stadium.
In truth Brighton were out of it already. It was completely one way traffic. Not ten minutes had passed before the really contentious moment, when Fonte was fouled and the ref blew up for a free kick right on the edge of the penalty area. Except he didn't. The ref pointed at the spot. This was payback for the penalty that should have been awarded when Hammond was brought down earlier and got booked for 'simulation'.
It was also the point at which Brighton showed a complete lack of leadership. The players sounded off at both the ref and linesman. Tarrico in particular went on and on and on at the ref. The ref walked over to the linesman and only confirmed his decision. Tarrico went on some more. Did I mention that he is Argentinian?! Eventually the inevitable happened and Tarrico was shown a straight red.
All this time Lambert had been quietly standing, waiting. He took the ball and duly dispatched it into the back of the net. 2-0. Game over.
Brighton were a spent force and the Northam were amusing themselves by chanting "Can we play you every week?" and "Top of the League and having a laugh"
Nine minutes later Lambert was foraging towards goal, when he was unceremoniously upended by Calderon, who had only just come on the pitch. Penalty again. Lambert stepped up and the ref blew his whistle. Ball in back of net, but Harper wasn't even on his line. So the ref demanded that the penalty be retaken. It made no difference. Ball in the back of the net again. Lambert must have ice coursing through his veins. I have never seen anyone so cool in the face of such pressure. Well, not since the days of LeTissier anyway.
The ground had been a cauldron of noise ever since the first goal, but the tone changed after this goal. It was an almost party atmosphere. I just sat there shaking my head, almost unable to take in the scale of the annihilation of Brighton. At the end of the game I noticed that they had not had a single shot on target for the entire game. Davis cannot have had a less challenging game for a long time.
"Top of the League and having a laugh!"
10 Guly (yellow card) (Barnard 81)
14 Hammond (yellow card) (Schneiderlin 61)
20 Lallana (De Ridder 76)
21 Bialkowski, 16 Martin, 04 Schneiderlin, 33 De Ridder, 09 Barnard
05 Dunk (yellow card)
27 Taricco (red card)
08 Navarro (yellow card) (Sparrow 66)
11 Noone (yellow card)
17 Harley (Calderon 59 (yellow card))
13 Paynter (Barnes 66 (yellow card))
16 Ankergren, 14 Calderon, 10 Sparrow, 25 LuaLua, 09 Barnes