Posts Tagged ‘Albion’

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February 8, 2011

I was up at Falmer today, picking my seats for next season. Two aisle seats down the Sarf end of the East Stand. I can hardly wait folks – it’s looking good, it really is.

Hartlepool 3 – 1 Albion

November 13, 2010

Hang in there

I’m not unduly worried about losing this game, we usually get sod all off the Monkey Hangers at their place. More worrying is that LuaLua was stretchered off after being crocked in the build up of the coup de grace Hartlepool third goal. How serious the injury is remains to be seen.

Work pressures (not for much longer in this current job, but that’s another story) ensured that my first visit up to Victoria Park remains elusive. I had to make do with the dour tones of BBC Radio Sussex. Hartlepool did their homework and kicked us where it hurts, and they deserved their win. Liam Bridcutt got a straight red, and he will miss the trip to Southampton, along with possibly LuaLua. Gary Dicker gave a faint flicker of hope with his equaliser, but ultimately the Albion lacked the will to win.

The good news now – Southampton, Huddersfield and Colchester all lost, allowing Charlton to slip into the unlikely position of second place. It could have been worse – but we are still six points clear of the baying pack. A quick glance at the table below shows how congested the division is, this should be a classic title race.

Npower League One table

Saturday, 13 November 2010 17:09 UK

Position Team P GD PTS
Full Npower League One table
1 Brighton 16 17 34
2 Charlton 16 6 28
3 Bournemouth 16 14 26
4 Carlisle 16 9 26
5 Huddersfield 16 7 26
6 Colchester 16 3 26
7 MK Dons 16 1 26
8 Peterborough 16 25
9 Sheff Wed 16 8 24
10 Southampton 16 7 24
11 Oldham 15 5 24
12 Exeter 16 -5 22
13 Swindon 16 -3 20
14 Hartlepool 15 -4 20
15 Bristol R 16 -7 20
16 Rochdale 15 2 19
17 Leyton Orient 16 19
18 Brentford 16 -3 19
19 Plymouth 16 -6 19
20 Tranmere 16 -7 19
21 Notts County 15 -7 16
22 Dag & Red 16 -11 15
23 Yeovil 16 -13 15
24 Walsall 16 -13 11

Albion 1 – 0 Aberdeen

August 1, 2010

Great little game this, played in front of a tiny crowd at Withers. What’s wrong with people? It was only a tenner a ticket for this one, I would have thought a bit of relief away from the summer shops and/or the wife and kids would have been more attractive, especially in this weather. Anyway.

I was sitting, probably for the last time ever, over in the North Stand. The tired old arena looks odd from this viewpoint, but ‘The Theatre of Trees’ was probably named by some wag North Stand regular, as the ground looks like it’s been cleared from some encroaching temperate jungle from here.

Mark McGhee got a more than affectionate welcome from both sides of Withdean when he appeared onto a pitch he knows so well, and the few hundred travelling Aberdeen fans sat in the East Stands appreciated the applause.

In our Portugal match against Portimonense we were given a bit of a lesson before the match was abandoned. Yesterday, just like against Sunderland over there, the team showed that when we play against typically British kick-and-rush exponents we look classy, continental even.

Aberdeen, a team with an impeccable (though distant) pedigree in Europe, looked very ordinary. The best gauge to measure how your team is doing is to watch the opposition fans in the stands. I was miles away from Blocks T and U, but I could still see a few jocks getting very shirty near the end of this game.

I don’t want to get carried away, but surely this team will perform in League One this year? The bookies fancy us to do well, if we keep relatively injury-free we should be thereabouts come May 2011.

The outstanding players yesterday were mostly in midfield. Bennett hit his trademark screamer, Sparrow and Navarro were neat and effective, especially Navs, who is a brilliant little campaigner. When our subs were made Gary Dicker was superb, giving Poyet headaches for selection this year. ‘Chino’ Baz is a player who gets the lovers of all things flair drooling at the mouth, his attempted overhead scissor kick was outrageous, pure class.

But it’s toss up between old man Kishishev and young urchin Jamie Smith for my man of the match. Kish is a wily old pro, if his legs hold up he will be making headlines regularly this season. Jamie Smith doesn’t look like a footballer - he’s an odd shape, has bouncy hair and is carrying a bit of puppy fat – but his close ball skills are as good as anybody’s and he gave Aberdeen all sorts of problems yesterday. So Smith just edges Kishishev for Man of the Match.

I’m annoyed that I’m missing the trip to Swindon next Saturday, as they will be a big test of this exciting new team. Relegation will not be an issue for the Albion this time around, nor do I think we will be headed for mid-table mediocrity, how far we do go is anybody’s guess, but I think we have the staff and playing style to go very far indeed.

The Hovian’s Team performance :  9 out 10

The Hovian’s Man of the Match :  Jamie Smith

Albion Team (goalscorers in bold) :

(4-5-1)Poke (Walker 77); Calderon (Whing 77), Elphick, Greer, Painter; Navarro (Battipiedi 77), Kishishev (Dicker 69), Sparrow; Smith (Baz 77), Barnes (Murray 77), Bennett (Holroyd 77).

Attendance: 2812 (516 Aberdeen)

Bish Bash Ash Barnes

July 9, 2010

On his bike to Sussex - Ash 'The Bash' Barnes

Great news – Ashley Barnes has put pen to paper and signed a two year deal with the Albion. 20 year old Ash was easily our most exciting player for the latter part of last season, netting four good goals for us in eight appearances (remember that beauty against Saints at Withdean in April?).

He shoots on sight and fearlessly throws himself around the box, thats why I had him as our best newcomer, and definitely one to watch this campaign.

After a slow start Gus Poyet has made some flair, if risky, signings this summer. But for me the fact he’s opting for youth is a sign he’s trying to build a side that can take this club forward, but he’s looking at long term, not a quick fix. It all augurs well for a great season ahead, but before I get too carried away I realise that probably every football fan in the country thinks ‘this is the season’ then watches wretchedly from the stands as his July heroes turn into November sad sacks. We shall see. (p.s. nine more days til Albufeira!)

Charlton 1 – 2 Albion

February 24, 2010

Oh Withdean, to have a view like this every game

This is the best game I’ve seen Albion play this season, it trumps even the Scummers away. That Charlton even scored flatters them somewhat, they couldn’t get the ball off us for the best part of 94 minutes.

A drizzle and mist sodden Valley didn’t bode well for what was to come, nor did the heavy weather-beaten pitch. But it was nice to get so close to the action after years of squinting out over Withers, and I think our proximity to the South Stand goal raised the noise level of the away supporters, it was fucking loud where I was anyway.

I’ll go through the team’s performance in order of ascending merit. El-Abd defended well, but his distribution was poor (hoof-o-matic) 6 out of 10. Forster did ok as lone striker, but he doesn’t do it as well as Murray (who is out sick), or Holroyd. Fozzy scores 6.

Elphick and Painter were steady enough, both score 7. Gary Dicker had a good game, but in an all-star midfield he didn’t shine as much as the others, 7.

Now the 8′s. Brezovan surely deserves a run in the team after last night? My only gripes, and the first is easily mended, is that he slices his big clearances to the right. He was also at fault for their goal (which came in the FOURTH minute of the three added at the end), but he gives me more confidence than Kuipers at present. Crofts was as good as ever, but again outshone by his wingers, 8 for him.

Kazenga LuaLua is something else, when he gets the ball the crowd’s expectation rises, he simply turns defenders inside out. Not 100% match fit, but his 71 minutes last night beats most players over three games, 9 out of 10. Alan Navarro – how much has this lad turned his season round? He is the lynchpin of this team, outstanding all over the park and becoming this blog’s cult hero, 9.

It was a hard, hard choice for my man of the match. Inigo Calderon finished the game our muddiest player, and when I played the game the grottiest team mate was the one getting stuck in the most. Our main threat was down the right, and it all started with our resident Spaniard. I love the way he is in constant communication with Poyet on the pitch, he’s always thinking and his effort was only matched by Navarro. His deflected goal was a bit lucky, but his charge upfield, followed by a correction after he lost control deserved a goal, pure flair.

But my man of the match goes to Bennett. He was all over Charlton last night, and his goal rounded off his best performance by far in the stripes – 9. Both subs did their jobs well, with Holroyd in particular, 7 each.

So, we headed back through the damp police horse shit to Charlton station realising we had watched something special, the faces around me were beaming. Our team played the fancied Charlton off their own pitch with superb one touch football and top drawer finishing. As I said, this was a special night, I wish we could play at the Valley every week!

The Hovian’s Albion Team Performance : 9 out of 10

The Hovian’s Albion Man of the Match : Elliott Bennett

Albion Team (goalscorers in bold):

(4-5-1) Brezovan; Calderon, Elphick, El-Abd, Painter; Bennett, Dicker, Crofts, Navarro, LuaLua (Hart 71); Forster (Holroyd 57)

(Subs) Kuipers, El-Abd, Cook, Carole, Hoyte, Hart, Holroyd

Attendance: 17508

League One table

Wednesday, 24 February 2010 00:00 UK

Position Team P GD PTS
Full League One table
1 Norwich 33 33 69
2 Leeds United 32 30 66
3 Colchester 32 18 62
4 Charlton 33 20 60
5 Swindon 31 15 59
6 Huddersfield 32 25 57
7 Millwall 32 14 55
8 MK Dons 32 1 49
9 Walsall 32 2 43
10 Bristol Rovers 31 -9 42
11 Southampton 30 17 38
12 Brentford 30 38
13 Yeovil 33 -4 38
14 Carlisle 32 -5 37
15 Leyton Orient 32 -6 37
16 Hartlepool 32 -9 35
17 Gillingham 33 -11 34
18 Brighton 32 -13 34
19 Tranmere 32 -23 33
20 Southend 32 -12 32
21 Oldham 30 -13 32
22 Exeter 32 -13 31
23 Wycombe 33 -24 28
24 Stockport 31 -33 20

Leeds 1 – 1 Albion

February 21, 2010

Our last view of Elland Road for years to come?

Gutted. No other word for it. Leeds probably deserved a draw overall, but I was sure we were finally going to ride our luck and leave Elland road – probably for the last time for many years – with all three points. As I said, gutted.

The day started inauspiciously when the PA system on the East Coast train out of King’s Cross announced we were on a dry train “Due to football issues”. Onboard there were Leeds, Watford, Ipswich, and even a Geordie fan running late for St James’s Park. He was probably just a lost beer monster, if he was he was on the wrong train. We managed a couple of swift pints and a warming shot in the railway station bar before jumping into a taxi for Elland Road.  Leeds’ tap lager in the away supporters’ bar was horrible, so I knocked back cider before grabbing a seat in the tiny yellow away section in the south east corner of the old stadium.

Just a note on Leeds stewards, and I’m not one who usually rags on the fluorescent jacket brigade, but these were some of the worst jobsworths I’ve seen. Granted the four or so Albion lads who got ejected for repeatedly refusing to sit down were pissed-up and annoying, but the introduction of purple shirted “quick response” teams or whatever they were called, plain clothes (undercover?) uber-stewards, and of course West Yorkshire’s finest was all a bit OTT to say the least. The fact that one of them was a ringer for Mark McGhee didn’t help either. I tried to get a photo of McGhoo’s visog but he was too fast for me, and for a moment I thought he was going to try and sling me out for the heinous crime of using a camera in a public place. Muppets.

The match now. Well, we weren’t exactly robbed, but when Virgo was sent off for a reckless lunge on Leeds’ Gradel after Brezovan threw the ball to him (fucking Albion goalkeeping again!), it looked ominous. Letting in a goal on 95 minutes was completely soul destroying though. Before the equaliser the team battled, frustrated and harried, Beckford never got so much as a sniff all game. When Murray went down and converted his own penalty we were sitting pretty, the home crowd were quiet, and I really believed we were for winning this one.

My man of the match was a hard one, this really was a team display, if you’ll pardon the cliche. Virgo was brilliant until he went, but he’s out of the team now for Charlton and James Tunnicliffe is out on loan, who’s going in at centre back – probably Painter with El-Abd coming back to cover left back. Our midfield was brilliant all game, again with Navarro starring alongside Crofts. I saw LuaLua for the first time too, and he looks great. But big Glenn Murray played the lone striker role superbly up front, and for that he earns my man of the match.

After the game we met up at the Grove Inn on Stone Row with a few Albion fans for some excellent real ale before heading home, again on a dry train. Some of the boys had a carry out so I blagged a couple of cans, and one of my party got a little bit too rowdy (sorry Lads!), but all in all we had forgotten about the game and had a bit of a laugh.

So, we’ve slipped a place to 22nd in the league after dropping two points yesterday, things aren’t looking good in the table, but we are playing well. Charlton away on Tuesday night is not as daunting a fixture as it might have been earlier in the season, we can match anyone on our day, we just have to have more “days” – time is running out.

The Hovian’s Albion Team Performance : 8 out of 10

The Hovian’s Albion Man of the Match : Glenn Murray

Albion Team (goalscorers in bold):

(4-5-1) Brezovan; Calderon, Elphick, Virgo, Painter; Bennett (Hart 56), Dicker, Crofts, Navarro, LuaLua (El-Abd 82); Murray

(Subs) Kuipers, El-Abd, Forster, Carole, Hoyte, Hart, Holroyd

Attendance: 24120

League One table

Sunday, 21 February 2010 00:00 UK

Position Team P GD PTS
Full League One table
1 Norwich 32 32 66
2 Leeds United 31 28 63
3 Colchester 32 18 62
4 Charlton 32 21 60
5 Swindon 30 12 56
6 Huddersfield 31 23 54
7 Millwall 31 12 52
8 MK Dons 31 3 49
9 Walsall 31 3 43
10 Bristol Rovers 31 -9 42
11 Brentford 30 38
12 Southampton 29 17 37
13 Carlisle 31 -2 37
14 Leyton Orient 31 -6 36
15 Yeovil 32 -5 35
16 Gillingham 32 -11 33
17 Tranmere 31 -21 33
18 Southend 31 -11 32
19 Oldham 29 -11 32
20 Hartlepool 31 -12 32
21 Exeter 32 -13 31
22 Brighton 31 -14 31
23 Wycombe 32 -24 27
24 Stockport 30 -30 20

WTF?

February 15, 2010

No seriously, WTF? The only sense I can make of this is that Nicky Forster must be on his way back.

On his way to The Posh - Bananaman AKA Liam Dickinson

Albion 1 – 2 Norwich

February 14, 2010

Saucer-faced pop minx (who's not as fit as her mum) and Norwich City celebrity bellend fan Sophie Ellis-Bextor

I had to miss going to this game due to family commitments I couldn’t put off any longer, and frankly, I’m not too bothered not having had to fork out £24 for this one. I did manage to listen in on BBC Radio Sussex for most of the game, and all I can say is, we’re not showing that extra bit of effort needed to start climbing up the table. Say what you want about bad luck and dickhead referees, but to let in not one, but two goals in the last ten minutes after going one up and playing so well is criminal, even if it was the League One champions elect who nicked all three points in the smash ‘n’ grab raid. Enough said.

When we got home to Hove today after spending the weekend in the wilds of east East Sussex, seeing two tickets for Leeds away next week lying on the hall floor lightened my mood somewhat. Albion need to man the fuck up and take it to both Leeds and Charlton on the following Tuesday night, or we’ll be hanging onto League One status by the skin of our soiled underpants come the end of this month. Honeymoon’s long gone now Gus, time to consummate this football relationship properly and keep us in tier three for next season.

Albion 0 – 0 Huddersfield

February 10, 2010

One-time gritty northern film actor, now "Shitty Manc Soap" star and Huddersfield FC celebrity bellend fan Reece Dinsdale

The Withdean jinx/hoodoo carries on. How else can you explain us not taking all three points last night? Well, the draw did lift us out of the drop zone for now, so it’s not all doom and gloom.

I decided to walk up to Withers from Furze Hill to get a bit of warm blood circulating around the old bones on a frigid night. It took me 40 minutes, and I was frozen again within ten minutes of parking my arse in the South Stand. Only 4710 other souls joined me at the Theatre of Trees.

Two things were confirmed emphatically for me during the match – Liam Dickinson can’t (or won’t) jump, and Michel Kuipers has two left feet. Poyet promised to change things after the defeat against Millwall, but he changed the wrong people in my humble opinion - Carole for Dicker and Dicko for Murray.

I’ll briefly mention each player’s performance, as nil-nillers aren’t the most interesting games to wax lyrical about. Kuipers – poor game by his standards, had very little to do but still managed to almost commit suicide by a dreadful clearance early doors. He was saved by the solid, confident defensive unit in front of him. Painter and Calderon were excellent, especially the Spaniard – so assured on the ball. Same for Elphick and Virgo, who thankfully kept the ball away from the eejit in goal by commanding the air and superbly timed tackling, the hoofing upfield was kept to a minimum too.

Seb Carole was hard-working but his shooting terrible, he faded badly in the second half and made way for Dicker, who was his normal brilliant self. Bennett fared far better on the other wing. Crofts was steady and bossed the middle, allowing little Alan Navarro to shine; he’s really finding form under Poyet and was my Man of the Match, just shading it over Calderon.

Chris Holroyd won his first full debut, with Nicky Forster commiting professional hara-kiri over his contract, and he was ok, but didn’t deserve man of the match. I was baffled on hearing that over the PA system as we huddled out of the ground after the game. Dickinson was poor last night, never jumped successfully once, for all his height he’s a goon in the air. Good balls that Glenn Murray would have used well were wasted on him. When Murray inevitably replaced him the change in fortune up front was immediate, but even he couldn’t finish Town off.

So, Huddersfield were there for the taking, but we just couldn’t deliver the killer punch. Good news and bad news on the transfer front, the Seagulls have signed Kazenga Lua Lua from Newcastle on a month’s loan, which could spell the end of Nicky Forster wearing the stripes. I really hope not

The Hovian’s Albion Team Performance : 7 out of 10

The Hovian’s Albion Man of the Match : Alan Navarro

Albion Team (goalscorers in bold):

(4-4-2) Kuipers; Calderon, Virgo, Elphick, Painter; Bennett, Crofts, Navarro, Carole (Dicker 71); Holroyd, Dickinson (Murray 65)

(Subs): Brezovan, Cox, Tunnicliffe, Dicker, Hoyte, Murray, Hart

Attendance : 4711 (163 Huddersfield)

League One table

Wednesday, 10 February 2010 00:00 UK

Position Team P GD PTS
Full League One table
1 Norwich 30 33 63
2 Leeds United 28 29 61
3 Charlton 30 20 57
4 Colchester 29 16 55
5 Swindon 28 10 52
6 Millwall 29 12 49
7 Huddersfield 28 20 47
8 MK Dons 29 6 46
9 Bristol Rovers 29 -9 39
10 Walsall 28 2 37
11 Brentford 28 1 37
12 Leyton Orient 29 -5 35
13 Southampton 28 15 34
14 Yeovil 29 -2 34
15 Carlisle 28 -4 34
16 Hartlepool 30 -10 32
17 Southend 29 -9 31
18 Exeter 30 -11 31
19 Brighton 29 -13 30
20 Oldham 27 -11 29
21 Gillingham 30 -12 29
22 Tranmere 29 -22 29
23 Wycombe 30 -25 23
24 Stockport 28 -31 16

Leyton Orient 1 – 1 Albion

February 7, 2010

Looking like he's had more food than just his dinner in bed with him - Leyton Orient celebrity bellend fan Bob Mills

Smashing game this one, dominated by one howling tit of a referee. Our Firm (me and the missus) arrived at London Bridge just before the pubs opened. We headed down Borough High Street, had a quick snoofty around Borough Market and made a bee-line for the alehouses as soon as the doors opened. Most of the boozers were crammed full of rough-looking Millwall older lads, with a few young Norwich fans mingling around in their yellow and green scarves – this answered my question as to who was at the New Den today.

We eventually got a good seat in the Fuller’s Barrowboy and Banker, where the pie was lovely and the ale spot on, and watched most of the Scouse derby before supping up and heading to Brisbane Road on the Central Line. Albion had the whole of the rickety old East Stand in the Matchworn Stadium, and as we rocked up late we had to settle for two seats behind one of the rusting stanchions holding up the roof, which restricted the view of the penalty area to our left. But the atmosphere was already electric and the crowd were well up for this one.

The game? No Nicky Forster anywhere – he’s in contractual dispute with the club, they better get their act together as he’s still for me our best striker, regardless of how old he is. We took the lead after their keeper had a Graeme Smith/David James moment and Glenn Murray rounded him and passed the ball into an empty net, 1-0. Then the game got really feisty, tackles flew in and tempers flared. We had another Murray strike ruled offside, then Dickinson, who was magnificent yesterday, was clearly fouled in the area – play on waved the idiot in black. It was so blatant even the O’s in the ground were quiet. Gus Poyet blew a gasket on the far touchline and was promptly sent off by the ref – Steve Cook – I’m sure I’ve mentioned this dickhead before in a match this season at Withdean, what a whopper this guy is.

We were the better team, playing on the deck and making for a good game, but Mr Cook couldn’t keep blowing that fucking whistle, he ruined the second half, and even I was as convinced as the maniacs around me that he had a red shirt on under his black one. The final straw was when Michel Kuipers slipped as he tried to make a clearance and was forced to handle a back-pass, Orient won a very suspect indirect free-kick about 15 yards from goal. The whole Albion team packed the goalmouth and when the subsequent shot rebounded and fell to Dick Dastardly himself (AKA Scott McGleish) he stuck it in the Onion bag, their keeper gave us the “Can’t hear you now” sign, the spacker, and Scotty boy got booked for his over-exhuberant celebration which in older times, along with the Orient keeper’s little display, would have started a pitch invasion and punch-up. The rather friendly Orient steward near us was looking distinctly worried as we were dancing about and snarling at this point.

It was a good performance from the team, if not a particularly good result. Best players in my opinion were: Virgo and Elphick, solid once again in defence (I’m happy to report since we play the big teams back to back again soon). The midfield four were excellent too, apart from giving the ball away a tad too much later on – Gary Dicker was the most creative, he’s a class act this lad. But stand up big Liam Dickinson. The gangly knock-kneed giant with bananas for feet was brilliant for me. He gave 150% the whole game and barnstormed their dirty defenders, they didn’t know what to do with him. Man of the Match.

After the game I was bushwhacked (as in tired, not filled in by Sarf London’s finest) as we got to Southwark again by Tube – a return fixture at the Barrowboy was a game too far and I was almost kipping on the shite First Capital Connect train as it was delayed and virtually crawled back to good old Brighton. Another good day out though, I’m chuffed to bits to be back living at home and following the stripes around the rusty old stadia of this green and pleasant land.

The Hovian’s Albion Team Performance : 7 out of 10

The Hovian’s Albion Man of the Match : Liam Dickinson

Albion Team (goalscorers in bold):

(4-4-2) Kuipers; Calderon, Virgo, Elphick, Painter; Bennett, Crofts, Navarro, Dicker; Murray (Hart 75), Dickinson.

(Subs): Brezovan, Cox, Tunnicliffe, Carole, Hoyte, Holroyd, Hart

Attendance: 6027 (1834 Albion)

League One table

Sunday, 7 February 2010 00:00 UK

Position Team P GD PTS
Full League One table
1 Norwich 30 33 63
2 Leeds United 28 29 61
3 Charlton 30 20 57
4 Colchester 28 14 52
5 Millwall 29 12 49
6 Swindon 27 8 49
7 Huddersfield 27 20 46
8 MK Dons 29 6 46
9 Bristol Rovers 28 -8 39
10 Brentford 28 1 37
11 Leyton Orient 29 -5 35
12 Southampton 28 15 34
13 Walsall 27 1 34
14 Yeovil 29 -2 34
15 Carlisle 28 -4 34
16 Hartlepool 30 -10 32
17 Southend 28 -7 31
18 Exeter 30 -11 31
19 Oldham 26 -9 29
20 Gillingham 29 -11 29
21 Brighton 28 -13 29
22 Tranmere 28 -23 26
23 Wycombe 30 -25 23
24 Stockport 28 -31 16

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