Brighton 1-0 Crystal Palace: Solly March nets winner in the 15th minute on March 15 to maintain Seagulls’ European push… leaving their bitter rivals STILL without a win in 2023
- Solly March scored the winner as Brighton moved level on points with Liverpool
- Crystal Palace are still winless in 2023 following their drab 1-0 loss at the Amex
- The Eagles missed a host of big chances before falling behind in the 15th minute
Not a bad double for Tony Bloom. At 3.30pm, he was at Cheltenham to watch his horse Energumene win the Champion Chase, a triumph which earned him £830,000 after placing two bets worth £600,000 with Brighton-based bookmakers Star Sports.
By 7.30pm, Bloom was at the Amex Stadium, having flown back by helicopter to see the club he owns defeat Crystal Palace in their Premier League grudge match with thanks to Solly March.
Fate, perhaps, March scoring in the 15th minute on the 15th of March. Yet what the 28-year-old winger will celebrate as much as this goal – and boy did he enjoy scoring in front of the away end – is an England call-up if it comes his way from Gareth Southgate on Thursday.
March cannot do much more than he has been doing. His seventh Premier League goal since Boxing Day leaves Brighton firmly in the chase for European football.
As for Palace, they ended their run of three successive matches without a shot on target. In fact they were the superior side to start with. Yet unlike Bloom’s Energumene, they slipped out of this race as soon as they stumbled and remain winless in 2023.
Brighton went level with Liverpool in sixth after beating Crystal Palace 1-0 on Wednesday night
Solly March struck against the run of play in the 15th minute, scoring his seventh of the season
Eagles striker Odsonne Edouard missed a host of chances against Brighton during the first half
‘Joseph Whitworth, he’s one of our own,’ sang Palace’s supporters within seconds of kick-off, trying to reassure the nervous teenager in front of them.
With Vicente Guaita and Sam Johnstone injured, Patrick Vieira did not have a senior goalkeeper for this trip to the Amex.
MATCH FACTS AND PLAYER RATINGS
Brighton (4-2-3-1): Steele 6.5; Veltman 7.5, Dunk 7, Colwill 7, Estupinan 7; Gross 7, Caicedo 7; March 8 (Webster 90), Mac Allister 7 (Sarmiento 88), Mitoma 7.5 (Enciso 79); Welbeck 7 (Ferguson 79)
Subs (not used): Sanchez, Undav, Gilmour, Van Hecke, Buonanotte
Scorers: March (15)
Manager: Roberto De Zerbi 7
Crystal Palace (4-3-3): Whitworth 6; Clyne 6, Andersen 6, Guehi 5.5, Mitchell 6; Sambi Lokonga 6, Doucoure 5 (Eze 45, 6), Schlupp 6 (Ahamada 80); Olise 5.5 (Ayew 70, 6), Edouard 5.5 (Mateta 79), Zaha 6
Subs (not used): Goodman, Ward, Milivojevic, Tomkins, Richards
Booked: Doucoure, Ayew
Manager: Patrick Vieira 5.5
Referee: Peter Bankes 6
That saw 19-year-old academy graduate Whitworth drafted in for his debut at short notice.
Though Vieira had concerns at the back, it is his attack which has been causing him headaches.
Saturday February 18 at 4.27pm was the last time Palace had managed a shot on target, a header from Eberechi Eze at Brentford.
Since then, Palace’s supporters had watched 291 minutes of flat Premier League football without seeing an opposing goalkeeper tested.
If you don’t shoot, you don’t score, and if you don’t score, you don’t win.
Vieira seemed to have drilled that message into his players as, within a minute of this match, Wilfried Zaha forced Jason Steele into a save at his near post.
Odsonne Edouard then fluffed a free header before Michael Olise spurned a one-on-one opportunity as Steele saved with his thigh.
In the 15th minute, Palace paid the price. Kaoru Mitoma’s through-ball found March breaking behind Marc Guehi and he blasted the ball into the bottom corner for 1-0.
Frustrated, Zaha was getting physical with Brighton’s players and vice versa.
‘He’s gonna cry in a minute,’ sang the home support, hoping to get under the skin of the visitors’ best player.
Before the break, the already-cautioned Cheick Doucoure should have received a second yellow.
Midfielder Cheick Doucoure slides in to tackle Moises Caicedo in the feisty clash at the Amex
The Palace star (left) was hooked off at the break after picking up a yellow card in the first half
Tony Bloom’s horse Energumene triumphed in the Champion Chase on Wednesday – the Brighton chairman (centre) quickly rushed to the Amex to watch his side beat Crystal Palace
Doucoure dragged down Moises Caicedo to kill an attack and how referee Peter Bankes did not consider this a bookable offence, only he knows. In the least surprising substitution of the season, Vieira replaced Doucoure at half time, knowing one more foul would lead to a red.
After half time, Brighton should have doubled their advantage. Pervis Estupinan was left with only Whitworth to beat, but the teenager saved with his legs to keep Palace in this contest.
Then, the Amex was plunged into darkness thanks to a power cut. Thousands of supporters tried to help by shining the torches of their mobile phones and, once Bloom had topped up the meter with his winnings from Cheltenham, the game resumed.
Amid nine minutes of stoppage time due to that break in play, Palace searched for a late leveller. It was in vain. They remain winless this year and are drifting towards the relegation zone, while Brighton are heading in the opposite direction.
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