Giles Coke scored the only goal as Sheffield Wednesday opened their Championship campaign with a win away against 10-men Brighton.
Overall neither side managed to grab hold of this opening weekend fixture. The two teams had very little between them, the only difference came in the 40th minute with a superb curling strike from Giles Coke firing The Owls into the lead. Brighton’s hopes of a comeback were dashed in the 50th minute as Andrew Crofts was sent-off, in my opinion wrongly, for a challenge on Sam Hutchinson. A tackle no worse than the tone set throughout the first half by either side. Although Owls keeper Westwood was forced into a couple of marvellous saves from Seagulls new signing O’Grady, Brighton were unable to build up enough pressure to force an equaliser. Hyypia gave debuts to keeper David Stockdale, defender Aaron Hughes, and strikers Chris O’Grady and Shamir Fenelon. Hyypia’s first competitive starting line-up raised a few eyebrows among Albion fans with the unexpected start for youth academy star Fenelon.
Hyypia’s overall style seems to be more fluent and quicker than the football Brighton fans witnessed last season. It was clear yesterday that the Seagulls do need to make those key signings and replace the likes of Leo Ulloa who was recently sold to Leicester. Failure to make these signings could lead to a continuing tough start for Sami Hyypia’s managerial career in England.
Brighton now host Cheltenham in the League Cup on Tuesday before travelling to Birmingham on Saturday. For Sheffield Wednesday a run of three home games; Notts County in the League Cup and Derby followed by Millwall in The Championship at Hillsborough.
Brighton & Hove Albion
|Stockdale- Full home debut for the new Albion Goalkeeper, routine performance. Looked comfortable. Wasn’t at fault for the goal.||6.0|
|Bruno- Looked a fantastic threat going forward, will definitely suit Hyypia’s attacking style using. Equally as good defensively.||6.0|
|Greer- A new man, great in the tackle and brought the ball forward from the back very well, strong and commanding in defence getting the better of the much larger Nuhiu.||6.5|
|Hughes- Match sponsors man of the match, slotted into the back four nicely.||6.0|
|Calderon- Switching over to left-back and really didn’t look out of place, Calderon excelled in going forward suiting Hyypia’s style.||6.0|
|Ince- Standard performance from the youthful midfielder. Didn’t really make an impact on the game||5.5|
|Crofts- Was great to see the box to box midifielder return from a lengthy injury, lots of energy. Sent-off harshly in my opinion.||5.5|
|Forster Caskey- Moved the ball nicely, committed in the tackles. However failed to make an impact in the game, subbed off just after the hour.||5.5|
|Fenelon- A surprise selection, Albion fans were not expecting Fenelon to burst onto the scene so soon. Full home debut for the youngster looked understandably nervous which effected his overall performance.||5.0|
|Lua Lua- It would seem that Lua Lua is due to be getting a lot more game time under new manager Hyypia. Moved around from left to right wings and occasionally through the centre. Couldn’t quite make anything from the dazzling forward movement.||6.0|
|O’Grady- Held the ball up very well and came extremely close to leveling the score line in the second half. A positive debut for O’Grady. Needed support in attacking positions.||6.0|
|Buckley- 61’ Would of liked to of seen Buckley start, can only assume he wasn’t 100% Failed to change the game.||5.5|
|Agustien- 61’ Unfortunately brought on after the sending off. Fighting a loosing battle in midfield, Albion fans weren’t too impressed with Kemy. Certainly didn’t perform to his capable level.||5.0|
|Mackail Smith- 76’ Too little too late, honestly surprised Mackail-Smith didn’t start in this fixture.||5.5|
|Westwood- Solid performance for Wednesday’s new man in goal. Definitely the difference between the two teams, pulled of a fantastic save to deny O’Grady in the second half.||7.0|
|Lees- Didn’t look out of place at all in with his new team mates. Played his part in a well set-up defence.||6.5|
|Palmer- Played his part in attack and defence. Standard performance.||6.0|
|Loovens- The skipper was very solid in the heart of the defence. Could be vital for Wednesday this season.||7.0|
|Mattock- Average 90 minutes from Mattock, did leave Wednesday exposed at times but did his job in keeping the clean sheet.||5.5|
|Coke- Fantastic unstoppable strike scoring the only goal of the game. Routine performance.||7.0|
|Maguire- Tipped to stand out this season for Wednesday, work to do but played his part in the midfield||5.5|
|Hutchinson- Overly aggressive in the midfield at times, has the potential to be a complete midfielder if given the right guidance. Worrying attitude in moaning to officials, never good to see.||5.5|
|Maghoma- 80 minutes completed, kept quiet by the Albion defence.||5.5|
|Lee- Strong promising performance, Wednesday fans will be delighted if Lee can gather a run of good form||6.0|
|Nuhiu- Tipped to be a success this season after fading form last term. However Nuhiu’s performance was extremely poor in this fixture. Offered Wednesday nothing other than a target to lump the ball forward too, however he failed to do so.||3.0|
|Semedo- 81’ Looked fantastic with only 10 minutes Semedo was clean and confident on the ball.||6.0|
|Madine- 86’ With only 5 minutes on the field I can honestly say in such a short time he completely shined over Nuhiu. Would like to see Madine start for Wednesday.||6.0|
Man of the Match
|Giles Coke- Fantastic goal won the game for Wednesday. The only difference in the game.||7.0|
Ref Watch- James Linnington:
At times failed to keep a grip on the game. In my opinion wrongly sent off Andrew Crofts after 50 minutes for a tackle in which was no worse than the tone set throughout the first half by both teams.
Attendance:26,993 (Including 2,600+ Sheffield Wednesday)
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