The Albion morning after: Poyet outwits another former Chelsea chum

For the second time this season Gus Poyet came out on top after a clash with one of his former Chelsea teammates.

Having already masterminded a pre-season triumph over Robert Di Matteo’s Champions League winners, Poyet found himself facing off against Gianfranco Zola and his Italian flavoured Watford side.

And it was the Uruguayan who ended up all smiles after an apparently born-again Craig Mackail-Smith fired in his sixth goal of an increasingly fruitful season.

Going into the game on the back of three straight wins and a bucketful of goals, the Albion actually struggled to get a foothold in the game at the Hornets dominated the first half an hour.

But, as the match wore on, the visitors - backed by just over 1,900 away fans - became more and more composed and it was not too much of a surprise when some intelligent passing from Andrea Orlandi teased the ball to the feet of Mackail-Smith who was felled in the box before dusting himself off to dispatch the subsequent penalty.

Brighton, marshalled by the superb Gordon Greer and Adam El Abd, held firm and escaped a string of optimistic penalty shouts from their hosts while Tomasz Kuszsak continued to exude confidence between the sticks.

The Seagulls are now perched nicely in third place, behind Blackburn and Blackpool, although Poyet and captain fantastic Greer have warned against getting too carried away.

Nevertheless, a first league win at Watford in 20 years and a fourth maximum points return on the bounce has got the Gus Bus chugging along nicely.
And, with a winnable away trip to Millwall to come at the weekend, the Albion are certainly headed in the right direction.

Match rating: Kuszsak 8, Bridge 7. Bruno 7. Greer 8, El Abd 8, Hammond 8, Bridcutt 7, Dicker 7, Buckley 8, Mackail-Smith 7, Orlandi 7. Subs: Barnes 6, Dobbie 6, Calderon 6.