Albion 2 – 4 Stockport

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How it feels supporting the Seagulls

How it feels supporting the Seagulls so far this season

I wasn’t going to report on this match until tomorrow, I am so pissed off with how it went. But, as it’s a glorious day in sunny Hove my spirits have lifted. It’s hard remembering from the game itself how it all went, so much happened at Withdean yesterday. But I stayed awake long enough last night fitting it all together again in my head. Here goes, pretty it ain’t.

I’ll go through each player’s performance (there were some pluses, but will Slade really capitalise on them? I’m not so sure). The main talking point was the dickhead in charge – stand up Mr Steve Cook, you tit of a referee. He killed the game off with two sendings off (Stockport’s was too late to affect the game), and spoiled what was a cracking 11 v 11 game.

Sent off - Tommy Elphick

We were battering County at full strength, but the ref made sure we were to get sweet FA out of this one. On to our individual players. Graeme Smith made some great instinctive saves, but was caught way off his line for Stockport’s second, for that he earns 6 out of 10. Adam Virgo at right back, mmm. As much as I like the Tank, he has, as the loud guy behind me in South Stand Block G fairly commented, “the touch of a rapist”. He charged all day, tried 110%, but looks overweight and off the pace. Also, too quiet as captain, 5 for Virgs.

Albion goalscorer and Man of the Match Liam DickinsonTommy Elphick and James Tunnicliffe were outstanding at centre back, until Elphick’s dodgy sending off second half he was arguably our best player on the park, he won every challenge, fair or unfair. Tunnicliffe did well after the sending off, and has earned his slot for Millwall on Friday night, which I assume he’ll get as Tommy sits in the stands suspended. Elphick 7, Tunnicliffe 7. Whingy was hot and cold, we need McNulty or Jake Wright back so he can slot back in at right back where he’s more comfortable, Whing gets 6 out of 10. The less said about Colin Hawkins the better, straight red even when seen from Block G, 3 out of 10.

Sent off - Colin HawkinsMidfield. Navarro battled all day, but his little legs – I assume he has legs as all you can see from under his huge shorts are his white socks – couldn’t carry him everywhere at once. He’s not much good going forward, another one who needs to lose a few pounds. Andrew Crofts is growing on me as the better half of the central midfield partnership, he’s a quick thinker, good tackler and lays the ball off well. He ran himself into the ground when we went to 10, then 9 men. Crofts earns 8 out of ten, Navarro 6. Dean Cox was pretty useless, he looks unsettled (I suspect a move soon, Southampton anyone?), and everyone I was sitting with agreed they were happy when he trudged off after Elphick’s sending off on 62 minutes, making way for the Keystone Cop Hawkins, who went down the tunnel three full minutes later. Cox gets 5.

Elliott Bennett must be wondering why he signed a three-year contract with the Albion, that’s the only excuse I can give for his distinctly unimpressive debut on the wing. Not bad at set pieces, but light and easily robbed of the ball in possession. Mark Wright replaced him for more of the same, similar player, similar strengths and weaknesses. Both wingers score 5 each.

Up front Forster looked keen, but I noticed early on his touch was off. He duly scored and all seemed well with the world, but the penalty miss was the big “what if?” moment in this game, so his performance was ultimately lame. He was substituted for Gary Dicker (more later), and scores 6 out of 10. Liam Dickinson is a good footballer, he did everything right yesterday (apart from his silly dive late on in the penalty area for which he was rightly booked). Won a penalty, put himself about, made a nuisance of himself, his goal just shades his performance over Crofts’ for my man of the match. 8 for Dicko.

The second BIG talking point about this game is Gary Dicker – why oh why does he not start every game? When we went down to nine men Dicker came on and we were the better team, making the best chances until we ran into the ground and out of steam. Dicker made nice one-twos, laid the ball on two or three times for others (Virgs, jesus!) to miss good chances. He took players on and tackled back, in other words, he played like a midfielder should. Slade must play him from the start at Millwall, if he doesn’t I will joining those who think Mr Slade needs to reconsider his tactics or ply his trade elsewhere. I have more than sneaking suspicion that Slade won’t play him because he didn’t sign him, that’s just bullshit if it’s true. Dicker was our best player for the short time he was on the pitch, 8 out of 10.

So there you have it. The next game I will attend in person is Hartlepool on 31st October as I’m back in Afghanistan this Thursday. I expect to come home to better than this, we have good players, but we are playing the wrong ones in my opinion. Have a nice Sunday.

The Hovian’s Albion Team Performance : 5 out of 10

The Hovian’s Albion Man of the Match : Liam Dickinson

Albion Team (goalscorers in bold):

(4-4-2)  G Smith; Tunnicliffe, Elphick , Virgo, Whing; Bennett (M Wright 58), Navarro, J Smith, Cox (Hawkins 63); Forster (Dicker 67), Dickinson

Subs: Pelling, El-Abd, Dicker, M Wright, McLeod, Thornhill, Davies

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