The Albion morning after: Buckley shows his worth - even if it isn’t quite £10million
Flying winger William Buckley once again proved his worth to Brighton and Hove Albion - not long after Gus Poyet slapped a £10million plus price on his head.
Earlier this month Poyet compared the one-time Watford wideman with current Crystal Palace starlet Wilfied Zaha, arguing that if Ian Holloway et al are after a small fortune for the recent England debutant, then Brighton should expect even more for Buckley.
The comment may have been more about the sense, or lack of it, of the Selhurst outfit expecting big bucks for a player yet to make a top flight appearance, but Buckley responded with aplomb with a match-winning turn at Huddersfield on Saturday.
With the Seagulls looking to have turned a corner after a sticky spell of winless matches, Buckley capped off another impressive performance with two well taken goals.
And even a late gaffe by stand-in ‘keeper Peter Brezovan which gifted the Yorkshire side a lifeline via a Simon Church tap-in on 90 minutes could not take the gloss of a well-deserved victory from a team missing a host of key players.
Wayne Bridge and Adam El-Abd were both missing with injuries, while Tomasz Kuszczak snagged a finger during the warm-up and missed out. Lewis Dunk and Marcos Painter returned to a make-shift defensive line and coped well throughout – no doubt helped by the home team missing usual starting strikers Jermaine Beckford and James Vaughan.
Andrea Orlandi dovetailed in alongside the ever-impressive Liam Bridcutt and Dean Hammond in the Albion’s midfield three and again showed an array of touches and passing which have perhaps, at times, been lacking from the more workmanlike trio the Seagulls have fielder at other times this term.
Craig Mackail-Smith worked hard throughout, happy on this occasion to leave the limelight to Buckley while Albion fans will have also been heartened to see long-term absentee Will Hoskins come on for an encouraging late run-out.
Buckley almost nabbed a third but saw his curling left footed effort well saved by Town ‘keeper Alex Smithies.
All in all, a welcome win which leaves the Seagulls clinging on to the play off picture in seventh place, just a single point behind big-spending Blackburn Rovers who they meet in the coming weeks, and more proof - if any was needed - that while he may not be as in-demand as Zaha, Buckley is a player Brighton could ill-afford to be without.
Player ratings: Brezovan 5, Bruno 7, Greer 6, Hammond 6, Dunk 7, Barnes 6, Orlandi 7, Mackail-Smith 7, Painter 7, Bridcutt 7, Buckley 9. Subs: Dicker 6, Hoskins 7, Calderon 6.