Brighton & Hove Albion’s perfect start to the year ended at Preston North End on Saturday 14 January. After going unbeaten since September the Seagulls were undone by goals from Paul Huntington and Callum Robinson, losing the match 2-0.
ESPN FC reported that Preston defender Huntington scored his first goal in two years when he headed in from Paul Gallagher’s free kick. The second goal came in the 53rd minute from a well-placed shot by Robinson after he broke away from the Brighton defence.
Speaking to the BBC after the match, Brighton manager Chris Hughton said, “I can’t complain about the result. We were beaten by the better side on the day. The timing of the first goal was bad news for us. From that point on we we’re chasing the game. We should have done better defending the early goal, but having said that we know how dangerous Paul Gallagher can be in a set-piece situation.
“He’s probably the best in the Championship in that kind of situation, though his free-kick should have been better defended.” The BBC also noted that Preston have never lost at home to Brighton in the club’s history.
The defeat puts Brighton in second place, one point behind current leaders Newcastle. Last July, Title Sussex posted an article on whether Brighton could win the Championship this year if they continued to play well consistently throughout the season. Last season Albion just missed out on automatic promotion before being knocked out by Sheffield Wednesday in the play-offs.
So far this season Albion’s form has been impressive but Hughton will be wary of making the same slip up again. Football experts Betfair reported that at the end of December Brighton were eight points clear at the top of the table.
Despite only losing three games this season the team will need to be careful that they don’t give away further points and let teams such as Newcastle move further ahead of them. Also they’ll be wary of teams like Leeds and Reading gain ground on them.
The new addition of Norwegian Abdul-Basit Agouda should help Brighton stay the course. According to Football League World “the 17-year old striker is one of the most highly coveted and highly rated young players in Norway.”
The site revealed that he already has international recognition playing for the Norwegian Under 17 and Under 19 teams. Agouda has featured twice for his club Stømsgodset this season and scored in the first round of the NM-Cup for the side. Brighton beat off Premier League side Middlesbrough to bring the young striker to the south coast.
As the Championship enters its second half, Brighton are poised to challenge for automatic promotion and the title. With two home fixtures coming up against 6th place Sheffield Wednesday and 18th place Cardiff, Hughton will be hoping for six points to keep the pressure on Newcastle and move further away from Leeds who are snapping at their heels.
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