Brighton’s slump continued at the King Power Stadium with a 1v0 defeat to league leaders Leicester City.
Another early goal, this time scored by the home side’s Andy King, condemned Gus Poyet and his men to another defeat just days after losing by a single goal against Middlesbrough at the increasingly unFortress-like Amex.
Work commitments meant our reporter was not in the East Midlands but, perhaps fittingly on the day that Ceefax was finally switched off, they watched the proceedings unfurl in front of Twitter, with one ear on the radio coverage.
And, it is fair to say it was an eyebrow raising experience.
A poor start by the Stripes saw an outpouring of concerned tweets from the Albion twitteratti, with some overreacting in the way only football fans can by calling for Poyet’s head because the team was, heaven forbid, one down away to a table topping team which had a 100 per cent home record.
But even the most level-headed Seagulls were readily admitting that the Albion were, to put it mildly, a little under the cosh. Whether any of them were at the game or the negativity was some sort of online Chinese whispers in operation was unclear. What was though was the score line and Brighton were, once again, on the wrong side of it.
The radio commentary seemed to support the angry onliners but the ever-reliable @NorthStandChat moved to reassure the punters, tweeting, “#BHAFC have weathered the storm, lucky be only one down.”
Things, it seemed, were on the up. Suddenly the doom merchants were conspicuous by their absence. Someone even started tweeting up in defence of the apparently again misfiring Ashley Barnes.
And after half-time things picked up further. @TypicalJones revealed, “Battered in first 20 mins but had the better of the 2nd part of first half. Need to keep plugging away,” and the #bhafc hashtag went into meltdown when, in the 54th minute a surging run by William Buckley (subsequently seen on TV) ended with a slight shove from his marker. The referee pointed to the spot and a million – or at least 27 - people tweeted “YES”.
However, Barnes’ penalty was well saved by Kasper Schmeichel in the home goal and the hard-working but struggling in front of goal striker could not capitalise on the rebound.
Half the fans on Twitter announced they were less than pleased in slightly adult language, while some remained upbeat. @DelPottow was one who refused to be down heartened by the miss. They tweeted, “Penalties are overrated anyway, too crude for the Gus Bus.”
Sadly, the way things are going at the moment, Poyet’s goal-shy strikers are in need of all the help they can get and a gift horse of the type which leaves a player 12 yards out with just the keeper to beat is not one which can be looked in the mouth too often.
That was, revealed another Twitter user, the player’s fourth penalty miss for the Albion. The great thing about social media is that, whether true or not, the fact soon became, well, fact.
Barnes was again the culprit as the Albion exerted some late pressure, missing what Tomasz Kuszczak certainly thought was a gilt-edged chance in the closing stages. The two remonstrated with each other on the pitch after the final whistle. On Twitter is soon escalated into a full-scale punch up.
The reaction to another disappointing defeat continued long into the night. @smudgerstwit summed up much of the feeling, tweeting, “Think the Gus bus needs a service. Better get a STRIKER before Palace game PLEASE!”
Others lamented the loss of Glenn Murray, some stood firm in their support for Poyet while others were just grateful they were not among the 600 odd who made the trip to Leicester – a figure which included a group of dedicated fans who, having seen their car break down en route, forked out £100 for a taxi. They tweeted the pic for proof.
Fans like that deserve more from a team which, at the moment, is promising so much but delivering so little.
Anyone genuinely asking for the manager to be sacked is guilty of top rate knee-jerkery. But the fact remains, if the Seagulls are going to establish themselves as genuine promotion challengers, something needs to be done.
As for watching a game on Twitter? Well, it wasn’t as much fun as Teletext. The drama of pressing HOLD on the latest scores page and then taking it off a few minutes later so all the scores refresh at once is hard to match.
Player ratings (supplied by a fan at the King Power Stadium): Kuszczak 7, Bruno 7, Bridge 7, Greer 6, El Abd 7, Bridcutt 6, Dicker 6, Crofts 6, Buckley 7, Mackail-Smith 6, Barnes 5. Subs: Dobbie 5, Hammond 6.