Tyson knocks out Seagulls, whilst Sammy sees red..

Brighton and Hove Albion – 0
Nottingham Forest – 2

At the start of a weekend when everyone is talking about the boxing, it’s fitting that a Tyson double was a knockout blow for Brighton this evening as Forest responded perfectly to the disappointing performance on tuesday night at Walsall.  Tyson had it all to prove after getting red carded on his last outing at the Withdean stadium – a pattern that was to repeat for the increasingly out-of-luck Sammy Clingan.

Sammy has had a torrid time since opening his scoring account for Forest against Crewe at the City Ground.  Committing a mistake that cost us a goal against bogey-side Walsall, his latest misfortune came in the form of a harsh-looking red card this evening.  A yellow card seemed the fairer option, and given the proximity – and reaction – of the Seagull’s bench, perhaps that might explain the referee’s decision.

The silence of the Withdean “stadium” isn’t the easiest of venues to go to, and it took a while for Forest to get going, although despite dominating possesion early doors, Brighton took a fair while to fashion a chance – a header wide with Paul Smith covering just incase.  Matt Lockwood made a good block shortly after this to prevent Savage getting a chance on goal.

Forest started to build though, and it was McGugan who created the first opening for Nathan Tyson to play the ball into the box low, with a Brighton defender getting ahead of Cohen to prevent the chance.  McGugan again showed his creative side by firing a ball diagonally across field to Grant Holt, who headed across the 6 yard box but Cohen could only hit his chance wide.

On thirty minutes Forest took the lead – McGugan again the creator with a cross hit in with pace to Tyson, who had seen the Brighton ‘keeper commit himself – so cleverly buried the ball in the opposite direction into the top corner.  One nil to the mighty Reds and a personal demon exorcised for the Forest striker who hadn’t had the best of times previously at the Withdean!

Brighton responded positively and Forest were under pressure at times, with the ball seemingly stuck in the Forest area.  There was also a penalty claim when Kelvin Wilson and Andrew Whing collided in the box, the referee waving play on in the face of complaints.  Brighton hit the post after a Hammond shot was blocked by Smith, and Forster struck the post from the rebound.

The second half started with Holt on the right in a four-four-two formation (previously we had a four-three-three with Holt and Agogo in the side at the expense of Commons and Davies).  It took just four minutes for the lead to be doubled, and again it was that man Tyson on target for the Reds – latching onto a Wilson clearance, beating a couple of defenders and calmly lifting the ball over the onrushing ‘keeper.

Sammy’s sending off was minutes later – a ‘booking-at-worse’ challenge on Robinson infront of the dugout was greeted with some rare noise from the Brighton crowd, as well as theatrics from the home dugout, and this was clearly enough to convince the referee that a red card was the right decision – which visibly shocked Clingan.

Perch replaced Agogo to offer an extra midfield option since Clingan’s departure, with Tyson remaining upfront alone – who was still lively and giving the home side’s defence plenty to think about.  Brighton understandably racked up possession and pressure on the Forest goal, but Forest remained resolute with their defending and were able to clear the danger.

The lone Tyson was starting to limp around the pitch somewhat, and was replaced with Neil Lennon with around ten minutes on the clock, Brighton pressed without much end product, and the final act for Forest was to throw on Wes Morgan for Lewis McGugan in a move to kill more time as the result was looking increasingly inevitable.

So a clean sheet, a win, back to second in the league – but not without cost, presumably Sammy will be suspended as even if the Reds (rightfully) appeal the red card, they’re rarely rescinded these days as the Football League like to back their referees, no matter how idiotic.  And of course, there’s a potential injury to the increasingly sharp looking Nathan Tyson, which would be bad news indeed.

After the match Smoulders grabbed a few of the players shirts and went to throw them to the 749 brave souls who travelled down to the godawful Withdean stadium on a cold December night.  A nice gesture indeed, I’m sure you’ll agree.  So next up we can perhaps look to the Luton cup game with a little more optimism – or can we?