Harry Hawthorne on Brighton: Saturday’s result shouldn’t have come as a shock

‘Not again’ I murmured, we all murmured. Everyone, except the boys in the red tops, they were cheering, knowing their side was better than ours.

For those of us dreaming of a win, Saturday’s result shouldn’t have come as a shock.

Brighton v Middlesborough. Picture by Angela Brinkhurst

Brighton v Middlesborough. Picture by Angela Brinkhurst

It was the usual story. Baldock was a passenger, his channel runs never found. Our midfield was too slow in trying to create anything; passing between themselves should never have been a viable option.

Our whole back four were poor, Greer, excluding the goal, had a torrid time. And to cap it off, Stockdale made another error for the second goal.

It was never going to work, and it didn’t. This team really looks like it needs a focal point, someone to drive it forward. But, when I look across the squad I find it very tricky to pick out someone who is ready to lead this team.

Brighton had a few early efforts on goal. The first a Lua-Lua effort from range that flew just over and the second a tame shot from Gardner.

Nevertheless, in the 8th minute Middlesbrough took the lead. Greer was sloppy and gifted the ball to Adam Reach who skipped down the left to cross for Lee Tomlin whose high shot beat Stockdale, and gave Brighton a horrid early setback to deal with.

The next half an hour consisted of tame pressure from Brighton paired with some half-chances. Holla and Teixeira both struck volleys over from inside the area while Calderon found his drive deflect tantalisingly wide of the post. The Seagulls had most of the ball but failed to trouble Middlesbrough.

The beginning of the second half would have given Albion fans hope as Paddy McCourt went on a dribble towards goal beating three men; frustratingly, his shot couldn’t find the target.

This early promise was shattered by Middlesbrough in the 53rd minute as a counterattack gave Adomah a chance on goal. His initial shot was parried by Stockdale when the keeper should have tipped the ball behind allowing him to tap in at the second attempt.

Following the second Middlesbrough goal the away side did well to keep Brighton at arm’s length. This was until Gordon Greer’s header met a McCourt corner to grab the Albion a consolation goal in the 88th minute. Brighton’s form is becoming worrying and drastic improvement is needed if results are going to change.

Hyypia has his work cut out.