Yesterday’s 3-2 victory over Charlton was one of the best games I have seen a Brighton side play. After 5 minutes when we were two down to an enterprising Charlton team that belied their relegation postion and had unearthed from park football a talent in 18 year old Ademola Lookman, the word “victory” seemed a long way away. The great strength of this team is its resilient character. Yet for the first time we saw something more, confidence had generated enterprise, more ambitious passes were attempted and achieved. Solly March justified the £7m that Southampton have apparently bid for him, Kayal as ever bossed the midfield. The only weakness, surprisingly, was the central defence who failed to deal with the two easy crosses. Lookman took the first well but the Iranian international with a name that is not a copywriter’s dream Reza Ghoochannejhad must have watched unbelievingly as Lookman’s low cross trickled across the six yard box which he duly converted. Stockdale had to produce two excellent saves after that to keep the Seagulls in the game.
The turning point came in the second half after 66 minutes when Patrick Bauer was red-carded for a foul on Booby Zamora after James Wilson had already pulled one back after a wondrous dribble. . I am always amazed when a team has superiority they rarely take off a defender so the back four is marking one player and the numerical advantage not maximised up the pitch. After 80 minutes Chris Hughton finally changed this and the effect was immediate with first Zamora and then Hemed, his first in 10 games, giving Brighton the lead. So Brighton are still unbeaten and clear blue water exists between us and the 7th place and now even second. With a tough December ahead, next week at Derby and the following Middlesborough are our visitors we will need that resilience but come January I would not be in the least surprised to see the purchase of a striker. When £120m is at stake for premier status £5m-£10m is small beer. Chris Hughton has probably expended not more than £5 and deserves this backing. During a customary post-match chat with the desperate Alan Tanner I could hardly bring myself to mention what a grand job Chris has done with less money than Fulham.