It is now nine years since Solly March first scored a super shot in pre-season after placing the ball just outside the penalty area with his left foot.
The Hailsham wideman has come a long way since his spectacular goal outside the North Stand against Norwich City that night.
For example, scoring the goal that secured promotion and establishing yourself in the Premier League.
But even he’s never had a summer from such a starting position – the midfielder in the Prem and knowing the mighty Manchester United will be eyeing revenge for a blow to the Amex on Opening Day when the new season begins in a domestic and international game begins media spotlight.
In the 2-1 friendly win at Reading, March’s low shot from just outside the box proved to be the winner of anything that counts.
It wasn’t quite as spectacular as that blow against the Canary Islands in the riot summer of 2013.
But it was placed perfectly, crowning a fine passing game by the dominant Seagulls and seemingly surprising the keeper slightly.
March, like some of his peers, showed his best football in the final weeks of last season and believes a strong result from the team can be relevant for the start of the 2022-23 season.
He told The Argus: “I think that’s what we’re trying to do.
“We’re really trying to pick up where we left off. I think the confidence is still there and the intensity is still there.
“We have to move on and believe in ourselves again.
“The last seven or eight games we’ve looked good and we could have beaten anyone I think.
“We just have to be confident and push ourselves again.”
Over the summer, this has been pretty quiet for Albion.
March said: “I think everyone got to know each other well in a short space of time.
“There have only been three or four new faces so far and they have all settled in and are enjoying their time here.
“That’s the key to staying together and being a team.
“I think we did well in this pre-season.
“Maybe there will be a few new faces, we don’t know, but they will settle in quickly.”
When he scored that rocket against Norwich, March was a young right winger.
His head coach at the time, Oscar Garcia, liked his potential but saw that he could potentially develop into a No. 10 as he matured.
Instead, his niche has become a full-back on both sides.
He was on the right flank when he scored the winner on Saturday after working the left flank in the first half.
Both full-backs were heavily involved in the first goal of the 18th minute.
March produced great skills to get to the touchline and roll the ball over the goal.
It kissed the foot of the far post but was chipped back over the goal by Tariq Lamptey and headed in by Pascal Gross.
March’s development as a full-back has been brought even more into focus by Manchester City’s pursuit of Marc Cucurella.
But even if Cucurella stays, his qualities could be used in the role if the Catalan acts on the left side of the back three.
Alternatively, March is also at home on the right-hand side.
He said: “I think the full-back role suits me well.
“Actually, I enjoy both sides. I don’t understand why you can’t change it mid-game as well.
“Leo (Trossard) plays on the left, he can probably play on the right.
“T (Lamptey) can play on the right side, so if it doesn’t work you can change it in-game.
“Maybe that will make the opponents reconsider.”
Outclassed Reading were suddenly more positive after a gift from Robert Sanchez saw them reduce arrears from scratch.
Alexis Mac Allister fouled Tom Ince after the keeper passed the ball and Yakou Meite converted from the penalty spot with ease.
Mac Allister was once again excellent as a pivot in midfield alongside Moises Caicedo, who saw a first-half shot narrowly deflected wide of the defender.
Kaoru Mitoma showed an eagerness to run towards the defenders and should have been awarded a penalty as he was safely dragged to the ground after singeing past his marker.
Albion might have been 3-1 if the penalty had been awarded and it would have been interesting to see who’s promoted – Deniz Undav perhaps? Or maybe Julio Enciso?
Potentially tougher tests await against Brentford and Espanyol and that’s what Albion need at this point.
Right now, March is playing better than ever and is having the time of his life – nine years after that first impression.
https://www.theargus.co.uk/sport/20465390.brightons-solly-march-great-form-premier-league-kick-off/?ref=rss Brighton’s Solly March in great form for the Premier League opener