Good evening everyone! The football weekend starts here. It's Brighton & Hove Albion
vs. Millwall at the Amex Stadium, and both of these sides desperately need a positive result.
Brighton head into this game having just once in their previous 16 league games. Quite simply, that is relegation form in any league. The pressure is on Sami Hyypia
tonight. Many have predicted that he could be on the way out if this poor run continues for much longer. Can Brighton end the slump tonight?
Millwall's current situation is not much better than Brighton's. Ian Holloway
's side suffered a humiliating 5-1 defeat to Middlesbrough last weekend, and they sit just two points ahead of the Seagulls, who currently sit 22nd in the table. It could be Millwall who fall into the relegation zone by the end of the weekend.
BRIGHTON: Stockdale; Bruno, Dunk, Halford, Chicksen; Forster-Caskey, Gardner, Teixeira; March, Bent, E Bennett
SUBS: Walton, Ince, Hughes, Colunga, Holla, McCourt, Calderon
No surprises from Hyypia for tonight's game. Darren Bent is set to lead the line with support from Joao Teixeira and Elliott Bennett. Gordon Greer and Kazenga LuaLua remain on the sidelines as they continue their respective recoveries from injury. Adrian Colunga is back from suspension, but he must settle for a spot on the bench.
MILLWALL: Forde; Wilkinson, Shittu, Beevers, Malone; Angel, Williams; Gueye, McDonald, Woolford; Gregory
SUBS: King, Dunne, Briggs, Upson, Abdou, Easter, Fuller
As expected, Holloway has made big changes following last week's loss to Middlesbrough. Martyn Woolford and Magaye Gueye both return for the visitors in an attacking lineup, while Lee Gregory leads the line. Ed Upson and club captain Alan Dunne both drop to the bench.
The pressure on Hyypia is rising by the day, and the Finn is fully aware that he has to get his side's season back on track as soon as possible.
"Everyone knows it's a very important game and, of course, for me personally it's a very important game," Hyypia told The Argus. "I try to put it to one side and concentrate on what I can control. I can't control people having their opinion.
"Whether it is going good or bad there are always critics and everyone has the right to give their opinion. I can't do anything about it."
Before we go any further, let's take a look at what Sports Mole
's pundits are expecting from tonight's game.
STAT: There's not been much good news for Brighton fans recently, but they will have fond memories of this fixture. The Seagulls are unbeaten in their previous six meetings with Millwall (W2 D4). Steve Morison scored the winner in a 1-0 triumph when Millwall last beat Brighton in January 2010.
The players are almost ready at the Amex Stadium. A win for either side could be a big turning point in their season, especially as the fixtures begin to pile up over Christmas. An extended unbeaten run now can shoot any side up the table.
Here we go then. It will be Millwall who get the game underway.
Brighton are on the front foot from the first whistle, with Brighton being pushed back onto the edge of their own box. Holloway will want to see more of that.
Brighton are struggling to retain possession in the early stages, which will be a concern for a side that have passed the ball well even during their struggles this season.
Brighton put the pressure back on after Millwall clear a corner. Forster-Caskey takes too long on the left side of the box before teeing up March, whose deflected effort is easily saved by Forde.
Bent does very well to lay the ball into the path of Teixeira on the left wing. However, Brighton slow the game down again as March lofts a hopeful pass out of play.
Excellent play from Woolford as he drills a ball forward to release Gregory, who finds space in the box to unleash an effort which is well blocked by Dunk. Brighton recover well to clear the corner which follows.
Neither side are making great decisions in the final third of the pitch early on. McDonald frustrates his Millwall teammates by storming forward before sending a wayward strike into the stands.
It's been a very scrappy start at the Amex. You can tell that these two teams have struggled in recent weeks, with very few risks being taken by players who appear to be lacking in confidence. Millwall are seeing slightly more of the ball at the moment.
Dunk comes to the rescue once again to beat Gregory to a dangerous cross from Malone. Millwall are looking the sharper of the two sides at the moment. Brighton are sitting too deep, which is making Bent look very isolated.
GOAL! BRIGHTON 0-1 MILLWALL (GREGORY)
Millwall have been better early on and they've taken advantage to break the deadlock. Brighton only have themselves to blame as the hosts twice miss the opportunity to clear the danger. A loose ball falls to Woolford, whose deflected shot sets up Gregory. The striker manages to keep his composure to slot past Stockdale. Brighton's fans are furious.
YELLOW CARD! Shittu argues his case, but he has to accept a booking after sticking his hand out to stop a Brighton attack. The hosts have a free kick in a good position 30 yards from goal.
It's a decent effort from Gardner, but Forde looks comfortable as he tips the free kick over the crossbar. Fortunately for the Millwall goalkeeper, the referee missed the touch.
Jeers from the home crowd as another hopeful long ball forward ends in disappointment. Bent is probably one of the best finishers playing in the Championship, but he's not being given any help by his teammates.
Gregory is doing a very good job in attack for the visitors. The forward is chasing down every lost cause to put the pressure on the Brighton defence, and he's already shown that he can take a chance if it comes his way. Brighton are seeing more of the ball now, but they are making very little progress.
SAVE! Great goalkeeping from Forde. Forster-Caskey creates space for himself 25 yards from goal, but Forde reacts well to push his powerful strike away. The Irish shot-stopper then gets back to his feet to hold onto a dangerous low cross from Bruno.
Brighton are improving, but they've just wasted a great chance. The hosts work the ball from right to left, with Chicksen finding plenty of space in the box. However, the full-back fails to beat the first defender with his cross. Bent is furious in the middle.
Brighton have lacked quality in the final third of the pitch, despite coming into the game as the first half has progressed. Millwall have dropped off since breaking the deadlock, but Holloway will want his side to keep being positive.
Teixeira has looked the most threatening of the Brighton players in attack, and he does well again to pick out March, who slices an effort wide from the edge of the box. It was a decent opening for the young midfielder.
Despite picking up an early yellow card, Shittu has done very well in the first half. The intimidating centre back rises highest again to head away under pressure from Bent, who will never be able to latch onto these long balls while battling with two defenders. Poor from Brighton.
Teixeira is doing his best to drive Brighton forward, but he's the next victim of poor service as Chicksen over hits what looks to be a simple pass on the left wing. Hyypia needs something to change in the final third of the pitch.
Brighton are pushing further up the pitch, and they should take confidence from Millwall's eagerness to play the ball around in dangerous positions. However, it's just not clicking for the hosts. Bent makes a dart to the front post to meet a cross, but he's unable to direct an effort at goal.
SAVE! Good play on the right wing from Bruno to pick out Teixeira, who takes a touch in the box before unleashing a strike which Forde keeps out at the near post. March then heads wide from a Bennett cross moments later.
Forde was in a lot of pain after colliding with March when the Brighton midfielder headed wide a few moments ago. It looks like he took a blow to the ribs, but he should be fine to continue.
Forde is forced into action again as he comes off his line to push away a March free kick after Malone had committed a silly foul on the wing. Brighton are finishing the first half strongly.
The fourth official confirms that there will be two minutes added on. Brighton are still improving, but they need to score while Millwall are feeling the pressure.
HALF TIME: BRIGHTON 0-1 MILLWALL
The home fans begin the boos again as the half-time whistle is blown. Gregory's goal is currently the difference between the two sides. Millwall are on course for just a second league win since August, but Brighton have shown that they can cause problems for the visitors if they improve their end product.
It's clear the home fans aren't happy, and you have to understand their frustration. Brighton have all of the tools required to win matches in the Championship, but the first half of this game has made it clear what their problems are. In the final third of the pitch it hasn't been good enough. Bent will score goals for this side, but he's just not being used effectively.
BENCH WATCH: Brighton have struggled in wide areas, so it wouldn't be a big surprise if Paddy McCourt was introduced at some stage in the first half. Adrian Colunga is also on the bench should Hyypia want to give Bent a partner. Holloway has the likes of Fuller and Jermaine Easter in reserve.
Millwall started the game impressively, but they have dropped off since then in an attempt to protect their slender lead. Holloway will surely want to see his side remain positive when they do receive possession. Gregory can trouble this Brighton defence if he is given enough support.
The players are back out on the pitch for the second half. No changes from either manager at the break. Brighton will get the game back underway.
Both sides are struggling to keep the ball early in the second half, with Brighton taking a more direct approach, which will surely not suit the isolated Bent.
CHANCE! Teixeira finds some space on the edge of the box once again to slide a pass into the path of Bent, who miscues his effort into the side-netting from a tight angle.
Brighton are looking much better in possession in the early stages of the second half. Millwall are being forced further back as a result. It could be a very big 45 minutes for Hyypia as he looks for the response which might save his job.
Shittu, who is already on a booking, needs to be careful. He reacts angrily after coming through the back to foul Bennett. It's better from Brighton as they continue to knock the ball around at a quicker pace in the final third of the pitch.
Excellent defending from Shittu as he comes across to confront March, before winning the ball back for Millwall. It's been a very impressive display from the defender, who appears to be enjoying the stick he's getting from the home fans.
Another half chance is missed by the hosts. Bruno finds the space to deliver a cross for Bent, who sends a miscued header past the post.
YELLOW CARD! Forde has been living dangerously since Millwall took the lead. The referee finally has enough of his time wasting and the goalkeeper is booked, much to the delight of the home fans.
CHANCE! Brighton should be level. Teixeira picks up a loose ball on the left and delivers an excellent cross into the box. March is in plenty of space, but he can only slice wide from 10 yards out. Will the hosts create a better opportunity?
Millwall have curbed their attacking instincts since the break, which is a dangerous tactic with so much time remaining in the game. It wouldn't be a surprise to see Holloway bring on Fuller soon in an attempt to retain possession further up the pitch.
SHOT! Teixeira's clever movement causes problems for the visitors again, but he can only drag a low shot past the post after finding space in the box. Forde is still taking his time over goal kicks. He must be careful.
YELLOW CARD! Chicksen stops Woolford from collecting the ball 25 yards from goal and Millwall have a free kick in a promising position.
Gueye targets the top corner from the free kick, but he can only send the ball over the crossbar. Hyypia is looking very nervous on the touchline.
SUBSTITUTION: Hyypia makes his first change of the night as Colunga comes off the bench to replace March.
YELLOW CARD! Gardner picks up a booking for a late challenge on Wilkinson, who is very lucky not to be shown a yellow card too after reacting angrily to the tackle.
The game has hit a quiet spell, which is definitely good news for Holloway and his players. Millwall's supporters are enjoying every second of watching their side lead this game.
Worrying scenes on the pitch for Brighton. It's a nasty looking fall for Gardner, who lands on his neck after rising to meet the ball with his head in midfield. Let's hope he's not too badly hurt.
It's good news for Gardner as he comes back onto the pitch after receiving some treatment. That could have been much worse for the midfielder. Brighton have less than 20 minutes to find the equaliser.
Martinez has been quiet tonight, but he gets a chance to make an impact when he fires a low shot at goal from the edge of the box. Stockdale fumbles the ball, before reacting quickly to collect in the six-yard box.
SUBSTITUTION: McCourt is off the bench for Brighton as a replacement for Bennett, who has struggled to get involved since the break.
YELLOW CARD! Very poor from Beevers, who picks up a booking for unnecessarily hacking down Colunga in midfield.
Beevers makes up for his mistake by clearing the danger in the six-yard box after Gardener had headed a free kick back across goal. Decent opening for Brighton, but Millwall hold firm.
It's just not falling for Brighton as Millwall survive another spell of extended pressure. Shittu makes a great block to keep out March's effort from the edge of the box as he continues to lead by example in defence.
Halford makes a crucial tackle to dispossess Malone in the box after Brighton had gifted space to the full back. The hosts struggle to clear the corner which follows, but Martinez eventually hits a speculative effort over from the edge of the area.
SUBSTITUTION: Gueye's night is over as Nadjim Abdou comes off the bench for the visitors.
Colunga sprints clear of Shittu before delivering a dangerous ball across the box. Fortunately for Beevers, his miscued clearance loops over the crossbar. Once again, Brighton fail to use the set piece opportunity.
YELLOW CARD! McDonald becomes the fourth Millwall player to receive a caution following a late foul on Chicksen. Millwall then make another change as Fuller replaces Gregory, whose goal remains the difference between the two sides.
Millwall have done a very good job of taking the sting out of the game late on. They've slowed down the pace, and the frustration is clear for the Brighton players and supporters. Shittu wins another tackle to relieve the pressure as the visiting fans begin to sing his name again.
Wilkinson gifts Brighton a free kick in a very promising position. McCourt delivers a dangerous cross, but Halford is unable to shake off Shittu at the back post. Good defending once again.
SUBSTITUTION: Holloway makes another change as Alan Dunne comes on to replace Martinez for the final few minutes.
Teixeira delivers a very good cross into the box, but Bent is unable to direct a volley at goal after meeting the ball on the stretch.
The fourth official confirms that there will be five minutes added on. Will there be a late twist?
A Brighton corner encourages Stockdale to come forward, but it's disappointing for the hosts as Shittu dives to head away the cross from Teixeira.
Time is running out for Brighton, who continue to frustrate their supporters with a lack of quality in the final third of the pitch. You have to give credit to Millwall for their defensive display as Shittu makes another block from a Dunk effort.
FULL TIME: BRIGHTON 0-1 MILLWALL
It's all over at the Amex Stadium. Holloway is the relieved man on the touchline as further pressure is piled onto the shoulders of Hyypia, who might not get another opportunity to turn Brighton's season around. It could turn out to be a very big win in Millwall's season.
Thanks for joining our live coverage tonight. Make sure you return to Sports Mole tomorrow as a busy weekend of football continues. Goodnight everyone.