Brighton & Hove Albion 3 Tranmere Rovers 0

By Footymad Previewer
Last updated : 10 March 2004

John Achterberg went from hero to zero as FA Cup quarter-finalists Tranmere Rovers slumped to another league defeat.

The Dutch keeper kept Rovers in the Cup last Sunday with a late penalty save to deny Millwall's Kevin Muscat.

Achterberg was the villain this time as Brighton strolled to a fifth straight home victory to cement a place in the play-off zone.

The keeper had a nightmare match, encapsulated by a blunder which gifted Brighton their second goal on 17 minutes.

The Dutchman failed to hold onto a 25-yard free-kick by Leon Knight, leaving Trevor Benjamin the simplest of tap-ins.

Brighton were already 1-0 up by then, Gary Hart heading home a Richard Carpenter free-kick at the far post after seven minutes.

More comical Tranmere defending enabled Knight to score Brighton's third on 31 minutes.

He left the hapless Achterberg stranded with an exquisite chip, his 22nd goal of the season.

Benjamin, nearing the end of a second month on loan from Leicester, was watched by Foxes boss Micky Adams, returning to his old club.

Brighton manager Mark McGhee said: "I have been critical in recent weeks of the strikers but they were the difference.

"I thought Trevor was fantastic. He won everything in the air, he competed for every ball and he got himself a goal.

"Leon's finish was terrific as well. I took him off in the last home game against Brentford and was very disappointed with him then, but he was back to his best." Tranmere manager Brian Little admitted his team were affected by thoughts of next Tuesday's FA Cup quarter-final replay at home to Millwall.

He said: "I have been thinking about the FA Cup all week, I cannot help that.

"This was a good lesson for us. We are not good enough to just switch on and off when we think it is important.

"We passed the ball quickly but did not have the desire to grind out a result, as we did at Millwall at the weekend."

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