Robins spoil party to stay safe

The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP - By Tom Bas­sam

SOME things are worth wait­ing for – the ti­tle might not be one of them – but for Bris­tol City re­venge cer­tainly was.

Brighton in­flicted play-off heart­break on the Robins in 2004, Leon Knight’s penalty the only high­light of a poor game that saw the Seag­ulls pro­moted to the Cham­pi­onship and Danny Wil­son lose his job.

Now the Robins can lay claim to de­flat­ing the 29,000 hope­ful Brighton souls whose ti­tle dreams were dashed for at least one more week.

Much of the talk be­fore this game was of Brighton crown­ing 20 years since they were made home­less with a re­turn to the top flight as cham­pi­ons.

In­stead, Josh Brown­hill’s mood-killing header en­sured City stay in the sec­ond tier and Brighton prob­a­bly need a win at Villa Park next Satur­day to en­sure they fin­ish ahead of New­cas­tle.

Lee John­son, City man­ager, was de­lighted to have se­cured Cham­pi­onship foot­ball and up­set the party.

“We re­spect Brighton for the fan­tas­tic side that they are but we were the brides­maid, we had to up­stage the bride and we have done that,” he said.

“We were the party poop­ers and I’m not go­ing to apol­o­gise for that. We needed to be as it was an im­por­tant game for us as well.

“We made it dif­fi­cult for a top side and found our way in the end with two or three chances.

“I want to do my very best for the foot­ball club that I love. It’s been a bit frus­trat­ing this year but we’ve come good when we needed to.

“We shouldn’t for­get what an un­be­liev­able run it is. To go four wins out of five when the pres­sure is re­ally on is fan­tas­tic.”

Brighton man­ager Chris Hughton was un­able to put a fin­ger on ex­actly why his side froze with the tro­phy in the sta­dium and the rib­bons at the ready.

“I cer­tainly felt we were the bet­ter side but that lit­tle bit of qual­ity we have been able to pro­duce to get goals, we were not able to do that,” he said.

“We had a lot of the ball and put in as many crosses as we have for a long time but they de­fended well. We didn’t have that bit of qual­ity.

“Is it down to the fact we have al­ready been pro­moted and a lit­tle bit of an emo­tional feel? It is im­pos­si­ble for me to an­swer that.”

In the af­ter­noon sun Brighton started on top and looked as if they sim­ply ex­pected to roll the vis­i­tors over.

But as the first half wore on it be­came in­creas­ingly clear that Aden Flint and the Robins de­fence were not just on the south coast to make up the num­bers.

The gi­ant cen­tre-half headed away ev­ery­thing that came in his di­rec­tion as Brighton failed to break down City con­sis­tently and re­sorted to swing­ing in aim­less crosses.

When Brown­hill stunned an al­ready ner­vous Amex Sta­dium just be­fore the break the party was def­i­nitely on the rocks.

The lack of ur­gency in the home side to get it restarted con­tin­ued the sec­ond half. The blue and white shirts poured for­ward but Flint stood firm and when he was by­passed they fluffed their lines.

Credit City for a per­for­mance that al­lows them another crack at what Brighton had al­ready achieved. The Seag­ulls will now have to re­ward their trav­el­ling fans on the fi­nal day.

PICTURES: ProS­ports/Phil Dun­can

NOT THEIR DAY: Brighton’s Tomer Hemed looks de­jected and, in­set, Bris­tol City’s Josh Brown­hill scores their shock win­ner

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.