Brighton hope for a home draw after Clyne fails to lift Cherries
Chris Hughton admitted he had “no problem saying I’d like a home tie against a team not in the Premier League” in the FA Cup fourth-round draw after watching his side beat Bournemouth.
“The competition is very important to me and very important to the club,” proclaimed the Brighton manager, who made eight changes to his starting XI for the trip along the south coast, one fewer than his counterpart, Eddie Howe.
The most notable aspect of Bournemouth’s team news was a debut for Nathaniel Clyne following his loan move from Liverpool.
“He fitted in well, he learnt on the job really, how we play, and he adjusted excellently. We needed a right-back with the injuries we’ve had to Simon Francis and Adam Smith,” said Howe.
Clyne was joined at Bournemouth this week by the permanent £19million arrival of Dominic Solanke, though Howe revealed that the young England striker will not be fit until February as he recovers from a hamstring injury.
He could have done with him here. Lys Mousset and Jordon Ibe were ineffective in the Bournemouth front line and Howe’s side are once again shipping goals at an alarming rate.
They were two down after little more than half an hour, with Anthony Knockaert firing in after Jurgen Locadia had seized on a loose ball.
Yves Bissouma then finished emphatically from 30 yards in off the lefthand post with goalkeeper Artur Boruc sprawling in its wake.
“It follows a pattern of recent weeks, really,” said Howe of the result. “For 30 minutes I thought we were the better team and then suddenly, their first shot on target they score and then we wobble a little bit.”
The introduction of midfielder David Brooks brought an improvement for the home side and they reduced the deficit when Marc Pugh thumped in from the edge of the area 10 minutes after half-time.
But Brighton soon restored their two-goal cushion when Shane Duffy was allowed a free header from Knockaert’s corner and he knocked the ball back across the six-yard box for Florin Andone to nod home.
“I’m really pleased,” said Hughton. “I think we had some problems with how Bournemouth play and we were probably 2-0 up against the run of play. But after that I thought we managed the game well and I’m really delighted to get through.”