Lamptey pro­duces a wing-back ex­hi­bi­tion

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Total Football - By Luke Ed­wards

Mau­pay 4 pen, 7, Connolly 83

We have only had two rounds of Premier League fix­tures and it is al­ready safe to say you will not see a bet­ter dis­play of at­tack­ing wing­back play than the one Brighton’s Tariq Lamptey de­liv­ered here.

In his 58 min­utes on the pitch, Lamptey, in only his 11th Premier League ap­pear­ance, won a penalty, played a key role in Brighton’s sec­ond goal, con­tained Al­lan Sain­tMax­imin, New­cas­tle’s most dan­ger­ous player, with such ease that the winger asked to be sub­sti­tuted, drew yel­low-card fouls from both Jonjo Shelvey and Ja­mal Lewis as he threat­ened to break away be­fore a won­der­ful last-ditch tackle pre­vented Cal­lum Wil­son pulling a goal back be­fore half-time.

The for­mer Chelsea player is small, maybe too small for some, but he looks like a bril­liant prospect; elec­tric go­ing for­ward, dili­gent in de­fence and strong in the tackle. The 19-year-old sliced New­cas­tle to pieces and Brighton had won this game in­side the first seven min­utes.

“He’s been a breath of fresh air since he came to us,” Gra­ham Pot­ter, the Brighton man­ager, said. “He’s a spe­cial tal­ent, a spe­cial char­ac­ter, very hum­ble and he’s got a great per­son­al­ity.

“He’s got all the at­tributes you want, go­ing for­ward and in de­fence. He was up against some big play­ers to­day, but I thought the whole team con­tained a threat. The score­line didn’t flat­ter us.”

It did not. Brighton were su­perb, clever and vi­brant. This was a de­mo­li­tion job and an­other sign of the progress they are mak­ing un­der Pot­ter. There were im­pres­sive per­for­mances all over the pitch, not just from the young man at right-back.

New­cas­tle were dread­ful; lethar­gic, sloppy and un­able to cope with the move­ment and in­ven­tion of their op­po­nents. It was the sort of per­for­mance that would have led to howls of de­ri­sion had their sup­port­ers had the mis­for­tune to watch it. In­stead the vit­riol was con­fined to so­cial me­dia, liv­ing rooms and pubs all over Ty­ne­side. At least Steve Bruce, the man­ager, will not have to see or lis­ten to it, but he knows he and his team de­serve what­ever abuse they get.

“We didn’t give our­selves a chance with a start like that, two down af­ter seven min­utes,” Bruce said. “We have been beaten badly at home and we have to ex­pect what’s com­ing.

“That’s the thing about play­ing for a big club, you can’t go up and down. In the 15 or 16 months I have been here that seems to hap­pen. We’ve thrown in a hand grenade and we have to ac­cept what’s com­ing our way.”

Bruce got things wrong, stick­ing with the same start­ing XI that com­fort­ably beat West Ham United, re­ward­ing suc­cess, but not adapting to the dif­fer­ent sort of test Brighton would bring.

The for­ma­tion was not right, and New­cas­tle’s four-man mid­field was swarmed by Brighton’s five. Nei­ther was the team se­lec­tion. Why was the im­mo­bile Andy Car­roll pre­ferred to the quick and busy Miguel Alm­iron against Brighton’s trio of bulky cen­tre-halves?

Alm­iron’s pace would have wor­ried Brighton’s back line far more than lump­ing long balls for them to con­test with Car­roll in the air. They like wrestling matches, they do not like pace run­ning in be­hind and around them.

Nei­ther was the at­ti­tude. New­cas­tle’s play­ers can­not have been switched on.

A team that con­cede two goals at home in the open­ing seven min­utes can­not ar­gue oth­er­wise. It was a col­lec­tive ill, but the most ob­vi­ous of­fender was the nor­mally thrilling Saint-Max­imin.

The French­man was com­fort­ably New­cas­tle’s best out­field player last sea­son, but he was shock­ingly bad here, giv­ing away a need­less penalty with a stupid at­tempt to win the ball from be­hind af­ter Lamptey had gone past him with ease. It was con­verted by Neal Mau­pay down the mid­dle as Karl Dar­low dived for the cor­ner.

This was the sort of per­for­mance that ex­plains why a player of Sain­tMax­imin’s tal­ent is at New­cas­tle and not one of the top clubs.

He has so much abil­ity, but he dis­ap­peared from the game, lost the ball a cou­ple of times, fell to the floor claim­ing he was hurt, failed to track Lamptey in the build-up to Brighton’s sec­ond goal, again scored by Mau­pay, and then com­plained about his an­kle be­fore ask­ing to be sub­sti­tuted. He was not even ac­knowl­edged by a mem­ber of the coach­ing staff as he headed down the tun­nel.

At least Bruce re­alised the blun­der at half-time. On came Alm­iron and the con­test briefly shifted in the home team’s favour. Brighton’s back line sud­denly looked cum­ber­some and New­cas­tle should have pulled a goal back just af­ter the hour mark. Javier Man­quillo and Alm­iron com­bined down the left and Wil­son, un­marked six yards out, headed over the bar in front of the empty Gal­low­gate End.

The miss drained New­cas­tle of the mo­men­tum they had been build­ing since half-time and Brighton sensed it, Le­an­dro Trossard hit­ting the post at the end of an un­chal­lenged run be­fore Aaron Connolly scored a lovely third goal late on.

The only neg­a­tive for the vis­i­tors was a late red card for Yves Bis­souma, who swung a wild, high leg into the face of Lewis. It was not de­lib­er­ate, but it was in­cred­i­bly dan­ger­ous.

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