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Brighton & Hove Albion v Bolton Wanderers

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Talk the talk, lose, repeat.

Matthew Lewis

Bolton Wanderers are still winless and remain in the bottom three after their second defeat in a week at the hands of Brighton & Hove Albion this afternoon.

Dougie Freedman's pre-match comments suggested us fans should be confident of a positive result, "we know we can keep it tight (9 conceded in the previous 4 games) and the way the striker's are playing we're looking like scoring goals (are they really!?)".

With Brighton having had a mixed start to the season and still finding their feet under new manager Sami Hyypia perhaps Bolton could have taken advantage? Wrong.

A fairly open start saw both teams have chances with Chung Yong Lee wasting Bolton's best opportunity volleying over the bar after good work from Craig Davies.

Somewhat surprisingly Bolton managed to get themselves into the lead when Matt Mills headed home Jay Spearing's free kick on 25 minutes.

However some weak defending soon saw Brighton level just 12 minutes later as Craig Mackail-Smith scored from close range. Adam Bogdan suffered a head injury trying to prevent the equaliser and unfortunately had to be replaced by Andy Lonergan.

Lonergan was lucky not to be picking the ball out of the net before half time as Brighton piled on the pressure and forced Spearing to clear an effort off the line.

At the start of the 2nd half Craig Davies fluffed a shot wide but Brighton continued to look threatening as their midfield was allowed too much freedom.  As Bolton failed to retain any sort of meaningful possession Brighton went ahead in the 64th minute when Joao Teixeira was allowed to fire through the legs of Lonergan.

Feeney and Trotter were introduced as Bolton chased the game but to no avail as Brighton showed how to keep the ball and protect a lead.

The most worrying aspect of the defeat though are the deluded comments from the manager after the game.

"It was a very tight game. We just seem to be coming out on the wrong side of those fine margins."

The stats from today's game paint a different picture, Brighton dominated possession and had 26 attempts on the Bolton goal (11 on target), with Bolton managing just 9 attempts (1 on target) in response. The same can be said of the previous three league games from this season with the opposition dominating.

Freedman seems set on the idea that his team sits deep and invites pressure before trying to hit teams on the counter attack, however it simply does not work. His best results in charge have come when Bolton have been on the front foot and have attacked teams. I'm sure there is more to this squad of players than their performances have shown so far this season. Ultimately it comes down to the manager to find a system that suits them best.

Brighton & Hove Albion

  • 13 Stockdale
  • 14 Calderon (Lua Lua - 67' )
  • 30 Bennett (Chicksen - 74' )
  • 08 Crofts
  • 03 Greer
  • 05 Dunk
  • 02 Bruno (Booked)
  • 22 Holla (Booked)
  • 12 Mackail-Smith
  • 17 J. Teixeira (Ince - 84' )
  • 18 Forster-Caskey

Substitutes

  • 04 Hughes
  • 11 O'Grady
  • 15 Chicksen
  • 16 Ankergren
  • 20 McCourt
  • 24 Ince
  • 25 Lua Lua

Bolton Wanderers

  • 01 Bogdan (Lonergan - 41' )
  • 33 White
  • 05 Ream
  • 06 Spearing
  • 04 Mills
  • 31 Wheater
  • 27 Lee Chung-yong (Booked)
  • 18 Danns (Trotter - 71' )
  • 09 Mason
  • 28 Davies
  • 44 Kamara (Feeney - 71' )

Substitutes

  • 07 Feeney
  • 10 Beckford
  • 14 Dervite
  • 17 Trotter
  • 21 Pratley
  • 24 Lonergan
  • 41 Threlkeld
Ref: Graham Scott
Att: 24,435