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17:13 7th August 2010

Report: Town 1 Brighton & Hove Albion 2

Town went down to defeat on the opening day of the season for the second campaign in a row, as Gus Poyet's Brighton & Hove Albion claimed a 2-1 win at The County Ground.

It was a scrappy start to the affair, indicative of an opening day of a campaign, and with both sides looking nervous in possession the deadlock looked unlikely to be broken early on.

The first chances of the match fell to Town in the 17th minute, with first David Ball seeing his goal-bound side-footed effort blocked well by Tommy Elphick, then J-P McGovern whipping a free-kick goalwards, which Casper Ankergren fumbled and then collected.

It was Brighton who did take the lead after 19 minutes however, when patient build up on the right resulted in Matt Sparrow finding space on the edge of the box and drilling a left-footed shot in off the post.

As the match passed the half hour mark, Town began to enjoy more possession than they had earlier in the clash, with Jonathan Douglas and David Prutton becoming more involved in the centre of midfield.

David Prutton

A sustained period of pressure looked like it could bring Town an equaliser towards the end of the half, but their efforts went unrewarded, with an off target Douglas volley proving the closest they would come to levelling the scores.

Going in 1-0 down at half-time was a little harsh on the home side having come up against a cautious Brighton side who defended doggedly and snuffed out Town's talismen well.

As they had in the first half, the visitors looked the better side in the early exchanges of the second, but failed to create any clear cut chances.

Town then began to enjoy a little more possession, again mirroring the first period, but with the Seagulls persevering with their 4-5-1 formation and looking solid at the back, an equaliser looked decreasingly likely to materialise as the match wore on.

David Ball

Neat link up play between Austin and Pericard created half chances for the former and for Kevin Amankwaah just after the hour mark, but they remained slight openings at best.

For all Town's endeavour, they found themselves with a mountain to climb on 75 minutes, as the visitors hit Wilson's side on the break, with Bennett and Dicker charging forward and setting up Matt Sparrow who slotted the ball into the net to make it 2-0.

However, just as it looked the game was all over, Town were back in it as a hectic two minute period ended in Charlie Austin's first of the season.

First, the striker was brought down by Brighton 'keeper Ankergren as he raced through, but referee Whitestone produced only a yellow card as the Seagulls defenders ran to cover.

Action from the opening day

Then Michael Rose drove the resultant free-kick goalwards, Ankergren pushed it out, and in the ensuing scramble, Austin toed the ball over the line to set up a grandstand finish.

The goal breathed life into The County Ground, and Town piled forward, desperate for the equaliser.

However, apart from a last minute scramble in which Austin went close again, another clear cut opportunity was not forthcoming, and Brighton held out for the victory after a disjointed afternoon's football at The County Ground.

    Data provided by Press Association