Akpom 5, 22, 24
- Albion's under-23s lose to the Gunners
- Chuba Akpom hits hat-trick against former club
- Jordan Davies and Jayson Molumby score for the Seagulls
- Simon Rusk's team take on Celtic in their next pre-season game
Brighton & Hove Albion’s under-23s were beaten 6-2 by a strong Arsenal side at the club’s training ground in London, with former loanee Chuba Akpom scoring a hat-trick against Simon Rusk’s young side.
The Albion coach included a number of under-18s in his squad that faced the Gunners, with all 22 players getting minutes under their belt, as a number of changes were made throughout the match.
Jordan Davies and Jayson Molumby found the back of the net for the Seagulls, but four first-half goals from Arsenal’s experienced side gave Albion a mountain to climb, before they added two further goals after the break.
It took the hosts just five minutes to break the deadlock, and it was Akpom who found the top corner from the edge of the box, after his team-mate had recovered the ball from Ben Hall and laid it back for the Arsenal striker.
Albion goalkeeper Bailey Vose was called into action five minutes later, saving well to his right-hand side, before Max Sanders was denied up the other end, after pulling the trigger from David Ajiboye’s lay off.
Akpom doubled his team’s lead in the 22nd minute after Albion lost possession in a dangerous position, which enabled the striker to find space, shoot across goal and find the bottom corner.
Two minutes later, Akpom completed his hat-trick in style after being released down the channel, before looping the ball over Vose to extend his team’s lead inside the opening half.
Sharp passing from the home side led to a fourth goal in the 30th minute, with Vose getting beaten by a low-driven effort into the bottom corner from the edge of the penalty area.
Albion showed promising signs after the re-start, and James Tilley came close to pulling a goal back, with the 30th-minute substitute being denied after latching onto Dessie Hutchinson’s perfectly-weighted through-ball.
But Arsenal’s lead was increased further in the 54th minute, and it was a moment of brilliance from experienced Premier League full-back Carl Jenkinson, as he bent a free-kick over the wall and into the net from 22 yards.
The Seagulls did open their account in the 58th minute and it was a fantastic passing move, which included one-twos between George Cox, Jayson Molumby and Hutchinson, before Davies found the back of the net with a header at the back post.
But just when Rusk’s team were lifted by their goal, Arsenal hit back with another, as they found the bottom corner with a neat finish from just inside the box.
Albion picked themselves up and reacted well, with Molumby getting his name on the scoresheet in the 64th minute, after Tilley showed composure to pick out the Albion midfielder, who slotted the ball home from the edge of the box.
Billy Collings, who replaced Vose at the break, was forced into making a great save in a one-v-one situation, as he rushed off his line to deny the Gunners from adding another goal late on.
The action-packed game fizzled out in the closing stages, with neither team able to add further goals, which left the hosts claiming victory over the Seagulls, who took great experience from the pre-season fixture.
ALBION: Vose (Collings 45); Forbes (Moore 70), Hall (White 30), Dallison (Kerr 60), O’Sullivan (Cox 30); Barclay (Molumby 30), Collar (Barker 75), Sanders (Hutchinson 30); Ajiboye (Tilley 30), Connolly (Cashman 70), J.Davies (A.Davies 70).