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The Robert Eaton Memorial Fund Game 2010

Crystal Palace supporters recorded their first victory over the fans of Brighton and Hove Albion since 2002 to ensure that the Robert Eaton Memorial Trophy made the journey back up the A23 to Croydon thanks to a 2-0 victory at Lewes' Dripping Pan.

A healthy crowd packed out the Blue Square South venue for the match, which saw over 10,000 raised for the fund through sponsorship, raffles and auctions and gate receipts. Albion manager Andy Rumble had a number of difficult decisions to make with a strong squad supplemented by the appearances of Seagull legends Ricky Marlowe and Peter Ward.

It was the home side who were quickest out of the blocks, no doubt fueled by criticism of them in the run-up to the game on Albion message board North Stand Chat. With Palace fielding former-Premiership superstar Simon Rodger though, they were always a threat and should have taken the lead with an effort that hit the crossbar as Seagulls 'keeper Peter Griffin could only look on.

Neil Kane's pace was a constant menace up-front for Brighton, and he should have put his side in the driving seat when played through one-on-one, but saw his weak effort deflected wide for a corner by the Palace goalkeeper. The Seagull's looked strong from set pieces, with several players going close, but they found the visitors defence and in particular their goalkeeper impenetrable.

The second half began in similar circumstances, with the Albion squandering chance after chance. Kane again found himself in a one-on-position but his decision to round the 'keeper this time backfired as he fired wide, before Brett Mendoza did nothing to dispel rumours about his wish to represent China at rugby as he skied the ball over the bar from six yards in an effort that Jonny Wilkinson would have been proud of.

The turning point in the match was not far away, with Albion captain Sheehan Edmonds having to be withdrawn with cramp and the previously solid back four beginning to resemble the real Albion side of the start of the season. A long ball forward wasn't dealt with and when Griffin attempted to gather at the advancing forwards feet he could only spill the ball allowing Palace to take the lead. It was a cruel moment for a player who has been a rock in the previous winning sides, and even worse was to follow for his team mates when a speculative lob worthy of winning any game found it's way into the top corner.

With tempers becoming frayed as a baying crowd called for Rumble's head, Richie Morris found himself going into the book following hand bags with an ultra-competitive Rodger, and a sense of disappointment dawned on all those in blue and white inside the stadium with the realisation that missed chances were going to cost the home side dear and ensure that there proud six year winning run was coming to an end.

Albion: Griffin; Walmsley, Morris, Edmonds, Jenkins; Martindale, Phillips, Barrett; Buss, Marlowe, Kane. Subs: Ward, Mendoza, Evans, Coleman, Healy, Rumble, McCarthy

A disappointing result from an Albion point of view, but overall the most successful REMF match since the first year in terms of raising money. Thanks to all those who sponsored the event, and a big well done to all those involved behind the scenes who made the event possible. Despite losing the game, it was an enjoyable evening for everyone involved, including the great thrill for the squad of getting to join Ricky Marlowe and Peter Ward for a night out on the town afterwards - and as the photos below confirm, they certainly enjoyed themselves as well!

For more professional photos from the event, please see the All Things Brighton Beautiful website. You can also check out our small highlights package from the game itself:


 


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