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Match Report: Brighton 2-2 Watford (Brighton Fan's Perspective)

By Andy
Thursday 19th April 2012
Brighton's slim play-off hopes are officially over. Despite coming from 2-0 down to salvage a draw, it wasn't enough to keep pace with Cardiff and Hull, who won their games nor Middlesborough, whose draw with Doncaster sent the Rovers down.

There is no denying that Brighton have had a stunning season back in the Championship. The AMEX Stadium is a delight and has proved to be a fortress with only four teams coming away with 3 points. Nobody expected the Seagulls to be where they are now and the transformation of the club since Gus Poyet took over as manager, has been nothing short of miraculous.

After Saturday's 6-0 catastrophe, many fans were expecting changes to the starting eleven, but none predicted the line-up that was shown on the screens dotted around the concourses before kick off. Some even said, with no hints of sarcasm in their voice, "Has there been a mistake?"

Former Manchester City reserve goalkeeper David Gonzalez made his debut and captain Gordon Greer was rested, Lewis Dunk took his place in defence and Inigo Calderon captained the side.

Any hopes David Gonzalez had of making a good impression were quickly shattered. His first job was to pick the ball out of the net after just six minutes as Watford took the lead through a well placed free kick from Sean Murray.

Replays showed Gonzalez's poor positioning and it wasn't long before a minority of fans started to get on his back. He seemed unsure which direction to throw the ball when it was in his hands and a couple of times, when he decided to kick it long, the ball went out of play.

Nevertheless, Brighton started to create chances and were playing good football. Former Watford player Will Buckley latched onto Ashley Barnes's through ball but Tomasz Kuszczak made himself big to block the close range strike. Kazenga Lualua, one of the five changes made by Poyet, nearly made one of his trademark long range efforts count but he could only watch the ball go narrowly wide.

Buckley was then denied again to haunt his former club. This time the post rescued the Hornets as Marcos Painter's cross found Buckley in space, his header had good power and rebounded off the post and straight into the hands of a grateful Kuszczak.

Things then went from bad to worse. Watford worked their way into the Brighton 18 yard box and Ashley Barnes's reckless challenge from behind lead to referee Scott Mathieson pointing straight from the spot. Troy Deeney, who scored Watford's only goal in their 1-0 victory over Brighton at Vicorage road back in November, made no mistake and doubled the Hornet's lead.

Brighton started the second half as they finished the first and is wasn't long before they were right back in the game. Good build up play around the Watford area saw Inigo Calderon find enough space to blast a shot towards goal, Kuszczak was only able to parry the ball straight back into the Spaniards path and the 2nd choice captain made no mistake with his second attempt.

Vicente Rodriguez came of the bench minutes later to replace Kazenga Lualua, and he was soon pulling the strings once more. His passes were perfect and he was the fore point of the Albion attack. Eleven minutes from time, his impact made the effect needed. He weaved passed several defenders and worked his way into the box to then cut the ball back low to find Will Buckley available to poke the ball home against his former club.

Both sides could have grabbed a late winner, a Watford effort went narrowly wide of the post, then deep into the five minutes of added time, Vicente saw his shot parried away to safety by Kuszczak.

The teams:

Brighton - 21 Gonzalez, 05 Dunk, 06 El-Abd, 14 Calderon, 22 Painter (Vincelot - 46'), 18 Dicker, 25 LuaLua (Vicente - 57'), 26 Bridcutt, 30 Buckley, 09 Barnes, 12 Mackail-Smith.

Subs -  16 Ankergren, 20 Vincelot, 11 Noone, 15 Vicente, 13 Assulin.

Watford -  35 Kuszczak, 03 Dickinson, 05 Taylor, 12 Doyley, 33 Nosworthy, 04 Eustace, 19 Buaben (Assombalonga - 90'), 22 Murray, 32 Hogg, 09 Deeney, 10 Iwelumo (Garner - 84').

Subs -  01 Loach, 17 Bennett, 24 Whichelow, 26 Assombalonga, 25 Garner.

Total articles: 27

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