As the summer pre- season schedule draws to a close, clubs up and down the country are beginning to focus their attention on the 2022/23 league campaign. However, whilst there are many supporters who will feel encouraged by their side’s pre-season success, others will be hoping that their side’s summer form will not prove to be a catalyst for the upcoming campaign.
On the south coast, Brighton and Hove Albion supporters will be hoping that their side can push on from the previous league campaign. The Seagulls finished in a record high position of 9th last time out, providing supporters of the seagulls with great hope that their side can achieve a second successive record- breaking season in the top- flight.
But can Brighton supporters be encouraged by their results in pre-season, or is there good reason for concern going into the new campaign? Below is a round- up of Brighton’s most recent pre-season friendlies, with the last seven days proving to be of interest for the Seagulls.
Reading 1-2 Brighton
Last Saturday saw the Seagulls edge a 2-1 victory away to championship opposition in the form of Reading, with goals from Pascal Gross and Solly March securing the victory in a tough away trip for the Albion.
Brighton began the game on top and were rewarded for their efforts with the opening goal of the game after 18 minutes. Despite great work from Solly March in pulling the strings for the Seagulls, it would be German midfielder Pascal Gross heading home for the Albion’s opener, with the 31-year-old rising highest to meet Tariq Lamptey’s cross.
Solly March would be rewarded for his own efforts in the second half though, with his strike from distance providing the seagulls with a second just two minutes into the second half. Following great work from the Albion in accelerating forward, the 28-year-old wing back was able to make himself the man of the moment, capping off an excellent solo performance with a showstopping strike.
However, despite a solid start to the second half for the Seagulls, Brighton’s comfortable lead was compromised by a mistake from Goalkeeper Robert Sanchez. The Spanish keeper’s poor attempt at a forward pass allowed Reading forward Yakou Meite to find Tom Ince, who would be brought down by the oncoming Alexis Mac Callister and in turn earning a penalty for his side.
Almost a minute after the incident, it would be Ivory Coast International Yakou Meite stepping up to the spot, making no mistake as he slotted the ball past the embarrassed Robert Sanchez. However, despite the second half howler, the Seagulls were able to hold on, earning themselves victory in Berkshire for the first time since a league encounter in April 2003.
Brighton 0-1 Brentford
On Tuesday, it would be Brighton on the receiving end of a defeat, with a late goal from Brentford’s Ivan Toney proving to be the difference in an encounter held behind closed doors.
In similar fashion to Saturday’s trip to Berkshire, it was Brighton who started off the match in stronger fashion. The Seagulls created a surplus of chances, including an opportunity from a set piece which the Albion initially believed to have crossed the line. Julio Enciso’s first half free kick had found the head of defender Matt Clarke, however his headed effort was judged to be offside by the linesman.
Despite ongoing attempts by the hosts to find an opener, it was the visitors who would break the deadlock late into the second half. In similar fashion to Sanchez last Saturday, it was a poor attempt at a forward pass which would prove to be the Albion’s Achilles heel, this time from substitute goalkeeper Kjell Scherpen. With just over ten minutes left to play, the Netherlands international gifted the ball to Brentford in a dangerous area, allowing Turkish forward Halil Dervişoğlu to find the oncoming Ivan Toney, who in turn coolly slotted home for the opener at the Amex.
As the game ticked away, Brighton found themselves unable to respond, with the Bees holding out for victory in a close encounter on the south coast. The result meant that Brentford were able to secure their first win at the Amex since a two-goal victory in September 2016, whilst in turn handing Brighton their first defeat in this summer’s pre-season schedule.
So then- what does this mean for Brighton?
Whilst the last seven days has proved to be a mixed bag for Brighton, there is still time for the Seagulls to prepare ahead of their clash with Manchester United on the opening weekend of the 2022/23 Premier League season. The Seagulls are set to host Spanish opposition in the form of Espaynol on Saturday, providing Graham Potter’s Brighton with one last opportunity to impress in front of their supporters ahead of the upcoming league campaign.