Brighton & Hove Albion are clearly moving in the right direction - Ian Hart

Florin Andone celebrates scoring Albion's third goal against Crystal Palace. Picture by PW Sporting Photography
Florin Andone celebrates scoring Albion's third goal against Crystal Palace. Picture by PW Sporting Photography

'One swallow does not a summer make' and back-to-back Premier League wins doesn’t guarantee the Albion top flight safety.

But clearly the last 180 minutes of Albion action has gone a long way to the Seagulls cementing their place, for at least another season, in the higher echelons of domestic football. If Saturday’s 2-1 victory at Huddersfield was a shot in the arm for Brighton fans everywhere, Tuesday night’s emphatic 3-1 ‘M23 Derby’ victory over Crystal Palace at the Amex was off the scale.

Back in the summer the club’s commercial department got in touch and asked us if we’d like to be the match ball sponsor for the Palace game as we were last year. What a decision! From the stadium tour at 4pm right through to the post-match presentation, an evening quick simply myself, Harty Junior and our guests will never forget.

Despite having to play with ten men for more than an hour due to Shane Duffy’s red card for violent conduct, the Albion turned in one of the most memorable home performances in the history of the Amex.

Thankfully, with the obligatory tactical substitution, which saw Pascal Gross ‘taking one for the team’, ten-man Albion more than dug deep. Sub Leon Baligon scored with his first touch to double the lead, and then Florin Andone, after his excellent winner in Yorkshire on Saturday, scored a third on the stroke of half-time, after replacing the injured Glenn Murray, with a solo goal that will go down as probably one of the best, if not the best, goals in the Amex’s history.

Quite simply it was breathtaking, the move started with a clearance in the Albion box and then Andone ran 40 yards before a sublime finish, which saw the roof almost come off the Amex. Game over at 3-0?

Playing with ten men it was always going to be a big ask, but as it turned out a very tepid Palace showing even with the one man advantage saw Maty Ryan really only having to face Milovijec’s 81st-minute consolation penalty.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been around too long to know not to get too carried away by one result, but to have 21 points on the board at this stage of the season is really encouraging.

I did state at the start of the season that I felt the Albion were better on paper than at least seven sides in the league, but as we all know football is played on grass not paper. Having said that despite a few blips this season, Chris Hughton’s men are clearly moving in the right direction.

I’m not going to be stupid enough to state in December that the Albion are effectively safe, there are still a lot of games to come, but the signs are certainly encouraging.

After the visit to Burnley on Saturday, which I think they will come back from the North West with at least a point, the Albion embark on a daunting four-match run which sees Chelsea, Arsenal and Everton all visiting the Amex, and a pre-Christmas trip to Bournemouth.

This is why we fought so hard to get in this league, as I find these four games exciting tempered with a degree of trepidation.

We had a four-point return from the corresponding games last year, and frankly I’d be happy with a similar return this year. With the rub of the green at Turf Moor, and even allowing for a defeat at Bournemouth, that still leaves the Albion going into 2019 approaching the 30 point mark.

Bearing in mind 34 was the safety mark last season, it would certainly have us going into the New Year with optimism.

But before that we’ve actually got to play the games, but that’s why we all love football...

Post script. The Albion now hold a Premier League record that will probably stand for a long time.

When Glenn Murray, 35, scored against Wolves, with the assist coming from Bruno,39, it represented the oldest goal combination, scorer and assist, in the history of the league. It beat the previous record of Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes nearly 20 years ago.


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