Stoke 3 – 0 Albion

by

Stokie proposes on the pitch at half-time, she says yes, awwww

Dave Mackay, Graeme Souness, Steve McMahon, Norman Hunter. Great players who could also mix it physically, all remembered for protecting their teammates on the park and not being intimidated by the opposition’s hard men. Brighton and Hove Albion could have done with one or three of those yesterday.

As much as us lower league fans slag off the Premiershit, we all watch it, and we all know what Stoke are about. Gobshite manager who foregoes the technical game in favour of physicality, long balls and set-pieces. When it works, it works well, and Stoke City FC are the best example today of that football philosophy. It worked perfectly against the Albion.

The Britannia Stadium - "Lob-sided"

I’ll not talk much about the journey up and down from Hove, just to say that I had a few with some great mates, but will be taking the train to any matches north of Watford from now on. Stuff yer stinking motorways. The Britannia Stadium has mucho security too, all very well drilled and marshalled, do a great job etc, etc. No more to be said.

Gus Poyet learned a valuable lesson yesterday, and I hope a lot of our fans did too. The pretty passing will beat your average hoofball merchants like Colchester down in League One, but against the athletes of the Premiershit – even the awful Stoke – the beautiful game won’t work without a bit of muscle. When the teams took to the field I was gobsmacked at the shear brute size of John Carew alone, and then I studied their entire team. To a man Stoke are a big strong side, the Albion players looked like little dolls alongside them. When it kicked off it looked like a first team playing the under-16s.

First half mauling

Kick and rush, set-piece. Kick and rush, throw-in, Rory Delap. Delap’s throws are awesome, slag them off if you want, but they work, they undid us. Stoke battered us in the first half, the only place we passed the ball well was amongst the back four and keeper, when it went forward we lost it again and again. It was painful to watch at times, not just Brezovan’s bloopers (say no more). The most annoying aspect though was watching the Guru of Hoofball himself – Tony fucking Pulis – make an arse of himself, refusing to budge from his technical area screaming abuse at everyone and everything. It was as if he was playing Chelsea, not a third tier team caught in the headlights of his team of juggernauts.

Anxious Albionites hang on until the bitter end as contented Stokies file out into the car parks

Poyet must have given the team a soothing “Fuck it, we’ve no chance, go out and go for it” talk at half time. For, although second half we were pretty much contained to long efforts at goal, some of the old tippy-tappying started to make us look like the League One leaders we are. To no avail though, the damage was already done, but we kept it respectable. I’m not going to slate any players, but some didn’t perform at all. Those who did were Bennett (in the second half), and good little cameos from Cristian Baz, and Nicky Forster’s nipper Jake “Forster” Caskey. But one player was outstanding in my opinion – Liam Bridcutt. He might have been one of the smallest footballers out on the park, but he was magnificent yesterday. Bridcutt did make a couple of mistakes that we escaped from, but he alone went for Stoke’s jugular, good on him. Maybe Poyet should beef him up a bit and make him the Albion’s regular hard man.

The fantastic Albion away support applaud the team

The Hovian’s Team performance : 5 out 10

The Hovian’s Man of the Match : Liam Bridcutt

Attendance: 21312 (3450 Albion)

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