BRIGHTON & HOVE ALBION v WEST HAM UNITED
MONDAY 24 OCTOBER 2011
Final score - Brighton & Hove Albion 0-1 West Ham United
99 mins - McCartney shows great fitness levels to play a one-two with Sears and concede a throw right down the far end of the pitch. Brighton lose out again and Piquionne shows pace and willing to beat two men and hammer a shot miles wide. It matters not, though, as the final whistle is blown. West Ham have won and are back up to second.
98 mins - Into the final of the eight advertised added minutes. Almunia is traking a while over the free-kick, which Brighton assistant boss Mauricio Taricco is not happy about. He waves his arms around.
97 mins - Brighton have a free-kick just inside the West Ham half as Reid concedes an aerial foul. It's pumped into the box, but Collison is caught as he heads bravely clear.
96 mins - Piquionne wins a flick-on, but Sears cannot reach it. Goal kick to Brighton.
95 mins - Three-and-a-half minutes to go... Mackail-Smith comes forward but he gives O'Brien enough of a sniff to make a strong sliding challenge. The ball goes miles up into the air and behind for a goal kick.
93 mins - Noble sends Piquionne away with a peach of a pass, but the Frenchman's shot is blocked. The ball spins away on the wet turf and out for a throw on the near side. Before the throw can be taken, Faubert is replaced by Baldock.
92 mins - West Ham box Brighton in from a deep throw. They win the ball back and Nolan shoots from Noble's pass, but the ball hits a defender on the head and spins high and behind. The corner is taken short to Faubert, but his return pass finds Noble in an offside position.
91 mins - We're into the first of EIGHT added minutes. At least.
89 mins - The corner is worked short and Noble initially looks to have done superbly, but Nolan cannot control and Brighton clear. They are coming forward in droves, but Noone's cross is not great and Sears makes it back in time to get the ball back. He is then fouled as he clears for a throw. This has been a nervy second half, I can tell you.
88 mins - Noble nips in and gets the ball back inside the Brighton half. He threads a ball through for Faubert, whose touch is a bit loose. He shoots left-footed and a Greer heads behind. It was going wide.
87 mins - The crowd tonight is 20,686 - more than 2,400 of whom are praying for the final whistle is going to be blown. That's a stadium record... Meanwhile, Hoskins gets a shot away from the edge of the box, but the ball flies a yard over.
86 mins - A heart in mouth moment as Noone takes on three Hammers players and still gets his cross in. Almunia claims at the second attempt.
85 mins - Substitute Buckley is fast - very fast - and he runs at McCartney, who does well to stick out a leg and concede a corner. Noone takes and West Ham clear. Faubert pumps his legs and forces Brighton to pass all the way back to Harper.
84 mins - Suffice to say, we're going to have a lot of added time.
83 mins - After about five minutes of treatment and being placed on to the stretcher, Dicker is replaced by Harley. The departing Dicker gets a round of applause from the home fans.
81 mins - Ryan Harley will be on for Dicker, but it's taking some time to get the midfielder comfortable on the stretcher. Of course, we all hope the injury is not too serious and this is all precautionary.
79 mins - Both sets of players are getting a drink or two on board while Dicker is tended to by the physio and paramedics. It looks like his right knee that is hurt. The Brighton player is holding his head and is in obvious pain. I'm afraid I didn't see exactly what happened.
78 mins - Sears has a crossing chance following a fine toe-in tackle from Noble. He hangs his cross high but too close to Harper, who catches. Meanwhile, I think it is Dicker who is down and looks badly hurt. It's his right leg.
76 mins - It's still Brighton playing most of the football here as another patient passing move comes to an end with Faye clearing Noone's cross for a throw. The Hammers clear through Noble down the right channel and his attempted pass for Piquionne wins a throw. Next, Noble and Collison combine before the latter is felled by Bridcutt on halfway. Yellow card for the Brighton player.
73 mins - A murmur of relief goes around the stadium as Harper nearly allows an innocuous back pass under his boot and into the net! That would have gone down a storm among the Hammers fans behind the goal to my right.
71 mins - While Almunia gets a check-up from the physio, Brighton bring on speedy winger Will Buckley for Sparrow.
70 mins - Noble's through ball for Sears is just not strong enough and Jara makes a fine sliding challenge. Brighton come forward and Almunia is brave as you like to plunge at the feet of Mackail-Smith to make a fantastic stop. I'm not sure if a free-kick had been given, but Reid then blocked the follow-up effort.
67 mins - Piquionne gets involved for the first time, running wide left to pick up possession. He finds Sears, who cuts inside and shoots right-footed from about 20 yards. The ball skims along the wet turf and wide for a goal kick at the near post.
65 mins - Piquionne is on for Carew for the final 25 minutes or so...
65 mins - Brighton threaten again through Mackail-Smith. He finds Noone, but he is also forced on to his weaker right foot and passes rather than shooting. Instead it's Bridcutt that lets fly, but the ball spins away from the far post and wide.
64 mins - Sears does brilliantly again, winning the ball in midfield and then sending Carew away down the right. He crosses but it's too high for Nolan at the far post.
62 mins - Thank goodness Painter is left-footed. He loses two defenders with a neat turn, but has to check back on to his left foot instead of shooting through the space. He stands up a cross and Almunia catches.
61 mins - To be fair to Brighton, they've dominated since the break. Noone's shot is blocked by Faye, but Almunia's clearance is straight to Jara. Eventually, despite Nolan's efforts, Reid concedes another corner. Faubert volleys it clear.
60 mins - Another lightning-quick Brighton raid and Painter cuts inside from his left wing and shoots, but it's high and not very handsome. Another goal kick for Almunia to belt upfield...
59 mins - The home side break in numbers, but cannot make the most of a four-on-four attack. The ball goes behind for a goal kick. During the break in play, Hoskins comes on for Barnes.
58 mins - That's a chance there. Noble's left-wing cross is headed down by Carew, but Faubert cannot get on the end of it. Collison also flies in, but is held off by a defender and the opportunity goes begging.
57 mins - Nolan clips the ball in for Carew to control. He swivels and shoots, forcing Harper to get down smartly to his right to save. He spills the ball but it remains close enough to him for the goalkeeper to collect.
56 mins - Sears does brilliantly. He picks up the ball on halfway and bursts forward, slaloming past one defender before being brought down by Dunk. The No5 is booked. West Ham have a free-kick 30-plus yards out. Noble stands over it...
55 mins - OK, Sears is wide left of the front three, with Collison on the left of the midfield three and Noble sitting. Well, not sitting, but shielding the back four.
54 mins - It's Diop who is the man replaced by Sears. The youngster goes left of the midfield, at least for the time being.
52 mins - Barnes' shot hits the wall and bounces back to him. He spreads play wide right and the cross is blocked. West Ham are rocking here. Another home attack is snuffed out by Diop, who then dwells on the ball and loses it. Reid is there to put the ball behind. The corner is initially cleared, but when the ball sails back into the penalty area, Dunk heads wide.
51 mins - Sears will be on soon, but not before Brighton have taken a very dangerous-looking free-kick from about 25 yards out. Barnes is standing over a kick conceded by Diop.
50 mins - Noone is involved again, spreading play wide left for full-back Painter. He takes a touch, but Faubert blocks the cross and then heads clear to Noble. He pokes the ball down the line and Nolan wins a throw. West Ham have a chance to get forward, but Carew is penalised for a foul.
47 mins - Noone curls in the corner left-footed but low. Reid clears at the near post for another corner with his chest. The home fans want a penalty for handball. The second corner is headed clear by a diving Carew.
46 mins - Brighton get the second half underway through Barnes and Mackail-Smith. We're 55 seconds in when Barnes takes on McCartney but loses control at the vital moment. McCartney gets a foot in to concede the corner.
It's absolutely chucking it down here at the Amex Stadium as half-time approaches its conclusion. I don't need to tell you which artist's music is playing over the PA system...
Half-time score - Brighton & Hove Albion 0-1 West Ham United
47 mins - That is a let-off. Brighton send a diagonal pass across that Noone mis-controls into the path of Mackail-Smith. He shoots and Almunia parries. McCartney looks second favourite to get to the rebound, but he does superbly to beat Barnes to the ball and scramble it away. Brighton have a throw, but West Ham delay them long enough to play out the remainder of the first half. Phew!
45 mins - Noble earns his side some respite by winning a free-kick just inside the Brighton half. We will have at least two added minutes.
44 mins - Brighton win another corner, this time off Reid. It's deep and West Ham initially clear their lines, only for the Seagulls to win the ball back on halfway. Noone is over on the near side, having taken the corner, and takes advantage by cutting on to his left foot and shooting. A cheer goes up, but the ball goes a yard wide of the near post.
43 mins - Nolan leads the charge from Faubert's lay-off. He holds the ball up for Faubert's overlapping run. The Frenchman delivers a high, curling cross that McCartney can only head behind for a goal kick.
42 mins - Half-time can't come soon enough at the moment... This time it's Barnes, turning past Faye and crossing, but Diop is there to head behind. The corner is taken short again and comes to nothing initially until the ball is lofted back over for Noone, who wins a corner off Diop. Nolan heads clear and West Ham can break...
40 mins - Faye slips and Mackail-Smith is away. Reid gets across and makes a sliding block. The ball falls back to a Brighton player, but again it is blocked and the hosts have a corner. It's taken short and worked to Bridcutt, whose shot flicks off Carew's head on its way over. The second corner causes a right stir in the penalty area, but nobody can get a shot away and, finally, Faubert smashes the ball high into the night sky and out for a throw on the far side.
38 mins - Brighton come forward and a ball is threaded through the gap between McCartney and Faye for Barnes to chase. McCartney wins the race, but concedes a corner. The delivery comes to the near post and Carew glances clear. Brighton keep up the pressure and another cross comes in from the left, but Barnes cannot direct his header on target. Goal kick.
37 mins - The throw is worked to Faubert. He crosses well and Nolan gets in front of his marker, but his header flies well over the top.
36 mins - Really good play down the left from West Ham as McCartney, Collison and Noble combine before the No16 releases Carew down the left touchline. He pauses before beating Greer, who brings him down. Yellow card for the Brighton captain. The free-kick comes over and Harper punches out for a throw.
33 mins - A decent bit of possession involving McCartney, Noble and Faubert ends with the latter looking up but screwing his low shot wide from 30-odd yards. It might have been an attempted through ball, but I can't be sure. Goal kick.
30 mins - Noble needs the physio on for what looks like a hand injury. West Ham do well to keep possession while Noble is off. After O'Brien concedes a free-kick, Noble comes back on, complete with bandaging on his left hand and forearm.
29 mins - The free-kick is cleverly worked short to Dicker, but Noble gets out quickly and takes the pace of the shot with a block. The ball dribbles through safely into the hands of Almunia.
28 mins - West Ham gift possession to Brighton as Diop concedes a free-kick. Brighton take the kick quickly and catch the Hammers on the back foot. The ball is played into Mackail-Smith, who goes to ground under a tackle from Reid. Free-kick, about 28 yards out in a central position.
25 mins - Jara tries a ball over the top from deep for Barnes to chase. He goes down under a challenge from Reid. Nothing given by Mr Friend.
24 mins - A few players have started slipping on the slick surface. The pitch was watered beforehand and now the rain is coming down steadily. I wonder if a few have got the wrong studs on considering the changeable weather conditions. Meanwhile, Jara's ball in is well gathered by an advancing Almunia.
22 mins - Nolan wins the ball back, then looses it again with a loose pass. Noone is the beneficiary but rather than slide in Barnes, the No11 chooses to shoot from 25 yards. His effort is well-struck, but flies over the top.
20 mins - Faubert becomes the first Hammer to be booked. The Frenchman challenged for a high ball inside the Brighton box but got there a bit late, instead ploughing into a home defender. No fuss from referee Friend or complaint from Faubert as the yellow card is shown.
19 mins - Gus Poyet was not particularly happy with the nature of that goal. He is waving his arms around inside his technical area. Meanwhile, it is now chucking it down with rain!
17 mins - GOAL! Take a bow Kevin Nolan. The captain robs Bridcutt and is in on goal. He looks up and sweeps a fantastic shot past Harper from 20 yards. That was some finish from the skipper. He celebrates in typically exuberant fashion.
16 mins - Noble feeds Faubert, who is fouled on halfway. This time it's O'Brien to take, but his delivery is too strong and flies harmlessly over the head of Carew and out for a goal kick.
13 mins - Jara is booked after another late tackle, this time on Noble. McCartney sends in the left-footed free-kick from halfway, but Nolan misses his header. Goal kick.
12 mins - Noone is Brighton's brightest player so far, this time spinning away from O'Brien but again over-hitting his cross. McCartney ushers it behind for a goal kick.
10 mins - Close to an opening for the visitors as Diop gets a big foot in and then feeds Noble. He looks up and tries to thread a ball through for Faubert to chase. He is quick, but Greer gets across well to cut it out and Brighton clear.
8 mins - The Seagulls are flapping their wings here. A loose header from Faye sets up a home attack and it's Noone again, bursting down the left. He crosses, but the ball curls out for a goal kick.
7 mins - A first chance for Brighton and it falls to Mackail-Smith. The Scotland international breaks through a challenge and gets away from Faye and McCartney, but the angle is slightly against him. He shoots low, but the ball flies a few yards wide of the far post.
6 mins - Noble breaks play up by robbing Bridcutt in midfield. He then tries to send Carew away but the Norwegian is penalised for a foul on Dunk as the pair chase. It looked like the defender slipped.
5 mins - Brighton love to play around with the ball at the back, but when it works, it can leave their opponents with players the wrong side of the ball. Bridcutt nearly benefits, breaking through the middle and shooting from 25 yards, but Reid charges it down.
4 mins - Brighton finally bring the ball into the West Ham half and, after initially losing it to Faubert, win it back. Left winger Noone crosses from deep, but his delivery is too strong and skips off the turf and out for a throw.
2 mins - A bright start from West Ham ends with the ball going behind for a goal kick. However, the visitors quickly win the ball back through Diop, who is felled by debutant Jara. Free-kick on halfway and a talking to for the Chilean.
1 min - The kick-off nearly brings a chance as Carew wins a header from McCartney's long ball forward. Collison wins the ball back and Nolan tries to win a corner, but concedes a goal kick. Harper makes a hash of it and Collison has possession again, but instead of playing the ball inside to Carew, he tries to go on his own and is crowded out inside the penalty area.
7.45pm - Right. West Ham will kick-off through Faubert and Noble...
7.41pm - Here they come, led by captains Gordon Greer and Kevin Nolan. West Ham are in claret and blue shirts, white shorts and sky blue socks. Brighton are in blue and white striped shirts, blue shorts and white socks. The giant Seagull and mascot are in the centre circle for their pre-match photographs with the skippers. We should be kicking-off in about a minute or so.
7.40pm - The dancers are ready to welcome the teams on to the pitch and we're nearly ready to go. The West Ham fans give us a chorus of 'Bubbles' to add to what is already a superb atmosphere. The Brighton supporters have got plenty to shout about, of course.
7.35pm - They are really promoting these Fatboy Slim concerts for all they are worth. They are playing the DJ's hit 'Right here, right now' and the fans in three of the stands are waving their special Fatboy Slim flags. It's quite a sight, particularly as the sprinklers have also been turned on. The atmosphere is really warming up ahead of kick-off. The stadium looks nigh-on full.
7.30pm - Chairman David Gold is down at the tunnel entrance lending his support to the players, who are currently going through their final warm-up exercises in the far corner away to my right.
7.15pm - West Ham make three changes to the side beaten 1-0 at Southampton last Tuesday evening, with Joey O'Brien, Mark Noble and Jack Collison replacing Matt Taylor, Henri Lansbury and Sam Baldock. Brighton make four changes to the side that drew 1-1 at Millwall on the same date. Steve Harper, West Bromich Albion loanee Gonzalo Jara, Gary Dicker and Ashley Barnes come in for Ankergren, Calderon, Harley and Hoskins.
7.10pm - George Moncur, of course, is the son of former West Ham midfielder John Moncur. The England Under-18 international is an all-action midfielder who likes to tackle, pass and hit shots from long-range. He also delivers a mean set piece. This season, the young professional has been a virtual ever-present in the development squad.
7pm - West Ham United photographer Jimmy Griffiths brings you a few exclusive images from the Amex Stadium ahead of tonight's game.
George Moncur will be in the matchday squad for the first time this evening
Frederic Piquionne, fitness coach Eamon Swift and Brian Montenegro arrive
Kit manager Peter Williams shows his backing for the Hammers' cause
The away end is specially themed for the visit of West Ham United
6.50pm - West Ham United's team is confirmed - Almunia, O'Brien, McCartney, Faye, Reid, Diop, Noble, Nolan, Faubert, Collison, Carew. Substitutes are Boffin, Moncur, Sears, Piquionne and Baldock.
Brighton & Hove Albion's starting XI is Harper, Jara, Greer, Dunk, Painter, Bridcutt, Dicker, Sparrow, Noone, Barnes and Mackail-Smith. The Seagulls' substitutes will be Ankergren, Buckley, Harley, Calderon and Hoskins.
6.35pm - The teams should be announced in about ten minutes. The club's official twitter feed will be the first place to discover West Ham's starting XI and substitutes.
6.30pm - The West Ham United squad has arrived at the Amex Stadium. It has been a fairly warm day down here on the south coast but it's turned chilly now and there is a swirling wind inside the ground itself. The away end is filling up slowly with Hammers fans, with Brighton laying on a slide show of images of the West Ham players on a big screen above the concessions desk! There is also a claret glow at the other end of the concourse. Apparently the colour is changed for every visiting team. A lovely welcoming touch, don't you think?
6pm - Two promising youngsters have travelled with the squad to Brighton today. Paraguay Under-18 striker Brian Montenegro and England Under-18 midfielder George Moncur were both on the coach that left London earlier today. Montenegro has been in good goalscoring form for the development squad, while Moncur has been a virtual ever-present in Ian Hendon's side this term, scoring in a draw at Dagenham & Redbridge last week with a well-taken penalty.
5.25pm - Brighton & Hove Albion fan and superstar DJ Norman 'Fatboy Slim' Cook is here tonight - fresh from lunch at the Q Awards in London - and has kindly given his time to whufc.com ahead of kick-off. The Seagulls supporter is nothing if not a realist and believes the Hammers will prevail on the south coast this evening.
"I think we needed pinching after the start we made to the season," he said. "Last year, after going up and coming to the new stadium and then giving Liverpool a good game in the Carling Cup and going top of the table, it was a case of 'When am I going to wake up at the Withdean Stadium and we're losing 3-0?'
"We did need a reality to check to realise that this is not just some bizarre fantasy. We are learning some lessons which we'll need to learn if we're going to stay in the Championship before worrying about going any higher.
"I must confess I moved down to Brighton in 1981 and I can't remember West Ham visiting very often since then. Tonight, though, I'm a bit worried that West Ham are coming down here to teach us a lesson. I have always been a bit pessimistic! If you'd asked me the same question six weeks ago, the answer would have been different, but we've had a bit of a reality check. I'm not sure we've got the staying power to keep with West Ham throughout the whole game - I'm going to say West Ham will win 3-1, but obviously I'm hoping it will be different."
Fatboy Slim is also keen to welcome West Ham fans back to the Amex Stadium next June, when he will play the first gigs ever held at the ground.
"Tonight we are giving away thousands of flags to the home fans in the West Stand to promote these gigs which we're holding at the Amex on 1 and 2 June next year, which are the inaugural gigs at the stadium. I do apologise to the West Ham fans because we wanted to give them claret and blue flags, but we couldn't afford it!
"We would like to cordially invite the West Ham fans down again next June. The Friday night I'm playing with Carl Cox and on the Saturday night with Nero - house night on Friday and more of a bass night on the Saturday. It's going to be the south of England's night of the year and all West Ham fans are invited to join us!"
Good afternoon and welcome to the gleaming American Express Community Stadium for this evening's npower Championship fixture between Brighton & Hove Albion and West Ham United.
The Hammers will be desperate to return to winning ways after last Tuesday's disappointing 1-0 defeat at leaders Southampton, while the Seagulls' own bright start has slowed in the shape of a six match winless run.
The teams will be announced at 6.45pm, with the lineups being announced first on the club's official twitter feed here.
West Ham United: Almunia, O'Brien, McCartney, Faye, Reid, Diop (Sears 54), Noble, Nolan, Faubert (Baldock 90), Collison, Carew (Piquionne 65)
Subs not used: Boffin, Moncur
Brighton & Hove Albion: Harper, Jara, Greer, Dunk, Painter, Bridcutt, Dicker (Harley 83), Sparrow (Buckley 71), Noone, Barnes (Hoskins 59), Mackail-Smith
Subs not used: Ankergren, Calderon