- Albion reach the Parafix Sussex Senior Cup third round
- Jack Barnes and Dan Huet put East Preston in front
- Ryan Longman scores a brace to level the game
- Max Sanders hits the winner in extra time for the Seagulls
Brighton & Hove Albion’s under-23s came back from two goals down to secure a 3-2 victory after extra time against East Preston, as they progressed to the Parafix Sussex Senior Cup third round.
Goals from Jack Barnes and Dan Huet put the hosts in front either side of half-time, but Ryan Longman’s brace forced extra time, before Max Sanders slotted home the winner on an entertaining night at the Lashmar.
The hosts were presented with a golden opportunity to break the deadlock early on, when Luke Brodie got played in behind Albion’s defence, but the winger dragged his right-footed effort narrowly wide, with just Billy Collings to beat.
Rian O’Sullivan looked threatening down the left wing and drilled a cross into the six-yard box, but neither David Ajiboye or Reece Meekums were able to connect with the winger's teasing delivery.
Meekums then had two chances in quick succession, firstly heading over from a Jordan Davies corner, before Albion’s number ten volleyed narrowly wide from O’Sullivan’s low cross to the front post.
Ajiboye then looped a header just over after stretching to meet a free-kick, shortly before Ryan Longman found himself through on goal, only for East Preston goalkeeper Chris Cook to rush out and smother the shot.
Sanders took responsibility of a free-kick just outside the penalty area, but the creative midfielder’s curling effort just dropped wide, before the hosts went up the other end and took a surprise lead on the stroke of half-time.
Collings made a smart save low down to deny Barnes, but the midfielder’s low shot rebounded back into his path, which enabled him to drill a low effort home at the second time of asking.
The difficulty of the task doubled for Albion just two minutes after the re-start, as Huet’s glancing header from Ryan Quirke’s set-piece delivery found the bottom corner to put the hosts 2-0 ahead.
Simon Rusk needed a quick reaction from his team and that’s exactly what he got, as Longman cut inside from the right wing and fired a low shot past Cook to halve the deficit on 51 minutes.
The home side dropped deep after conceding, as Albion enjoyed the majority of possession, but Rusk’s team struggled to break down East Preston’s organised defensive unit.
Until the 79th minute that is, and it was Longman again that made the difference, as he drove forward on a persistent run and drilled a right-footed shot into the bottom corner to make it 2-2.
Longman almost completed his hat-trick and a second-half turnaround from the Seagulls in the dying stages, but the winger’s low shot bounced just wide of Cook’s target, meaning the match would go into extra time.
Substitute Lukas Franzen-Jones rolled an effort just wide of the post for the hosts, before Cook pushed Dessie Hutchinson’s low strike behind, as Albion pressed for a late winner.
Their pressure in extra time eventually told in the 113th minute, and it was Sanders who prodded the ball past Cook, before cutting back and firing a low shot into the bottom corner to put Albion in front.
The hosts pushed for an equaliser in the final minutes of extra time, with Josh Etherington going close, but Albion held onto their lead and booked their place in the third round of the Parafix Sussex Senior Cup.
ALBION: Collings; Morrison, Moore, Kerr, J.Davies; Longman, Sanders, A.Davies (Alzate 70), O’Sullivan; Ajiboye (Hutchinson 52), Meekums (Cashman 46).
SUBS NOT USED: McGill (GK), Cox.