Under the leadership of Mark McGhee, Brighton will no doubt provide a stern test for a Burnley side that are finding wins in the Championship very difficult to come by. The Seagulls, like Burnley have only won one league game this season to date, but travel to Turf Moor feeling confident after picking up a point at Elland Road against Leeds and more recently, after coming from behind twice to secure a 2-2 draw with Coventry at the Withdean Stadium last weekend.
Only once in the league have the seagulls kept a clean sheet so far this campaign – it’d be nice to think that we’ll see goals on the day, and preferably only in the net that Albion will be defending.
Since gaining promotion from Division two under Stan Ternent’s rule, Burnley and Brighton have only met twice at Turf Moor. After missing out on the play offs by only a single goal in 2001/2002, Burnley started their 2002/2003 campaign with what seemed to be a home banker against promoted Division Two Champions Brighton. It was a terrible afternoon for Burnley supporters. From the minute Brighton went in front, there was only one team in it and to make matters worse, Arthur Gnohere’s stupidity early in the second half rightly saw him sent off, after he blatantly head-butted Albion’s Gary Hart.
Brighton went 2-0 up when an unfit looking Steve Davis failed to close down an on-running Albion player, who ran and ran before slotting past Michopoulos in the Burnley goal. Bobby Zamora, who later signed for Tottenham, added a third for Brighton, before Lee Briscoe grabbed a consolation in injury time from a corner kick. It was a goal which flattered Burnley - we were dreadful. After the final whistle, Stan accused his one million pound signing, Robbie Blake, of playing as if he was wearing diving boots; just one of the many memorable and ironically enjoyable post match comments given by Stan the Man.
Last season’s game against the Seagulls saw the Clarets play in a one off special home shirt. Kitted out with the names of people who had generously contributed at least one thousand pounds to the ‘500 Miles’ campaign, the Clarets (or should that be pale Clarets?) took control of the game from the off. Brighton looked like a side about to be relegated and midway through the first half Ade Akinbiyi added to their woes by giving Burnley the lead. It was a nice move which saw Dean Bowditch cross for Graham Branch, who unselfishly headed the ball across goal for Akinbiyi, to score his first home goal for the Clarets, by nodding the ball past Blayney in goal.
As it happened, the substitution was an inspired one as Robinson ran the second half. It was no surprise that when Brighton equalised it came from down the right hand side, as Reid passed Mo Camara and laid a perfect centre for the very impressive Hammond who stroked the ball home past Danny Coyne.
Both sides had half chances to win the game in the last half hour, but with Burnley lying safe in mid table, it was no surprise that the game eventually fizzled out and ended all square. One thing is for sure, 1-1 is not a result that will please Burnley supporters if that’s how this fixture ends on Saturday!