- Albion beat Vancouver Whitecaps 2-1
- Aaron Connolly scores on his return to the side
- Bojan Radulovic also on target
- Brendan McDonough scores a consolation for Whitecaps
Brighton & Hove Albion’s under-23s recorded a 2-1 victory over Vancouver Whitecaps in a friendly at the American Express Elite Football Performance Centre on Friday evening.
Aaron Connolly scored on his return to the side following his recovery from a hamstring injury, before Bojan Radulovic doubled Albion's advantage. The Whitecaps then halved the deficit late on through Brendan McDonough's header.
The game started on a lively note, as Radulovic was picked out by Connolly inside the box, but the former couldn’t direct his close-range header on target.
Connolly then had a chance himself after latching onto a through ball from Jordan Davies, but the young Irishman’s shot was saved by Thomas Hasal.
The visitors came within inches of breaking the deadlock themselves when Theo Bair picked out Georges Mukumbilwa, whose effort cannoned off the post.
Connolly and Bair were the main threats for both sides going forward, as the Irishman forced Hasal into another save before fizzing a shot over the bar, while Bair also saw a shot go wide and pushed away at the near post by Robert Sanchez at the other end of the field.
Albion had further chances to score through Jordan Davies and Max Sanders, but it was Connolly that added his name to the scoresheet after reacting to McDonough’s slip in defence and coolly slotting the ball past Hasal with 37 minutes played.
After largely quiet opening ten minutes after the re-start, half-time substitute Archie Davies almost doubled Albion’s advantage with a near post header that was cleared off the line.
Rusk’s side looked the more likely to get the next goal, as Sanders showed some neat footwork edge of the area only to see his shot saved by Hasal at his near post.
Connolly looked to add his and Albion's second, but his close-range effort was kept out by Hasal.
It was almost the forward's final action of the game, as he was replaced by Danny Cashman in the 71st minute.
Albion's lead was doubled two minutes later courtesy of Radulovic, who finished well on the rebound after substitute Ryan Longman's initial strike was saved by Hasal.
Sanders came within inches of adding a third for the Seagulls when his long-range attempt clipped the top of the crossbar before going over, and Cashman nearly got in on the act himself after playing a neat one-two with Radulovic, but Hasal made a save at his near post.
It was the Canadians that had the last word though, as McDonough scored with a diving header from a in-swinging free-kick with 90 minutes on the clock.
The game finished 2-1, and Rusk’s side now turn their attention back to the Premier League Division 2 Division 1 title race, when they host Swansea City at the Amex Stadium next Friday evening, kick-off 7pm.
ALBION: Sanchez; Moore, Broughton, O’Hora, Cochrane; Sanders, Collar (Longman 71), J. Davies, Ahannach (A. Davies 56); Radulovic; Connolly (Cashman 71).
SUBS NOT USED: Collings (GK)