Albion 1 – 0 Gillingham


Trip the light fantastic

A fairly inauspicious start to what may yet turn out to be a classic Abion cup run. But another historic night as the first game under floodlights was played at Falmer, shame the match didn’t dazzle the senses.

Before I speak about the match I have to mention the journey to and back from Falmer. As there were only 16,295 souls at the game, 1328 of whom travelled from Gillingham, you’d expect less of a crush getting there. Not a bit of it. I changed tactics and decided to have a beer in Hove, then catch the train from there instead of Brighton itself. When the train rumbled in from Portslade it was already chocka, we had to force our way onto a sweaty, smelly feet and BO stinking and cramped cattle truck. I couldn’t move my arms for the short hop to Brighton.

When we scrambled onto the Falmer train it was the same sketch, hot & horrible & dangerously overcrowded, with some very anxious looking old people and small kids stuck in the mix, this isn’t good enough. On the way back we took one look at the humongous queue for the trains home and decided to interlope into the bus queue. Luckily enough a number 25 pulled up, already half-full with bewildered foreign university students, to exactly where me and my pal were stood in the throng. But we still had to sharp elbow it onto the coach. Again, this is a bad accident waiting to happen. Brighton & Hove Council and Southern Railway need to get together and put on bigger trains and more buses. Sort it out.

The match started well for the Albion, dominating a typically hoof-balling League Two side in our erstwhile landlords. Their almost cockney fans must be affected with the same malaise as their rioting city cousins in the capital, they’re a bad tempered lot. The main reason was the little fat ref, who to be fair to him, was crap, and did none of the two teams any favours. How it stayed 0-0 at half-time was down to the stubborn and sometimes ruthless physical defending by the visitors.

Second half and the Albion just stopped playing, that’s all I can say, not bad enough to make Gills a danger, but enough to make for a poor 45 minutes of football. Will Buckley’s penalty was the one incident where the over-gobby Gills fans had a point about the dodgy ref, it wasn’t one, there was no contact from where I was sitting. But hey ho, we’ll take any offered, and Barnes put it away with panache. The game died out after that, apart from some nasty Gillingham fouling, but this Albion team will have to get used to that now that everyone knows how we play. Shit game or no, this win sets up a potential ‘Big Club’ opponent next round, so I’m not that annoyed.

Best players were new boy Romain Vincelot, a tricky looking character, the ever-dependable Greer, Barnes battled hard but didn’t get enough chances, Buckley again impressed, but my man of the match was Craig Noone, the lanky scouser has been a revelation right at the start of this season.

Apologies about the poor quality of my phots, but I couldn’t be arsed to lug my usual camera up to Falmer last night so used my HTC phone instead, it would have been crushed in the rush to get there and home anyway. See you at Pompey Saturday.

The Hovian’s Team performance : 6.5 out 10

The Hovian’s Man of the Match : Craig Noone

Attendance: 16,295 (1328 Gillingham)


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