Heart stopping action on the south coast

Brighton

In my day job in the insurance industry, I’ve discussed every heart condition in the book with clients. Arrhythmia, ectopic heartbeats, tachycardia – you name it, I’ve spoken to people about it.

After the last minute drama we’ve had at the start of this season, I think I now suffer from all of them as well.

Let’s go back to the opening day game at Doncaster first of all. With Albion 1-0 down, time running out, and our manager in the stands after booting an innocent water bottle, things weren’t looking good.

Enter Will Buckley. After an uninspiring pre-season, and with all the hype surrounding the opening of the Amex and the signings of Craig Mackail-Smith and Kazenga LuaLua, the former Watford man had seemed somewhat forgotten by the Seagulls faithful. When he rifled in a half volley from 20 yards in the 83rd minute, he was a forgotten man no more.

And so to added time. With nasty looking injuries suffered by Billy Sharp and James Hayter, we were looking at going beyond the 100 minute mark. Albion were pressing very hard – only one team was going to win this. In the 98th minute, fellow substitute Craig Noone plays a perfect through ball to Buckley. He is clean through.

Time stood still.

The ball nestles in the back of the Donny net. There is delirium in the stands like I have never experienced. Brighton have completed the comeback, on the day they came home. Roy of the Rovers couldn’t have written a better script.

With a banana skin offered by Gillingham safely negotiated in the Carling Cup during the week, attention then turned to our first away game of the season – a tasty looking local derby against Portsmouth.

There was a real good feel about this game. We had all-but sold out our allocation of 3,000, and most of those seemed to be heading down by train. Every carriage was rammed – the buzz from the opening game at the Amex had clearly spilled over to our first away day.

Come game time, the Albion performance was superb – slick, flowing and confident. We passed Pompey off the park, and truly looked like we had arrived in The Championship. It was Mackail-Smith who was in the right place at the right time to bundle the winner home, a poachers goal if ever you saw one.

Pompey never looked like threatening Casper Ankergren’s goal throughout the second half. But, this is Brighton after all, we don’t do comfortable wins in these parts. With five minutes of stoppage just about over, Lewis Dunk inexplicably handles in the box. Why he put his arm up, I do not know. Dunk probably doesn’t even know himself, but put it up he did. The referee, who hadn’t given the home side a single decision all day, gave this one. Disaster.

With the onset of angina fast approaching my chest, Liam Lawrence has the opportunity to secure an undeserved point for Pompey. He steps up….. MISSED!! Lawrence slaps the ball against the post, and Tal Ben-Haim puts the re-bound straight into Ankergren’s arms.

Seconds later, the final whistle goes. We have won all six of the points on offer to us, yet easily could have ended up with just one. Followed up by a 3-1 victory away at Cardiff City, and it appears Lady Luck must be smiling on us at the moment – let’s hope it continues!

That’s all from me for the time being, my next blog should be posted in around two weeks (heart attacks permitting!)

Written by Liam Dawes – We Are Going Up’s Brighton and Hove Albion Blogger

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