• Albion 3 - 1 West Brom, 09.09.2017

    Welcome to the Premier League, Brighton and Hove Albion. Three goals, three points, three cheers – the (proper) Albion looking totally comfortable at their new level, controlling a Premier League game like it was a routine home win over QPR or Rotherham.

    Tony Pulis’ West Brom are a well-established, well-drilled Premier League outfit, enjoying status we aim for a few years hence. That the Albion more than matched them for most of this contest is hugely reassuring – more so than any dramatic underdog victory snatched against the run of play, versus one of the league’s titans. Our players, both established and newly recruited, looked like they belonged on this stage. Now I feel that the Seagulls have truly arrived.

    An enterprising opening looked to have borne fruit, on 15 minutes, but Shane Duffy was flagged offside, as he poked home – the lino sparing the blushes of Ben Foster, who’d made an enormous hash of Solly March’s long-range strike. A huge Amex roar, stifled in 27,000 throats. Maty Ryan flew to his right to repel Gareth Barry’s driven riposte, in a rare moment of Baggies threat.

    The Albion continued to probe – Davy Prӧpper excellent – and the imperious Lewis Dunk carrying the ball forward like Lawrenson in his fabulous pomp – without creating a clear opening.

    Just as the clock ticked down on what looked to be an enterprising half with nothing to show, the big moment arrived. Pascal Groß launched a pinpoint cross field pass to the feet of Solly March, then sprinted into the box. The local boy took on Dawson, then stood up a teasing cross to the far post, where Groß killed it, stepped inside his marker, and drilled it low past the helpless Foster. Bedlam all around the ground. Huge noise. Groß mobbed by his team-mates – history man – the scorer of the Albion’s first PL goal.



    A word for March – the scorer of the goal that confirmed promotion, now turning provider. What a game he had, too. He’s started this season really well, but stepped it up further in this game, both offensively, and tirelessly in defence. Bravo young man.

    The Amex buzzed with contentment and excitement through the interval. Didn’t really want a break – just get on with it. Come on.

    The West Brom first half display was an odd one – no real intent in evidence – and no real aggression. Complacency? Who know? Who cares? The combined tempers of Pulis and his assistant Gary Megson will surely have let fly at the interval, and as the sides retook the field to a special 30-second staccato version of Sussex by the Sea, we expected a Baggies response.

    Instead, just moments later – Albion dreamland! Tomer Hemed – excelling all afternoon in his lone role – protecting the ball with his back to goal, and flicking into the path of the marauding Groß. As the German midfielder ate up the yards, Anthony Knockaert joined him on the right in acres (ACRES) of space. As thousands screamed for the pass, Groß let fly with his right, from close to 30 yards – his low strike leaving Foster clutching at air, and sailing inside the far post.

    As the former England keeper punched the turf in angst, the current Australia number one was sprinting the length of the pitch to join the Albion celebrations in the furthest corner. Brilliant stuff.