Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Another terrible trip to Selhurst Park

So, after all the build up, the chest thumping, the banter, the expectation and the hope, Brighton & Hove Albion once again lost to our arch rivals Crystal Palace.

Defensive prospect Lewis Dunk was shown his marching orders before 10 minutes had ticked round on the clock and, rather predictably, Glenn Murray added another two goals to his blossoming tally for the season.

Once the red card was shown, there was only ever going to be one winner. And, to be clear, it HAD to be shown. The referee had no choice. It wasn't cynical from Dunk - he just lunged as a reaction to losing the ball - but it was a red.

One the swearing had died down in the away end (well, side), Palace had already struck the bar. It was just a temporary respite.

Employing two attacking wide players either side of Murray (please take note Mr Poyet: TWO attacking wide players at home), Palace were always going to be too hot to handle for Brighton's make-shirt back three / four / nine.

In The Argus earlier in the week, Gus Poyet had said he could not afford to keep Murray. His wages, we were told, were 75 per cent more at Selhurst. Some context was needed (and sadly missing from the article) however. Yes, Murray's wages are now 75 per cent more than he WAS on at Brighton. But they are not 75 per cent more than he was OFFERED in the tabled new deal.

Palace took a chance, stumped up the extra couple of grand, a signing on fee and an extra year on the deal. Brighton, and by that we probably mean Poyet, did not think he was worth it. I guess the proof of the pudding is in the eating.

Brighton fans however would have moved on from this grievance if Poyet had managed to replace the talisman almost a season and a half later. He hasn't. And until he does, the debate will continue to haunt him.

Apparently Brighton couldn't afford Murray one week, but could shell out for Craig Mackail-Smith, Will Buckley, Will Hoskins and Kazenga Lua Lua shortly after. You do the maths.

But that aside, the Albion were found lacking in far more areas than their now vacant number 17 slot.

Two penalties confirmed Crystal Palace's dominance. The first appeared suspect. On closer inspection on TV it probably wasn't a spot kick. Had it been up the other end and Mackail-Smith being felled rather than Murray, we definitely would have been calling for it. The second was clear-cut. Gordon Greer who, lest we forget, is the Albion captain, decided to surrender all discipline and shove Murray over. Thanks Gordon.

Brighton hardly created. Ashley Barnes failed to connect with a tantalising right side cross from Liam Bridcutt in the first half, while Mackail-Smith wasted a good chance moments into the second after uncharacteristically good play from Barnes.

Would things have been different if Dunk had stayed on? Almost certainly. Would the Albion have won? I doubt it. Whatever some Brighton fans would like to believe, the Selhurst outfit is strong, well organised and boasts a potent attack.

After the game there was the normal shenanigans with the MET Police. A toilet got smashed up. Some car wing mirrors were removed. A few punches no doubt thrown.

However, having seen two Brighton fans pissing in a train carriage early that day I can't say I was surprised. Disappointed, yes. Surprised, no.

The only good thing to come out of this trip to Selhurst was that we won't have to go back until next season.

So, with reference to my last post on the Palace game. Yes, yes I have seen the Muppet Show. But the stars were not wearing red and blue.

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