REPORT: BLACKPOOL 1 ALBION 0Jamie O’Hara’s second-half free-kick condemned Brighton & Hove Albion to an unjustified 1-0 defeat in an uninspiring contest at blustery Bloomfield Road.
Conditions were tough underfoot with a bare and bobbly pitch while high swirling winds merely added to the task, and both sides struggled to gain control of matters.
Albion were the better of the two sides throughout though, looking the more likely to snatch a winner, but O’Hara’s late intervention meant Chris Hughton’s men left Blackpool with no reward.
The visitors were unchanged from the side that fought so bravely against Arsenal in last week’s FA Cup defeat, although Hughton named Joao Teixeira and Leon Best on the bench after the pair missed the cup tie, replacing Glen Rea and Adrian Colunga - who yesterday joined Granada on loan until the end of the season.
With conditions not making for free-flowing football, it was a misjudged long ball that nearly brought about the opener after eight minutes, but Sam Baldock’s strike was deflected behind.
Albion were still looking the more likely to break the deadlock and captain Gordon Greer almost did, but his flicked header from Danny Holla’s free-kick was tipped over the bar by Blackpool keeper Eliot Parish.
After a listless first-half, Hughton’s side upped the tempo after the re-start with Holla testing Parish. However, despite the lively opening, the game soon fell back into the same routine, and with the quality lacking it took a moment of inspiration for the deadlock to be broken.
O’Hara used the conditions to his advantage, curling home a free-kick into the top corner on 75 minutes to put the hosts ahead.
Best headed narrowly wide as the Seagulls searched for an equaliser but even an extra five minutes of added time couldn’t produce a goal for the Seagulls.