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Match Reports

Match Report : 12/02/2013

12 February 2013

Brighton 1-1 Rovers

Rovers showed their resilient side as they earned a hard-fought point on the south coast on Tuesday evening.

Following a run of three successive wins, Michael Appleton's side were ultimately happy with a point in a tough 1-1 encounter at the Amex Stadium.

After being under the cosh for the opening 20 minutes, Rovers took the lead against the run of play when Scott Dann headed home Danny Murphy's corner kick for his third of the campaign.

But the opening exchanges of the second half was a tale of two penalties, one given and one unfortunately not.

The one not given was when Albion defender Adam El-Abd blocked Jordan Rhodes' shot with his arm, despite the Rovers appeals claims were waved away by the officials.

Had that been given the match could have been oh-so different, especially as moments later a bouncing ball struck the unfortunate Markus Olsson and assistant referee Daniel Cook gave the home side a penalty which Vincente converted with aplomb.

The home side pressed for a winner but in a second half in which there were more cards issued than chances, Kazenga LuaLua had the best chance but his curling shot flew inches wide.

It was a well-earned point for Rovers, they must now recover quickly for the visit to the Emirates Stadium when they take on Arsenal this Saturday in the fifth round of the FA Cup.

Boss Michael Appleton made just the one change from the side that defeated Ipswich Town at the weekend.

It meant a first start for DJ Campbell as he replaced Morten Gamst Pedersen in the starting eleven, the Norwegian dropping to the bench.

Also included for the first was Lee Williamson who was named amongst the subs.

Under the lights at the Amex Stadium the home side went at Rovers straight from the off. Immediate pressure saw Vincente volley just wide after just 90 seconds.

Albion then saw Will Buckley tip a low ball goalwards which sent 'keeper Jake Kean scrambling back to push the ball round the post.

The first Rovers chance of note came on ten minutes when Markus Olsson crossed to the near post to where DJ Campbell did well to reach but he put the ball wide on the half volley.

That was a rare attack from Rovers as they had to fight a rearguard retreat in the face of some heavy Brighton pressure, full back Bruno getting in on the act with a 20-yard effort that flashed wide.

Then from a Dean Hammond lob Kean couldn't clear his lines, Will Buckley looped a header goalwards but the Rovers stopper claimed it at the second attempt.

But on 24 minutes it was the home fans who were stunned as Rovers took the lead against the run of play.

After a Murphy free-kick into the box had been cleared, the Rovers captain hit a corner from the right to where Scott Dann pulled away from his marker to head across goal and into the corner of the net for his third of the season.

Rovers suddenly came more into the game, a cross from Martin Olsson was just a little too high for the striker as he headed over the bar.

But as the half drew to the close momentum shifted back in favour of the Seagulls and it was only two outstanding saves from 22-year-old 'keeper Kean that prevented the home side from equalising.

His first save was of the highest quality when after collecting a pass from Calderon, Vincente crossed to the six-yard box but Kean somehow managed to tip Dean Hammond's point-blank header over the bar.

From the resulting corner the former England youth international was at it again, Vincente with the delivery once more, Kean claiming Hammond's header low down.

Like the first, the second half started at a frantic pace with the home side looking to get back on level terms quickly.

A hastily taken free-kick almost caught Rovers out as Bradley Orr had to scramble the ball away at his post before from the resulting corner Martin Olsson had to head behind.

They were nervy times for Rovers but on 50 minutes were denied the opportunity to take a two-goal lead in the game as a huge handball appeal was waved away.

As DJ Campbell fed Jordan Rhodes in the area, the striker turned and let fly only for the ball to strike the arm of Adam El-Abd, to a man the Rovers players appealed but the referee was unmoved.

Six minutes later and salt was well and truly rubbed into the wounds as the home side were given a soft penalty for handball. A ball across the area looked to have been controlled legally by Markus Olsson but as the home fans appealed, the linesman reacted and flagged for the spot-kick.

Former Valencia man Vincente stepped up from 12 yards and made no mistake, beating Kean as he fired high into the roof of the net.

Suddenly the card count increased, Martin Olsson was booked for protesting the spot-kick, then Kean was carded for failing to release the ball after the penalty had been converted.

Danny Murphy and Grant Hanley soon followed into the referees book as the game threatened to boil over.

Albion sensed they could claim all three points, the lively Vincente twisting and turning before lashing across the area but Ulloa couldn't connect. The Brighton man did better moments later but his back-heel was straight at Kean.

Chances for Rovers were few and far between, DJ Campbell saw an ambitious volley claimed before a Markus Olsson cross saw Jordan Rhodes threaten at the near post but Kuszczak claimed. It would be a quiet night for the Rovers top scorer, that record-breaking eighth consecutive league goal eluding him.

Kazenga LuaLua was thrown on with just under 20 minutes to go to add a further attacking threat and the former Newcastle youngster would go the closest with a curling effort that flew just beyond the far post with five minutes remaining.

But Rovers stood firm, seeing out the remaining minutes to claim a very welcome point on their travels. The statistic of not having conceded a goal from open play in their last five games well received.

They'll certainly need to be resolute once more at Arsenal this Saturday if they are to stand any chance of reaching the last 8 in the FA Cup.

BRIGHTON: Kuszczak, Bruno, Hammond, El-Abd, Hoskins (sub Orlandi 44 mins), Vincente, Ulloa, Upson, Bridcutt (c), Bridge, Buckley (sub LuaLua 72 mins).

Subs not used: Ankergren (GK), Mackail-Smith, Calderon, Dicker, Lopez.

Goals: Vincente 56 mins (pen).

Booked: Upson, LuaLua.

ROVERS: Kean, Orr, Dann, Hanley, Martin Olsson, Kazim-Richards, Lowe, Murphy (c), Markus Olsson, Campbell, Rhodes.

Subs not used: Usai, Givet, Pedersen, Williamson, Nuno Gomes, Morris, Goodwillie.

Goals: Dann 24 mins.

Booked: Lowe, Martin Olsson, Kean, Murphy, Hanley.

Attendance: 24,759. 548 Rovers supporters.

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