When John Pargiter called for a betting tip on the Fulham v Brighton match, both Alan and I agreed that a draw was the likeliest result. After Chris Hughton took over as manager he was adept at grinding out 0-0 draws and the defence stayed tight. I was therefore surpised that we came out of the starting blocks at the game against Fulham with such zest. The strike from Sam Baldock when he ran into space untracked by any Fulham defender always seemed coming. The second half was certainly Fulham’s and Matt Smith missed some very good chances. I texted Alan from the away end that Pargie would be happy as at 1-1 the game was being played out when the rashest of challenges earned a penalty and presented the victory at the death to the Seagulls. So after two wins we top the league. The side certainly looks resilient and if we can continue to score goals then we can stay in the top half of the league.
The situation at Sussex cricket is less optimistic. We are bottom of our Royal London Cup division and have not won any type of match in 8 games. Tomorrow we face Essex in the Royal London in the limited over format but the big one starts on Friday when League leaders of the LV 4 day championship Yorkshire come to Hove.
After that there are must win games aganst Worcestershire and Somerset before the final one at Headingley versus Yorkshire. Relegation does not have the same financial consequences as losing Premier status in football and Surrey have regrouped in the Second division but it would still be a body blow to the county that won the title three times in the noughties.
Alan and I can add our ha’pporth to the ongoing debate of attendance v following a event at home. On the overcrowded train back to Brighton full of supporters and badly-behaved language students, we were involved in a unpleasant incident when a youth sitting next to us threatened a father with kids who asked him to speak more quietly into his mobile phone. The menacing youth, who seemed a violent psychotic, threatened to break his face in two. Of a conductor and any form of official to safeguard security there was no sign and both Alan and I thought at any moment a serous fight would break out.
In another carriage where we had sat two drunks who appeared to be on drugs too terrorised the carriage with their filthy language and gross behaviour. It speaks volumes that the best behaved passengers were our Brighton fans. If, as argued in these pages, traveling to and from the game is part of the match experience then this was one that neither Alan nor I enjoyed or would wish to repeat.