Brighton break their duck

FOR the first time this season Brighton picked up a point without striker Bobby Zamora. Before the Portman Road draw, the Seagulls had lost every game Zamora had missed and manager Steve Coppell joked they had considered not bothering to play as their talisman was once again out with an injury.

By Derek Davis

FOR the first time this season Brighton picked up a point without striker Bobby Zamora. Before the Portman Road draw, the Seagulls had lost every game Zamora had missed and manager Steve Coppell joked they had considered not bothering to play as their talisman was once again out with an injury. He smiled: "We talked about not turning up as it was a foregone conclusion that we would lose. But at the last minute we decided to come and have a go."

And have a go they did. Despite being comprehensively outplayed for the first 30 minutes and going behind to a Marcus Bent goal, Albion responded with Trinidad & Tobago international Tony Rougier starting up front instead and putting on a masterclass show.

His powerful header came crashing down from the underside of the crossbar and struck hapless Andy Marshall on the back before rolling in for an own goal. The on-loan Reading striker then snatched the lead with a five-yard tap-in from a clever Paul Brooker pull-back to top a tremendous fightback. Martijn Reuser then hit the goal of the game to snatch a point for Town and deny Brighton who slipped a place to second-bottom.


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Coppell said: "The result is everything at the moment.

"Of the fixtures among the bottom teams before the day started I thought we had the hardest, so to come away with a point is especially pleasing.

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"Our players are upbeat about getting a point, there will not be many teams who will relish coming here.

"Earlier in the season we might have capsized. We regrouped at half-time and our spirit never ceases to amaze me and how they are prepared to fight."

Ipswich will be relieved they played Reading last week before Rougier returned to The Royals after he led the line so well for Brighton.

"It was a timely couple of goals from Tony Rougier, who we will lose on Monday. In an ideal world he would stay with us and be on instant recall but it was agreed on day one it would just be one month as Alan Pardew wants to have him available for the run in and I can't blame him."

A mistake from skipper Danny Cullip allowed an alert Marcus Bent to pounce and finish well to give Town the lead, but Coppell refused to condemn his captain. He said: "It was a genuine error, We have a no blame policy here and everyone can make mistakes so we forget it and get on with it. Their second goal was a fabulous strike and at times in the first half they played well and created good things. But our defending was fabulous and there were great tackles just when they were needed."

It remains tight at the bottom with four clubs scrapping for one survival place, which Coppell is convinced can be theirs. "No-one is capable of going all seven games unbeaten," he said

The Brighton manager felt justice had been done when Darren Bent missed a penalty after Richard Carpenter had tripped Chris Makin.

Coppell said: "I don't think it was a penalty, Carpenter pulled his leg out of the way, but I wouldn't blame Makin for going down. It happened so quick so I don't blame the referee for giving it but it was poetic justice that it went over the bar."

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