| Brighton 1 Cardiff City 2
Championship, Saturday 15th October 2005
This was my first away game at Brighton for many years, and the first time I'd visited the Withdean Stadium. And what a horror the place is!
Stuck out in the middle of nowhere, with all the atmosphere of a deserted lunar base, the Withdean has to be one of the worst grounds I've visited for many years.
It's not that I don't empathise with Brighton's plight - I was there at the 'Fans United' protest at the Goldstone in 1997 - but the prairie-like open spaces made it feel more like I was watching an egg'n'spoon race at the local school.
I hope Brighton sort out their proposed ground at Falmer soon because I never want to come back to this ground.
The facilities at the ground bordered on spartan, with a handful of portacabins providing basic toilet and food provision for the away fans.
The view from the jerry-built away stand was atrocious - the sun was directly in my eyes for most of the game and I was stuck in an uncomfortable plastic seat where I kept banging my knees against the wobbly scaffolding.
If the seat had been any lower I would have been chatting with the moles, and despite being at the front of the stand, the nearest patch of football pitch was miles away.
Standing up was declared verboten by stewards who insisted on constantly winding up the crowd further by blocking their view while they had occasional chinwags right in front of the stand.
And if all this wasn't bad enough, they had the audacity to charge me 23 ruddy quid for the privilege!
Bit that's enough of my whingeing - on to the game!
Brighton started strongly, but it wasn't long before a mass outbreak of whooping and (gasp!) standing up erupted in the Cardiff end after just twelve minutes when Jason Koumas slammed a pass from Cameron Jerome right into the top left corner. 1-0!
Cardiff continued to dominate the first half, playing some tidy football but wasting several golden opportunities in front of goal.
Soak in the big match atmosphere at the Withdean!
City got sloppy in the second half and let Brighton back into the game, with a scrambled Paul McShane header unjustly levelled the score.
Thankfully, City woke up from their slumbers and put us 2-1 ahead with a strike from super-sub Alan Lee hitting the back of the net just 45 seconds after he'd taken to the pitch.
The main stand for the Brighton fans wouldn't look out of place at Wimbledon, with the lack of a roof ensuring that singing noise levels stay at a cricket match level.
Click for larger image
Cardiff manager Dave Jones:
" Sometimes substitutes work for you, sometimes they don't, but I'm just delighted for Alan.
He's been struggling with a groin injury since I arrived at the club and has worked so hard behind the scenes, and the goal will give him a huge injection of confidence.
We had enough chances to win easily, but got sloppy and lazy to let them back in.
But then we ran ourselves into the ground, and if you do that you've got a great chance to win games. "
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