City snatch another draw from the jaws of victory

Last updated : 24 November 2005 By Michael Morris
A breakaway Brighton equaliser had an air of inevitability about it.

City had taken a 57th minute lead through Alan Lee after a cross from Jason Koumas was placed in front of the City striker and he picked up his second goal of the season (the other was also against Brighton).

City tried to look for the second goal but like much of the first half failed to create decent chances. They had possession but no cutting edge. The best chances of the first half fell to Jason Koumas who saw a free kick pushed away for a corner and a rasping shot touched onto the post before bouncing across goal and also out for a corner.

Brighton had a couple of moments first half but Alexander handled well. The nearest they came was a Leon Knight (does anyone else sing Black Sabbath's Neon Knights to themselves when they hear his name?) effort that crashed off the bar.

Once City had scored in the second half you hoped they would push on and kill the game off but the longer the match went on without the second goal coming the more likely Brighton would pinch something.

The Bluebirds looked stretched when Brighton broke away, the best chances of the game were falling to the Seagulls with Neil Alexander pulling off at least three superb saves. The time and space the Brighton players were finding was concerning.

The goal when it came was a poor one to give away. A great strike and finish from sub Kazim-Richads just 4 mins after he came off the bench but how was allowed so much space outside the box. His efforst fizzed into the bottom corner of the net with Alexander grasping thin air.

The game could have gone either way. When City attacked Brighton had men back in numbers but they broke at speed and we looked vulnerable.

The draw means we move up two places. Stop time right now and we are 8th, two points off the play off places, brilliant, but we keep failing to perform at the right times to bring the crowds back and to cement a play off position.

Our win over Sheff Weds took us 5th. If we could have got a result at Preston and maintained our position then we would have attracted a bigger crowd tonight. More than the 9500 that did turn up. The key then would have been to put on a decent performance and win to ensure the momentum carried forward to next Monday.

Now the floating fans will see two home games, two draws. A defeat at Preston fresh in the mind and they will think watching on Sky is the best option for next Mondays game with Ipswich.

I'm over the moon we are where we are. We are doing exceptionaly well to have barely 16 fit players and to be top 10 of the Championship. To win the floating fans over though we need to show more.

My initial reaction tonight was disappointment. I will be back next Monday. I can see where we are is a superb achievement so far but it's that first impression, disappointment, that will keep other fans from returning.

I settled for not getting relegated this season but to have the play offs so close I will be sorry if we let the chance slip by. We did that with Lennie two seasons ago. City were on the verge of the top 6 when Sam declared the season was over and we petered out to mid table. That lack of ambition at that time hurt and I hope we don't just fade away this time. Not at least without an effort.

One final mention to Chandler Jones. The little boy took part in the half time challenge tonight. Chandler is the older brother of Mason Jones who died aged 5 from E.coli poinsoning. Chandler himself was struck down but overcame the illness. Thanks to the Brighton fans as ell as the home crowd who gave their support to the youngster from Deri, Nr Bargoed as he fired the ball into the net. We wish him and his family well as they overcome their loss.