- Albion seal convincing 4-1 win at Aston Villa
- Stefan Ljubicic scores a hat-trick for the Seagulls
- Alex Cochrane adds another against the Villans
- Lewis Brunt pulls a goal back for the hosts
Brighton & Hove Albion’s under-18s claimed an impressive 4-1 victory over Aston Villa at the Bodymoor Heath Training Ground on Saturday afternoon.
Stefan Ljubicic fired a hat-trick for the Seagulls, with Alex Cochrane adding another goal for Mikey Harris and Mark Beard’s team, while Lewis Brunt scored a consolation goal for the hosts.
Jordan Araujo had Albion’s first attempt at goal inside the opening stages of the game, but the midfielder’s long-range effort sailed into the grateful arms of Villa goalkeeper Kieran Boucher.
Ryan Longman then tried his luck after cutting inside off the left wing, however this time the ball failed to hit the target, as the midfielder’s powerful effort rose over the crossbar.
But the deadlock was broke soon after, and it was Ljubicic who finished off some brilliant build-up play between Longman, Mamadou Kone and Hamish Morrison, to give Albion a 1-0 lead in the West Midlands.
Longman almost doubled Albion’s advantage shortly before the break, but after some good work from Kone, who teed the ball back for his team-mate, the winger drilled his shot wide of the target.
The sides returned for the second half and Cochrane wasted no time in extending Albion’s lead in the 48th minute - the midfielder weaved his way through Villa’s defence before cooly slotting the ball into the bottom corner.
Kone then fired over the bar for the Seagulls, but the winger continued to cause problems for the Villans defence, and Ljubicic benefited from his team-mate’s excellent work in the 63rd minute to bag his brace.
The striker was found by Kone inside the penalty area, and with a crowded penalty area to deal with, the Icelandic composed himself and fired through a number of bodies to hit the back of the net.
Lewis Brunt then denied the Seagulls of a clean sheet when he fired the ball past Tom McGill on 75 minutes, but Albion’s three-goal advantage was restored six minutes later when Ljubicic wrapped up his hat-trick.
The forward latched onto a brilliant pass over Villa’s defence from Hayden Roberts, before finishing well past Boucher, to round off a convincing away display from Albion’s under-18s.
ALBION: McGill; Morrison, Weaire, Clark-Eden, Roberts; Kone (Packham 86), Cochrane, Araujo (Tutt 57), Longman; Everitt (Spong 68), Ljubicic.
Subs not used: Zalewski (GK), Turns.