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Jake sinks the Seagulls

Posted on 30 July 2011  - 12:00

Brighton & Hove Albion kicked-off a new era at the American Express Community Stadium, but it was one that began with a defeat as the team came from behind to beat the Seagulls by a 3-2 margin.

Brighton & Hove Albion kicked-off a new era at the American Express Community Stadium, but it was one that began with a defeat as the team came from behind to beat the Seagulls by a 3-2 margin.

Brighton's special day got off a special start with the lead being taken after 11 minutes, with the deficit only being overturned in the closing moments of the first half and victory sealed in the second with a goal from Jake Livermore.

It would be fair to say that it was Brighton who called the shots in the opening exchanges of the first half, with Gus Poyet's side displaying a greater snap and urgency on their new home turf.

New signing Kazenga LuaLua unleashed a powerful drive that Friedel did well to foil after just four minutes, with Ashley Barnes and Matt Sparrow also going close moments later.

The first goal scored by the Championship side at the new arena came on 11 minutes when Gary Dicker played in Craig Mackail-Smith and the former Peterborough striker cut back to allow Barnes to tap into an empty net.

The response came with Jermaine Jenas drilling just wide after being teed up by Roman Pavlyuchenko, before Livermore rattled the bar from 20-odd yards with 21 minutes on the clock.

Brighton though were still pinging the ball around with confidence, keeping possession in a fashion that will no doubt have delighted former Spurs Poyet and Mauricio Taricco, aka Gus n Tano.

Inigo Calderon's cross was headed narrowly over by Mackail-Smith as Brighton continued to conduct midfield as the half-hour mark passed. It was shortly after this point and another Friedel save from LuaLua, that Jermain Defoe took to the field in place of a limping Rafa van der Vaart.

Pavlyuchenko had a shot deflected wide as the first half drew to a close, but there was a sting in the tail for Brighton that deflated the home crowd.

Gareth Bale winged his way down the right flank before dispatching a ball that spun off defender Gordon Greer and over keeper Casper Ankergren. Younes Kaboul was in place to finish from a yard out on 42 minutes.

The silence in the stadium was a little disconcerting, making you wonder if the goal was going to count, but the referee duly took play back to the half way line.

Two minutes later and a deficit became a lead when Vedran Corluka worked his way in from the right, Ankergren advanced and the full-back somehow squeezed a low shot beyond the keeper and into the net.

Heurelho Gomes took over from Friedel for the second half, with the first chance of the second period coming seven minutes in when Defoe shot wide. Seven minutes later Pavlyuchenko was not far off with a header at the near post from a Benoit Assou-Ekotto cross.

Despite the balance of power being more evenly distributed in the second half, if anything slightly more in favour of the men in black, it was Brighton who contributed the next goal to the occasion.

LuaLua cut in from the left and embarked on a mazy run before firing in a low shot that gave Gomes little chance and the home party was back on.

A dampener was put on proceedings for the locals when substitute goalkeeper Peter Brezovan got caught in possession on 69 minutes by Livermore, with the midfielder having the composure to take a touch and round the keeper before steering into the net to make it 3-2.

Jenas came close to making it four with a fine chip that Brezovan did well to tip away in a contest that will serve the team well for the challenges ahead, with just one more pre-season friendly remaining before the real thing begins on August 13.

Brighton (4-1-3-2): Ankergren (Brezovan, 46); Calderon (Vincelot, 76), Greer, Dunk, Painter; Bridcutt; Sparrow (Buckley, 75), Dicker, Lua-Lua (Bergkamp, 90); Barnes (Noone, 64), Mackail-Smith. Unused subs: Cook, Navarro.

Spurs (4-4-2): Friedel (Gomes, 46); Corluka, Dawson, Kaboul, Assou-Ekotto; Lennon, Jenas, Livermore, Bale; Van der Vaart (Defoe, 32), Pavlyuchenko. Unused subs: Carroll, Kane, Townsend.