YES! It’s confirmed – we will be playing CHAMPIONSHIP football at the Amex in August!
By winning at Withdean against Sheffield Wednesday (2-0 on Saturday) and Dagenham & Redbridge (4-3 on Tuesday night) our Brighton & Hove Albion Seagulls have guaranteed promotion to the second tier of English football with five games still to go.
Everybody knows this has been a fantastic season. It is worth noting the records so far broken. Most consecutive weeks in FIRST place – 30; and most weeks in first place in a season – 30 (both still running). Most successive (post-war) wins – 8. Wins in a calendar month – 8.
And there are records we can still get. Highest number of points ANY side has attained in this division – Fulham (101) – we can get 105. Fewest league defeats stands at six and we have only lost five (so far). Most clean sheets (2001-02) 24. Casper Ankergren has 20 to date.
At the last ever evening game at Withdean we were able to celebrate. It is great to end with happy memories and IF we go unbeaten all season, that is 23 games, it will surely never be bettered.
We comfortably beat The Owls on Saturday. Chris Wood slotted home the penalty at the end of the first-half. Our average continues to improve (thankfully) and has now gone above 50 per cent (8 out of 15).
It was yet another penalty “won” by Glenn Murray. I don’t know why he hasn’t claimed the right to take the Albion penalties. I think he could have ended the season with 30 goals, even allowing for five misses.
Albion’s second was a screamer from Elliott Bennett with about 20 minutes left. It was a beautiful goal. Craig Noone found Marcos Painter on the overlap and his cross from the by-line evaded everybody in the area. Running in was Bennett and his powerful shot flew into the top corner. This was a candidate for goal of the season.
It was a comprehensive win against a side who had been coming into decent form. But Wednesday didn’t look like they could score even if they stayed to Thursday.
The penalty that made the game safe followed a ball into Murray in the box by Gary Dicker. Murray controlled the ball but was brought down by the Wednesday defender.
Noone was our danger man. He caused the Owls all sorts of problems. Not only is he fast but his close control makes him difficult to tackle.
The game ended on a sour note. Unbelievably captain Gordon Greer got himself a straight red-card right on 90 minutes. Greer decided to go up for a corner and became involved in the usual holding and shoving.
His response was to hit back with his elbow into Wednesday’s Reda Johnson. This was not a good idea especially as it was right in front of the ref.
I presume Gus will have more than a quiet word as I’m sure Greer’s stupidity broke the “internal rules”.
He misses the next four games and with only five left that is definitely not clever and was completely unnecessary. It was a very warm Withdean so somebody close to me suggested it was because he is a Scot and not used to the sun. Albion shouldn’t lose out as Tommy Elphick has been waiting to get back into the team.
Elsewhere Huddersfield and Peterborough drew letting Southampton go second, 13 points behind us. We always knew the Saints were likely to go up with us but I’m hoping our positions will have been settled by the time they come to Withdean on April 23.
Here’s a thought. Following Southampton we have Huddersfield at Withdean for the very last game there – ever – on April 30. We can influence who comes up to the Championship with us.
The match day programme reported that Albion were going green. To mark the opening season at the Amex, Albion were to break with tradition and wear a new home kit, as worn by Brighton United from their start in 1898, with green shirts. A large number of fans weren’t happy thinking about £45 for a new shirt. And what about our “blue and white” songs? Was this an April Fool’s joke delivered nine days late? Well, yes, it seems, and it had the programme editor fooled as well.
Another First of April rumour went around that Poyet had resigned. Happily that was nonsense too.
The game against Dagenham & Redbridge was torture. We kicked off, they scored in 24 seconds. Ouch. We scored two in a minute (Inigo Calderon and Murray) so all was well by half-time.
Then more pain. Noone gave the ball away in his own half: 2-2. Adam El-Abd gave away a penalty: 2-3 to the Daggers.
Then to cap an incredible game, Liam Bridcutt scored a fantastic leveller and sub Ashley Barnes scored the winner. It was unbelievable stuff. We got the result but not in the normal Poyet way. Southampton lost at Rochdale so we are 16 points clear at the top. A draw at Walsall tomorrow (Saturday) gives us the title with four games left.
Yes we are going up – as champions!