Blues 1-2 Brighton
For the second time in three days, Blues threw away a one goal lead to lose the game. But in all honesty, when Lewis Dunk headed Brighton in front just after the interval, it was just reward for a dominant performance.
Blues huffed and puffed but their lack of quality was evident throughout.
Gary Rowett’s men started well and when Kyle Lafferty put them ahead with a debut goal from close range, the signs were positive.
But last night was realisation as to why the play offs was merely a pipe dream. If Blues’ tendency to give simple passes away was frustrating, the second half spell in which Paul Caddis had four opportunities to put a ball into the box and failed to beat the first man on all four occasions was ‘bang your head off the wall’ stuff.
In truth, Brighton are a very good team, arguably the best to play at St. Andrew’s this season. The tempo of their play when they had the bit between their teeth was too overpowering for Blues. Had they taken all of their chances, the game could have finished 8-1.
However, for all the chances and illustrious play, Brighton’s two goals were mindnumbingly simple. Two set piece crosses, two unmarked headers. Rowett’s zonal marking system has to go. Not even Rafa Benitez could perfect zonal marking while in charge of European Champions, Liverpool.
Connor Goldson’s leveller after half an hour was a kick in the teeth for Blues who had fared reasonably well until that point. But Dunk’s winner in the 48th minute came from Blues pressing the self destruct button. Jonathan Grounds and Clayton Donaldson inexplicably tried a one-two near their own corner, cocked it up and gave the corner away. Simple ball in, easy header. Game over.
Blues did threaten with a few half chances but nothing to panic a sturdy Brighton defence.
Caddis’ flurry of blocked crosses was eventually followed by a decent ball in which was met by Jacques Maghoma who spooned his effort over the bar.
So, the better side won and Blues can have no complaints. But please teach your players how to defend corners, Mr. Rowett.
Surrendered Lead Gives Blues Nothing but Pride to Play for
Blues 1-2 Brighton