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Brighton vs Crystal Palace 21/22

Updated: Aug 4, 2023

Hi everyone,

Hope you are all well.

On Friday 14 of January, we faced one of our main rivals, Brighton and Hove Albion, for the second time this season in the ‘M23 derby’, this time it was their turn to host.

Our previous game was a 2-1 victory over one of our other rivals, Millwall in the FA cup third round, maintaining the bragging rights of being the best team in South London! I wasn’t able to watch the first half but we looked good in the second, with Olise shining creating a goal after also getting on the scoresheet himself and taking Palace through to the fourth round, where we will face Hartlepool at home in a few weeks. Brighton were sitting in 9th with 27 points, meaning they were sadly just above us, but with very fine margins. Their previous result was also a 2-1 win in the FA cup third round, against West Brom. Last time we played Brighton it ended in late heartbreak, hopefully this game would be an improvement!

There was a single change from the team that faced Millwall the previous week, that being Edouard coming back into the line-up ahead of Mateta, who did get the second goal last week! The team sent out was very attacking which was exciting to see prior to kick off. There were a few changes from our last league game with Butland keeping his spot between the sticks, Gallagher returning from COVID, Olise came back in, and Eze made his first league start of the season. Ayew, Kouyate and Zaha also remained unavailable as they were at AFCON.

This was the first time I’d been to the Amex Stadium, so we left early to make sure we got there with lots of time and no need to stress. We managed to book a car park space within the stadium grounds, it took a while to find due to some confusion with the stewards but once we finally got there it was only a minute walk to the away stand entrance. Because we arrived so early there wasn’t tons of people around so when the gates opened at 6pm we went straight in with no hassle. The view from our seat was great, the away fans are located behind the goal and the wheelchair spaces were right at the back so out of the way from any flying objects that may have been thrown during the game 😬. The security guards were helpful and kind throughout the evening, one of them was actually a Palace fan working for Brighton, so he was in his element. As the stand started to fill it got slowly louder and louder and by kick off could hardly hear myself speak!

It was an 8pm kick off so another game under the floodlights. Just before the referee blew the whistle to begin, the fanatics let off a flare in the stand filling it all with smoke for the beginning of the game and it absolutely stunk! Palace were shooting towards the opposite end for the first half. We started on the front foot early on, but annoyingly this didn’t last, and we really struggled to keep the ball for more of about 5 passes. The atmosphere in the away end was amazing throughout, it was a sell out and the lucky selection didn’t disappoint; Brighton on the other hand were very quiet and it was surprisingly as if was a rivalry match. There was a huge mistake from the captain Ward as the ball was cleared over the halfway line, his header went straight into the path of a Brighton attacker who played it forwards to Trossard who found himself through on goal, thankfully Butland made himself big and made a great save, very nervy signs! We were trying attack them on the counters as they controlled the possession, but our final balls were poor, and we couldn’t create any significant chances. On the 34th minute mark the ref blew to pause the game, there was a VAR check, in the crowd we had no clue what was wrong because none of the players were contesting to the ref, it turned out to be a foul in the box by Hughes, the ref was told to go to the screen and he awarded a penalty to Brighton, it was incredibly harsh and there was a lot going on in the box but there was nothing we could do once the ref made his final decision. Gross stepped up not being Brighton’s first penalty taker, just before it was taken a flare was thrown into the goal by a Palace supporter in the hopes of putting him off ... and they were successful! The taker tried to casually go down the middle, but Butland’s trailing legs were there to keep it out, Mitchell was first to react and he wacked out of the area! What a moment for the keeper, the away end went mental! This was followed by a corner after Mitchell’s clearance, it was whipped in and headed towards goal by a Brighton player, the ball went into Butland’s hands but Maupay hit it out of his hands and into the back of the net, they all ran off celebrating but it was cut short by a whistle from the ref. VAR was involved again and he went back to the screen, Butland had both hands on the ball and was fouled by Maupay so it was overturned, back to 0-0! Once again, the away end was the happier of the two supporters with more and more security arriving. In the closing stages of the half Olise was released clear, he cut back onto his left foot and played a great ball to just outside the box... but there was no one there so another move wasted. The half ended 0-0.

“Super Jacky Butland” echoed out of the away end, without him we would’ve been in big trouble in that first 45 minutes, but thankfully we were still in the game. We were behind the ball for so much of the first half, didn’t create any shots on or off target, and simply invited pressure onto ourselves, which was pretty worrying to see!

We started the second half a little better Gallagher whipped the ball into the box where an advancing Edouard was sliding in, but he just missed the ball allowing the defender to make the challenge; probably the best chance we’d created so far. Brighton had their own chance early on as they played the ball round our team and finally behind the defence leaving Butland to make a good save giving them a corner, more worrying signs. Vieira looked to the bench for the first time of the evening in the 65th minute for double change, this saw Milivojevic and Mateta, come on in replace of Eze and Edouard; we actually had Eze’s family sitting in front of us, and they did leave after this substitution 😅. It took us till the 68th minute to play a nice pattern of football, Ward found himself in the left side of the box after travelling across the middle of the park, he played the ball in behind the Schlupp near the touchline, who finally after twisting and sorting his feet out played the ball into the centre of the box to an unmarked Conor, after two touches he had perfectly volleyed the ball into the back of the net and put us ahead! The goal was in the end located directly in front of the Palace end, so Conor ran over to celebrate with the fans for his 7th goal of the season, one of the fans was a bit too eager and managed to get onto the pitch! In the lead up to the goal every single Palace player touched the ball, so was even more special. Absolute madness in the away end as the rest of the stadium was silenced, 1-0 to Palace! There was another quick chance for us as Schlupp made an advancing run down the left wing, he fizzed it into the path of Conor who was unable to get it leaving the ball to trail across the 6-yard line, if another Palace player had anticipated it a little better it could have been 2-0. Our third and final change came in the 80th minute which saw Benteke come on for Olise. We seemed to think 1-0 would be enough to see the game out, we lacked urgency and continued to lose the ball so much inviting even more pressure on from Brighton who controlled the possession in the closing stages. More late heartbreak for the eagles, in the 86th minute the ball was on the touch line with Maupay, he whipped it into the box where it was immediately met by Andersen at the near post sadly directing the ball into the back of the net... such a devastating way to concede a goal, although we hadn’t played great, we kind of deserved a clean sheet especially for Butland’s efforts, 1-1. Such a sad end for the game for Palace players and fans, and sadly this did decide the final score meaning the teams would share the points for the second time this season.

Can’t really complain after coming away with a point, we were poor creating minimal chances, if we were to play like that against a better team we would be punished! Brighton just looked like they wanted it more, which is something you don’t ever want to see, but especially against your main rivals, hopefully Vieira can sort it out! I think the only positives from the game would be Butland’s outstanding performance deserved MOTM, and Conor getting on the scoresheet, but apart from that there were no good moments from the away team. After the game we had to wait around 30-40 minutes to be let out of the stadium, there were loads of police around and we were told lots of Brighton fans had come round to the away bit supposedly looking for trouble, but by the time we got out it had thankfully all cleared.

Match stats:

• Palace had a total of 37% possession, Brighton had 63%

• Palace had a total of 3 shots with 1 on target.

• Brighton had 19 shots with 4 on target.

Our next game is at home against Liverpool on Sunday 23rd of January, so look out for that post!

Thank you for reading

Ellie Xx

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