When the outlook is as bleak as it is for Brighton at the moment, they must be grateful for the smallest of mercies. Yesterday's draw against Preston leaves them mired in the relegation positions, but at least it ended a run of six successive defeats. A lack of confidence is perhaps only to be expected, but Brighton wear their gloom on their sleeves. Everything about them speaks of a doomed side, from the sluggish body language to the wearied grumbling of their fans.
It has been much discussed, but with the news that their move to a new stadium at Falmer has been delayed until at least 2009 after an objection from Lewes council, it is worth reiterating just how unsuitable their ground is for Championship football. Not that there was much Championship football going on yesterday in a patchy, disjointed game.
Preston had much the better of it, but were thwarted by Wayne Henderson, who made fine saves from Danny Dichio and David Nugent, and by Brighton's resilience. In one extraordinary scramble just after half-time, Dichio had an effort cleared off the line and, in the flurry of limbs that ensued, Claude Davis smacked a drive against the outside of the post.
"We've got to get our shooting boots on," said Preston's manager, Billy Davies. "We had chances, but our shooting's letting us down. We can't get too down. The build-up was great and it's another great clean sheet."
This though, really should have been a win, with even the Brighton manager, Mark McGhee, saying, in regard to the finishing of each side, that people "could be more critical of them than of us". For their part, Brighton offered little beyond the twinkling feet of Sébastien Carole and the occasional dead-ball effort. McGhee, though, made it clear he felt Carole, for all his fine touches, had at times left Colin Kazim-Richards isolated.
Generally, though, he seemed pleased by the outcome. "It's a point we can build on," he said. "We're a resilient side. They don't like getting beat, obviously, but I think today proved that they can move on from defeats."
Then again, they have had enough practice recently. Certainly as the game faded into tedious stalemate it was Brighton who had the greater cause for satisfaction. A glance at the table, though, will dissipate that.Reuse content