Brighton v Southampton
30th March 2019
Højbjerg's goal topped a Captain's performance
IBO Reporter : sotonian
Sixteen of us caught the train from Botley to Fareham, where we picked up the Southampton to Brighton train. The train was dangerously over crowded, the rail companies really don't care how many tickets they sell in advance and they never add carriages to cope with any excess demand. This is the same story for every away game that I go to. OK, so accepting that, we had a few drinks on the train and got over the moans. We arrived in Brighton just after 11am and being a sunny day, headed straight for the seafront. There is a good selection of bars along the beach, so we enjoyed the sunshine over a few drinks. Before we realised it, someone mentioned that it was 2pm and we had better head for the ground. We left our partners to do shopping in the Lanes and the easiest way for the eight of us who were going to the game, was to jump in two taxi's. It worked out at only £3 each, which seemed a bargain. The taxi driver asked which way we wanted to go to the ground, which seemed a very odd question, but we got to the ground & found our seats in good time for the kickoff.
The game started a bit like a pre-season friendly, lots of possession from Saints but no real chances created, Brighton seemed to be playing with one eye on their FACup Semi-Final game next weekend and it wasn't until more than half an hour that we had the first shot anywhere near goal. This was when Ings shot way over the Brighton bar from about 30 yards out. This seemed to wake the game up a bit and shortly after a decent passage of play from Saints, Højbjerg crossed to Armstrong who had his shot blocked.
Just before halftime Redmond, who was having a good game, had a decent chance, but it hit the side netting.
Half time came and it remained Brighton 0 Saints 0, overall this was a very poor game and I was starting to wish that I had stayed on the beach in the sunshine!
The second half started a lot better, with Saints really starting to push forward. Then on 53' Saints scored. Redmond made a great run directly towards the Brighton goal, with Højbjerg running into space on the left, Nathan laid the ball off to the Dane, who just dinked it into the corner of the goal, beyond the wrong footed Ryan. Brighton 0 Saints 1.
The goal seemed to finally wake up Brighton, who had been very much second best for all of the game so far. Saints started to drop deeper, which in turn inevitably invited Brighton forward. This resulted in a few half chances for Brighton, but even then Gunn was really not tested.
Danny Ings managed 67 minutes on his return after yet another hamstring injury, but was largely ineffectual and was then replaced by Sam Gallagher. He proceeded to run around a lot but, other than concede a few fouls, I can't remember anything of note that he did.
It was all one way traffic now, as Brighton start pushing for the equaliser. Yoshida did well to block a shot from Murray and then on 70 minutes Montoya hit the Saints crossbar with a great long distance shot. A lucky escape.
Shortly after this, Brighton seemed to have a decent shout for a penalty, with bodies going down all over the place in the Saints penalty area, but Micheal Oliver was right there with an unobstructed view and waved play on. Since the game I've seen it again and the ref got it exactly right.
With 15 minutes to go Stephens was bought on for Armstrong, with Hasenhüttl moving the team to three central defenders, but this just invited Brighton forward even more and Saints were camped in their own half for the rest of the game. That is apart from the odd burst forward from Nathan Redmond, who had very little support as we were playing so defensively.
Somehow Saints hung on and the final whistle was greeted with pumping fists from Hasenhüttl. Brighton 0 Saints 1. Not a great game but the result was massive for Saints, who are as good as safe from relegation now.
After the game we headed for the train station, but 20,000 other people had the same idea. Brighton keep their concourse bars open after the game, which is a great idea, so we had a couple of drinks with the Brighton fans until the station got less busy and we then got the train back into Brighton for a great evening in the town.
Man of the Match
No question for me - Nathan Redmond who was a class above everyone else on the pitch.
Redmond ran the Brighton defence ragged all afternoon
6 Stephens - Booked 15'
24 Pröpper (Locadia 74')
16 Jahanbakhsh (March 62')
16 Ward-Prowse - Booked 90'
17 Armstrong (Stephens 76' - Booked 83')
9 Ings (Gallagher 67')
22 Redmond (Sims 89')
Saturday 30th March
- Højbjerg 53'
Referee: Michael Oliver
- Brighton 60%
- Southampton 40%
- Brighton 14
- Southampton 8
Shots on Target
- Brighton 1
- Southampton 2
- Brighton 6
- Southampton 5
- Brighton 8
- Southampton 10