Match Report: Michael Appleton's glimpse of better at Blackburn slips away during Brighton draw
Blackburn Rovers 1 Brighton & Hove Albion 1
Michael Appleton, the fifth man to be appointed to manage Blackburn this season, remarked before kick-off that things might have to get worse at Ewood Park before they get better.
Better times are still a dot on the far horizon. Blackburn delivered a highly creditable performance but they were still talking of kicks in the teeth and blows upon bruises.
On the touchline Appleton was feeling relaxed as the five minutes of stoppage time dribbled away. He could hear the fourth official "screaming into his mike" to tell the referee that time was up when David Goodwillie launched into what could best be described as a centre-forward's challenge on David Lopez to concede a penalty that the Spaniard himself converted. It was Brighton's first shot on target and the last kick of the night.
"We didn't perform, we were not aggressive and were too happy to pass the ball around," said the Brighton manager, Gus Poyet. "For the last year and I half we have conceded a lot of late goals and been terrible at taking penalties. I feel bad for Mr Appleton."
Both penalties that decided this game were awarded by the linesman and both were correct. Blackburn's was less obvious but Adam El-Abd did drag down Morten Gamst Pedersen as they went to meet a cross in the final moments of the first half. Tomasz Kuszczak could not keep out Jordan Rhodes's spot-kick, his 16th goal of the season.
Pedersen tested him further while Kuszczak's save with the very tips of his glove from Rhodes's looping header was of Premier League standard. Not much else was.
Appleton had also said it might be better if Blackburn's owners stayed away. They were not the only ones. The crowd was the lowest since Blackburn first made the Premier League more than 20 years ago. It included several hundred for whom the forbidding journey back to the Channel coast would have suddenly seemed shorter.
Blackburn Rovers (4-4-1-1): Kean; Kane, Dann, Hanley, Martin Olsson; Pedersen, Lowe, Murphy, Markus Olsson (Goodwillie, 85); Kazim-Richards; Rhodes. Substitutes not used Usai (gk), Givet, Nunes, Dunn, Gomes, Rochina.
Brighton & Hove Albion (4-3-3): Kuszczak; Calderon, El-Abd, Greer, Bridge; Bridcutt, Dicker, Orlandi (Mackail-Smith, 55); Lopez, Vicente (Buckley, 54), Barnes (Hoskins, 66). Substitutes not used Ankergren (gk), Hammond, Painter, LuaLua.
Referee R Madley (West Yorkshire).
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