Still hails sharpened Daggers

BY foxsports • February 10, 2013

Brighton boss Gus Poyet is pinning his hopes on Saturday's 1-0 win over Hull being the turning point of the season for the south coast side.

Vicente Rodriguez's late free-kick was enough to send the Seagulls up to seventh in the Championship, two points outside the playoffs and eight behind their opponents.

"This was a proper game in this division and, with none of the top 12 winning, we hope it's a turning point in terms of victories," he said.

"I want us to be there at the beginning of April and it's totally up to us. It was important today and the players fought for it.

"It's there for us to take and we're going to try. Make no mistake, this was a big win."

Poyet reserved praise for Vicente, adding: "He's a game-changer. I thought about starting him. It was a late decision to have him on the bench and I'm delighted with the way he responded - the joy on his face was there for all to see.

"Hull were very organised and they said to us 'come and beat us'. The second half was very open. Is that the way I like my team to play all the time? No. But it was a great win for us."

Striker Billy Kee celebrated his return to the starting line-up in place of injured top scorer Calvin Zola with two clinical finishes in the 36th and 55th minutes.

The Brewers were a goal up when David Noble picked up his second yellow card on the stroke of half-time and after Kee's second Michael O'Connor saw red after bringing down Jacques Maghoma in the area.

But the visitors were spared a heavier defeat when Michael Symes' spot kick was saved by Andy Warrington.

The Burton boss said: "It was a brilliant result and I'm very proud of the lads.

"It's been an horrendous week in terms of preparation because apart from those who didn't play, we had four others who haven't trained and could have broken down at any minute.

"We knew that everyone would have to play their part because we knew it would be a competitive and aggressive game.

"I think you could argue that we had a little bit of fortune with the first sending off, but I think we earned that fortune with the hard work, the energy and the commitment that we showed.

"There were some immense performances out there and to preserve out wonderful home record was an absolutely monumental achievement.

"I think we've created a side that on its day is more than a match for any of the big guns in this division."

Ilderton sent off Millers midfielders David Noble and Michael O'Connor - but it was the match official's own behaviour that angered the controversial Rotherham boss.

Evans claimed: "The referee was totally, obnoxious rude and embarrassing to me and my staff throughout the match and at half-time.

"I will speak to the Football Association on Monday. We will do it properly, as we are obliged to do, but I have to say that the words he used staggered every one of us."

Evans took issue with both dismissals and also claimed the second of Billy Kee's match-winning goals should have been disallowed.

The Scot said: "In the case of David Noble, I don't think (Burton manager) Gary Rowett thinks either challenge deserved a yellow card, I don't think Gary Rowett would argue that Billy Kee handled the ball in the build-up to his second goal and I don't think Gary Rowett thought Michael O'Connor stamped on one of his players.

"He (the referee) has been the key player for me - the real focus and the centre of attention - and that's because of his performance."

Noble was sent off on the stroke of half-time after picking up two yellow cards for tackles on the lively Jacques Maghoma in the space of four minutes.

Maghoma was also the victim of an alleged stamping incident in the 86th minute which resulted in O'Connor being shown red before Andy Warrington kept out Michael Symes spot kick.

Howell's 56th minute goal did the trick for the Daggers on their home patch as they upset the promotion-chasing Robins.

And Still was understandably pleased after his side ended a run of three games without a win.

"I'm delighted for the lads, we gave everything," he said. "We knew it was going to be a really tough game for us because Cheltenham are having a great season.

"But we didn't worry that we'd never beaten them, although it's nice to end that record."

And Still paid special tribute to goalscorer Howell after his goal secured three welcome points.

It was Howell's eighth goal of the season and first in six games as Still's battling charges delighted their loyal supporters at the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham Stadium.

"It was a smart finish, I'm really happy for him," added Still. "He took the goal well and it came at just the right time for us

"I thought we deserved the win. We had a lot of chances, especially in the first half.

"I'm really happy, hopefully we kick on and build on this performance."


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