- Albion draw 2-2 with Everton in the Premier League International Cup
- Bassala Sambou and Ellis Simms score for the Toffees
- Ben Barclay and James Tilley fire second-half goals for Albion
- The Seagulls host Benfica in their next Group D match
Brighton & Hove Albion’s under-23s began their Premier League International Cup campaign with a 2-2 draw against Everton at the American Express Elite Football Performance Centre.
Goals from Ben Barclay and James Tilley cancelled out Bassala Sambou’s first-half penalty, but Ellis Simms struck for the Toffees to ensure the spoils were shared on the south coast.
Simon Rusk included first-team player Markus Suttner in his starting line-up, while summer signing Peter Gwargis came into the side for his under-23 debut.
Albion created the first opportunity of the game after just three minutes when Suttner swung a corner towards the back post, but Barclay’s bullet header dropped just wide of the target.
Everton shot-stopper Joe Hilton then made a comfortable stop from Viktor Gyokeres’s dipping effort from 20 yards, before the Seagulls survived a few dangerous moments in their own penalty area.
The ball pinged around Albion’s 18-yard box and fell invitingly for Dennis Adeniran, who saw his shot blocked in front of goal, and then Hugo Keto came to the rescue with a brilliant save from Ryan Astley’s powerful drive.
Tilley was then found inside the penalty area following a clever pass from Gwargis, but with just Hilton to beat from close range, the winger scuffed his connection and the ball rolled into the goalkeeper’s arms.
Albion continued to look dangerous and when Will Collar’s lifted pass picked out Gyokeres over the top, the Swede squared for Aaron Connolly but his team-mate spun and dragged his shot just wide.
The Toffees went straight up the other end and put themselves in a position to break the deadlock, after Jordan Davies was penalised for pulling Josh Bowler's shirt - Sambou fired home from the penalty spot in the 25th minute to make it 1-0.
The Seagulls struggled to find any rhythm after going behind, as they continued to probe with little effect in the final third, and the visitors took their narrow lead in at the break.
Rusk’s team returned for the second half and made a brighter start, with Connolly having an effort saved at the near post, before Suttner’s free-kick from 20 yards was blocked by the Everton wall.
The Albion pair then combined from a corner, as Connolly connected with Suttner’s delivery, but the Irishman’s close-range header was deflected over the crossbar for another corner.
Suttner’s delivery found an Albion man again and this time Everton were made to pay, as Barclay attacked the ball at the front post and placed a header past Hilton to level the game on the hour mark.
Six minutes passed and Rusk’s side managed to complete the turnaround, as another inviting Suttner delivery, this time from a free-kick, was turned into the back of the net by Tilley to make it 2-1.
The visitors made a few changes in search of a reaction, and it was substitute Simms that restored parity to the scoreline in the 75th minute, as he fired into the roof of the net following some hesitant Albion defending.
Keto was tested twice by Manase Mampala in the closing stages, as the Everton man tried to catch the shot-stopper out at his near post, before drilling a low shot towards the bottom corner from long distance.
Suttner curled an effort over the crossbar in stoppage time and Gyokeres saw his ferocious strike blocked in front of goal, but Albion were unable to find a third goal as they began Group D with a 2-2 draw.
ALBION: Keto; Moore, White, Barclay, Suttner; Gwargis (Dreyer 69), Collar, J.Davies (Normann 78), Tilley (Cox 83); Gyokeres; Connolly.
Subs not used: Collings (GK), Cochrane, O’Hora, Ljubicic.