Post by Football News on Feb 24, 2018 17:12:09 GMT
Brighton 4-1 Swansea
Chalk up another win, in one of the most pleasant rivalries in football, for Chris Hughton over Carlos Carvalhal. When the Swansea manager was in charge of Sheffield Wednesday, the two competed good-naturedly for Championship promotion, but in six games the Portuguese only won one.
Make that one from seven now after Brighton’s comfortable 4-1 win, inspired by a Glenn Murray brace, that pulls Brighton away from the relegation zone and reminds Carvalhal’s men that their recent run of fine form may not be enough for survival.
Murray was the only man on the pitch who was around the last time these two faced each other in a league game on the south coast. That was 10 years ago, in a different footballing world when both teams were in League One and Brighton’s “home” was the Goldstone Ground, an exposed bit of grass inside a municipal running track, far away from today’s plush surrounds.
Brighton had the better of the opening exchanges, creating a series of half-chances, and they were neatly presented the opener after 18 minutes, when Murray chased a long ball down the left side of the penalty area. Mike van der Hoorn brainlessly blundered into the small of his back, Mike Dean pointed to the spot and Murray casually stroked the kick down the middle.
By the 36th minute, Carvalhal had seen enough, and called André Ayew from the bench to join his brother Jordan up front. Nathan Dyer was the man replaced, jogging off with a miffed expression, asking around for an explanation but getting only pats of sympathy in return.
Both sides came inches away from scoring just before the break. Lewis Dunk hit the bar with a free header, then immediately afterwards a low drive from Jordan Ayew hit the post and rebounded onto the Brighton keeper, Mat Ryan. On a lucky day for Swansea that would have trickled in, but it merely popped out to Martin Olsson, who dragged his follow-up wide.
Carvalhal made a further change at half-time, replacing the clown-shoed Van der Hoorn with Luciano Narsingh and switching to a quaint 4-4-2 formation. The Dutch winger almost forced an equaliser early in his shift, skipping through the Brighton defence before his cross was blocked, but the change didn’t bring any rhythm to the game. It was a loosely strung together series of half-chances and basic errors rather than a match of any coherence.
Brighton had the ball in the net after an hour, but Murray was correctly flagged offside after stabbing in Anthony Knockaert’s cross. That was among a series of decisions the home fans were displeased with, giving the referee a standing ovation when one did go in their favour. As a man who shirks attention, Mike Dean was presumably suitably embarrassed.
The crowd had something more tangible to celebrate a minute after that. José Izquierdo and Pascal Gross combined smartly down the left, the former cut back to Murray, who swept home a simple left-foot finish. That’s seven in the last nine for the old warhorse.
The result was pushed even further beyond doubt when the impressive Gross played in Knockaert, who flicked delicately home with the outside of his foot.
Swansea were ragged by this point, looking nothing like the side who have been revived under Carvalhal. This was just their second defeat in eight league games under the Portuguese, but it was a performance more reminiscent of the previous 20.
A Dunk own-goal – his fourth of the season, a joint record in the Premier League era – represented a late consolation for Swansea, but that was rendered even more meaningless when Jürgen Locadia, making his league debut from the bench, turned home a fourth for Brighton in the final minute.