RIGA PUTS TROUBLES BEHIND HIM
BLACKPOOL boss Jose Riga insisted headlines don’t concern him after claiming a first away point the day after his chairman revealed he had no regrets about trying t o
recruit another manager behind his back.
Burton Albion boss Gary Rowett turned down the Blackpool job but a well organised backline suggested the situation had not affected the Seasiders’ preparations.
Brighton could not break down the visiting defence despite controlling the game, although keeper Joe Lewis produced several important saves, including two second-half efforts from Danny Holla.
And Blackpool boss Riga said: “If I start to get suspicious I cannot do my job. My main focus is to be competitive.
“I am a coach, I like to win. Usually I win more than I lose and I am looking to do the same here at Blackpool.
“I am pleased with this performance because it shows a real commitment and team spirit. With this mentality you can hope and get what you want to get.
“It’s Joe’s second clean sheet. Most of the time in his career he is second choice, not first, so it’s a new role for him.
“To go from the shadow is tough and he is growing with the team.
“When you have defenders working hard in front of you and you make the save and help the team that makes me happy.”
Brighton controlled most of the game but did not come alive until an injury to Jeffrey Rentmeister left the visitors with ten men for the last six minutes.
From that point Brighton packed the final third but Kazenga LuaLua and Craig Mackail-Smith had efforts from inside the box blocked.
Paddy McCourt also came close with two stoppage-time efforts from the edge of the area, with one going a yard wide and the other kept out by a simple dive from Lewis.
Earlier in the half Lewis, on loan from Cardiff, reacted well to save a curved 62nd-minute free-kick from Holla, which was destined for the bottom corner.
The Dutch midfielder had already come close to scoring with a driven effort from the edge of the area that was blocked by Lewis ten minutes earlier.
Bruno Saltor had a similar effort parried immediately after half-time.
The first half was largely a write off, although Adrian Colunga came close to giving the hosts the lead in the opening minute but Lewis gathered the ball oneon-one.
The only other opportunity came from a Joe Bennett’s freekick which hit the side netting in the 32nd minute.
The visitor’s sole opportunity came in the 78th minute when Ishmael Miller dispossessed Saltor to be through on goal but had a near post effort blocked by David Stockdale.
And Brighton boss Sami Hyypia said: “Our game plan is to score goals and win the game.
“It’s disappointing when that doesn’t happen.
“It’s good we didn’t concede, that’s positive, but I would like to have three points on the board.
“We are not getting into positions for our strikers to score many goals. We need to try to work on things in the final third.
“I think attacking and scoring goals is more difficult than defending.
“We started well, had a good chance in the opening minute. At times we would get into the area and the last pass was not good enough.
“After that early chance we lost the tempo. When that happens it’s difficult to win and you make it easier for the opposition.
“The team showed a good reaction in the second half, when we were more lively and played with more urgency.”
MENACE: Adrian Colunga of Brighton fires goalbound Inset: Brighton’s Sam Baldock challenges for a ball at the near post