Hughton: We can’t win them all

The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP - By Si­mon Smed­ley

BRIGHTON boss Chris Hughton held his hands up af­ter his Cham­pi­onship high-fliers saw their 18-match un­beaten run halted by Pre­ston.

New­cas­tle’s win at Brent­ford meant the Seag­ulls were usurped at the top of the ta­ble, and Hughton ad­mit­ted North End de­served the vic­tory.

The for­mer New­cas­tle boss said: “I can’t com­plain about the re­sult. We were beaten by the better side on the day.

“The tim­ing of the first goal was bad news for us. From that point on we were chas­ing the game.

“We should have done better de­fend­ing the early goal, but hav­ing said that we know how dan­ger­ous Paul Gal­lagher can be at set-pieces. He’s prob­a­bly the best in the Cham­pi­onship in that kind of sit­u­a­tion.

“Once we go two-nil down it’s an up­hill bat­tle from then on. It’s not of­ten we’ve been in this situ­first-half ation of course, but the re­sult was fair. Pre­ston are re­ally strong here and we’re not go­ing to win all our games.

“I know very well how tough this divi­sion is.”

North End en­joyed the better of a nig­gly first pe­riod and de­served their lead at the break.

They went in front af­ter 13 min­utes when cen­tre-back Paul Hunt­ing­ton darted in to head home his first goal in al­most two years, meet­ing Gal­lagher’s cross pur­pose­fully.

Oliver Nor­wood had gone close for the Seag­ulls by that point, but the hosts de­fended stoutly. Glenn Mur­ray came ag­o­nis­ingly close to a lev­eller in stop­page-time. The 15goal striker raced in to meet league debu­tant Sam Adekugbe’s pin­point cross only to head a whisker wide.

A su­perbly-taken strike from Cal­lum Robin­son dou­bled North End’s ad­van­tage in the 53rd minute. Latch­ing on to a ter­rific through-ball from Daryl Hor­gan, Robin­son held off a chal­lenge from Bruno be­fore drilling clin­i­cally past David Stock­dale to reg­is­ter his sev­enth strike of the sea­son.

The vis­i­tors went in search of a break­through but strug­gled to find any mean­ing­ful rhythm. Shane Duffy was un­lucky when he saw a pow­er­ful header hacked off the line by Greg Cun­ning­ham, and to pile on the agony they even missed a penalty sec­onds be­fore the fi­nal whis­tle. Af­ter Tomer Hemed had been felled in a goal­mouth scramble, the sub­sti­tute looked on in hor­ror as his spot-kick was saved by Chris Maxwell.

North End boss Si­mon Grayson was proud of his team, who moved up to ninth in the ta­ble, just six points shy of the play-off po­si­tions.

“It was a com­plete vic­tory, a very well-de­served win against a re­ally strong team,” he said.

“It’s look­ing like Brighton will end up in the top two this sea­son or even win the league, so for us to beat them so con­vinc­ingly says a lot about this team.

“We looked strong through­out, but this re­sult has been com­ing for quite a while now.

“We’ve been putting in some strong per­for­mances lately, but not re­ally get­ting the re­sults we’ve de­served.

“In the first half it was pretty even-stevens, and we were competing well.

“We were still competing in the sec­ond half and to be hon­est I ex­pected us to go on and win in the end.

“There was a slight blip when we gave away the penalty but we didn’t even con­cede from that, so it’s been a good day all round.”

PIC­TURES: Ac­tion Images

DIG­GING DEEP: Paul Hunt­ing­ton cel­e­brates scor­ing his team’s first goal at Deep­dale. In­set, Tomer Hemed misses a Brighton penalty

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.