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Match Report: Brighton 0-1 Reading (Brighton Fan's Perspective)

By Andy
Thursday 12th April 2012
Brighton's unbeaten home run in 2012 came to an unlucky end against the Championship's form side, Reading.

Ian Harte's deflected free kick proved enough to separate the title chasing Royals and play-off hopeful Seagulls in a hugely entertaining clash at the AMEX. In his pre-match press conference, Gus Poyet asked fans to get the AMEX rocking and the fans certainly responded.

And it was the Albion who started the game off the brightest. Ashley Barnes brought Reading keeper Adam Federici into action early on with a well placed header, the Australian keeper holding on well to prevent the Seagulls taking the lead. Barnes then had another chance soon after but his close range effort went comfortably wide of the post.

Former Spain and Valencia midfielder Vicente Rodriguez lit up the AMEX yet again and drew a superb acrobatic save from Frederici in the 10th minute. A looping shot nearly took the Reading keeper by surprise but he was able to dive full stretch and palm the ball away. Brighton looked to keep up the pressure on the Reading goal but lost possession as Inigo Calderon fouled Jason Roberts, to the relief of the Reading team.

The resulting free kick was Reading's first chance to mount an attack on the Brighton goal. Good pressure was rewarded with a corner but Harte's in-swinger was headed away by the Brighton defence back into the midfield where they retained possession only briefly before the unpredictable Gonzalo Jara Reyes gave away a free kick in shooting territory.

Harte stepped up and Brighton keeper Peter Brezovan looked to have it covered before the ball took a wicked deflection to leave the giant Slovakian helpless and to give Reading a 1-0 lead against the run of play.

Brighton looked to respond instantly and had a good shout for a penalty when Barnes broke through the middle of the park to then pick out Will Buckley with a through ball down the wing. Buckley's resulting cross appeared to hit the arm of a Reading defender but referee Mike Russel waved away the appeals before Gary Dicker shot well over the bar.

The decision frustrated the home fans, and they were outraged when Craig Mackail-Smith was clearly shoved over in the 6 yard box by Kasparss Gorkss but once again, Russel did nothing.

Jason Roberts then pushed Adam El-Abd in the chest and was given nothing before Gordon Greer was harshly booked for a challenge on Roberts which seemed fair.

Meanwhile, Brighton were playing some excellent football, only for to woodwork and one Adam Federici to be in their way. They worked their way from the back before Vicente and Buckley played a brilliant one-two but the Spaniard's shot smashed the cross bar and away.

Brezovan was rarely troubled but showed his quality with a superb diving save on the stroke of half time. Ian Hunt connected well with a cross and brought a reflex save out of Brezovan, keeping the Seagulls in the game.

Six minutes into the second half, Brighton were awarded the penalty they should have got in the first. Ashley Barnes was pushed over in the box by Alex Pearce but Barnes, normally so cool from 12 yards, had his penalty saved by Federici who was having a phenomenal game.

Federici was called into action yet again when Craig Mackail-Smith found the space to drive a powerful shot towards goal, but the Australian keeper was equal to it and was able to push the ball away. Mackail-Smith then set up Vicente, who was the focus point of all of Brighton's attacking play, but the Spaniard miss-hit his shot and didn't trouble Frederici.

Kazenga Lualua was brought on with 25 minutes remaining and his pace and power troubled the Reading defense but it was the Royals who nearly doubled their lead soon after his arrival. Ian Harte's cross was met firmly by Gorkss only for the ball to smash the cross bar.

Alan Navarro has been shooting from distance regularly since his late winner against Leeds back in February, but he is having worse luck with more recent attempts. His 20 yard shot towards the closing stages was well held by Federici before Kazenga Lualua's low cross went right across the face of goal, just the slightest of touches needed to draw the Seagulls level.

The Teams:

Brighton - 01 Brezovan, 03 Greer, 06 El-Abd, 14 Calderon, 36 Jara, 08 Navarro, 15 Vicente, 18 Dicker, 30 Buckley (LuaLua - 66'), 09 Barnes (Assulin - 82'), 12 Mackail-Smith (Vokes - 81').

Subs - 16 Ankergren, 22 Painter, 25 LuaLua, 13 Assulin, 24 Vokes.

Reading - 01 Federici, 05 Pearce, 17 Gorkss, 23 Harte, 24 Cummings, 11 McAnuff, 14 Kebe, 26 Mullins, 41 Cywka (Gunnarsson - 60'), 10 Hunt (Church - 79'), 33 Roberts.

Subs - 12 McCarthy, 06 Gunnarsson, 09 Le Fondre, 18 Church, 51 Afobe.

Total articles: 27

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