Seagulls Scene: Tigers rip apart Albion’s Wembley dreams

Albion's Leo Ulloa in action against Hull. Picture by Angela Brinkhurst
Albion's Leo Ulloa in action against Hull. Picture by Angela Brinkhurst

At the Amex on Saturday it was a six-pointer against Wigan.

We were level on points and whoever won would be nicely placed to challenge for the play-offs. Brighton played some of their best football this season - but lost 2-1.

In the FA Cup replay up at Hull on Monday night our Seagulls were mauled by the Tigers in the first half, conceding two goals.

We were considerably better in the second 45 minutes but Leo Ulloa’s fifth goal in as many games wasn’t enough and we lost 2–1. So there will be no Sunderland and no Gus Poyet back at the Amex.

The game against Wigan was frustrating. We had plenty of the ball and plenty of chances.

The stats show Albion’s 63 per cent possession with 23 shots compared to 7 for Wigan. But it’s goals that count!

A rare mistake by Mathew Upson on 20 minutes let in James McArthur, who beat Tomasz Kuszczak with a fine shot.

Just two minutes later we thought we had the equaliser when Dale Stephens unleashed a thumping shot which beat Ali Al-Habsi.

But it didn’t beat the woodwork as the ball come down off the underside of the bar and was cleared. That miss was to prove costly.

Early in the second half a Wigan corner was headed home by Chris McCann. 2-0 down left a mountain to climb.

We huffed and puffed but couldn’t score. Ulloa’s goal was a simple knock in following a corner but only left 12 minutes to get the equaliser.

We certainly deserved at least a draw but it was Wigan holding out to pinch the three points.

So it was Wigan on 49 points and seventh with a game in hand over sixth placed Reading on 50 points. It could and should have been us.

Other results did go our way and with Reading coming to the Amex on March 8 and 15 games still to come, all is not lost.

Just three days later Oscar Garcia had to rally the team and try to win at Premier League Hull. He rotated, bringing in Peter Brezovan in goal, Lewis Dunk, Inigo Calderon and Jake Forster-Caskey.

Steve Bruce selected a strong Hull side. The Tigers were aggressive from the start, getting the ball into our box early.

We had possession but no penetration. Ulloa was again isolated up front without fast support players.

Brezovan didn’t command his area and after just 14 minutes it was a looping header by Curtis Davies that dropped in off the post. It looked like Forster-Caskey got the final touch.

After 36 minutes a free kick by Robert Koren found its way into our net for 2-0. A Hull forward was offside as Stephen Ward diverted the ball past Brezovan.

I’m afraid our team doesn’t come back from two goals down but credit was due for a spirited second-half fight back.

Garcia introduced Kazenga LuaLua and Solly March but it was too little too late.

I thought we were now the better side and Ulloa’s goal on 68 minutes, a glancing header from a David Lopez free kick, was deserved.

Chances were created but Hull held on for their place in the quarter-finals.

Three days, two defeats, and as they say, ‘we can now concentrate on the league’. Unfortunately after the Wigan result the mountain got a little steeper!

Next up we are off to the Lions’ den - Millwall on Saturday.