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Match Reports

Match Report : 22/08/2015

22 August 2015

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Report: Brighton 1 Rovers 0

Rovers suffered their first defeat on the road since February as they slipped to a narrow 1-0 loss at the hands of Brighton.

A first half deflected effort from Kazinga LuaLua was the difference between the two sides in sweltering conditions on the south coast.

Rovers were quickly out of the traps with a host of chances. Fode Koita saw a strike well saved by David Stockdale, before the Seagulls stopper denied Craig Conway when through on goal.

However despite the visitors being on top it was the home side who grabbed the lead on 35 minutes. Scrappy play on the edge of the box saw the ball break for LuaLua, his shot diverting past David Ray off the unfortunate Grant Hanley.

The second half was a much more even affair with Nathan Delfouneso denied when through on goal once more, before Raya made a stunning double save to keep out efforts from Tomer Hemed and Dale Stephens.

Rovers sent Shane Duffy forward in the closing stages and a minute from time the Irishman almost levelled, but from Conway's centre he put his back post header just over the bar.

The result means Rovers still await their first win of the season, but they certainly didn't deserve to be on the losing side this afternoon where a point would have been much the fairer result.

Ahead of the game Rovers made two changes from the side that drew with Cardiff on Tuesday with both of them enforced.

Illness to both Adam Henley and Jason Lowe on the morning of the game, meant neither were fit to take their place in the squad for the match on the south coast. The upshot being Rovers were only able to name six substitutes on the bench.

Signed on Friday morning, Gary Bowyer handed a debut to Leicester loan-man Tom Lawrence, whilst Danny Guthrie came into midfield with Ben Marshall moving to right back.

Lawrence started on the left of a midfield four and within seconds of the start had a sight of goal. Fode Koita spreading play out wide to Craig Conway on the right and his near post cross was just poked wide by new arrival.

Moments later the lively Koita muscled his way past a couple of players to left fly, but Brighton keeper David Stockdale got down well to his right to make an impressive one-handed save.

It was a bright opening from Rovers with the hosts barely able to get out of their own half. Koita and strike partner Nathan Delfouneso combined well, Lawrence fed Conway but the Scot's shot was deflected just past the post.

A minute later Hope Akpan found Guthrie and his slide-rule pass sent Conway racing through on goal, but Stockdale saved well with his legs.

It wasn't until the 26th minute that the home side mustered an effort in anger. Dale Stephen evading a challenge on the edge the box to poke goalwards, but his effort flashed wide.

However despite doing everything but score in dominating first half, it was the home side who would lead at the break with a goal on 35 minutes.

Both sets of players had repeatedly struggled with their footing on the Amex surface and as both Tommy Spurr and Shane Duffy lost their balance, Kazenga LuaLua stole into the area to shoot goalwards, however the ball deflected off the diving Grant Hanley and wrong-footed David Raya as it found the back of the net.

It was tough for Rovers to trail, they had been much the better side in the first half.

Whilst the opening half was largely one way traffic towards the Brighton goal, the second was much more of an open end-to-end affair.

On 49 minutes a great effort from out wide by Ben Marshall caught Stockdale out, the former Fulham stopper grateful to see the 30-yard shot land on the roof of the net.

At the other end Tomer Hemed headed a corner kick just past the post, before Rovers again were guilty of missing an excellent opportunity. Koita showed good footwork to feed Delfouneso in on goal, but like Conway's first half chance when one-on-one, Stockdale made the save with his legs.

Play went straight up the other end with Rovers grateful for the acrobatics from their goalkeeper David Raya.

A LuaLua centre was flicked goalwards by Hemed but the young Spaniard denied the hosts with an outstanding fingertip save.

The Seagulls kept play alive with Stephens shooting low, but again Raya was equal to their efforts.

The chances kept on coming in what was a thoroughly entertaining match at the Amex, Hemed acrobatically fired over from a Jamie Murphy centre, before Shane Duffy saw a header cleared off the line by Bruno after the defender had connected well with Conway's centre.

With just over half an hour remaining Modou Barrow replaced the visibly-tiring Koita, the young Frenchman had put in a hardworking display for little reward.

As the heat started to take effect the play became increasingly stretched, with Rovers unable to put the home side under any meaningful pressure.

In an attempt to grab an equaliser in the closing stages Matt Kilgallon replaced Lawrence, with Duffy moving up front to provide a focal point to their attacks.

The best chance came with 30 seconds left of the ninety when Conway sent the ball into the box, the Irishman rose high to head back across goal but alas over the bar.

The result sees Rovers still searching for a first win of the season, unfortunate to make the long journey back north with nothing to show for their display.

BRIGHTON: Stockdale, Bruno, Greer (c), Huenemeier, Stephens, Kayal, Baldock (sub Ince 84 mins), Hemed (sub O'Grady 88 mins), Bong, Murphy (sub March 78 mins), Lua Lua.

Subs not used: Maenpaa (GK), Forster-Caskey, Rosenior, Dunk.

Goals: LuaLua.

Booked: Greer, Kayal, Huenemeier, LuaLua.

ROVERS: Raya, Marshall, Hanley (c), Duffy, Spurr, Conway, Guthrie, Akpan, Lawrence (sub Kilgallon 83 mins), Delfouneso, Koita (sub Barrow 69 mins).

Subs: Steele (GK), Olsson, Williamson, Evans.

Goals: None.

Booked: Duffy, Marshall, Guthrie.

Attendance: 22,659 (563 Rovers fans)

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