Slow start, powerful finish, FA Cup win and chores done in the garage

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I really enjoy listening to Johnny Cantor and Warren Aspinall with their commentary on BBC Radio Sussex. Obviously I miss seeing the action at away games that I can’t attend, but as far as the second options go, you’d be hard pressed to find better coverage than what we the Brighton fans are treated to on the radio.

Not much must have happened in the first half at the Hawthorns because even Johnny and Warren couldn’t make it interesting.

The only nugget of information that emerged from the radio commentary was that former Seagulls goaltender David Button was in goal for the Baggies.

The slow start can probably be attributed to both teams trying to find their level with plenty of new faces. Brighton made seven changes, including goalkeeper Kjell Scherpen, who had to seize an opportunity from West Brom within the first two minutes of his debut. This was followed by a Baggies effort on the Albion bar.

Scherpen no longer had much to fear. He looks and sounds like he’s a very unique goalie; I wonder if he could qualify for a loan to help him get some minutes under his belt?

It looked like West Brom had a lot of pace in the middle. Johnny and Warren indicated that sloppy play cost Brighton early on.

For the first time in a long time, I started to worry about our chances in a game because that didn’t seem to be happening for the Seagulls.

Danny Welbeck then had Brighton’s first chance in the 19th minute when he went one-on-one with Button. Button had a point to prove against his former side which made it difficult for Welbeck and unfortunately the goal didn’t materialise.

Halftime came with a score of 0-0. As the radio had nothing to think about or analyze, I found myself going to the garage to do a quick chore, hoping that Graham Potter could introduce some words of wisdom to lend the team a helping hand in the second half. .

What I had hoped for didn’t happen initially. In fact, it was the reverse. Two minutes into the second half and Baggies’ Callum Robinson netted a cross past Scherpen to put West Brom ahead.

Referee Robert Jones was extremely lenient in the first half. Fans of both clubs in the crowd of 8,000 – including a significant number of the Seagulls’ famous away support – have certainly let him know what they’re thinking whenever he takes (or doesn’t take) a decision.

The clemency of Mr. Jones disappeared around the hour mark. Cédric Kipré received a yellow card for a bad shot on Neal Maupay in the center circle.

Then in a flash, Kipré fouled Leandro Trossard on the right side to earn a second warning from Mr Jones. The Baggies were down to 10 men and things might just get better for the Seagulls, I thought.

Maybe I had been too negative before? When you can’t see what’s going on, it’s quite frustrating because sometimes your brain plays tricks on you and everything seems much worse than it is.

Trossard’s free kick fouled by Kipré was delivered and well placed for skipper of the day Shane Duffy to pass the ball over the bar, missing a real chance to equalize the Seagulls.

Now we had some excitement. We know since this season that Brighton never give up. Potter made some final changes, with Joel Veltman making way for young striker Evan Ferguson and Steve Alzate coming in for Jakub Moder.

It was Moder who scored a superb goal to bring the Seagulls to 1-1. He finished with his left foot as he ran from right to left across the goal, deftly assisted by Ferguson.

Ferguson was the next to try his luck. The ball went just over the crossbar and landed on the roof of the net. What an impact the 17-year-old has had during his time on the pitch.

Alexis Mac Allister was then denied by Button, who drove a low shot to the left. The tempo was starting to pick up as the Seagulls looked to charge for a second goal so we could all avoid another 30 minutes without a replay in the competition this year.

The goal never came and so it took extra time to decide the tie. As we’ve seen so many times this season, Maupay had bided his moment and eight minutes into the extra 30 he made West Brom 1-2 Brighton.

It knocked me out of my seat, the sofa springs getting their familiar thumps and spilled tea everywhere. It’s a good job, I’m not a commentator; shouting “OH MY GOD” over and over again wouldn’t give much clue as to what’s going on for those listening at home. I can’t help but get excited; one day i’m sure i’ll give myself a heart attack.

It was a far cry from the first half that had taken me to the garage. There was almost more joy when Moder ran down the left to cross for Ferguson who slipped the ball confidently past Button.

Unfortunately, Ferguson had been offside. That goal may have been scored, but surely it won’t be long before the youngster scores for Brighton.

Trossard almost made it 3-1 but in the end, two goals were enough for Albion. Ball 10 came out of the fourth-round draw the following day for a trip to Tottenham Hotspur Stadium to face Spurs. Is it too early to dream of Wembley?

Before that, we have three tough games to come in the next 10 days. This Friday is Crystal Palace at the Amex, followed Tuesday evening by Chelsea at home then Sunday January 23 towards Leicester.

Nothing to worry about there with Brighton putting such good results on the board. Well done guys – and ride the Albion (the one in Brighton).

Tony Noble @Noble1844Tony

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