Story of the 2011/12 season - Brighton (h)
So, here we go again - the season was already a couple of games old as I set out for Brighton but Boro was an expense I could not afford and Barnet one I could not 'justify', had the league two side not insisted on keeping price so high maybe I would have, although with back-to-back league games to come maybe not...
In all honesty I was not really 'feeling it' and if I were completely truthful as my journey began on the Friday night it almost felt a bit like a chore! Whilst things have been somewhat more positive under CSI I still think that all the years of rubbish, off-the-field more so than that on it, had hit me hard. Then of course I have found another love too, so leaving behind Trina so regularly, and sometimes for so long, is not something I like doing these days.
I was sure, certainly hopeful, that after the Friday evening journey from Devon - Cosham, which ran smoothly, come the morning that enthusiasm would return!
Well, come the Saturday morning it had returned somewhat, although I was still not entirely feeling it but as the morning wore on, and a fry-up in Cosham quaffed down it was coming back. When it came to around 12.30ish and I had to leave to meet Chixy from my first lift of the season it was coming back more and more.
A couple of jars at The Rutland, with some familiar faces - some I have not seen for sometime, which was nice to catch-up again - and this returned even more so but it was upon walking into Fratton that this really came back. Hearing an announcement that I could not quite believe, as I thought I misheard, when visiting the toilet and hearing the roar that greeted this just whetted the appetite more. This announcement, which I eventually had confirmed, was that Benjani had signed a deal to return!
Another season, another set of owners and some change at the club though to be fair, but still the lack of numbers was apparent and an inability to change things, and failure to take chances, is what eventually costs us as we lost 1-0 to our south coast rivals.
I have to say that I thought we deserved a point, a point apiece would have been a fair result but if you do not take your chances, which we again failed to do, you will not get results. We were guilty of too many missed chances when 'genuine' goalscoring chances presented themselves to us and Brighton's goal was scrappy, and could have been avoided. Missing an injury-time penalty just compounds this.
I am not going to blame Liam Lawrence for defeat but I would question if he were the right man to take the penalty in that instance. He gets too 'fired up' so he is not always the coolest of customers and someone calm and composed is surely what you need from a penalty taker in the dying seconds of the game. The miss did not surprise me, as it was something that I feared would happen for those reasons...
I did not like Steve Cotterill's thoughts that we resembling a 'team of strangers' at times, with him thinking that this did not help, as this should not have been the case and cannot be used as an excuse. Was a 'bonding exercise' not the point of the trip to the US of A for Christ sake! Sorry, but this does not wash with me and not 'knowing' what they were meant to be doing is what it looked like from a number of players at times not a case of not knowing each other and that comes from the orders the manager gives. The 4-3-3/4-5-1 formation that Cotterill is obsessed with quite clearly does not work, it has struggled to work and I cannot see the benefits of this, certainly at home. Away from home, sure, but its just not working for me.
Do not get me wrong I thought we played pretty well at times, and certainly deserved a point. I cannot say I came away too disappointed in as much as I thought the football was 'dross' as it had been a number of times at Fratton last season. I was just frustrated that we did not take the chances, that and a lack of a plan B is what once again cost us. The ref was bloody awful and did little to help the game, but at times neither did we...
Ah well, what can you do eh!
Luckily for me I had plans for the evening, a couple more jars, including several double 'cinnamon whisky fireballs', which had become a favourite of ours since we stumbled across them last season, in Cosham with my cousin's Paul and Matt, along with our friend Saunders would be followed up by a Ruby to round off the day - so every cloud and all that...
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