Connect with us

Brighton and Hove Albion

Aaron Connolly targets first team as brace gets Brighton youngsters off to flying start

Published

on

Striker Aaron Connolly made the difference for Brighton under-23s against newly-promoted Wolverhampton last night after he scored a brace at The People’s Pension Stadium and continues to push for a place in the first team.

The first game of the Premier League Two season saw Simon Rusk’s team start with a 2-0 victory as he lined-up in a familiar 4-2-3-1 formation, with Connolly spearheading the attack.

Manager Rusk said, “The challenge for Aaron is to take his goal-scoring form at this level of football to the next step. Like all young players, he has to wait and see what happens, maintain his attitude and keep working hard.”

Brighton kicked off last night attacking right to left against a Wolves team who had won promotion through a memorable 3-2 victory against Manchester United under-23s last season.

Rusk’s side were frustrated in the first half which saw few opportunities fall their way. A half chance came to Connolly when he nearly got on the end of a ball over the top but was muscled out of it by Wolves’ Dion Sanderson.

Wolves sat deep in a 3-5-2 formation and allowed Brighton to have the ball and pressed them in phases, Brighton defenders were caught out a few times just inside their own half which saw Wolves almost break through on goal if it wasn’t for some tactical fouls to stop them in their tracks.

“We need to be patient,” Rusk said to his players at halftime. “We can be a little bit more accurate and creative in the last third of the pitch with our offensive play but it is important we are playing against a very effective team who want to counter attack and break on us and we need to nullify that threat, stay patient and have the belief we will create a chance.”

The second half was much more open, Brighton had the bit between their teeth with players like Anders Dreyer and Connolly making some great runs to stretch the Wolves defence and get in behind.

Chances were falling to both teams and saw great saves from Brighton keeper Thomas McGill to keep them in it early on in the second half.

Brighton finally drew blood from the Wolves’ defensive pack on 76 minutes after a shot was blocked and fell nicely to Connolly in the six yard box who rifled the ball into the top right corner.

Two minutes later Brighton pounced again, a lofted through ball from Steven Alzate over the top of Wolves’ defence saw Connolly’s first time lob – from 18 yards out – over the onrushing Wolves keeper, Andreas Sondergaard and bounce into the net.

Speaking to the club’s website, Connolly said, “I want to play in the Premier League, and I want to impress the new gaffer (Graham Potter). I want to break into the first team here with Brighton and with the Republic of Ireland. You have to aim high and I hope I get the chance at both levels soon.

“With Ireland’s under-21s we played against the senior team before the Toulon tournament, and you can see the standard; where you need to be at to make it into the senior squad. Our under-21s manager is going to be the senior manager next year, so I hope I can have a good season for club and country.

“I didn’t make the squad last week for the Watford game. I expected that, and I have to be patient. I will keep working hard in the under-23s and I hope I get my chance. Neal [Maupay] and Florin [Andone] scored at the weekend, and you know Glenn [Murray] is going to score goals.

“To score a couple of goals and win 2-0 is a good start to the season. I had only played 45 minutes, but it was good to play 90 minutes after a little injury. It was a good win and happy to get two goals.”

Rusk added, “It was never going to be a straight forward win and the game was always going to cause us problems both when we had the ball and when we didn’t have the ball but I think in the end it was very professional from the players and there’s lots to take from that.”

Continue Reading
Advertisement

Brighton and Hove Albion

Brighton boss Graham Potter reveals a surprising new role for Alireza Jahanbakhsh

Published

on

Head coach Graham Potter insists £17m forward Alireza Jahanbakhsh is in his future plans – but he may have to adapt to a different position.

Iran international Jahanbakhsh, 26, was Brighton’s record signing when he joined from Dutch outfit AZ Alkmaar last summer.

He failed to score in the Premier League last season and Jahanbakhsh has not featured in Potter’s first two match-day squads at Watford or against West Ham.

Potter, however, is convinced the attacker can still prosper at the Amex this season – albeit in an unfamiliar role of right wing back. Martin Montoya has started the season well in that position and seems a natural fit but the head coach feels it’s also a spot that could suit Jahanbakhsh, too.

“I do. He’s another one that’s worked really hard, he’s a bit unfortunate not to be in the 18.

“He’s a player that can be close to the 11 but out of the 18, if that makes sense, because I think he can play in any one of those front positions but also as a wing-back, on the right side, he’s been working with that as well.

“He’s a bit unlucky, you have to pick 18 and, for the balance of the subs, he’s been the one that’s missed out.

“But how he’s worked every day has been perfect, does his best and is ready to help the team.”

Potter expects Jahanbakhsh stay, despite the fact that the European transfer window remains open. “Of course, while it’s open you never know, you can’t tell. But I wouldn’t have thought so.”

Potter has taken four points from his first two games but believes his former club Southampton, who are without a point so far this campaign, will provide a stern test on their visit to the Amex. Potter experienced Premier League action with Southampton as a player during the 1996-97 season.

The highlight of his time at The Dell was a 6-3 triumph against a Manchester United side containing the likes of Peter Schmeichel, Roy Keane and Eric Cantona in October 1996.

“(It is) a nice club, I was there quite briefly. Obviously the memorable game was the big victory against Manchester United. I was a sub, got on the pitch and didn’t harm the game for us too much. We still went on to win 6-3.

“Matt Le Tissier was the talisman for the team at the time and a good group of lads, it was the start of the Premier League really that era. It was a great experience for me.

“They’re a really established Premier League club that is run really well and they provide a stiff opposition for us at the weekend.”

Continue Reading

Brighton and Hove Albion

Graham Potter predicts a ‘big, big fight’ for Brighton against winless Southampton

Published

on

Head coach Graham Potter insists Southampton will be their sternest test to date as Brighton aim build on their promising start to the season.

Albion have gathered four points from their first two fixtures thanks to a 3-0 win at Watford before a 1-1 home draw with West Ham last Saturday. Southampton arrive on the back of two defeats, having lost 3-0 at Burnley and 2-1 to Liverpool at St Mary’s.

“I think it will be our toughest game so far at the weekend because of how Southampton are and how they play,” said Potter.

“I am really impressed with how they are, how they play, what they have done, what they bring and how they try to play football. For us, we are still at the stage where every single game is a big, big fight for us to take the points.”

Potter is also satisfied with the steady progress Brighton have made since he took charge, “Overall it has been positive. With each day the guys are trying to improve and doing their best. We have had two matches, one and one away. Results wise it has been okay and performance, we are trying to improve everyday.”

Potter experienced Premier League action with Southampton as a player during the 1996-97 season. The highlight of his time at The Dell was a 6-3 triumph against a Manchester United side containing the likes of Peter Schmeichel, Roy Keane and Eric Cantona in October 1996.

“(It is) a nice club, I was there quite briefly. Obviously the memorable game was the big victory against Manchester United. I was a sub, got on the pitch and didn’t harm the game for us too much. We still went on to win 6-3.

“Matt Le Tissier was the talisman for the team at the time and a good group of lads, it was the start of the Premier League really that era. It was a great experience for me.

“They’re a really established Premier League club that is run really well and they provide a stiff opposition for us at the weekend.”

What time does Brighton v Southampton kick off?

The game kicks off at 3pm at the Amex.

Is the game on TV?

No. Highlights of the Southampton match will be on Match Of The Day at 10.30pm on Saturday evening.

What’s the team news?

No fresh injury concerns for Albion. Winger Jose Izquierdo and defender Ezequiel Schelotto (both knee) continue their rehabilitation along with midfielder Yves Bissouma (shoulder).

Southampton striker Danny Ings was on the bench for the Liverpool match and will hope to force his way into the starting line-up ahead of Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg took his starting spot.

Brighton’s last match

Brighton 1 (Trossard 65)West Ham 1 (Hernandez 61)

Albion line-up: Ryan; Duffy, Dunk, Burn; Montoya, Stephens, Propper, March; Gross (Maupay 67), Murray (Andone 74), Trossard (Mooy 85). Subs not used: Button (GK), Webster, Bernardo, Locadia.

Southampton’s last match

Southampton 1 (Ings 83) Liverpool 2 (Mane 45+1 Firmino 71)

Southampton line-up: Gunn; Bednarek, Yoshida, Vestergaard; Valery, Ward-Prowse, Romeu (Ings 64), Hojberg, Bertrand (Djenepo 77); Adams (Armstrong 68), Redmond. Subs not used: Forster (GK), Danso, Cedric, Obafemi.

Who is the referee and VAR?

Referee: Kevin Friend Assistants: Matthew Wilkes, Andy Garratt Fourth official: Oli Langford VAR: Lee Mason Assistant VAR: Mark Scholes

Friend has taken charge of one Premier League game this season and issued three yellow cards and no red. Last season Friend refereed Brighton’s 3-1 victory against Crystal Palace at the Amex Shane Duffy was sent-off.

What are the odds?

Brighton are favourites to pick up all three points on Coral and are priced at 7/5 to win.

A Southampton victory is 2-1 and the draw is 11/5.

Glenn Murray is 4/1 to score first, with Southampton’s Ings at 5/1. Duffy is 12/1 open the scoring while Lewis Dunk is 25/1. A 1-1 draw is the favoured result at 5/1 with a 1-0 triumph for Brighton at 13/2. A 2-0 win for Brighton is currently 10/1 with Coral.

Three Draws

Three of Albion’s Premier League meetings against Saints have ended all square, with Glenn Murray scoring in each of those matches, including a 90th-minute penalty to equalise at St Mary’s last season. Brighton came back from 2-0 down thanks to Murray’s spot kick and Shane Duffy’s bullet header, but their south-coast neighbours took all three points when they visited the Amex in March, winning 1-0.

Continue Reading

Brighton and Hove Albion

Nostalgia / Brighton vs Southampton: Mark Lawrenson levels for Albion after Alan Ball’s strike

Published

on

Few teams can match the length of rivalry we have with Southampton. We were the first opposition for them at The Dell, in 1898, and were regular opponents in the Southern League until 1920, when both clubs joined the newly-formed third division (South) of the Football League.

Top flights meetings number just twelve, with our two wins coming back in 1981. Last season’s reverse at The Amex in March broke a sequence of four draws, but this weekend’s game gives us an opportunity to exact swift revenge for that defeat.

For this week’s column, I’m moving away from top-flight meetings, and back to a New Year thriller at The Goldstone. After promotion from Division Three in the 77/78 season, Albion made a great start to life back in Division Two. Manager Alan Mullery had smashed our transfer record in June, signing the Preston North End defender Mark Lawrenson from under the noses of Liverpool. The £112,000 fee proved to be a fantastic piece of business and other signings that summer included John Ruggiero, Eric Potts and Gary Williams. Peter Ward had signed a new four-year contract and excitement was at fever pitch amongst the fans.We briefly went to the top of the table at the beginning of October, but two defeats over the Christmas period dropped us to fifth. The match against third-placed Southampton on 2nd January 1978 was made all-ticket and 32,979 crammed into The Goldstone. At the time, this was the sixth-highest attendance at the ground and was only surpassed once more, in April 1978.

The huge crowd saw a tense affair, with both sides giving everything to consolidate their respective positions in the league. Mullery named an unchanged side from the two festive defeats. Eric Steele continued in goal, behind a back four of Gary Williams, Chris Cattlin, Andy Rollings and Mark Lawrenson.

In midfield, Brian Horton anchored things, alongside Peter O’Sullivan, Tony Towner and Paul Clark. Up front, Peter Ward was beginning to forge a great partnership with Teddy Maybank, who had been signed from Fulham in November 1977.

Southampton manager Lawrie McMenemy was able to call on a strong team, with future Managers Chris Nicholl and Alan Ball in the side. Their midfield included the mercurial talent of Steve Williams, alongside Southampton-born Nick Holmes. Up front, the partnership of Phil Boyer and Ted MacDougall was flourishing as Saints pushed for promotion.

Alan Mullery’s message in the programme was that 1977 had been “fantastic”. He went on to say; “The seventeen months I have been here have been like a dream, it really has been almost a fairytale”.

The players had a point to prove after two defeats and it was a tense first 45 minutes. Tackles were flying in and Andy Rollings picked up a booking after one too many fierce challenges.

The second half was just as close but Albion were dealt a blow when Rollings was sent off for another bad foul. Southampton capitalised almost immediately, with Alan Ball giving them the lead.

Despite being down to ten men, the Seagulls pressed for an equaliser but had to re-shuffle when Paul Clark picked up an injury. Mullery sent on Eric Potts to try and make something happen and Albion got their reward when Mark Lawrenson scored his first goal for the club. Despite pressure from both sides, it finished 1-1.

Honours were even and it was to stay that way for the rest of the season. Conspiracy theories abound as to the motivation for the 0-0 draw between Southampton and Spurs on the last day of the season. That result sent both teams up into the first division at the expense of Albion, who missed out on goal difference.

We put things right the following season and now here we are again, for the thirteenth top-flight meeting between the two clubs. Graham Potter’s revolution continues and all Albion fans will be hoping for South Coast bragging rights, for a few months at least.

Continue Reading

Popular

© 2019 The Crawley Comet | Privacy