Barnsley 2, Albion 1 - Seagulls scuppered

Our Seagulls correspondent - Patrick Gleeson
Our Seagulls correspondent - Patrick Gleeson

Patrick Gleeson reports on Brighton’s poor performance in the league.

Albion have again scuppered the chance to move into a play-off place after a mediocre display against bottom of the league Barnsley, losing 2-1.

Former Swansea forward Jason Scotland put the home side ahead with an effort inside the penalty box, but Leonardo Ulloa levelled the game with a close range header. Albion’s delight lasted just five minutes, however, as Chris Dagnall regained the lead for the Tykes. Brighton had a penalty of their own towards the end of the game, but Luke Steele saved from Ulloa.

The Seagulls had the chance to jump from seventh to fifth this evening if results went their way, but now sit lodged outside of a place in the top six one point behind Nottingham Forest.

It was the visitors who started the brightest, and Will Buckley was given the opportunity to open the scoring inside three minutes after Andrea Orlandi’s pass picked him out just inside the area, but the winger skewed his shot wide of the post.

It would take just 15 minutes, however, for Barnsley to penetrate the Albion backline. Chris O’Grady flicked the ball into Jason Scotland’s path, and the bullish striker slotted the ball past Tomasz Kuszczak.

The same man then saw his tame header collected by the Polish goalkeeper, before Albion had an attack of their own. A sublime pass from David Lopez gifted Buckley the chance to get on the scoresheet, but again he shot wide of the target.

The hosts had Brighton on the back foot early on in the second half but Kuszczak pulled off a strong save after David Perkin’s fizzing shot was heading towards the bottom corner.

Albion injected some purpose into their game soon after and had a spell of pressure themselves. Firstly Lopez’s strike forced a fine save from Steele, and the goalkeeper was quick to his feet to deny Orlandi’s ambitious effort moments later.

Steele was powerless, though, when Ulloa rose well to nod Inigo Calderon’s cross into the net from deep inside the penalty area.

Adam El-Abd then served manager Gus Poyet a double blow. His clumsy challenge on Chris Dagnall warranted Barnsley a penalty kick, but the booking which followed also means the Egypt international misses the next two games through suspension. The man who was fouled for the spot kick dusted himself off and blasted the ball into the net to revive the home sides’ lead.

Albion looked somewhat flat when searching for an equaliser, but substitute Kazenga LuaLua did his best with two almighty strikes from distance. The first was well saved by Steele and the second narrowly missing the frame of the goal.

Albion were handed the chance to rule out the one goal deficit when Calderon was bundled over in the box by Perkins, but with resident spot kick taker David Lopez off the field it was up to Ulloa to step up. The Argentine striker fluffed his lines and Steel made a good save to deny the Seagulls a share of the spoils.