It was a bright and warm Tuesday morning at the Home of newly promoted Brighton and Hove Albion when the two teams walked onto the Amex pitch in the name of charity. They say football is a game of two halves and it proved to be the case in this game. The teams went in at half-time with the score level pegging but come 90 minutes the score line was completely different, with the Away side running out 8-3 winners after a man of the match display by No 9 Luke Ralph ensured the victory for his side.
Date: Tuesday 23rd May 2017
Venue: The Amex Stadium
Brighton & Hove Albion (Home) vs Brighton & Hove Albion (Away)
Kick Off: 10:00 am
Legend: Kerry Mayo
Match Officials: Peter Munt, Phil Draper, Steve Worsley & Thomas McCourt
The Home side pressed early on and forced the first real chance of the game after profiting from an attack from the Away team. The Home side caught the opposition defence napping, playing a ball over the top for No 11 Nick Pitt to run on to but his effort was charged down by the onrushing Away GK Adam Joyce. It was a something out of nothing chance which almost paid off for the team playing in the Home blue and white stripes of Brighton and Hove Albion.
The Home side continued to impress and they took the lead 9 mins into the game through No 11 Nick Pitt. The captain of the Home side tucked the ball away from close range after some very good build up play down the right side, which led No 22 Nicola Perrazini to square the ball for Pitt to slot the ball past the Away GK. The Home side deserved the early lead due to their high pressure and dominance early on in proceedings (1-0).
The Away side started to see more of the ball after the restart and looked like penetrating the final 3rd of the Home side for the 1st time in the match. The ball was worked down the Away team’s left and it eventually found its way to No 9 Luke Ralph, whose long range effort wasn’t enough to trouble the Home GK Sam Morris.
The Away side were looking more dangerous now and were then denied a penalty, after an altercation between the defender and the attacker left No 9 Luke Ralph pleading with the referee for a potential spot kick award, however nothing was given.
The Home team’s lead was nearly doubled moments later however a last ditch tackle scuppered any attempts for a 2nd goal. The use of the ball was key for the Home side in the opening half and their impressive play through the middle allowed No 22 Nicola Perrazini to be slipped in on goal, only for No 4 Sammy Verghese to deny him with a well-timed challenge.
As the ball was cleared Away by the Away side, they quickly shifted the ball up field and fashioned themselves a counter-attack in which they nearly scored. No 11 Peter Lewis was played in by his strike partner Luke Ralph but Lewis couldn’t find the target, dragging the ball wide of the goal.
The Home side responded well and doubled their lead 20 mins into the game and it was that man Nick Pitt again, grabbing his 2nd of the game after latching onto a through ball from No 2 Graham Martin - which the Away defence failed to deal with - and ghosting in to slot the ball past the onrushing Away keeper Adam Joyce (2-0)
The Away side almost pulled one back mere moments from the kick-off. The ball was worked intricately through the midfield and a through ball found No 10 Nathan Moseby but unfortunately for the Away side Moseby’s effort hit the side netting from inside the box.
The Home side were under pressure again, as the Away team started to fashion themselves a few chances of their own, however the impressive Home GK Sam Morris was on hand to deny No 11 Peter Lewis whose close range effort was tipped over the bar as the Away team piled on the pressure.
The Away side’s continuous pressure finally paid off as they pulled a goal back through No 9 Luke Ralph 37mins in. The shot came in which was beaten away by Sam Morris but Ralph was there to pounce on the rebound and after some fine footwork smashed it into the roof of the net past the keeper who had no chance (2-1).
It was then level pegging 3mins later and the Away team thoroughly deserved their equaliser. No 9 Luke Ralph this time turned provider for No 11 Peter Lewis whose low strike squeezed under the Home GK to complete the turnaround for the Away side. After going two goals behind, the Away side had responded brilliantly to pile the pressure on and fight their way back to level the proceedings (2-2)
A few minutes later the ref’s whistle brought to an end an evenly contested half, with the teams locked together at 2 goals apiece. The Home side dominated early on, grabbing those 2 early goals which ultimately led to the Away side mounting a comeback to level the game. Both teams performed well in the 1st half and the energy shown was a joy to watch.
Half Time: Brighton (Home) 2 - 2 Brighton (Away)
Legend Kerry Mayo switched to the Away side at half-time, donning the Away peach/pink strip for the remainder of the game. Mayo’s one of the longest serving players to have ever played for Brighton, making 413 appearances in a 13 year spell and you could see what it meant to his fellow players to be playing alongside the Seagulls Legend!
The Home side was the first team to fashion a chance in the second half, as they looked to regain the lead. The play was built up well down the right flank and a disguised ball found No 22 Nicola Perrazini in space, his precise effort wasn’t precise enough though and even though the ball beat the keeper, it rose over the bar as the score stayed level for the time being.
The Away side created their first chance of the second half moments later as both teams looked to make a breakthrough. A quick free-kick led to the ball being drilled in from the right and No 9 Luke Ralph, who was looking to add to his tally, failed to convert, firing the ball over from close range.
The Home GK’s blushes were spared soon after, when his defenders made sure his handling error wasn’t punished. The corner came in from the right hand side and the GK came for the ball, failed to claim it 1st time but luckily for him defensive pressure ensured that the ball was cleared to safety.
The Away side then took the lead for the first time in the match, completing their comeback from 2-0 down earlier on in the game. No 11 Peter Lewis picked up the ball on the edge of the box and slipped it in to the eventual goal scorer No 17 Michael Lewis who shrugged off the defender to bury it past the keeper to give the Away team in pink the lead (2-3)!
Super sub Michael Lewis grabbed his second goal of the game 70 mins in, with an almost identical goal to his first one. A quick nutmeg through the defender’s legs and Lewis was racing away down the left and as he found himself in space in the box with options available, the left midfielder chose to go it alone and slotted the ball past Sam Morris and into the near post area (2-4).
No 14 Darren Fox picked up a yellow card soon after, knocking Home No 7 Sunil Balan down and kicking the ball Away in frustration. From the subsequent free-kick, the ball was chipped down the right hand side for the energetic Balan, whose cross picked out No 10 Alex Page, but unfortunately for the Home side his header was brilliantly tipped over the bar by the Away GK Adam Joyce.
The Away side launched a counter attack from the Home side’s corner. As they broke away with pace, No 9 Luke Ralph was leading the charge and he fed No 11 Peter Lewis, but the forward’s strike was saved at point blank range by Home keeper Sam Morris.
However the Away team didn’t have long to wait for their next goal and No 9 Luke Ralph made it 5 at the Amex, after he bagged his 2nd of the game on 75 mins. No 10 Nathan Moseby played provider, playing a delicate through ball for Luke Ralph to run onto and the striker chipped his effort past the oncoming GK and into the net. It was a lovely move from the Away side and the score line started to look as if there was no way back for the Home side (2-5).
The next goal looked to have confirmed this, with No 9 Luke Ralph managing to bag himself a hat-trick to cap a fine display for the centre forward. The ball was chipped in from the right hand side and the striker rose highest to head the ball goalwards, Home Goalie Morris produced a great save to initially deny him, however Ralph was on hand to pounce on the rebound to put his side out of sight with little more than 10 mins to go (2-6).
The Home side weren’t beaten yet though and they pulled a goal back 5 mins later as they looked for a way back into the game time running out. The Blue and White striped team broke down the left flank and the ball was played into the path of No 22 Nicola Perrazini who took a touch and expertly stabbed the ball home 1st time into the bottom right hand corner (3-6).
However No 9 Luke Ralph bagged his 4th goal of the game almost immediately from the kick-off! The Away side went on the attack from the get go and after it became scrappy inside the box the ball was laid back to Ralph who smashed it home from the edge of the box. It was a stunning strike that Ralph could be rightly proud of (3-7)!
The Away side wrapped up proceedings with little more than 5 mins to go. A Home corner was cleared up-field towards No 10 Nathan Moseby and the skilful midfielder raced through on goal, Moseby saw his shot well saved, but the ball fell to No 11 Peter Lewis and the big striker smashed home the rebound to round off a great win for the Away team (3-8).
Our 1st ever Brighton & Hove Albion match had certainly been a memorable one, with the watching fans treated to an 11 goal classic. The impressive Away team ran out 3-8 winners but the Home team played some great football as well and both teams could be righty proud of their efforts on this historic day for Football Aid.
A huge thanks to Brighton & Hove Albion and club Legend Kerry Mayo for their fantastic support, we certainly hope this will be the 1st of many games with the Seagulls!
Full Time: Brighton (Home) 3 - 8 Brighton (Away)
Man of the Match Home: No 1 Sam Morris
Man of the Match Away: No 9 Luke Ralph
Moment of the Match: No 5 Phillip Joyce
Home Team: Sam Morris, Graham Martin, Kerry Mayo (1st half), Thomas Edwards, Andy Giles, Craig Purnell, Sunil Balan, Baljinder Singh, Nicola Perazzini, Alex Page, Nick Pitt (C), Andrew Harland, Mark Feehan, Christian Alcock, Marco Serofilli
Away Team: Adam Joyce, Tyler Wilkins, Kerry Mayo (2nd half), Sammy Verghese, Philip Joyce, Terry Rickeard (C), Paul Watson, Michael Lewis, Luke Ralph, Nathan Moseby, Peter Lewis, Darren Fox
Away Mascot: Jadey Yesilada
Match Report written by Nathan Best (@bestyblogs)
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AFTER MATCH FEEDBACK
"An amazing time at the Amex yesterday! Pleasure to play alongside @kerrymayo3 and @HovePT. Thank you @FootballAid @OfficialBHAFC"
Sunil Balan - Home Team No.7
"Great day at the Amex, even managed to introduce 3 new faces to @FootballAid! @kerrymayo3 a great sport too ?#BHAFC"
Adam Joyce - Away Team GK No.23
"Great game today at the Amex stadium. Thank you to @FootballAid for arranging a superb day. @kerrymayo3 what a gent!"
Nick Pitt - Home Team Captain & No.11
"It was fantastic to be a part of this today. Listening to some of the real life stories brings life to reality. Smashing work guys"
Kerry Mayo - Club Legend/Former Player