Seaside spectacle

Brighton 3 McDonald 2, Storer 49, Maskell 76 Hull City 0 Attend ance: 3,762
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The Independent Online
It was a normal sort of afternoon down at the Goldstone ground. Disenchanted fans called for the resignation of the board and, as a variation on a familiar disruptive theme, blew whistles in unison throughout the match. After nine minutes a flotilla of balloons bearing protest messages was sent across the pitch. At half-time a fan handcuffed himself to one of the goal posts and had to be cut free before, presumably, being handcuffed again. After the match, hundreds of fans chanted outside the ground in characteristic disgruntlement.

All the usual stuff then and still no sign that the directors are listening. There was but one significant difference. Brighton won. Surprisingly, there was never much doubt that they would do so. They took the lead after 70 seconds, leading to statistical speculation that this might be the fastest goal by a club under new management.

This was Steve Gritt's first match after being appointed last week to replace Jimmy Case. His new charges added two more goals in the second half against a Hull side who were woefully inadequate in defence and also included several candidates who could be put forward as answers to the age-old football question: "Who ate all the pies?"

Much of the fascination of the contest lay not in the skills likely to be exhibited by two teams in trouble but rather because they vie for having the least popular chairman. The Brighton directors, who have sold the ground and failed to find a replacement, probably edge their Hull counterparts who have so far sold only players. To show solidarity the Brighton fans, who had spent the previous evening daubing the west side of the stadium with graffiti, had also found room on a door to call for the removal of Hull's chairman.

The first goal was a far-post header by Paul McDonald, the second was a close-range shot by Stuart Storer, the third something similar by Craig Maskell. The defence was to blame in each case. Gritt, relieved and hardly greeted as a conquering hero, wants to concentrate on the football not the politics. He should be so lucky.