Sub Barnard grabs late point at Brighton
Brighton 2, Saints 2
I suppose there was always a temptation to keep a trophy winning team unchanged, but Mr. Pardew probably made the right move by recalling cup-tied Puncheon and Ostemobor for the visit to Brighton, although Mills will be disappointed that Harding’s good showing at right back had not been enough for him to keep his place on the other flank.
After those bare facts, the rest of this report is largely guesswork. Albion fans who bemoan Withdean Stadium (and they all do, with good reason) haven’t tried watching from Row C of the visitors’ block, where there must be 40 yards of running track and assorted athletics paraphernalia before you reach the ‘near’ goal, and then adjust your vision to make out the other set of posts way off in another postcode area.
Brighton struck the first blow and we were reluctantly able to admire Bennett‘s fine shot into that closer net.
Saints struck back on 40 minutes when Puncheon’s free kick was headed home – by former Brighton captain Hammond apparently. This was a midtable game with one team pleased to be there and the other with loftier ambitions thwarted by a bad start as much as that 10 point penalty.
It didn’t stop Brighton making aggressive substitutions with Lua Lua (not that one, it’s his brother) and Barnes coming on to make an immediate impact as Lua Lua crossed for Barnes to head home. Jaidi seemed to have been given the blame for poor marking as he was replaced by Seaborne, but the introduction of N’Diaye and Barnard was to have more significance.
After a late spell of Southampton control and pressure, N’Diaye was able to get to the bye-line and send in a low cross for Barnard to convert. Both sides pressed for an added time winner but the eventual draw did no favours to Southampton’s optimistic play-off hopes.
LSSC Man of the Match: Dean Hammond. Well it could have been anyone out there really, but we know Hammond scored, as well as winding up the home fans – so two good reasons.
Alan Pardew: “It was a really tough game. Really competitive.
“They’re about the third-best form team in the division, and that showed, but I think we bossed the game.
“Unfortunately we found ourselves behind in a game that I didn’t think we deserved to be behind in.”
06 Jaidi (Barnard 75)
10 Wotton (Papa Waigo 75)
37 Antonio (Seaborne 75)