That Brighton had 4 players seriously injured in one match compounds the injustice that a team 15 points higher than their opponents, and who missed out on automatic promotion by 2 goals difference, should be subject to the vagaries of two matches on level terms. The Seagulls lost Tomer Hemed, Connor Godston, Steve Sidwell and Anthony Knockaert after an hour through injuries so severe there was no question of them playing on in spite of them. In 48 years of football watching I have never seen so many bad injuries in one match.The Gods are not looking down kindly on Sussex sport as the county side is suffering from the absence of Luke Wright and Chris Jordan.
The main controversy of the first half was a disallowed goal. It’s one up to the tv watchers as I’m sure if I was at Hillsborough I would have thought Forestieri’s goal a good one but the tv replay confirmed that he was offside and the decision to disallow was correct albeit it took too long to be made. Towards the end of the first half Ross Wallace scored with a long shot which David Stockdale might have got a stronger hand to. Forestieri added a second by which time Brighton could at best fight a rearguard action. When they had 11 fit men on the pitch in a ding-dong first half Brighton had good chances, as Hemed was causing problems with his aerial ability.
With Dale Stephens out too Brighton’s resources will be sorely stretched for the second leg this Monday. Hopefully Hemed might be there and I can see Rohan Ince coming in midfield. Chris Hughton will need some attacking options up his sleeve as if it’s still 0-0 after an hour we may as well go for it.
So a team that has been in the top three all season, scored the most goals and denied by 2 goal difference automatic promotion looks like losing out in the play-off semi finals. We have deserved better.