Sussex University football’s 2nd eleven came a cropper against arch-rivals Brighton University in a 3-0 defeat at home last Wednesday. Two goals before half-time and a third later on were enough to defeat Sussex. On a day when Sussex struggled to get any real fluidity together, in the end it was a deserved victory for Brighton.
The pre-match preparations of Sussex were disrupted when left-back Teey Oladele pulled-up with a groin injury. Nonetheless, the derby kicked off on a sunny autumn afternoon and unfortunately Brighton were on the attack immediately. A near miss by Brighton did not bring the Sussex team out of their slumber, and by the tenth minute Brighton had a penalty. The penalty was smashed onto the bar but an incoming player was on hand to knock the rebound in. It was an early set back that Sussex could ill-afford. Just a few minutes later Sussex had to thank keeper James Sayers for not going further behind. You would have backed the Brighton striker to score, but Sayers made himself big and quashed the chance.
Following Sayers’ efforts in limiting the score to just 1-0, Sussex managed to gain some confidence. Sussex winger Martin Simonneau made some exciting runs down the left flank and linked up well with forward Dominic Grant. Yet Brighton held strong and no real inroads could be made. At the back, Brighton centre-half Adam Wright looked assured and even had the audacity to side step an oncoming attacker to lay the ball off.
However, Sussex soon felt hard done by when, after some good link up between the midfield, a Tom Ransom through-ball to Grant was wrongly flagged for offside. A real sucker punch followed this as Brighton nicked another goal just before half-time; a long range effort looped painfully over Sayers who could do little after a cruel deflection.
During the first half the left flank had been the only real route forward; but the changes made at the interval appeared to suit the players much better and this opened up a second line of attack down the right. Junior Bammeke, replacing right-winger Richard Parkin, came into central midfield alongside captain Dom Heron, while Dan Hyttner moved out to the right flank.
Sussex were arguably the better side in the initial stages of the second half; Bammeke was strong on the ball and was spreading his passes well either side of the pitch. Starting him on the bench was a questionable decision.
However, Brighton were always threatening and although one could hope, the game was only realistically heading one way. On eighty minutes Brighton sealed the deal when their winger chased a lost cause, engineered a cross and it was headed in. Sayers kept Sussex from going further behind with two good saves shortly after this.
In the last five minutes Sayers nearly created an assist from one of his own goal kicks when it fell into the path of the busy Grant; having nipped past the opposing centre-half with a burst of pace, he was about to pull the trigger. The next moment he was dragged down on the edge of the box by the last defender. Surely a red card had to be shown? Only a direct free-kick; the referee decided nothing more was warranted. Even Brighton’s goalkeeper commented that “it should have been a red.” The ensuing free-kick was struck by Ransom and was the only shot on target all afternoon by Sussex, but it was comfortably saved.
After the game Sussex skipper Dom Heron commented “we should have been more creative. There was a not enough communication on the pitch.” These were not excuses, just an honest assessment of a game in which Sussex had failed to get to grips with their opposition.