This story starts last Friday evening when after the section Christmas outing I was travelling home on the train with a colleague and keen Newcastle fan.
Tch! he goes looking at the BBC live scores ' Toon are only drawing at Forrest, disappointing!' On getting home I had to smile learning that the hosts had taken a dramatic late winner. A feeling mirrored by probably every Seagulls fan!
A trip to the new Cardiff City stadium was always on the cards for Bryan and I. We have done the 92 club but there is some 'tidying up' to do. For instance we had been to Ninian Park but not the brand new stadium. There are few more in this category to come. Barnet, Rotherham, Newport and of course West Ham.
Suffering a bit from said 'bash' it was pleasing that Bryan had decided to take his old Ford Focus (105k on the clock). He picked me up at 8.30, up the M23 around the M25 and west down the old M4. Great trip to be honest not one hold up.
We were greeted by a stunning day in the Principality, dry sunny still with a slight hint of that winter chill. Before checking into our B and B in Canton we did some sight seeing around the famous Cardiff Bay. There is some brilliant structures to look at and the vista across the Bay is noteworthy.
On another day it would be very easy to spend a few hours exploring. Our accommodation was situation right in proper Welsh heartlands of Canton. Thick accents reverberating the pub about half a mile from the ground. The place packed with Bluebird fans fully engrossed in the Man City v Chelsea spectacle. Two mixed grills for a tenner, job done.
It has to be said that Cardiff have a new home to be very proud of. Ninian Park was traditional oldscool, one for the purists but ultimately pretty uncomfortable, crumbling and probably unsafe. A change was needed and a gleaming new structure was born just a stones throw away. Unfortunately for the hosts, 16000 would of meant a packed and rocking Ninian but in a 30000 all-seater it looked a bit underwhelming to be honest. None of this was wasted on the massed Albion army who sang 'your ground's too big for you!'
As always it's staggering to see the number of Seagulls travellers. Again it was very impressive, most standing the entire game and singing all the old favourites. It was great fun to get involved.
The first half past by with out much in the way of incident or entertainment. The hosts, trying to extradite themselves from the relegation zone under new management, shaved the chances but you never felt that they had that cutting edge.
The Albion very flat. Cardiff continued to press in the second half making further half chances. In between that Brighton came alive especially when fans favourite Anthony Knockaert was introduced on 71 mins. He made an immediate impact as the visitors were sharper in the pass and running off the ball. They suddenly looked like automatic promotion contenders. It could of been even better as Glenn Murray smashed home a Murphy knockdown. Away fans in delirium for a full 10 seconds, unfortunately the goal was ruled out due to a previous shrill on the refs whistle. Glenn's wait for an away goal goes on.
So a point on the road, results going with them and now just one point off the top. The Albion might not have got the win they craved but in terms of progress to the promised land this weekend might well be very key !
This column wouldn't be complete with out a huge message of congratulations to Ian Chapman, his staff and players of Burgess Hill Town FC. They saw off a mighty banana skin by beating Ryman League bottom club Grays Athletic at the Green Elephants Stadium. Its a huge win for our local RPL team and hopefully they can now go on a positive run.
Have you checked out our new Christmas section yet?
It's packed with ideas and tips to ensure you make the most out of the festive season.
There's recipes, suggestions for presents and everything from choosing your tree to recycling your packaging and paper.