I said prior to the match yesterday that I wasn’t especially bothered about the result against Brighton, and now we’ve been beaten again I stick by that.
Of course it’s never nice losing a game, but as soon as I saw the team-sheet I knew we’d be in trouble and to be fair it isn’t the result that is getting to me.
Instead it’s the performance of what are largely backup players who failed to cover themselves in any glory when there was a chance to put down a marker for a spot in the first-team. With a chance to impress only a couple of players took the opportunity to shine with the rest proving why there is such a distinct difference between this season and last.
In many ways last season was built on through the strength of players itching to prove a point, players like Ryan Taylor and Leon Best who would get a chance and try to impress enough to keep their place in the first-team. We haven’t had that this season and the only players to come out of the defeat yesterday with any real credit are Vurnon Anita and Gael Bigirimana.
The truth is that Newcastle deserved to go out yesterday and were second best in pretty much every department. Sure it’s good news for our fixture list as we set about trying to maintain Premier League survival, but the fact remains that it’s another game we lost, and we’ve lost another player to boot after Shola Ameobi became the scapegoat for Lee Probert and the home crowd.
I’m also sort of blaming the fact we were down to ten men for the result but it was with eleven men when we were at our worst and Brighton deservedly took the lead just after the half hour mark after Wayne Bridge crossed for Andrea Orlandi to volley past Rob Elliot. James Perch had already cleared off the line and the best that Newcastle could offer in return were long range efforts from Gael Bigirimana, Shola Ameobi and Vurnon Anita, none of which looked likely to beat Casper Ankergren in the Brighton goal.
Shola Ameobi saw red in the 63rd minute after picking up a second yellow meaning that he will now miss the game with Norwich next weekend. In truth it was a harsh red when you look at the offences individually, but in a weird way it brought out the best in United and we actually started to play a bit with Sylvain Marveaux – on for Gabriel Obertan – looking to pull some strings.
However with just a few minutes left on the clock Brighton put the away side out of their misery and after Mike Williamson got caught the wrong side of Will Buckley the Brighton forward had the simple task of slotting the ball past Rob Elliot.
Another season and another FA Cup exit to a lower league team although on the day you’d be hard pushed to suggest just who was supposed to be the Premier League in all of this. Job done in terms of fixture list reduction, but it’s no real consolation to fans at the end of the day.
Howay the lads!
Brighton: Casper Ankergren, David Lopez, Gordon Greer, Adam El-Abd, Wayne Bridge, Dean Hammond, Liam Bridcutt, Gary Dicker, Andrea Orlandi, Craig Mackail-Smith, Ashley Barnes
Subs: Tomasz Kuszczak, Lewis Dunk, Andrew Crofts, Will Buckley, Stephen Dobbie, Kazenga LuaLua, Will Hoskins
Newcastle: Rob Elliot, James Tavernier, Mike Williamson, James Perch, Davide Santon, Gael Bigirimana, Vurnon Anita, Sammy Ameobi, Mehdi Abeid, Gabriel Obertan, Shola Ameobi
Subs: Tim Krul, Paul Dummett, Shane Ferguson, Sylvain Marveaux, Romain Amalfitano, Adam Campbell, Nile Ranger