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Albion v Norwich City - countdown to the new season
This live event has finished
- Full time: Albion 1 Norwich 1
- Howson strikes on 27
- March levels with fabulous strike (83)
- David Lopez and Agustien each get 45 minutes
- Maksimenko has the full 90 at left-back
- Report and pictures in The Argus tomorrow
Norwich should have won it with the last touch of the game but Becchio headed a McNeil cross wide from close range.
Final: Albion 1 Norwich 1
March was a popular choice by the sponsors as man of the match.
LuaLua drilled a shot straight at Ruddy as an enjoyable evening neared its conclusion.
Bennett was replaced by O'Neil on 89 minutes.
On his display at Amex tonight for #BHAFC, @Solly_March looks a real prospect. Superb long range equaliser for the Seagulls.— @BBCSESport 30 July 2013
Again MARCH cut inside on to his left foot - and this time he connected cleanly with a 25-yard bullet across Ruddy and into the top corner.
Albion were having a decent spell as the game moved into the final ten minutes - and Agustien was becoming more prominent.
Calderon forced his way through a couple of tackles before slicing his left-foot shot wide.
But a goal was not long in coming - and it was an absolute beauty.
Ayala, who had just replaced Garrido, caused his own team problems with a sliced clearance but Ruddy held the dropping ball as Forster-Caskey moved in.
PHOTO: Chris Hughton & Oscar Garcia exchanging pleasantries before tonight's encounter. #ncfc http://t.co/5BcWrevfw2— @NorwichCityFC 30 July 2013
A youthful #bhafc pressing for an equaliser. Agustien getting forward a lot. Just needs games now to get fitter and sharper.— @AndyNaylorArgus 30 July 2013
Then Bennett bodychecked LuaLua over the touchline and received a few playful boos from home fans.
Ulloa spread play to the right for March, who again cut inside and this time shot low at Ruddy at his near post when a ball across goal to one of his waiting colleagues might have been a better option.
Brezovan replaced Kuszczak once Albion had dealt with the free-kick Greer had conceded.
March brought home fans to their feet by cutting inside and driving a low shot which Ruddy held diving to his right.
There was no sentiment from Greer as Norwich countered. He scythed down his former team-mate Bennett and was booked.
Before play could resume Norwich made three changes.
They sent on Hooper, Butterfield and Becchio for Fer, Redmond and Van Wolfswinkel
Bennett almost reprised his famous goal for Albion at Walsall with a dipping shot just past the top corner.
LuaLua gave Redmond a taste of his own medicine by getting away from him. Redmond brought the winger down just outside the box but Forster-Caskey's resulting free-kick, stood up towards the far post area, was too close to Ruddy.
Norwich had not sent on any subs but Redmond was now on the right wing.
He was sent in behind Maksimenko and drilled in a low cross which somehow found a way between Van Wolfswinkel and Bennett
Albion are now like this...
CALDERON GREER EL-ABD MAKSIMENKO
MARCH ULLOA LUALUA
Van Wolfswinkel quickly carved a way through and looked certain to score - but Kuszczak got the better of him in a one-on-one.
Second half is in progress
Albion made nine changes at the break with only Kuszczak and Maksimenko remaining.
Good performance from City so far, but the hosts have had their moments. 1-0 to #ncfc at the break. http://t.co/fgViS24rX6— @NorwichCityFC 30 July 2013
It was the last chance of a reasonably entertaining half
Half: Albion 0 Norwich 1
A comedy of errors should have led to Albion levelling in the 42nd minute. The defence were at sixes and sevens trying to deal with a ball into the box and it eventually fell to Orlandi - but he got in a tangle right in front of goal and fell over before he could shoot.
Redmond, though, looked the most dangerous player on the pitch. He popped up in a central area to make ground to the edge of the Albion box, then switched the ball on to his right foot and fired in a low shot which Kuszczak blocked with some difficulty diving low to his left.
Bruno and David seemed to get in each other's way trying to stop Redmond's next run, cutting in from the left, but the City man wastefully lofted his curler over the bar.
Albion responded well. Good footwork from Buckley gave Bruno a chance to curl in a dangerous cross to whch no one got a telling touch. Orlandi chipped the ball back across but Crofts failed to make proper contact on his header.
Crofts then tried his luck from outside the box after strong work by Barnes but his effort sailed into the Norwich fans in the South Stand.
Norwich dealt with the flag kick and went ahead a minute later when Redmond whipped in a cross right-footed from the left and HOWSON got there ahead of Dunk to score at the near post.
David's crossfield pass was helped down the right by Buckley to send Bruno to the byline but he tried to take an extra touch before playing the ball across goal and the danger was snuffed out at the expense of a corner.
RT @theawayfans: Norwich City fans at Brighton tonight! #NCFC #AwayDays http://t.co/1or1RBOJ8V— @mattlewendon 30 July 2013
Redmond, a scorer at The Amex for Birmingham 16 months ago, looked dangerous. He committed defenders with a tricky crossfield run and teed up Whittaker for a low drive which was blocked.
Ref Phillips could be heard telling players that both Bridcutt and Garrido would have been booked in a competitive fixture.
Bruno showed great skill to get away from Garrido and thread a pass before being taken late by the City man. He was down in pain for a few worrying moments but returned after treatment.
Would caution against reading much into OG's selection re: Saturday. Tonight's game not one he would have chosen, so close to Leeds. #bhafc— @AndyNaylorArgus 30 July 2013
Bridcutt angered the City bench with a body check on Redmond.
But home fans were delighed by deft flicks in quick succession from Bruno and Buckley which released David. The latter was shoved over and whipped in a terrific free-kick to which no one could get a telling touch in front of goal.
Van Wolfswinkel flashed a right foot shot past the post on the half turn when the ball was played low into the box.
Albion lining up like this...
BRUNO DUNK UPSON MAKSIMENKO
BUCKLEY BARNES ORLANDI
Redmond, a talented young winger, made a terrific early break into the Albion area but his low cross was cut out beneath the gaze of a sparsely populated North Stand.
But Albion also had bright moments early on with Orlandi, wide on the left, getting in two crosses and then volleying over from a tight angle.
Although not on the team sheet, Ulloa took part in the warm-up and was kitted out on the bench as the game started.
Match is in progress
Avec mon neveu avant Brighton-Norwich (amical). Come on Albion! http://t.co/L06mW4qTrQ— @1DarrenTulett 30 July 2013
Ulloa was kitted out and involved in the pre-match kickabout.#bhafc— @Brian__Owen 30 July 2013
Looks like Norwich have brought quite a decent following for a midweek pre-season game. It's a fair distance to come.
Tonight's ref is Dave Phillips, who tends to get a lot of Albion games at this time of year. He also did Portsmouth v Rayo Vallecano on Sunday.
There aren't too many Albion players left from Elliott Bennett's days here but he embraced Peter Brezovan as they went out to warm up with their respective teams.
A lengthy list of Albion subs: Brezovan, Ankergren, Greer, El-Abd, Agustien, Calderon, Chicksen, Ince, Forster-Caskey, Barker, LuaLua, March.
We are still taking questions on our live stream and Q+A session. Get involved here: http://t.co/apLHnLKbEY— @Suspolfootball 30 July 2013
An interesting initial back line for Albion. And the return of David Lopez.
Albion: Kuszczak; Bruno, Dunk, Upson, Maksimenko; Bridcutt, Crofts, Orlandi, David, Buckley; Barnes.
Confirmation that Elliott Bennett will start for Norwich.
Norwich: Ruddy; Whittaker, R Bennett, Martin, Garrido; E Bennett, Tettey, Howson, Redmond; Fer; van Wolfswinkel.
A bit of overseas player news you might have missed regarding ex-Albion men. Fran Sandaza has landed in Galicia, Spain with second tier Lugo while, over the summer, goalkeeper Florent Chaigneau was released by top-flight Lorient in France. He is now on the list of available players circulated by the French equivalent of the PFA.
The weather, by the way, is most unpre-seasonlike. Grey, drizzly and a touch chilly. Apparently summer returns tomorrow.
The picture tweeted by Agustien tends to support what I've just been hearing about both sides wearing their away kits this evening.
RT @KemyAgustien: There we go!!!!! http://t.co/MMh63GHUMN— @Koaste 30 July 2013
I'm sure many of you recognised the photo. What a goal it was!
Elliott Bennett always refers to that strike at Walsall as his best in an Albion shirt. It was the exclamation mark at the end of the march to the League One title.
He has been here at The Amex as a spectator before, including the play-off defeat by Crystal Palace, but will be in action for Norwich this evening.
In the meantime, allow me to leave you with a photo....
I'll be keeping an eye on the action - and the on-field personnel - at The Amex this evening. Join me later on if you can.
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