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Brighton HAFC 3 Derby 1

I was there at Wembley in 1983 for the FA Cup Final between Manchester United and Brighton which ended 2-2 and famous for “And Smith must score …” (our Gordon Smith fluffed his lines and didn’t) and the replay which we lost 4-0. After that both Brighton and the FA Cup went into decline in the era of the Premiership and the riches of European Cup competition. Sad.

Brighton are one of those middle of the table Premiership clubs for whom a run in the Cup enhances the end of the season. We are too close to the bottom for comfort but with 27 points should be okay. Even Championship sides going for promotion like Derby are reluctant to field their best sides. Brighton put out a decent side but rested Lewis Dunk, Glenn Murray and Solly March.

Derby offered little in the first half but in the absence of Glenn Murray did not have a striker to maximise the pressure.

Yves Bissouma with his upfield runs, cross delivery, pass and shot is emerging as quite a player. His cross pulled back into the penalty area was met first time by Anthony Knockaert to give the Seagulls a deserved lead.

In the extra time of the first half, Bissouma again broke through from midfield, his shot hit the bar and Jurgen Locandia was on hand to convert. 2-0.

It should have been a comfortable ride but Ashley Cole, 38, of all people scored with a header. He has the record of 7 Cup Final appearances but surprisingly this was his first cup goal.

Derby were back in the game and they had come back from a 2-0 deficit at Southampton. David Button was having kittens in goal. However another ex-Fulham player, six foot seven Dan Burn, was a rock and denied Derby the option in the final minutes of lumping the ball up field.

Brighton in the Cup are more adventurous than in the League and we are all looking forward to the draw on Monday in the hope that after 36 years I will be returning to Wembley for at least a a semi-final.

About Ivan Conway

Ivan Conway will be reporting on Sussex sport. He is a member of the 1901 club at Brighton HAFC, Sussex County Cricket Club and an enthusiastic horse race goer. After selling his freight forwarding and conference business he settled in Hove. His other interests are bird watching, brass rubbing and bridge. More Posts