There’s something special about the FA Cup
This year Championship Brighton joined in at the third round stage with a home tie against Premiership Newcastle. They won 2-0 and Albion fans ended up singing “Can we play you every year!”
It was an upset, for the Toon Army at least, but not a great shock. History was in our favour. Brighton haven’t lost a Cup game at the Amex and we also knocked them out last season. Best of all, the last time we beat them in the third round back in 1983, we went all the way to Wembley.
On Saturday Brighton were far the better side in this early kick-off televised match. But spare a thought for the 2,000 fans who made the long journey down from the north-east. Alan Pardew’s side were without several first-team players through injury, such as Cissé, Ben Arfa, Coloccini and Cabaye, and, of course, striker Demba Ba who had been sold to Chelsea.
On top of this they were on a bad run, with only one win in the last eight games. And the cup proved of no cheer either as the tie ended with a red card for captain Shola Ameobi for two soft yellows.
Although Newcastle were poor, Brighton deserve great credit for the way they played after boss Gus Poyet raised a few eyebrows by resting keeper Tomas Kuszczak for Casper Ankergren and not starting with either of our match winning wide men Kazenga LuaLua and Will Buckley.
Our reward is another home tie against Premiership opposition in Arsenal or Swansea but before that we’re at home to Derby this Saturday.