Looking for first Brighton win in ten years

Lee Briscoe - scored a consolation goal
The domestic cup competitions can often provide a welcome break from league action and that certainly seemed to be the case as goals from Keith Lowe, Ade Akinbiyi and John Spicer steered Burnley into round 3. Brighton were knocked out of the Carling Cup in round one when they lost 3-2 to an extra time Denny winner against Shrewsbury and as a consequence, they have had a full week to prepare for this Saturday’s clash.

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.

Ade Akinbiyi - got his first home goal for the Clarets
Mark McGhee made a tactical change at half time, substituting the ineffective McCammon with Robinson; a very fast and skilful contrast. Words must have been exchanged between McCammon and McGhee as the Albion forward was not welcomed back onto the team coach after the game had ended, being made to find his own way back down the country.

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!
Going back in the 1990s and we met three times, with the Clarets winning two of them 3-0 in 1993/94 and 1995/96 seasons after Brighton had won 3-1 in the 1992/93 season. A certain Kurt Nogan got a couple of the Brighton goals that day with our consolation coming from Mike Conroy who scored his last Turf Moor goal.

The 3-0 win the following season came courtesy of two goals from Kevin Russell, his first for Burnley, and one from Steve Davis whilst in the 1995/96 season Kurt was on the scoresheet again, this time for us, with David Eyres and Peter Swan getting the others.

We’ve beaten them four times at home in total in league games and all four have been 3-0 wins, a repeat of that would do very nicely indeed.