Forget the Brighton Thursday-Sunday conspiracy theories – it’s all about taking chances
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“The squad’s not big enough” “The squad’s not strong enough” “Playing in Europe on a Thursday will effectively derail our EPL season” If there was ever an example of the blame game, this was it.
Fulham, like a number of other sides, West Ham the classic example, have done their homework and worked out a game plan that sees the Albion have the overwhelming majority of possession, make the majority of the successful passes, almost always register more chances – but for whatever reason both the Hammers and Fulham take whatever chances come and capitalise on them.
The bottom line is the Albion created enough in the first half on Sunday to have all but put the game to bed by the break. Granted the Seagulls did somewhat go off the boil in the second half, but it’s all about very fine margins, even with an under-par performance.
On another day Adam Webster scores, and there’s a strong argument Fulham scorer Joao Palhinha shouldn’t have even been on the pitch after his challenge on Pascal Gross.
Yes it’s both frustrating and disappointing, but welcome to the wonderful world of Brighton and Hove Albion, it comes with the territory.
The next 270 minutes for the Albion, while not season defining, are clearly pivotal in the short term.
With the greatest respect to Everton, if the Albion need to establish their top ten credentials then the club’s last visit to Goodison Park in the league needs to see a return of all three points, then it’s on to the Netherlands next Thursday with Roberto De Zerbi’s blue and white army in Amsterdam for 48 hours.
All three points in the Low Countries next week will move Albion closer to qualification from the group, and I see no reason why the Albion can’t get into the knockout stages, possibly even before Marseille arrive at the Amex in December for the final group match.
Then the following Sunday it’s Sheffield United at home, and with all due respect to the Blades, anything less than a win would dwarf the post-Fulham feeling in the frustration and disappointment stakes.
Basically whatever Fulham’s game plan, the Albion created enough to have comfortably won on Sunday, they didn’t – that’s life, we move on, three games, three wins, it’s like falling off a log.
On another note, I’m off to Alfreton this Saturday to cover what is only Worthing’s fourth-ever 1st Round FA Cup tie for the Worthing Herald and sussexworld.co.uk (look out for my reports, please!)
I’m old enough to have been at Woodside Road for the first against Dartford in 1982, covered Bournemouth away in 1994 for BBC SCR, but missed Rotherham away in 99 as I was at Brighton’s first round tie at Peterborough for the aforementioned station.
For the last two of those three ties, Worthing were very much the underdogs – but this time they travel to Derbyshire for an even contest, with £41,000 prize money and a place in Round 2 up for grabs. Bring it on!