Albion seal comeback to start new year in style

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Simon Rusk's side came from behind to beat Blackburn Rovers 2-1 in Premier League 2 Division 1 at the Leyland County Ground this evening.

By Bruce Talbot • 06 January 2020

By Kieran Cleeves
Danny Cashman celebrates his goal against Blackburn Rovers.
  • Stefan Mols fires home side ahead
  • Peter Gwargis levels during opening period
  • Danny Cashman scores decisive winner after the break
  • Albion host Leicester City next Monday night

Albion's under-23s recovered from the shock of conceding after just three minutes to make a winning start to 2020 in Premier League 2 Division 1 tonight.

Swedish midfielder Peter Gwargis quickly equalised with his third goal in as many league games, before Danny Cashman won it for the visitors midway through the second half.

Albion finished with ten men after Jordan Davies was shown a straight red late on, but they avenged the 5-3 defeat inflicted on them by Rovers at the Amex earlier in the season.

After a shaky start, Simon Rusk’s team were the better team and had other opportunities, particularly in the second half.

By Kieran Cleeves
Warren O'Hora looks to get Albion on the attack.

Such a scenario looked unlikely when Rovers caught Albion cold by taking the lead from the penalty spot from their first attack. Stefan Mols was brought down in the box and Jack Vale gave Tom McGill no chance by despatching the penalty high into the top corner.

In their previous away League game at Wolves, Albion had fought back after going behind early on and it took them just eight minutes to draw level.

Taylor Richards did superbly on the left as he ghosted past two opponents before pulling the ball back from the by-line to Gwargis, who gave goalkeeper Andrew Fisher no chance from close range.

By Kieran Cleeves
Peter Gwargis celebrates his first half goal.

It was the finish of a player in hot form and the equaliser gave the Seagulls the confidence to take the game to their hosts with the lively Richards and Teddy Jenks going close, as Albion began to get on top in midfield.

Rovers had their moments too with McGill keeping out a volley from Richard Smallwood while Brad Lyons also went close in a first half played at a good tempo by both teams.

But it was Albion who were the stronger side at the start of the second period.

In the 51st minute Fisher made an instinctive save with his legs to deny Richards and when the ball ran loose to Gwargis his goalbound effort was cleared by defender Sam Hart.

McGill made a decent stop from a header by Lewis Thompson before Albion took the lead in the 68th minute. Cashman timed his run well to beat Blackburn’s offside trap and he had the presence of mind to round Fisher and slot home despite Lyons’ efforts to keep the ball out.

By Kieran Cleeves
Albion's players celebrate the team's second goal.

The home keeper also made a decent save to thwart Romaric Yapi and in the closing stages Blackburn pushed hard for an equaliser. Vale volleyed over in the 78th minute after the ball had been headed back into the mix and in the closing moments Davies was shown a red card for a challenge on Sam Barnes.

The visitors had to dig deep during five minutes of stoppage time although Fisher made another decent save to deny Gwargis. Albion are next in action on Monday January 13th against Leicester City at the American Express Elite Performance Centre.

Albion line-up: McGill, Yapi (Radulovic 71), Cochrane, Crofts, Baluta, O’Hora, Gwargis, Jenks (Roberts 62), Cashman, Davies, Richards (Freestone 80).

Subs not used: Keto, Tolaj.