Dan Bennett at The Amex
Glenn Murray starred in Saturday’s game against Barnsley, scoring twice in both halves of the game, to secure a third successive championship victory. Having been knocked out in the 3rd round game of the League Cup to Reading on Tuesday, Chris Hughton’s side were in need of a win to lift the dampened spirits of both players and fans seeking potential promotion for next season.
With just under 26,000 Seagull supporters filling up the Amex, morale was nothing but short as the infinite encouragement boosted Albion’s chance of success.
The first of Murray’s goals saw Albion starlet Anthony Knockaert latch onto a clearance, allowing him to cut wide down the right wing before letting Beram Kayal break free on the other side, who neatly set up Murray to tap in a well practiced, counter attacking team goal.
Even after half-time, Brighton’s energy continued to stay consistent. Murray claimed his second goal of the day from a header, produced from a precise free kick by Jiri Shalak, that gave Barnsley a much bigger problem than they had anticipated at the end of the first half.
As well as a successful day for Brighton’s forwards, it too was also an impressive show from the defence. Captain and right back Bruno Saltor and full back Gaetan Bong, both showed a ruthlessness in their defense whilst also being able to clear the ball to those ready to attack. Barnsley were unable to breakthrough and create minimal chances, giving Brighton a third, consecutive championship clean sheet.
Brighton dominated in both halves, showing a good awareness of the ball and picking out the weaknesses in Barnsley’s defence. Throughout the entire 90 minutes, Barnsley were only able to manage 1 shot on target as Brighton put their defensive practice into action, showing clear team communication.
Although not getting the result they anticipated, Barnsley did show some promising movement and development on the ball with Andy Yiadom being calm when under pressure and able to make neat clearances away from the countless Brighton attacks.
Saturday’s win now places Brighton and Hove Albion 3rd in the championship table, closely followed by Reading and Benitez’s Newcastle. With a now optimistic, consistent form, it seems Brighton are starting to look further forward in their bid for promotion to the Premier League. Saturday’s well thought out formation and player roles clearly shows Hughton has recognised his strongest starting XI and match tactics.