Half time with Hodges – Brighton & Hove Albion 0 Cardiff City 1 – Brighton and Hove News

Half time with Hodges – Brighton & Hove Albion 0 Cardiff City 1 - Brighton and Hove News

Player ratings: Mendez-Laing stars as Cardiff secure crucial win

Albion trail to relegation rivals Cardiff after Nathaniel Mendez-Laing scored a screamer on 22 minutes.

He started the move in Cardiffs half and brought the ball some way up the pitch before a one-two with Oumar Niasse.

Brighton and Hove Albion 0-2 Cardiff City: Neil Warnocks side boost Premier League survival hopes

The Seagulls need at least an equaliser in the second half or their Premier League status is under significant threat.

“Ive got to get the right balance between making changes and picking – as you always have to do by taking the emotion out of the game – what you think is the best team to win the next game.”

The panic that gripped the majority inside this arena, players and supporters alike, betrayed as much with the home side overwhelmed by their newfound deficiencies long before the end. Where they wilted abjectly for the second home game in succession, their approach choked by anxiety and all confidence utterly drained away, Cardiffs players and staff would congregate in front of the away support after the final whistle with belief pepped.

Read more It was quite a time to secure a top-flight away victory by a two-goal margin for the first time in 63 years. Bloody hell, I was only seven, said Neil Warnock. People said it would be our last game in the Premier League, but were alive and kicking. You might think Im in cloud cuckoo land but were more than capable of picking up points against any of the teams weve got left to play this season.

The winger, also dismissed at Everton last season for a jump tackle, is suspended for tonights showdown against relegation rivals Cardiff at the Amex, Saturdays trip to Wolves and the visit to Spurs three days later as the Seagulls fight for their Premier League lives.

The margin for error remains slim given two of those teams are Liverpool and Manchester United, but the manner in which Cardiff coped under pressure bodes well. A team who had won only once in seven games simply had to seize the initiative in Sussex. Brighton could bemoan the non-award of an early penalty after Bruno Ecuele Manga grappled with Lewis Dunk but, in truth, Cardiff were everything Albion were not: disciplined, composed, ruthless. Their gameplan was exquisite.

Hughton has spoken to Knockaert about his rush of blood against Bournemouth but said he cannot afford to be thinking about the Frenchman.

They hassled and harried, discomforting Albions jittery midfielders whose passing became ever more erratic. Sean Morrisons late smothering of Florin Andones attempt summed up the commitment of their rearguard, and they had a cutting edge on the counterattack with which Brighton could not contend.

Read more The majesty of the goal that set the tone, in amid all the frenetic huff and puff, had floored the home side. Another Brighton attack had run aground just outside the penalty area, with Nathaniel Mendez-Laing sprinting upfield with no opponent close enough to muster a challenge. The free signing from Rochdale exchanged passes with Junior Hoilett on the flank, Albion defenders waving him through, before whipping a sumptuous shot from distance across Mat Ryan and into the far corner.

Brighton, in truth, rarely played like a team capable of recovering from that early setback. They had started well enough but faded as soon as they met proper resistance and never exerted any kind of control. Instead they looked every bit a side who had won only twice in the league this year, with even the confidence of Dunk and Shane Duffy, once the teams forte, long since shattered.

Early in the second half, Víctor Camarasa floated an inviting free-kick into the six-yard box where Morrison, having escaped Glenn Murray with the slightest of nudges, leapt unchecked behind Dunk – drawn under the flight of the ball – to thump his header down and across Ryan.

As a team, as a club, and as individual players, there is only one way we can ensure we stay in this division: thats by fighting as hard as we can, he said. If were not able to score the goals we need then we have to make sure were not conceding. Four of their last five games are against sides from the top eight. The sense of dread is growing.

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