Jan 1 Brighton & Hove Albion 3-2 AFC Bournemouth Att: 5963

Last updated : 01 January 2008 By Andy Burton
As seems to the case just recently, this match started slowly with little incident to report in the opening stages of the game. Stewart did have some work to do, but nothing to really test him out as such. At the same time, the Cherries were not exactly getting close to the Brighton goal to test out Kuipers.

An unfortunate slip from Jason Pearce in the 15th minute allowed Revell in to slot the ball past Stewart in the Bournemouth goal. Just 3 minutes later Brighton were through again, but this time their effort was thwarted.

The Cherries were stunned in to action, a shot seemed to be close to the upright, but how close we'll never know as the view from the far end of the Withdean ground is just one of the worst in the Football League. How on earth they can justify charging £22.50 is beyond me!

A Cummings corner in the 24th minute caused some problems in the Brighton penalty area which allowed Christophe to level matters for the Cherries.

Were we in for another Swindon-type performance after a slow opening? We could so easily have extended the lead a few minutes later when a free kick was won just outside the Brighton penalty area. Gradel was unlucky to see the ball hit the top of the cross-bar and out for a goal kick! Just a fraction lower and the lead would have been ours. This coming in the 32nd minute.

Alex Pearce was having another excellent performance in the heart of the Bournemouth defence - he will be a great loss when he returns back to the MadStad after this game.

Neither side seemed capable, of testing the other. Crosses were en route to Haywards Heath, passing was barely average at best at times and the officials MUST have been making things up at times just to give themselves something to do.

Brighton did manage to generate one other shot which was almost on target, but they missed a gapping goal!

HT: 1-1

The second half didn't start much better to be honest! Brighton missed an early chance, as Bournemouth did as well. But it was Brighton who took advantage of more sloppy Bournemouth defending as Revell scored his 2nd of the game in the 58th minute - this time a very fiercly struck shot managed to squirm underneath Stewart!

Straight from the kick off, the Cherries tried to battle back - but to no avail. The lack to head way led to 2 changes in personnel in 4 minutes as Henry and Pitman were intriduced to the game for Christophe and Gradel.

The Cherries certainly seemed more determined in the 2nd period, which eventually saw Pitman slot the ball home in the 79th minute to level for a second time. This after good work from Kuffour who set the opportunity up in the first place.

Just as the game was heading for a draw, the Cherries managed to let things slip just at a crucial moment - in the 3rd minute of time added on at the end of the game. Stewart was caught flapping at the far post from a cross, which allowed Revell to complete his first hat trick for the Seagulls!

In some respects cruel for the Cherries as they were denied a point at the very last moment. But taking the game overall, Brighton had more chances on the Bournemouth goal, so the Dean Court strugglers can have few complaints.

Man Of The Match
My man of the match is Alex Pearce, who played well again this afternoon - who could have signed off his AFCB career with a goal in the final few seconds of normal time. His header, from a corner, was just over the cross bar.

AFCB: Stewart, Young, A Pearce, J Pearce, Cummings, Karacan, Hollands, Gradel, Christophe, Kuffour, Vokes
Subs: Perrett, Bartley, Bradbury, Pitman (for Gradel, 66), Henry (for Christophe, 62)
Andy Burton, Portsmouth