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Report: Youthful Albion hold Hastings

A youthful Albion side played out a competitive 1-1 draw against Hastings United at The Pilot Field on Tuesday evening.

By Alex Stedman • 23 July 2019

  • Lorent Tolaj opens the scoring
  • Davide Rodari draws the hosts level
  • Todd Miller makes Albion debut
  • The Seagulls are next in action against Ebbsfleet United on Friday night

The notable team news on the night was a start on the right-hand side for summer signing Todd Miller, after the 16-year-old recently made the switch to the south coast from Colchester United.

It took just two minutes for the Seagulls to take the lead on a blisteringly hot evening along the south coast, and it came courtesy of Lorent Tolaj.

Ayo Tanimowo sped away down the left and when he was found by the captain on the night, Danny Cashman, Tolaj was on-hand to help the ball home from inside the penalty area.

Hugo Keto was involved in a strong challenge with home striker Ben Pope soon after, and the keeper was replaced by Carl Rushworth on 12 minutes as the Finn made way.

Davide Rodari pulled the hosts back level with a quarter of an hour on the clock , charging down Rushworth and tapping into an empty net before Ben Wilson and Miller tried their luck, but both saw efforts sail over the bar.

The Seagulls were forced into another change just before the half-hour mark when the architect of the opener, Tanimowo, was also forced off with a knock and replaced by Lewis Freestone.

Miller continued to show glimpses of why he was given his EFL debut at the age of just 16 with Colchester United last term as the contest approached the break, often getting the Seagulls going from the right.

The U’s youngest-ever senior appearance maker slipped in Sam Packham minutes before the interval, but the full-back’s dangerous ball into the centre was hacked away.

There was still time for Teddy Jenks and Miller to draw smart stops from Louis Rogers in the home goal before the break, which meant the sides went in all square at the interval.

The second half began slower than the first, as Kacper Lopata headed over the bar from a free kick three minutes after the restart.

The Seagulls made six changes on the hour mark, as Jack Leahy, Odell Offiah, Stefan Vukoje, Ed Turns, Marc Leonard and a trialist all entered the action.

Leahy was involved straight away as he stylishly skipped past two challenges before being thwarted as he got to the byline, as neither team was able to create a clear-cut opening for what looked like it would prove to be a decisive goal.

The young Seagulls continued to try to play their way up the field against their physical opponents, as Leonard curled over from a set-piece two minutes from time, but they were unable to find a winner against their senior counterparts and it ended level on the night.

Albion line-up: Keto (Rushworth 12); Packham (Cocoracchio 60), Lopata , Clark-Eden (Offiah 60), Tanimowo (Freestone 29); Miller (Turns 60), Jenks (Leahy 60), Tsoungui (Trialist 60), Tolaj (Leonard 60); Wilson (Vukoje 60), Cashman (Dackers 83).

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